[Watch the Video of this painting from “The Landscape Illuminated” exhibit.]
A big volume of air shimmers from here on the cliff to there in the shining distance where the sun is making its way to setting in this painting “Big Sur, Big Sun”.
Up here, one looks down to the sea through an ocean of space…glittering, glass-like space. The size of the atmosphere astounds you. Across the shimmering expanse of this ever-restless ocean we know there are other worlds: Hawaii, Tahiti, Japan, Australia. But they are far over the curve of the horizon where it is morning or mid day.
Here, on this cliff, it is fast approaching sun set. The sun is at the place where it is brightly in our face, beaming its light horizontally at us like a massive, benign spotlight, too intense to look into yet too beautiful to ignore. Soon the sun will begin to color, to turn warm, to shift to orange before it dips below the line of water presenting us with, we hope, a green flash.
This cliff beneath has stood here for eons, slowly washing away, once a mountain or a plane, into the restless surf below. Yet, if we had stood here a century ago we would have seen nothing different because mountains and cliffs wear away imperceptibly over big spans of time. A photo of this cliff taken now and viewed a hundred years from now would show little change even in the crannies that hold small rock slides. Those rocks will not have moved much the coming century.
Knowing this, we begin to understand how big a time a million years must be, how old the world is, and how evanescent our lives are in this big moment of eternity.
Which brings us back to now, to our life, standing on a cliff along the Big Sur coast, as the big sun is about to begin setting on the Pacific Ocean.
“Big Sur, Big Sun” is a 24″x30″ oil on canvas painted in the studio from plein air sketches. The painting is part of “The Landscape Illuminated” exhibit. View the video below, which shows details of the painting.