Madrona Beach is just north of Sunset Beach, practically next door, with maybe a house squeezed in between. Like Sunset Beach it was once a fishing resort with a boat launch, boat shed, and cabins for rent. They are not only great beaches to fish at, but also to paint at.
Sunset and Madrona beach were a paradise for artists. And my dad, trying to eek out a living as a full-time artist in the 1970’s and now as a retiree has painted those two beaches at least nine times.
Here is the story of dad painting Sunset and Madrona Beaches.
Dad was painting for a one man (or solo) art show at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle in 1972. One day he was at Sunset Beach sitting on his stool and sketching the storage shed with boats in it when a man came up behind him and said “I’ll buy that.” It was Mike Little who had grown up on Sunset Beach. That watercolor painting with the blue and white boats never made it to the show at the Frye; it hangs in Mike Little’s home on Sunset Beach.
A few years later, Mike, knowing that they were soon going to be torn down, commissioned dad to paint the bait shack and storage shed for his parents Tom and Phyllis Little. That large painting with intricate detail captured a piece of history and hangs in their home on Sunset Beach. It was thrilling for me to be invited this summer (2016) to take a look at that painting dad painted so many years ago.
In the third painting the storage shelter was predominant with the old bait shack behind. Dad finally got the bright sky at sunset just the way he wanted it, and sold it many years later to David and MaryAnn Keiser during a Mother’s Day Studio Tour. The fourth painting was of the boathouse at Madrona. It was sold a long time ago and dad says, “It was really nice, really a neat scene”.
Dad was at Madrona Beach one day in the 1970’s. Some people had half a barrel full of live crab that they were cooking. Dad quickly sketched the crab in the barrel. Some time in the 1990’s he pulled that old sketch out and painted it and sold it at the Mother’s Day tour to Jane and Joe McGeehans. interesting enough, Joe used to be principal at Arsenal Tech high school in Indianapolis, the school that three of our children attended).
So when it came time to assign family members to paint Camano’s Beaches it made sense that dad chose Madrona and Sunset Beach. He painted a fisherman in a Sunset Beach rental boat …
and a painting of historic Sunset from photographs that Mike Little gave him.
He painted the Madrona Boat House roof with the Union 76 sign and also a view of Sunset Beach looking through and under the old dock at Madrona from old photographs he had taken in the 70’s.
I’m thankful that I grew up in a family of artists, with a paintbrush in my hands. And I am sure that after God calls dad home, many other aspiring artists and retired artists like him will paint the beaches of Camano like he did.