The 30a Atmosphere Collection


This year (2024) started off with a focus to study color and share what I learn with my students.

I hosted 2 great groups of students at the studio in January and February to share my initial
research and a new color mixing tool.

In March I felt the season changing here in Florida; a change in the light.

Inspiration found me.

“How can I best portray the colors of the unique light quality and atmosphere of 30a?” I thought.

Here I offer you a small collection of original paintings that feature a bit of that 30A atmosphere. 

Click on the image of the painting that most captivates you to find out more



This story of this painting is a bit of a mystery. Here’s what I DO know about it.

I took the photo on November 4, 2015, at 4: 42pm- just before sunset. It was on a 30a beach because it has a coastal dune lake connecting to it on the right.

Here are the possibilities:

Morris Lake and Campbell in Topsail– no. They usually don’t connect

Alligator, Allen, Oyster, Draper, Big Redfish, Little Redfish - Probably not due to limited access.

Western Lake or Eastern Lake – Maybe.

Deer Lake, Lake Powell, Stallworth – No, I know I hadn’t been there yet in 2015:

Camp Creek Lake, Fuller Lake – No, I haven’t been there yet

Deduction = The subject is either Western Lake or Eastern Lake

DUSK | 24" x 24", oil on canvas | $2,400 USD






I took this photo on January 21, 2021, 3:41pm.

I often look at all my photos I’ve taken. Sometimes one will not be inspiring right when I take it but later on…years later…it might be.

This is what happened here.

I was scrolling around and this reference hit me. I checked out the black and white version of it, and thought “it’s going to make a good painting.”

I painted it and posted a photo of it in my CHROMA community on FB. One of my students replied in the comments “Love it. I think it would look fabulous at my house here on 30a.”

Then, curiosity got me. WHERE was this reference from?

I went back and found the date on the photo and looked a bit more closely at the bottom of the reference. “Could it be?”

My guess was that THIS reference photo was taken from the back dock of the student who had replied how much they loved it.

She had invited me over years ago because she knew I was working on my Coastal Dune Lake Collection at the time.

I did change the reference photo. I simplified the bottom of the painting so it would not compete with what I felt was the focal point - the clouds.

She must have just FELT that she knew this scene.

That is the beauty of art. You FEEL it when it’s right.

AFTERNOON | 24" x 24", oil on canvas | $2400 USD


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I took this photo on March 18, 2018, 2:02pm.

Flora pertains to the naturally occurring (indigenous) native plants in an area and that is certainly this painting.

I took this reference photo while biking through Topsail State Park. It’s looking west through the natural flora – saw palmettos on the bottom, scrubby trees in the middle and slash pines scattered about.

You can hardly see the sky but it is there peeking through the trees in places.

With awesome value shapes. I KNEW I would paint this scene but didn’t know how at the time.

I didn’t want it to feel like just a bunch of pine trunks in a row.

When I started thinking more about the atmosphere of the area, I thought of a new way to paint this old favorite.

I lessened the contrast of the trunks to make them softer and pulled back the values to a higher key in general.

This allowed the hazy colors to melt together in a softer way.

FLORA | 24" x 24", oil on canvas | $2400 USD





Twilight is the diffused light from the sky during the early evening. The sun is below the horizon and its light is refracted by the earth's atmosphere.

I took this photo on August 18, 2015 at 7:35 pm.

The summer before this photo was taken, I moved to the beach so I know exactly where it is. “Twilight” is set in Miramar Beach looking east as the sun sets behind me. 

TWILIGHT | 30" x 40, oil on canvas | $3800 USD





I took this photo on January 5, 2020 10:40 am.

Note the time of this reference photo. It is a morning scene and here is a night painting.

This is actually one of my all-time favorite photos to paint from.

It is the inspiration for my “Path” painting and is a best seller at Ballard Designs. When I started this painting I was really thinking of a new way to paint the wonderful value shapes in a more abstracted way.

As I started painting it, I saw the star, I felt the darkness. It told me it was a night scene. I’ve come to follow those nudges.

NIGHT | 30" x 40", oil on canvas | $3800 USD

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I took this photo on January 2, 2018 at 10:27 am at the Gulfview Heights Beach Access looking east.

I love this scene. It’s got so much 30A atmosphere!...the beautiful gulf water, the sugar-white sand and dunes with iconic 30A houses on the bluff, clear, blue skies AND most uniquely, the coastal dune lake coming in from the left and connecting to the gulf.

I used a similar reference photo, taken at the same time, for a painting I donated to the Cultural Arts Alliance’s 30A Songwriter’s Festival in January 2018.

At the time it was the largest painting I’d ever painted – 48” x 96”.

Each year since then, the festival has featured the painting in a local venue as a back drop for one of the performing artists.

Every year I get calls from people who tell me how much they love the painting. One person even thought it was them, in the painting, walking their dog.

I’m so happy to be able re-visit this 30A scene in this new painting


AMBIENT | 48" x 96", oil on canvas | $10,000 USD

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