For Tom: Autumn Half Dome
For Original oil on canvas please contact the artist. Paul Gavin, Oil on canvas, 12" x 9", 2006
Tom West was an extremely talented photographer and dear friend from my Huntington Beach days. We met in 1975 when I moved to HB with a high school buddy who became my best man. Tom West and Roger Williams lived in the two apartments in front of us. Both surfers and photographers, they had been best friends since high school.
Over time, Tom had photographed me and my work. His images documented much of my entire early art life and career, including time spent painting in Huntington Beach, painting and an art opening at the Balboa Fun Zone in 1982, and on base with the Marines and helicopters at the MCAS Tustin Blimp Hangars, including the nights Kimberleigh and I lit the Hangars and the El Toro water towers in 1993.
He was a brilliantly creative individual whose ideas predated technology; long ago he told me things he wanted to do with music and art that only became possible when computers and the internet came along. In fact it was Tom who insisted I paint what turned out to be the first painting of San Onofre Surf Beach.
Two years ago Tom was diagnosed with bone cancer. He passed away this past summer.
His paddle out memorial celebration was scheduled on November 5th. Kimberleigh and I had gone to Yosemite for our annual anniversary trip, and I had taken a second car to depart early to make the service. However it had been rainy up until the time I planned to leave on the morning of the 5th — and I decided to spend that last day painting in the Valley.
So during the hours of Tom's memorial I sat down and painted this view of Half Dome across the Ahwahnee Meadow.
Having emailed friends and family of my decision, and hoping that it was a good decision, Tom's sister reminded me that while sitting with Tom in his last hour I had asked him to haunt me and make me paint more. He did.
See Tom's art and creations on his site named after one of them: Winky God