Wild surf + sea level jetties + plein air painter = dicey situation.

Texas artist Randall Cogburn was lucky to remain terrestrial recently when his setup on a jetty on Galveston Island was threatened by weather rough enough to rile up the ocean, but not rough enough to scare off this plein air painter.

Randall Cogburn

Cogburn had recently become bewitched by the challenge of painting surf, and he found himself once again on a stone jetty jutting out into the Gulf of Mexico. It was drizzling and windy, so he took the precaution of placing a 10-pound weight in his backpack and hanging it under his tripod. As an extra measure, he hung the tote bag that holds his panels and additional gear from the tripod, too. That was just enough.

“About two-thirds of the way into the painting, a nice big wave came and engulfed the whole front of the jetty, washing under me about a good two inches of water,” recounts Cogburn. “Luckily I was wearing boots and rain pants that kept me dry. But really, I was lucky not to have been knocked completely over. The amazing thing is that since I was so focused on the painting, it didn’t even faze me until after the water rushed past.”

He adds reflectively, “I think next time a life jacket and some sort of anchor, like they use in mountain climbing, to hold the tripod dead-still might be in order.”


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