Watercolors: From Sea to Shining Sea.

Sad as this may seem, I just don’t really have anything clever or funny to say today.  (...quiet, Kelly !)    I think I just need to re-charge my Smart-Ass batteries for a few days.

Anyway, it’s been a while since I’ve posted some artwork.  So why not right now?

Today’s theme today is the ocean.  I have two seascapes,  showing opposite sides of the continent.

This first one is the Atlantic coast of New Hampshire. (Yes!  N.H. has a tiny coastline…something I tend to keep forgetting.)

This was a late-winter scene from a few years back.  Normally, that time of year, I’d have been off skiing somewhere.   But I had a torn ACL at the time, and most physical activities were still off-limits.   I was bored out of my skull, and decided to do a road-trip from Ottawa to the New England coast for the weekend, to see what I could find.

From the painting, you’d think New Hampshire has a pristine, untamed coast.  But what this scene doesn’t show is what’s behind it…the myriad hotels, antique stores, fast-food joints, beachfront houses, go-cart tracks, roller coasters, souvenir shops, and places where you can buy fried dough.    With the exception of a few State Parks, pretty much every square foot of the Atlantic coast from Portland to Cape Cod has been claimed and/or  developed in some way or another.

Fortunately, all those places were closed and empty when I was there.   It was like a ghost town.   That’s why I always like to see these places off-season.  You get to appreciate the seashore as it is…without the Touron crowds.

The second scene is the Pacific Coast in Northern Oregon.    This was mid-July, and it was a typical West-Coast damp, drizzly day.

But the beach was hauntingly beautiful, and I took a lot of photos.  This day was a gold-mine for inspiring a lot artwork.   This painting is just one of several that I plan to do.

What a contrast from the East Coast!  The beach was mostly deserted.    Consisting of jagged rocks and black sand, and surrounded by coniferous forest, it had a raw, untamed aspect to it.   One can still get a sense of what Lewis and Clark must have felt when they first laid eyes on the Pacific.

Much of the entire Oregon coast is left untouched like this.  I don’t think I saw a single Ferris wheel.  And that’s a GOOD thing.

Coincidentally, I also drove here.  I was out of work at the time, and the job market had slowed down for the summer. I decided to take some time off, and do another road-trip.

(Though this second road-trip took slightly longer…!)

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19 Comments on “Watercolors: From Sea to Shining Sea.”

  1. Mike Goad Says:

    Nice artwork. We just got back to Madison, Wisconsin from several days up in the north of Wisconsin. Spent quite a bit of time on the shores of Sturgeon Bay and Green Bay. Pretty views up there. On the Lake Michigan side of the peninsula, it’s just like being on the ocean. We stopped at one state park where it was very wild with no development whatsoever.

  2. Friar Says:


    I love the Great Lakes! They’re among my favorite painting subjects.

    Superior is my favorite…I plan on writing about it in the near future.

  3. Nicole Says:

    These are lovely! Water with watercolors is SO difficult, but you’ve captured it really well. I’m jealous. If there’s one thing I’ve struggled with more than trees, it’s water.

    Mmm… fresh fried bread slathered in real butter. Why is everyone ganging up to make me homesick this week?

  4. Nicole Says:

    @Mike & Friar Growing up in the middle of the Great Lakes (no not the middle of a lake, but where the three biggest come together in Michigan) I have a certain glowing pride when people talk about the beauty of the area. Ah, home.

  5. Friar Says:


    The equivalent in Eastern Ontario are “Beaver Tails”. Fried dough in a flat, round shape.

    With butter and cinnamon and sugar.

    (Now you got ME hungry!)

  6. Brett Legree Says:

    I always liked that Oregon one a lot. The other one is really good too.

    People, the picture here doesn’t do it justice. If you see it in person (which I’m lucky to be able to do), this is really good stuff.

  7. Kelly Says:


    Those batteries must be a bit worn down, they’ve been in such heavy use lately. 🙂

    Oh, yes, our New England coastline is quite a sight. I can’t tell you how many photos I have that look exactly like the first painting, but if I turned around, it’s like a faded strip mall strung together by motels. In Maine the contrast bothers me the most.

    I don’t know if it’s the photos you chose or not, never having been that far west, but they look so dissimilar! If you told me only one was the east coast and didn’t tell me which, I’d still know.

    The New Hampshire painting is so good for a second I thought it was a photo. I could just walk right into it. Beautiful as always.


    Go back and find his snow with watercolors paintings. They’re amazing.



  8. Steph Says:

    These are beautiful, Friar. I love the colours in both. Somehow I could tell the first was in winter!

  9. Friar Says:


    Thanks for the kind words. 🙂

    Not to toot my own horn, but you’re right. The scan’s don’t really do the paintings justice. They DO look much better close-up, in real life.

    A, gee. Thanks for the compliments. You and Brett are gonna give me a swell head (or make it swell more than it already is!) 😉

    My Aunt liked the New Hampshire painting…she bought it and I occasionally still get to see it when I visit.

    It’s hard to believe it’s the same State, where a short drive north, you get the White Mountains. Which is a huge expanse of wilderness with 5000-6000 ft moutains, the tallest of which have snow almost every month of the year.

    It’s a whole other world from the Fried Dough and Ferris Wheels….

  10. Friar Says:


    You have a good eye. Yes, the winter scene is definitely a bit more washed out…that’s how the light was at that time of year.

    I also like the purple shades from the second one…it DID actually look like that.

  11. Amy Derby Says:

    I had to click through as soon as I saw the word watercolors. Goody! Paintings!

    They’re so good! The way you paint is amazing. The rocks and water in the first one almost look like oils. I’m no good at doing that kind of detail with watercolor.

    I think I need to recharge my sarcasmo batteries too. They should have a getaway-camp for that…

  12. Friar Says:

    I have a huge back-log of paintings to go through, plus I’ll start painting again soon (I always take the summer of…having too much fun fishing!)

    Duracell Sarcasmo Batteries…heh heh.

    Yes, you have been relatively well-behaved, lately.

    I think mine are already recharging (I”m writing a snarky post as we speak).

  13. seanmp1 Says:

    I have not been reading your blog long enough to know how totally awesome you are. Daisy and I are both all wow right now. We’re going to look through your archives.

  14. Evelyn Lim Says:

    Oh my….you are really talented! These are very lovely paintings here!

  15. Friar Says:

    @sean and Evelny

    Thanks for the compliments.

    Painting helps keep me sane, I must admit.

  16. oooohhhhhh and ahhhhhh. Those skies are very wet and lovely. Gorgeous. Very hard to do well, water is….uh oh…sounding like Yoda there.

    🙂 I recharged with a potty mouth chick flick yesterday. Not great but hey… sometimes ya just need to chill and laugh a bit.

  17. Friar Says:


    I like to recharge with potty-mouth F.A.B movies. (Freakin’ A, Bubba!).

    Quite different from Chick Flicks, but the net effect is the same.

  18. Beautiful. I am impressed.

  19. Friar Says:


    Thanks! 🙂

    Water is always one of my favortie painting subjects.

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