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Catalina Island, California

Catalina Island

At about this time last year, I found myself at a Catalina Island weekend for the spring art show hosted by the Catalina Art Association. The island was beautiful, the weather was great, and the art fair was a success. Totally loved the weekend spent there, and happy to share some of my favorite photos from the time.

We drove from Palo Alto to Los Angeles and took the ferry out to the island on Friday. The views coming into the harbor of Avalon are calm and beautiful….

Catalina Island

We were up bright and early the next morning to set up for the art show. The sunrise was amazing with the way the light hits the water….

And since the weather was good, a sunny spot on the pier was great for lunch…

Catalina Island Pier
Catalina Boats

One of the things I loved from the island are the architectural details. The tiles of Catalina are all so unique and beautiful…

Catalina Island
Catalina Tiles

On Saturday night, we walked over to the Casino to catch a movie. The path winds along the water…

Catalina

…to where the Casino perches on the coast.

Catalina Casino

The Casino has been an entertainment hub since it opened in 1929, and is full of historic art deco design. The theatre is like a time capsule:

Catalina Casino

Such a cool space with great atmosphere, and a great way to have experienced a movie.

Sunday was more cloudy, giving the island a bit of a moody seaside vibe. That was beautiful, too, in another way. And I enjoyed taking in the windy seaside views.

Ocean

It was very idyllic to experience a Catalina Island weekend, and it is easy to see why the place is so popular. I’d love to spend more time there.

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Goats in San Luis Obispo, California

San Luis Obispo Goats

It is August and around here in San Luis Obispo it looks like this:

San Luis Obispo Goats

How pretty is that view as the sun sets?

There are lots of baby goats hanging out right now….

San Luis Obispo Goats

…. working on those balance skills…

San Luis Obispo Goats

… and getting some naps in (growing up is hard work!)

San Luis Obispo Goats

The goats are pretty friendly and don’t mind us hanging out with them….

Baby Goats

And then here’s their friendly protector:

San Luis Obispo

I love hearing the baa-ing of the goats outside! Some of these kids are starting to jump around – they can have so much energy!

These goats are part of a local sustainable land management business. Goat herds can help with clearing land, managing noxious weeds, and even help lower risk of fire by creating firebreaks. Plus they are adorable.

 

You can read all posts about California here.

 

xo

 

kate

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How to Spend a Day in Cambria, California

Cambria, California is a small, lovely seaside town about 20 minutes north of Morro Bay. It makes a great stop if you are driving between LA and San Francisco, and is close to some cool sites in the central coast area like Hearst Castle, the elephant seals at San Simeon, and the Paso Robles winery region.

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We started our day with a visit to Moonstone Beach – a great place for a walk, a picnic, or to just enjoy the ocean. We’re visiting in April, so it was pretty windy + still a little chilly… but warm enough for a great walk. There’s a long boardwalk that makes the beach views accessible for everyone.

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There are also lots of hidden coastal access points off of Highway 1. We stopped at one rocky beach outcrop to explore a bit of the seaside by ourselves…

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In town, there are so many great restaurants, coffee shops, and boutique shops…

Cambria California

Plus plenty of art galleries to stop in, some antique shops, and a little playhouse connected to the Harmony cafe. We ate at the cafe, and if you are in town check the adjoining J. Buckley Theatre’s schedule for frequent events like live music, local plays, and retro movies…

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Our favorite dish was the sea bass – really fresh!

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We also ate at the Indigo Moon on the other side of Main Street.

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We more or less ordered one of everything and it was all delicious!

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I love hidden gem places like Cambria! Do you love little seaside towns, too?

 

Kate

 

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Painting the California Coastline – Part 2

I’m back with another update on my California Coastline art collection! In Part 1, I talked about some of the things that happen before any paint gets on the canvas. Here in Part 2, I’ll show some behind-the-scenes process for how I prepare canvases.

California Coastline

In general, I’ll prepare canvases with a couple of rounds of priming and sanding. I’ll do this even for canvases I buy “pre-primed” – because I like to get the texture of the cotton to a smoothness I like. It’s just personal preference.

