I don’t know when my first visit to the Oregon coast was. I do know where and when I fell in love with the Oregon coast. It was at Tillamook, September 1989 during a training retreat for Resident Assistants at Western Baptist College. It was my junior year at the college and I was one of those being trained to be an RA. Here’s a picture of the team.

Seated on the left was Roy Danelian. He was the Resident Director of the guys dorm. He was also the soccer coach at the college. He was very chill, a fun guy who related well to us. We referred to him as “Atta Boy Elroy.” Seated next to him was Marty Ziesmer who played soccer. Next to him was my baseball teammate and best friend in college, Scott “Mill the Thrill” Miller. Seated far right was Mike Cook a tall guy (must have been 6″ 9″ or so) who played for the basketball team. I’m standing at the top left with Winnie the Pooh on my shoulder. Left to me was one of the wisest, kindest, and most talented guys I’ve known, Kyle “The Style” Liedtke, who became a dear friend of mine and who passed away a couple of years ago. Standing far right is Dan Brown who has gone on to spend his life in Christian ministry. It was a fun group of guys. We had a blast together including, one night, skinny dipping at the lake next to our cabin.

I’m sure we learned many important things about being RAs. I don’t remember any of it. I do remember that we had plenty of long afternoon breaks. Then we would go to the beach. The weather was perfect: warm and sunny, which is rare on the coast. The sand was warm and I remember it stretched on and on. We lounged in the warm sand for hours, jumping in the pounding waves when we go warm enough, then going back to our towels to warm up in the sun. The hours stretched on and on, time slowed down, we talked and laughed with not a care in the world. It was magic. That was when I fell in love with the Oregon Coast.

In this painting I tried to capture the feel of those warm, endless sands. There is an approaching storm but the sun is breaking through the clouds. And a group of friends walk and talk like we did so long ago young and free with not a care in the world.

If you are interested in this painting or others in my Oregon Coast Collection go to my online gallery here:

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