Oil Paintings of California Beach Scenes: Paintings of Surfers, Beach Bums and Sunsets in Orange County, CA
California and especially Orange County are synonymous with surfing, beach life, and all that comes with it. Many of us admire surfers enough to hang painting of them on our walls for inspiration, but we’re not necessarily jumping to freeze in the cold water and become shark bait.
Many of my family members surf in San Clemente, and San Diego, and I’ve lost dozens of hours of help around the house with chores to them chasing some tasty waves. The upside is some great content for paintings and inspiration.
The beaches of Southern California host surfers, beach bums, vacationers, and lifeguards in the peak summer tourist season, but with our amazing climate year round, you’ll always find someone on the beach doing something. I find scenes of relaxed activity to be the most interesting – beach dwellers hanging around with their boards and umbrellas, enjoying some light conversations and tales of the big one that got away.
“Surf Camp” 16×20
“Surf Camp” 16×20 oil painting. $1400
In this San Clemente scene I was inspired by the activity of the group at this “surf camp”. A few kids are having a conversation on the life guard tower, another is waxing his surf board, and others are huddled together following the instructors direction. Just getting the gist of the scene… with the crashing waves, and excited students…this scene has a certain beach energy. Such a fun way for kids to spend a summer vacation.
“Umbrellas and Surf” 16×20
“Umbrellas and Surf” 16×20 oil painting. $1400
In “Umbrellas and Surf” 16×20, I was inspired by the many vibrant colors of the beach umbrellas. I loved this scene because the activity of swimmers, walkers, and sunbathers seemed to vibrate with the sparkling water and warm sand. Instead of trying to render each beach goer, I just placed the people in with very simple strokes of paint. This painting has warm ochres, Naples yellow, periwinkle, blues, and a variety of orange and reds. The bathers at a distance looked like tiny dots of peach in the water. And the wind, on this day, kept the waves coming in quickly one after another.
Zen Surfing 11×14
Impressionist oil painting of a California surfer coming out of the water after sunset. He looked so relaxed and spent after surfing I was inspired to paint it. My family members that surf say the period after surfing is almost better than dropping in on some tasty barrels. The combination of vitamin sea, magnesium in the ocean, and physical exertion leads to pure relaxation rarely found in other sports. Maybe there’s a physical reason surfers are so chill after all.
“Sunset” 12×24 oil painting. $1200
On this evening the colors of the sunset were glorious and beautiful; yellows, pinks, and oranges. Using thick textured paint I was able to sculpt the billowy clouds into the deep grey-blue sky. Little bits of orange reflect sky into the water. Sunsets are heavenly…every time I go to paint one, or photograph one, there is always good amount of photographers and on lookers there enjoying it with me. Whenever I see gorgeous color in the sky and I am in the area I try to go to the ocean and get a quick sketch or take a photo. Once I get there I am reminded how peaceful and centering it is to just sit there and observe nature……and I am thankful for that.
Love clementines! You know the little tangerines. So I called this one “Clementine Skies” because it was so juicy to paint! …….Oh my darling, oh my darling, oh my darrrrrrling Clementine…,you were lost and gone forever, oh my darling Clementine. Sing it! Wow I just had a flashback to my childhood girl scout troop. We sang that song over and over I think to get a singing badge to put on our uniform. Just a pretty sunset at Crystal Cove State Beach, CA. The purple island is Catalina, California. Sunsets are amazing if you live on the coast. I hope you enjoy them often. What is amazing about them, to me as a painter, is that in the span of 20 minutes, as the sun sets, there are hundreds of different color combinations to paint. As a painter the possibilities are endless. This particular painting, Clementine Skies, has many varieties of the color orange: tangerine, coral, peach, clementine, rose-orange, cantaloupe, apricot, bittersweet, carrot, salmon, titian, and red-yellow. This oil painting has thick paint in the white and yellow area and thin paint in the dark area. When the lights are out the painting glows…it creates its own light!
“People are just as wonderful as sunsets if you let them be. When I look at a sunset, I don’t find myself saying, “Soften the orange a bit on the right hand corner.” I don’t try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds.” Carl R. Rogers
Available oil painting
This palm tree painting has thick paint and a pastel color palette. Impressionist painting of Laguna Beach, California. I painted this on location, plein air, at noon-ish. The texture of the paint makes the palm trees look like they are moving in the wind. Impressionist in style allows room for loose, juicy paint. I like to get the gist of the scene and let the viewers finish the painting with their own eyes. When I first started out painting, one of my favorite books was Oil Painting Workshop by Ted Goeshner. The author instructs how we should not paint down to the viewer. Everyone knows what a tree looks like. We don’t need to paint every leaf. I like this approach because it gives more room to focus on atmosphere, mood, and texture. Laguna Beach is gorgeous 365 days a year, even on the gloomy days. With palm trees everywhere swaying in the wind and the sounds of the surf pounding the shore one feels (if you’re a local like me) as if you are on a mini vacation.
Palm trees grace landscape Burst of pink laughter invades Blue sky and water
Dorothy (Alves) Holmes #192 Haiku Palm Trees