UCSB Lagoon

UCSB Campus Lagoon on Charlie’s Graduation Day
Charlie Cohn
San Francisco, CA
2009 • 40 x 30

My sister, Ellen, graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in English, and I followed her there. Not only did I get my B.A. in English at UCSB, but Lindsey and I lived there for nearly ten years after we were married. Both of our sons, Neil and Charlie, were born in Santa Barbara.

The layout and inspiration for this series of paintings came from a photo taken at Campus Lagoon during Charlie’s graduation from UCSB on June 17, 2007, which took place next to the lagoon, out of frame.

Cover of the 2012 Gürze
Eating Disorders Resource Catalogue.

Detail from
UCSB Lagoon on Charlie’s
Graduation Day

“UCSB Lagoon #1” was a quick sketch done shortly after the graduation, and I went for exaggerated bright colors. It was painted in one sitting. “UCSB Lagoon #2” was painted a few months later and was also an exercise done in one or two sittings. These are both relatively small canvases (11 x 14).

UCSB Lagoon #1
Greer Jacobson
Santa Rosa, CA
2007 • 14 x 11

UCSB Lagoon #2
Ameila Eastman & Brian Pickett
Houston, TX
2007 • 14 x 11

A couple of years later, I went back to the composition to do a more substantial piece. “UCSB Campus Lagoon on Charlie’s Graduation Day” is much larger and took many hours to complete. Although there are layers upon layers, there are also touches of a light yellow undercoat still showing, most noticeably above the horizon in the center. When I finished it, I felt that this was one of my best efforts. A couple of weeks later, Charlie moved into a new home; and, of course, I gave it to him.