Painting with a Purpose

Pam Whitfield from San Diego donated $1,500 to the Ocean Conservancy for “Pam’s Terns”

Roughly 75% of the pictures I’ve painted in the last ten years have included water—oceans, lakes, lagoons, rivers, canals, and harbors. I can see the Pacific Ocean from my home, and it gives me serenity and inspiration. Now, it’s time to give back!

My 2022 project “Painting with a Purpose” was created to raise funds for the Ocean Conservancy, a nonprofit group that protects our oceans through research, education, and science-based advocacy.

In a few months I will offer quite a few paintings (see below), but please help me to launch this project by contributing now. I’m asking you to make a small donation on my fundraising page today! If you already have one of my paintings, I’ll display it along with ongoing updates at that page (managed by for the OC).

I’ll be personally matching funds until we reach an initial goal of raising $10,000!

How I Got the Idea

After my last painting give-away, I received an email from a San Diego woman I didn’t know, who wanted to commission me to paint a larger version of “Shorebirds” (study). I explained that I’ve always given my artwork away but had a brilliant idea. I said that if she was willing to donate to the Ocean Conservancy, I’d paint a beach scene from one of her own photographs.

Suddenly, I felt a shift in attitude. The satisfaction I’d gotten from giving away more than 250 paintings had been waning, but raising money for cleaner oceans feels gratifying and worthwhile as a one-year project. I’m incredibly fortunate that so many people enjoy my artwork, and if you are one of them, I hope you will be supportive.

Creating Artwork

Pam Whitfield and I embarked on separate photographic expeditions and came up with several possibilities. Eventually, we used her photo of terns and I painted the eight-foot-wide diptych shown at the start of this article. In return, Pam donated $1,500 to the Ocean Conservancy—plus, although I didn’t tell her, I matched that with another $1,500.

While I was working on her composition, which took 3-4 months, I also painted numerous smaller canvases from our photos, which will be among those that I will be offering:

You can see all of my completed 2022 pictures at All Paintings. These are Pacific Ocean settings, but I will be branching out in new directions as the year continues.

Why the Ocean Conservancy? Why Now?

Last year, many of you saw my video “Painting Venice in a Pandemic” and may remember that I stated, “Whether coastal cities like Venice will still be standing after we, ourselves, are gone is up to all of us.”

One evening in the hot tub, I was thinking about the overwhelming response to that series of paintings and mentally pictured each of them—hmm, they all had water. I flashed back to the video and realized I’d been all talk no action. When I considered how much money I could personally contribute, I realized that it’s literally a drop in the ocean. That’s when I thought of how to use my artwork to advocate for our rising and polluted seas.

I researched some local non-profits, but few of my readers care about the Aqua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation or the Climate Action Campaign in San Diego. Granted, the funds might make more of an impact on a small group than an organization with global concerns, but my painting enthusiasts come from all over the place, and virtually everyone shares the Ocean Conservancy’s mission. Their tagline is “For the Love of the Ocean” and on the most basic level, that’s exactly why I picked them. For more information, visit their website.

Available Paintings

In a few months, I’ll be releasing more than 20 canvases and will ask for donations to the Ocean Conservancy for them, as well. Among the paintings will be at least one of the six-foot wide Carlsbad Beach Scenes from last year and more from the Venice series, including the six-canvas composition that originally inspired my fervency about the health of our oceans:

For those of you who don’t have an entire wall to devote to my artwork, there will be smaller pictures, as well, such as:

But for now, please make a small donation. Thanks in advance to everyone who participates!

1 Comment

  1. Francesca on May 20, 2022 at 2:23 pm

    What a wonderful concept and a great way to share your art while benefiting a good cause. Wishing you much luck with the fundraising!

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