John comer

Exhibition Opening
Nov 4th 2021

The Santa Barbara
CHANNEL COLLECTION

now available for purchase
From the maritime museum
"Heritage, Craft & Evolution
surf board exhibition"

Santa Barbara has always played an understated but influential role in the international surf scene. Legendary surf spots, such as Rincon, El Capitan, Refugio and Point Conception, and local legends Renny Yater, George Greenough and John Bradbury have also helped put Santa Barbara on the surfing map. 

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Renny Yater was one of the first commercial surfboard builders of the 1950s – a generation that really put surfing on the map. As the sport of surfing has continued to grow and flourish throughout the years, so too has Yater’s reputation as a leading contributor to the surfing industry. Perhaps even more remarkable than Yater’s early accomplishments has been his ability to change with the industry, staying on top of current trends and materials and continuing to produce innovative new boards. 

 

In the early 1950s, Yater shaped and fiberglassed his own boards. During the mid-5Os, Hobie hired him to glass his balsa boards in his Dana Point shop. In 1957, he moved over to Dale Velzy’s shop in San Clemente where he began to shape balsa boards. In the fall of 1959, Renny opened Yater Surfboards in Santa Barbara and at age 88 can still be found in the shaping room every day turning out classic Yater boards.

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John Comer’s professional painting career began in 1968 with his first solo gallery exhibition in Santa Barbara and has been intermingled with surfing and sailing voyages to the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, Pacific Islands and Africa. As a sailor he came to appreciate the importance of the atmosphere in a painting. “The weather is the important thing... it affects what you see and don’t see – colors and shapes.” 

In the tradition of plein-aire painters who celebrated early California, his work is distinguished by a level of craft rarely seen in contemporary painting. Comer’s landscapes are both skillful renditions of familiar and unfamiliar scenes, and subtle meditations on time, space, and light. In recent years he has painted primarily in California and Baja California Sur creating work that reflects his enduring realtionship to the land and sea. 

Exhibition "This Sacred Land " 
 

John Comer has been painting since he was a boy. His dedication to painting and surfing has been the driving passion of his life. A true waterman, he also spent many years sailing & fishing commercially.

 

Comer's professional career began in 1968 with his first solo gallery exhibition and has been intermingled with sailing and painting voyages to the Caribbean, Central America, Islands of the Pacific and Africa. As a sailor he came to appreciate the importance of the atmosphere in a painting. “The weather is the important thing... it affects what you see and don’t see - colors, values and shapes.”

For many years Comer shared a Santa Barbara studio with Ray Strong, the legendary landscape painter who was a contemporary of Maynard Dixon and co-founded the Oak Group in Santa Barbara. Comer credits Strong with helping him master the interrelation of color and value in his paintings, as well as the importance of drawing. Time spent painting in the field with Ray, Michael Drury and Hank Pitcher provided inspiration and a lifelong bond. In recent years Comer has painted primarily in Baja California Sur producing work that deeply reflects his enduring relationship to the land and sea.