Hi there! I put together all of our favorite vacation clothes we wore on our first trip to Hawaii and some of our favorite photo spots. You’ll find links to our Hawaii outfits with the photos below!
My favorite spot was Kawela Bay on the north shore of O’ahu. There we saw a massive banyan tree (you might recognize it from ‘Lost’ !) that was awe-inspiring to walk under. Plus, the beach on Kawela Bay is great if you want to relax somewhere less busy than Waikiki. We spent a day away from crowds in the waves there and took breaks to read under an umbrella. Not bad at all.
From the top! Hats are always a major part of my travel outfits to places with a high sun factor to help keep sun off my face…
My favorite thing no matter what I was wearing? The fresh orchid flower leis!They totally completed my Hawaii outfits. I saw them for sale everywhere, and I got mine for $7 at Target. Best $7 I ever spent.
Aloha! I am in Hawaii this week and wanted to share a few photos from our first couple of days in Honolulu + Waikiki.
First things first, here are a couple of pictures of the famous Waikiki Beach…
I love that view.
I also love the view of this infinity pool along the beach…
We went to a luau on our first night here, and it was so much fun. We went to the Paradise Coveluau and I’d recommend it if you are interested in learning a bit about Pacific Island culture while seeing a good show by talented locals and getting dinner.
We saw hula dancers and a man climb a tree to toss down orchid flowers (He made it look so easy!)
Here’s everyone lined up to learn about fishing traditions…
We tried our hand at spear throwing…
…admired the plant life…
…and enjoyed the sunset!
The food has been great so far, too. I have been eating all the fish tacos. Haven’t met any here that I didn’t like!
We also tried this frozen treat, banán – a dairy-free soft serve made from local bananas and fruit that tastes a bit like frozen yogurt. Yum.
Now we are up on the north side of Oahu and excited to explore the area up here! I’ll share more photos from here later and in the mean time I’ll be posting over on instagram.
Have you been to Hawaii? What was your favorite thing to do? 🙂
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.
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.
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…
In town, there are so many great restaurants, coffee shops, and boutique shops…
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…
Our favorite dish was the sea bass – really fresh!
We also ate at the Indigo Moon on the other side of Main Street.
We more or less ordered one of everything and it was all delicious!
I love hidden gem places like Cambria! Do you love little seaside towns, too?
Happy Friday! I mentioned earlier this week that I’d been working on a video all about watercolor palette set-up, and I’m excited to share it now!
And last week’s video, in case you missed it, was an acrylic cloud painting tutorial for beginners. This is an easy painting using only a handful of colors!
I hope these videos are interesting or useful for you! If you like them, you can subscribe on my youtube channel to get a real-time update when they drop. I am hoping to make more videos because one of my goals for 2018 is to build up my video editing muscles! 🙂
Have a good weekend! I’m going to see the new Avengers movie – anyone else? So exciting!
Hi there! Hope you are having a great week so far. It has been warm and sunny this week here in Morro Bay, CA and I have been enjoying spending time outside!
You might have seen on instagram lately that I picked up a lot of Winsor and Newton watercolor paint that I bought on eBay a couple of weeks ago. I was excited to try out these watercolors – and I ended up creating a lot of florals!
My favorite might be this flower-heavy horizontal bouquet….
Or maybe this orchid study. My favorite thing about this orchid painting? The gold shimmering highlight on that flower pot:
I love metallic accents like that.
I also made a couple of coordinated sets of watercolors – I get a lot of requests for matching pieces so I’ve been interested in creating more sets like this. They look great as part of a gallery wall set up!
(Peaches always make me think of Georgia!)
Here are a few more photos…
I had so. much. fun. painting these!
Since I’ve been on a watercolor craze lately – I’ve also been working on a video overview of how to set up a watercolor palette and I’m excited to share that with you guys soon!
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.
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!).
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.
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:
Earlier in March, we did a Sequoia National Park Day Trip from Morro Bay, CA. There are lots of cool things to see and do in both Sequoia and the nearby Kings Canyon National Park, but our mission was to see some of the tall sequoias in the National Forest and especially the General Sherman Tree.
My number one hot tip for journeying up to Sequoia Forest in March? Check the weather forecast first!
We were definitely caught off-guard to leave Morro Bay in the upper 60 degrees F and find ourselves in Sequoia facing this:
All the cloud/snow/fog in that photo is obscuring the mountainside – we were at an elevation of about 6,000 ft here.
We weren’t deterred. We rented some snow chains for our tires and my husband put them on. He is from Minnesota so I figured, he knows what he’s doing!
He told me afterwards he had never put snow chains on a car before, but he had put them on a lawn mower. Apparently, in Minnesota they attach snowplows to lawn mowers to clear snow in the winter! Me (from Atlanta) and the man renting the snow chains to us (from California) were both gobsmacked to hear this.
When we made it to the pull off for the trail to the General Sherman tree, the lot was sparsely populated and looked like this:
Still not deterred! We made our way to the tree in 6 inches of snow.
The General Sherman Tree is the biggest living tree by volume in the world – 275 feet tall, and 36 feet in diameter….
It was awe-inspiring to gaze up and take in the size of this tree surrounded by so many tall, beautiful sequoias in the forest.
We made it back down the winding mountain roads safely, turned in our snow chains, and headed on. On our way back we stopped at In-N-Out and chatted the whole way about what an odd but amazing day it had been.
This was definitely a unique experience for me and I think I will be retelling the story of our Sequoia National Park day trip for many years!
p.s. – But seriously… did anyone else know that there are places where they put snow chains on lawn mowers?? I learn amazing things all the time.
In the video, I talk a little about some of the inspiration for this painting, as well as some practical insight into how I set up my palette, what tools I used, and how I moved through the stages of the painting.
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…
A late afternoon hike near Los Osos, CA…
Dusk on the first not-rainy day after a stormy week in Morro…
2 – Sketching Forms and Making Plans
When I’m organizing my thoughts about a place, I like to make some quick and roughsketches 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:
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:
(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?)
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:
(I just love the clouds in that one.)
Let me know what questions you have in the comments!