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OP Pro 1982: Huntington Beach

OP Pro 1982: Huntington Beach

OP Pro 1982
Paul Gavin, Oil on masonite, 1982

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Baptism by Fire

Paul Gavin Fine Art In 1982 a new studio had to be found as the Santa Ana Redevelopment Agency proceeded with seismic retrofitting. As demolition crews were literally dismantling the building with which I shared stairs, I moved from my second floor 114 W. Fourth Street, Santa Ana, loft down to a similar second floor studio on Main Street in Huntington Beach. Although not as cheap, the building was still primarily a shell and again the owner would have a paying security guard who keeps the pigeons out.

Less than a week after moving in, the 1982 OP Pro Surfing Championship took place at the Huntington Pier and I decided that it should be painted. So on early Friday morning a location on the pier was chosen to view the colorful beach crowd and I started to work.

Painting the OP ProProgress was slow as the composition proved complicated. The horizon was originally nearly midway down the piece. Yet because there was so much energy and interest on the lower half, the following morning I decided to start over by moving the horizon way up to the top.

Working furiously on location from dawn ("0 dark 30") until dusk Saturday and until 3:00 Sunday, the piece was completed in time to have the OP Pro winner Cheyne Horan sign the back of the painting.

Photographed by Surfer Magazine and appearing in the January 1993 issue, this was my first event location painting. Truly a baptism by fire, the greatest lesson of this piece was how to keep working when thousands of people walk by asking questions and often asking the same questions. The two most asked were Hey, where am I? and How do you keep everyone from moving?

This painting was done before the "Where's Waldo?" craze.

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MCAS El Toro 1991

After painting this first "event location," Paul went on to paint crowds of spectators at San Clemente's Ocean Fest 2001 as well as at numerous air shows at the former MCAS El Toro.

San Clemente Ocean Fest 2001

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