1 – Priming the Canvas

For me, priming is an important step that helps prepare the canvas for oil paint. I use a white acrylic primer that you can find at most craft or art supplies labeled as gesso. Having the primer as the base for my painting creates a continuous seal over the canvas, preventing my oil paints from being absorbed into the canvas over time. The primer will also help prevent fine cracks in the paint surface as the painting ages.

I use a wide brush like the one of the left to spread my white acrylic primer over an entire canvas (including the edges!) as a first layer.

2 – Sanding the canvas

Once the primer is dry (it doesn’t usually take more than 15 minutes), I’ll sand it gently. For sanding, I use a fine grain sandpaper – either 220 or 420 (maybe both!).

Sand canvases

Sanding the canvas between layers of primer helps me achieve the level of smoothness I want – the more layers of primer/sanding, the less texture when it is time to start the painting. I usually do two layers of primer with sanding after each layer because I like to strike that balance of a relatively smooth surface that also still has some tooth to it to grip my paint.

 

3 – Toning the Canvas

Earth tones are a popular choice for toning canvases – I especially like Raw Sienna or Yellow Ochre. For the ocean scenes I’ve been painting lately, my go-tos have been either Yellow Ochre or Naples Yellow – they give a nice warm feeling to the canvas and compliment my heavy use of blue in the final composition.

Here is an example of a canvas I toned with Naples Yellow from my recent time-lapse video:

Prepare canvases - toning

Preparing the canvases overall is a step I really enjoy – it helps me get in the zone before painting. It also helps me feel more confident – like I’m setting myself up for success by providing a strong foundation.

And a quick update on how the collection is coming along — remember the rough sketches from Part 1 where my ideas usually start? Here is one of those alongside how it ended up translating to the canvas:

I love a good before and after. 🙂

-Kate

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Painting the California Coastline – Part 1

ocean painting sunset

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I’m working on an art collection inspired by the Central Coast area of California in and around San Luis Obispo county.  While I’ve been living in Morro Bay for a couple of months, I’ve been especially inspired by the ocean and the colors that form where the sky meets the water on the horizon.

I want to share with you guys the behind-the-scenes process. Part 1 here focuses on some of the things that happen before any paint gets on a canvas.

1 – Finding Inspiration

First things first, some inspiration! It’s where the fun starts. 🙂

An early afternoon by Morro Rock…

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A late afternoon hike near Los Osos, CA…

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Dusk on the first not-rainy day after a stormy week in Morro…

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2 – Sketching Forms and Making Plans

When I’m organizing my thoughts about a place, I like to make some quick and rough sketches to play with relative scale, feel, and overall architecture of places I like. Like these:

Spending this time translating the world onto the page helps me decide which direction to take the eventual paintings.

3 – Study the colors

Along with the sketches (and before I start any work on the canvas) I like to play with mixing up colors to discover which tones I like, which hue best captures the feeling I’m trying to convey, and how well colors play together. I end up with a lot of splotches like these:

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And alongside the color experiments, I’ll do some just-for-fun/warm myself up paintings that focus on how I want the paints to come together and play off each other. For these I will use either some thick paper or inexpensive canvas boards from Michael’s (great for practicing on when you don’t want to waste a whole canvas!).

Here are a couple of examples of fast practice paintings I did to see how my colors might look in a composition:

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(When I work on these color studies, the kinds of questions I ask myself are: does the light seem right? Am I conveying the mood I want? Are the colors balanced?)

Ocean Sunset

So that’s an overview of starting the painting process! Finding inspiration, sketching out forms and plans, and studying the colors.

In Part 2, I’ll talk about how I am preparing my canvases and I’ll show more of the collection!

And this Thursday, I’ll post a time-lapse of the process for this painting:

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(I just love the clouds in that one.)

Let me know what questions you have in the comments!

Kate

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Bristol England Apartment Tour: Bedrooms

bristol apartment

I’m so excited to finally share a Bristol England Apartment Tour! We moved to the UK from California back in September and got into this apartment in October. After a whirlwind few months of getting settled and finding our footing, I can finally say we are loving our place here.

