Friday, August 28, 2015

TRAVEL: "California Coast" Pt. 5

This will be my final chapter to this series. I just wanted to show you some of the amazing sights that I got to enjoy on my trip.  Above...some local color of Pacific Grove, near Monterey.

Welcome to Pacific Grove!

Gorgeous colors on a lovely day along the coast of Pacific Grove.

 Looking south on the beach at Pacific Grove.

 Some cool houses in Pacific Grove...and a wonderful "horizontally-inclined" cypress tree.

Waves along the beach of Pacific Grove on an overcast evening.

A beautiful day at Monterey Bay! Can you see the seals in the water with the gulls?

 Amazing rock formations along Pebble Beach, on the way to "Carmel By The Sea."

The famous "Lone Cypress" on the 17-mile-Drive heading towards "Carmel By The Sea".

A couple of the incredible views on the scenic Highway 1 near "Big Sur". There is a tiny bridge in the distance of both photos. The top pic is where I was headed...the bottom photo was looking back to the same bridge, as I was farther up the cliff-side road.

An impressive light house on a giant rock along Highway 1. You can see the huge rock in the distance in the top photo.

More amazing coastline views on Hwy 1 along "Big Sur". The drive here is breath-taking...and a little bit scary! One false move and off the edge you go!

The Juila Pfeiffer Burns Falls along Big Sur.

Amazing blue Pacific Ocean colors along Hwy 1.

You can just make out a fortress-like tunnel structure on the edge of the cliff that cars pass through on Hwy 1.

One of the beaches along Los Padres National Forest.

The sea elephants were taking a nap. I think these were all females, as the guys took off after mating season. Typical.

A couple of birds that I saw on my trip. I should do some photoshopping and put that ostrich on the wharf. 

A crazy piece of art on wheels in Santa Barbara!!

I hope you enjoyed coming along with me on my trip!

TRAVEL: "California Coast" Pt. 4

This will by my last post of sketches from my wonderful trip to California. I ended my week-long excursion with a visit to South Pasadena. I was so happy to get to meet artist/author/workshop teacher BRENDA SWENSON in person. We had connected through a sketch group on Facebook. When I arrived in Pasadena, I had dinner with Brenda and her equally talented husband, Mike. Such a nice couple of folks!

Above is a sketch I did of the Arroyo Vista Inn B&B, where I stayed. It took a couple of hours, at least, but it was a pleasant morning in the shade. The Inn is only a few minutes walk away from Brenda's lovely new studio.
I still had a bit of time before meeting up with Brenda and her artist friend, Judy Schroeder, to go sketch in the afternoon. So I drew my rental car in the parking lot. I love the big gnarly trees that surrounded the Inn.
The sketch below is of Castle Green. It used to be a famous hotel, but has been converted to residential living. This was a bit of a "break out moment" for me as a sketcher. I started the drawing in ink, which means there is no correcting of the compositional scale, once begun. I had intended to draw the two round towers at the top of the building. But it was cropped off at the top of my page. Brenda suggested that I just keep drawing across the page and finish the building.  RADICAL!!  I rarely to that!!  I like drawing on the right side, with nothing on the left, so I don't have a previous drawing bleed through.  But in this case...since I was hanging out with two free-spirited Californians...I just took the leap and kept drawing.  (I know...most of you sketchers are probably rolling your eyes, and always draw on the front and back of every page.)
Here is the amazing building, and my sketch.
Below, a photo taken by Brenda Swenson of yours truly.
Here is my sketch before adding color. 
These ladies were my sketching partners for the afternoon...Brenda Swenson (on the left) and her long-time friend, Judy Schroeder (on the right).  It was a lot of fun hanging out with these two.
A selfie with the gals in the park.
Here is Brenda's painting.
And here is Judy's.
After we finished sketching, we went over to see Brenda's wonderful newly-opened STUDIO, which is right above a coffee shop!  We enjoyed a cold beverage, and looked at sketchbooks. Later, Brenda gave me a brief tutorial about one of her favorite water color paints, which I had never heard of: Quinacridone Gold! (David Smith brand, to be specific.)
Below is a photo specifically for my Mom, Dee Ludwig, who would have loved to have joined us. I think Mom has been sketch-friends with Brenda online long before I have. So..."Hey, I am in Brenda's Studio!"
Finally, as the day drew to a close (a sketching pun not intended...but appropriate), I got to take a quick tour of Brenda and Mike's backyard to see "The Twins"!! Brenda and Mike have a love for restoring old cars and trucks.  Mike is also an amazing craftsman with wood, and with stained glass...their home looks like a fantastic art museum inside. My love for drawing old rusty machines and vehicles is one thing that Brenda and I share in common! What a terrific way to end my trip.
While this post is the last for my sketches...check back soon. I will share a few photos of the beauty that I saw on this "artist retreat".  Thanks again to all my friends that I got to spend time with on the journey!!

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!