Long-awaited exhibit of Kevin Short paintings begins Aug. 11
The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum and Curator Emily Falke have worked for eight years to obtain a very special art exhibit, “The Peaceful Sea: Paintings by Kevin A. Short,” scheduled for Aug. 11-Dec. 31.
This long-awaited exhibition will feature more than 35 seascapes and ocean-themed landscapes by the renowned contemporary painter and Santa Barbara native who has been described as a coastal regionalist.
Internationally recognized for his contemporary landscapes of the Pacific Coast, Mr. Short is considered a particularly intelligent observer of the ocean. He paints the surfing and coastal subcultures using his signature heavy, impressionist brushstrokes and rich, saturated color palettes.
“Short’s paintings are imbued with narrative and emotion. They chronicle our experiences as a coastal community, depicting all the outdoor joys available to us — paddling, boating, surfing, swimming, just being at the beach — and pay tribute to the beauty of the ocean and the culture that has helped form this part of the world,” said Ms. Falke, director of collections and curator at SBMM.
In discussing his work, Mr. Short said, “This exhibition is a collection of paintings, capturing moments in time, glare and the living history of the colors of the sea. Presented are narrations and emotions of our experience as a coastal community.
“There is magnetism in looking at glare and the effects of sunlight. There is something magical and calming in the glare. We will drive hours to simply sit and watch that dance of light. Somehow our troubles seem smaller, our thinking becomes clearer. I am recording those moments and those feelings.”
Mr. Short grew up along California’s coast. Born in San Diego and raised in Santa Barbara, he developed his love of the ocean through sailing, fishing and spending long days in the surf.
“The Peaceful Sea: Paintings by Kevin A. Short” presents a selection of the artist’s paintings that capture this lifelong passion. It conjures specific moments in time, both imagined and remembered, and celebrates all the living colors of the sea.
Mr. Short began his art training with a toy watercolor set and a pile of crayons, drawing on leftover butcher paper in the middle of the kitchen floor. He went on to formally study oil painting at the University of New Mexico, Pepperdine University in Malibu and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.
“I began painting to remember the ocean and capture special times in my life when I was far from the coast, and I still paint from that same motivation,” said the artist. “Each of my paintings is like a page from the journal of my life, capturing a moment, a scene or a feeling that I want to remember. One of the reasons people like my paintings so much is that these are the experiences and the moments in time that they too have felt.”
He started building his own paint boxes in 1999 after getting tired of having to drag an easel and other equipment and materials when he went to paint on bluffs, mountains and beaches.
“While doing some research, I discovered a photo of the Spanish painter Joaquin Sorolla at the beach, and he had a mini paint kit that was just the right size,” said Mr. Short. “It turns out that Sorolla was a cigar aficionado, and he was using one of his cigar boxes. I have adapted his idea to hold mini canvases, paint and brushes, all in a size that I can carry in a small backpack. This allows me to capture fleeting moments of color wherever I find them.”
Mr. Short’s paintings have been featured on the covers of the Los Angeles Times and the Surfer’s Journal. The Pasadena Museum of California Art selected his work for the landmark exhibition, “In the Land of Sunshine,” numbering Mr. Short as one of the California Coast’s most influential narrative painters.
Other notable shows of his work have been held at the Irvine Museum in California, the Carnegie Art Museum and the California Surf Museum, featuring Mr. Short’s paintings of Pt. San Mateo —Trestles.
In addition to these shows, his work is in the permanent collections of the Irvine Museum, the Hilbert Museum, the First Foundation Bank Sprint Nextel Art Collection, US Steel Corp. and the Scripps Cardiac Center Collection.
Mr. Short’s book “Trestles,” which captures the spirit of California’s famous trestles surfing area in San Diego County and sounds an urgent call for nature conservation in the area, features lavish illustrations of the artist’s paintings and text by Mike Evans. The monograph will be available for purchase at the Maritime Museum store.