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?
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!