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Huntington Beach Pier
Huntington Beach Pier
Along with a high school friend who served as my best man when I finally married, I had lived in Huntington Beach from 1975 until 1978 when a loft space was found in downtown Santa Ana while I was attending UCI. When redevelopment forced me to move in 1982, the timing for both of us was such that we both again found a Huntington Beach home, and I found another loft on Main Street.
After again moving the studio to Huntington Beach the pier again became a focus in my life for walks and inspiration. At that time, Maxwell's Restaurant was at the base of the pier on the upper level, and there were various arcades, snack bars and beach accessory rental concessions on the sand level. Out on the pier there were four concessions. These were a snack bar, a wet bar, a bait shop and the End Cafe.
Around 1983, huge storm waves undermined but did not completely remove the original End Cafe. While a Channel 4 news helicopter hovered for hours waiting to film the final break, I sat in the rain and painted an oil painting and a watercolor of the pier as it sat. I had to turn to watercolor when a waterspout blew through and sent my painting materials in many directions, breaking my paint box, that my grandmother had given me in the 4th grade, while the water greatly "antiqued" a small wooden painting table I used for location work. I still have — and use — both.
By December 1987, the new End Cafe had been built, and from the deck of Maxwell's, a watercolor pen and ink of the Huntington Pier was created. The light is decidedly Winter, there are only a few people on the beach, and Catalina is clear as only that time of year.
The woman who owned the two bar concessions purchased the original and from these proceeds the edition was created which originally sold only from her Neptune's Locker. Less than one month after this painting was completed, another storm developed huge waves. The pier and the ocean were only one block down from the studio. As I drove away early that sunny day for some errands, I remarked how large the waves were. And even though I don't remember any wind and rain, the next morning the new End Cafe was gone. It had disappeared in the middle of the night.