Thursday, August 27, 2015

TRAVEL: "California Coast" Pt.3

As I continued on my journey along the coast of California, I left Monterey and headed down the scenic Highway 1.  Since I am mostly focused on the sketches from my trip right now, I'll hold off on showing some of the "touristy" photos of my trip. But I did have to stop at one of my favorite locations along the BIG SUR...the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.
I had been here about 4 years ago, and just thought I would try to sketch the amazing waterfall that empties onto the beach of a little cove. The sketch I drew above was not the most spectacular view of the falls...but I was so sunburned from the day before that I just looked for a shady spot.  It was interesting to hear all the various languages of the tourist from around the world.  
I discovered that there was a "plein aire" painting event happening all along the Big Sur coastal region. I got to talk a little to one of the other artists who thought I was a part of the paint-off.  I wish!!!  That would have been great fun. But I had other places to see that day.

The next destination on my list was Santa Barbara. I was going to be staying with the younger sister of one of my long time friends. Shelly Cobb was around 11 or so the last time I had seen her...that was about 40 years ago! But she so graciously insisted that I stay with her the two nights I was in SB, that I was happy to get reacquainted. 

On the drive to Shelly's house, she recommended that I visit the "Ostrich Land" farm outside of Solvang, CA. It's hilarious...more ostriches and emus than you can shake a stick at. (Though I must admit, I've never shaken a stick at them before.) I found it quite challenging to draw these birds...always on the move...and the flies were swarming me the whole time.

While staying at Shelly's home, I was so excited to finally get to meet her 4 CHICKENS that I had heard so much about. I spent a morning and late afternoon sketching in Shelly's wonderfully eclectic back yard. She has pomegranate trees, passion fruit, and various other interesting things growing there. I loved it!  I also made good friends with her 2 cats.
It took several attempts to get the chicken above drawn correctly...always moving (like the ostriches)! I would borrow bits of anatomy from all four chickens as they moved around...then chose the big black hen for my color reference.
By the second day of my stay, the chickens were pretty comfortable with me. They would walk all around my chair and feet while I sketched these "portraits".

On my last night there, Shelly took me on one of her favorite "moon walks" on More Mesa. It was pitch black, except for the light of a nearly-full moon.  The path ran along the cliff-top, and you could barely see the waves far below in the moonlight.  In this photo, the flash on my camera practically blinded us for the walk back to the car!!  Great fun, Shelly!

One of my days there in SB, I went to STEARNS WHARF by the beach. It was pretty overcast the whole time. The sketches below were done at the end of the pier. The three guys in the corner where really bunched up like that...must have been the perfect spot to catch fish.
I decided to give my gouache paints one more try. I sat over by the Museum of Natural History Sea Center, while painting the restaurants across the water. As before, the paints were not my friend...too muddy, too much shift in color as they dried from when I painted with them.  But I DID learn a lot about squids from the lectures I could hear through the museum wall I was leaning against.
The last part of the afternoon I spent sitting in a park near the wharf.  My heart went all aflutter when I saw the construction equipment right next to a lighthouse. I never see that in Kansas!
As I finished that sketch above, a very large truck pulling a big tractor rig came into the park right behind me!  I was, of course, delighted to draw another piece of construction equipment.  What a great combo...machinery and the beach!!

That's it for this post. Next time, a little bit of South Pasadena!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, I've had such fun on this trip! Love the chickens even if you did travel across country to find some!
And the construction equipment. At least the surroundings were different! Thanks so much for sharing.