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…
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…
And waving at the divers!
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…
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…
After checking out these falls, we hiked a portion of the Valley Floor Loop Trail in the morning when the air was coolest….
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.
And near the end of our day, we found a sea of rock cairns….
A nice conclusion to our visit.
You can see the latest information on Yosemite’s re-opening plan and availability on their website here.
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….
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…
One of the things I loved from the island are the architectural details. The tiles of Catalina are all so unique and beautiful…
On Saturday night, we walked over to the Casino to catch a movie. The path winds along the water…
…to where the Casino perches on the coast.
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:
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.
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.
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?
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!
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!