We initially thought we’d be using a liaison to help us find a flat while we were still living in the States, but we decided at the last minute to wait until we’d moved and look for a place ourselves. That meant we needed to spend time researching flats online the week before we moved and calling up agents to make a short list of places we were interested in seeing on arrival. We landed in Bristol on a Friday morning, looked at this flat Friday afternoon, and by Friday evening we were signing the lease. When it’s the right thing and you know, you know.

Let’s do this. First up…

The Master Bedroom

bristol apartment bedroom

When we moved, everything we brought with us had to fit in about 6 suitcases. We left most of our things (furniture, lots of clothing, kitchen supplies, etc) behind in a storage locker. So we really started with a blank slate in England and needed to purchase everything we would need while we live here.

We made these display frames to organize jewelry out of cotton wrapped foam board and Ikea Hovsta frames….

bristol england apartment tour jewelry

I love the way it doubles as organization and wall art. Plus, now I can enjoy jewelry even when I’m not wearing it. Win-win.

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We picked up this valet stand at Ikea also, to make a home for those in-between clothes that you’ll wear again but don’t want to put back in the closet. You know what I’m talking about.

Speaking of the closet…. Most of the flats we had on our list to visit had armoire-style storage, so the built in closet here is something we loved about this space….

bristol england closet

The Guest Room

Our second bedroom is a jack-of-all-trades. We use it as our guest room (the sofa is a pull-out bed), art studio, and occasional office.

bristol apartment

We were looking to add a lot of storage in here, so we choose cabinets from Ikea to organize everything. For example, this cabinet holds the art supplies I have with me currently….

And we used the 3 sets of Eket cabinets together as a TV console:

Lots of storage + TV console. I love the height of these for the TV.

Last but not least, I painted a set of watercolors and picked up this second-hand end-table from the British Heart Foundation.

I’ll be back with photos of the living area + kitchen for Part 2 of this Bristol England apartment tour!

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Beirut, Lebanon // The Corniche

Mediterranean

Hi from Beirut, Lebanon! I am here for a few weeks exploring this city on the Mediterranean. I have lots of photos, and wanted to start by sharing some from the Corniche – Beirut’s wide walkway along the coast.

The blues are beautiful…

Mediterranean

… and you can walk right alongside the water and rocky shores….

Corniche Beirut
Corniche Beirut

dress (under $25 and so comfy! I’m in the grey) // boots // shirt // sunglasses

The Corniche is such an interesting walk with the cityscape and tall buildings on one side, while the Mediterranean waters stretch seemingly endless and flat into the distance on the other side. I just love visual juxtapositions like that.

Corniche Beirut

Corniche Beirut

Read more about the Mediterranean in Hiking Along the Italian Coast or Capri, Italy

I also love all the palm trees lined up by the walkway. They are a refreshing sight of greenery in the city and bonus: they remind me of California.

There’s not much shade along the walkway, but there are lots of people out for a walk to enjoy the uninterrupted sunshine! You can also see people jogging, biking, skating, and just taking in the sights.

Corniche Beirut

But the Corniche is also lively at nighttime! It wraps around to the Raouché Rocks – a great place to watch the sunset over the rock formations in the water and grab some dinner with a view.

Raouche Rocks

Corniche Dinner

If you are visiting Beirut, I definitely recommend this seaside walk! It’s a great place to people-watch, enjoy the sun, and take in the views of the Mediterreanean with the Lebanese landscape and cities hugging the coast.

Have you been to Lebanon? Let me know in the comments!

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Morro Bay Waterfront

I loved staying in Morro Bay, California for a couple of months. Wanted to share a few more photos from our time there this spring!

morro bay waterfront morro bay waterfront

Love the view of Morro Rock – you can see it from everywhere along the waterfront…

morro bay waterfront

morro bay waterfront

And I just love that evening light over the ocean. 🙂

Hope you are having a good week,

 

kate

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