I've painted this same scene many times for its endless variations: The light, colors, currents, tides and weather are constantly shifting, so it's a great challenge.
The winter storms start rolling in; rain comes down in sheets. It can go on like this for weeks. My favorite time to paint is when one of these big storms lifts. The ocean agitates while the clouds mass offshore like an army in retreat, regrouping to fight another day.
Spring brings clear skies and express trains of billowy clouds headed for the Golden Gate. Everything feels bold and bright. The light adds new colors to the ocean, including a ribbon of greenish-brown silt where the winter storm runoff empties into the surf. At its peak, you can see it fanning out for miles along the coast.
In late summer, we usually have a few weeks of stillness: The winds subside, the water is calm, the evenings glow. Heaven.
The winter swells arrive, along with low skies, short days and an eerie sense of foreboding.