Monterey, California

Monterey California

I stumbled on these photos from Monterey, California and found myself feeling nostalgic for the California coast. Thought I would post them here and bring a little west coast sunshine to the day. Hope you enjoy these photos.

Our day trip to Monterey from Palo Alto started with walking along the pier and harbor on our way towards the aquarium…

Monterey California
Monterey Harbor

And at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, we enjoyed learning all about the history of Monterey and the aquarium’s conservation efforts while we explored their exhibits…

Monterey Bay Aquarium Fish

And waving at the divers!

Monterey Bay Aquarium

The open ocean exhibit was our fave. And trying to spot the different aquatic life from the viewing platforms of the aquarium…

At the end of the day, we caught the sunset in nearby Carmel-by-the-Sea…

Carmel Sunset

I love watching the sun set over the ocean.

Have a good week~

kate

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Yosemite National Park Photos

Yosemite Waterfall

I’ve got parks and hikes and outdoor activities on my mind lately. (I think it is because it is an activity you can do while maintaining social distancing.) I’ve been researching some good hikes in our area in Southwest England and hoping to explore more of those soon. But in the meantime, I’m thinking back to this time last year when we took a trip to Yosemite. Talk about some beautiful hikes and views. So, here are some of my favorite Yosemite National Park photos from our visit.

First things first – (my favorite) – I totally love all the waterfalls in Yosemite. This one is Yosemite Falls, which is a very easy walk from the Visitor Center…

Yosemite Waterfall

After checking out these falls, we hiked a portion of the Valley Floor Loop Trail in the morning when the air was coolest….

Yosemite Valley Floor Trail beneath the Trees
Yosemite Valley Floor

It includes a great view of El Capitan as you make your way through the valley….

Of course, the Valley Loop Trail gets really hot in the sun on a summer day! So once the day started to heat up, we switched gears to a shady hike out to Mirror Lake.

The water there is nice and cool, perfect as a midday chance to take a break and feel refreshed.

Yosemite National Park Photos Mirror Lake

And near the end of our day, we found a sea of rock cairns….

Yosemite National Park Photos

A nice conclusion to our visit.

You can see the latest information on Yosemite’s re-opening plan and availability on their website here.

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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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New Spring 2018 Botanical Watercolors

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….

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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!

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(Peaches always make me think of Georgia!)

Here are a few more photos…

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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!

These are up in my watercolors shop now.

 

xox

Kate

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A March Day Trip to Sequoia National Park

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.

Sequoia National Park Day Trip

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:

Sequoia National Park Day Trip

And this!

Sequoia National Park Day Trip

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!

Sequoia National Park Day Trip

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:

Sequoia National Park Day Trip

Still not deterred! We made our way to the tree in 6 inches of snow.

Worth it:

Sequoia National Park Day Trip

The General Sherman Tree is the biggest living tree by volume in the world – 275 feet tall, and 36 feet in diameter….

Sequoia National Park Day Trip

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.

Sequoia National Park Day Trip

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.

 

xo

Kate

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Ocean Painting Time-lapse

Hi guys, hope you are having great week so far! It’s *almost* Friday and I am excited about that!

Earlier this week, I wrote about the preparation steps that are part of the process for creating an art collection. Today I’m sharing a time-lapse video of one of the California Coastline paintings:

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.

Let me know what you think!

Have a good weekend,

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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Disney Vlog + 3 Tips for Visiting in 2018

Disney tips

As promised, here is the vlog from our Disneyland trip plus 3 tips for visiting Disneyland in 2018!

These are the 3 Disney tips that really helped keep our day fun and efficient:

  1. Disneyland App + MaxPass
  2. Start Fastpasses Early
  3. Rent a storage locker

I talk them through in more detail in the video starting at the 1:53 mark.

Let me know in the comments if these tips work for you or if you have any other Disney advice!

A dream is a wish your heart makes….

xo

Kate

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