Flat day doodles!

Sometimes a good surf followed by a little down time provides the perfect opportunity to get the creative juices going. I love to fill up these moleskine watercolor journals with colorful doodles inspired by sessions gone by.

january sunset
sea dreams

My elixir. My kryptonite.

Being a surfer in New England comes with it's ups and downs. But, for the most part, I gotta say that I generally walk the earth feeling that I am undoubtedly blessed with the key to something special. Surfing has become in a way, my religion, my sustenance and my muse.

At times, it has also been my kryptonite.

For me, a good enough wave can bring tears of happiness to the eyes and a chemical reaction within the body that nothing can touch. OK... almost nothing. As I paddle back to the line-up I am smiling inside and out and thanking the universe for what I have. Every moment, every wave is savored.

I try to get a visual record of every session and have been photo-journaling on flickr for the last 4 years. The best days are the rarest ones of course, when there are fun waves, sunshine and a handful of my favorite surfers in the water.


In the summer, spring and fall it is not unusual for me to wake as early as 4:00 am, drive an hour or more to the surf, and arrive there at first light so I can get a solid session in before work.


On the longest summer days I can go after work if I hustle. In fact, those before/after work sessions always come with a little extra stoke in knowing I got my surf time and still made it to work.

But January and February. Ouch. The sun isn't even up until 7 and is basically done by 4. During the winter months I find that my blessing quickly becomes my curse.

Now, for me, MISSING surf is most definitely a worse condition than NO surf. Flatspells suck, but if there is no surf then at least there is peace in knowing that you couldn't go no matter how badly you wanted to. A flat day is a good time to make art, write in your blog, get a pedicure, and salvage relationships with friends and family that have suffered in the name of surfing.

But In January, when I am at work, and I look at the web cams and I see that there is a good swell, I know I am basically setting myself up for a one-way ride to hell.

NO Comment

Suddenly every glib, care-free voice in the surrounding cubicles grates on me. Every pixel I am pushing feels like a life-sentence. I curse the little surfer people in the cams that have their priorities in order and have figured out how to get to the surf when the getting's good. I feel trapped and alone and like I am not living the life I want to live. I think of the surf movie "Free and Easy" and the tagline that goes with it: "Surfers live the life they love, and love the life they live.". Where is my life I love? Am I forever damned to weekend-warrior status?

So I continue to search for solutions. I weigh and survey every factor of my life. Slowly, I begin the process of moving towards a more balanced existence. Maybe it means moving far away or maybe it just means moving to a more surfy community around here. I saturate myself with twitter feeds, blog posts, and flickr collections from other surfers who are living the lives they love.

And every year at this time – since the first day I went surfing up at the Wall in New Hampshire nearly 5 years ago (thank-you Justin!) – my surf angst has always been been tinged with a gold-lining. I find comfort in knowing that I have something I love so much and that I know I have only begun to tap into.

The good prevails over evil everytime.


Glorious end to 2 week flatspell

Yes! Two weeks of wavelessness are now but a memory. I almost did not get a single pic because I left my good camera at home but it was iPhone to the rescue! The wind was blustery and offshore when I got there but by the end it was just dreamy.
end of flatspell

Sprinted back from my car to get the last one. There was still one guy out there. Oh glorious day. I am not only grateful for the waves and the beauty of this day but also for the opportunity to appreciate and savor every last drop.

A year ago yesterday...

Since we are in the middle of a flat spell here in New England (and in the dead of winter no less), I thought I would take a moment to look back and see what was happening surf-wise a year ago. Even though January was not too good in 2009, there WAS this one awesome session...
more good
formerly known as "clammy"
three surfers

Dearest wave gods. Lest you should think that we forget. We are grateful for every swell you send us. Please have mercy on us this weekend and bring us some good, clean waves if you can see to it. Amen and thank-you for listening :)

Image transfer technique

A lot of folks ask me about the image transfer method that I use in my mixed media paintings. I thought this might be a good place to explain...

work in progress

The finished artwork begins with a digital "base image". Start by choosing a favorite photo to base the artwork on. I will often digitally enhance/manipulate the image with photoshop until I have the image to where I think it is in the right place. I spend a good amount of time adjusting levels and hues for best printout effects in preparation for printing, often eliminating all but a few colors for the final image.

Once the transfer image is created I print it up at high quality on the inkjet using coated matte photo paper by a company called Great White. This is a type of paper that I heard works really well and it is true. Something about the coating? Note: Remember to flip your image before printing, (since when you transfer it, it gets flipped!).

Once the image is printed, take some acrylic gel medium (I use Golden Brand Matte Medium but I am sure any brand will work) and coat the surface of the image. I usually do two coats, sometimes experimenting with paint on the image as well as gel medium. You can do a lot of experimentation but so far I have found that transfers work best on light vs dark surfaces. Play around with it and see for yourself!

After the image is coated and dry, you are ready to start the transfer process. Brush another coat of gel medium on the artwork and on the receiving surface. Place your image on the surface. Spray down the back of the image with water and use your hands/fingers or the back of a spoon to work out small air bubbles. Paper is more prone to tearing when it is saturated so be careful.

Allow piece to dry overnight.

Once dry, spray down the image again. Select a spot and begin rubbing away the paper - being careful to not overrub too much. I usually choose a corner area. Basically, you are rubbing off the paper and are left with the image transfer which can then be painted on, distressed, layered with other elements, etc.

It takes a little practice but part of the fun is the unpredictability of how it might end up. It is a pretty fun technique!

all together now