Sunday, August 7, 2011

SKETCHBOOK - "Art's Bench"

I went out to Shawnee Mission Park today to paddle a canoe on the lake. Thought it might cool me off a bit...just made me sweat. Then I decided to grab my sketchbook and head down a walking trail to a bench that Cathy and I used to sit on occasionally. The bench is a memorial to an artist I used to work with, Art Carlson. In fact, in this very spot years ago, Cat asked me why I never painted with oils anymore (it had been probably 20 years since my college days). I didn't have a good answer, and soon thereafter, started up doing landscapes again. This sketch is the first time I've actually done a piece from that view.

Just as I was finishing adding some washes to the drawing...the sun went behind some very menacing looking rain clouds. The wind whipped up, and I decided it was time to leave! Alas...all bluster and no rain for my dried up lawn. I made a composite image from my cell-phone camera.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Monterey Trip: Pt. 4 Finale

Okay,'s the big finish to my series. We end with a day trip along the BIG SUR COAST!! I'm posting a lot of photos in this batch, because there were just too many amazing things to see.

My daughter, Jenni, and her beau, Brad, drove down from South Lake Tahoe to join me for the day. We started the morning in Monterey (at Coco's for breakfast, of course), then stopped in Pacific Grove for these shots. After that we headed south on California's Highway 1!

Visibility was limited for much of the drive...lots of fog. As we climbed the elevating terrain, it became a bit spooky on the curvy highway. ("Dad, keep your eyes on the road!!") It was hard to tell where the Pacific Ocean was...only a few places to pull over and look out, like the spot below.
I stopped because the view opened up to the beautiful vista you see here. This is a collage made from three photos. The native wildflowers were pretty, as was the little barn on the other side of the road (again...a collage of two photos).
Before too much longer, we came to this view. Disregarding the "private property" sign by the clay banks, we scampered up to quickly get a few photos. Awesome colors in the water!
I borrowed one of Jenni's photos (below left) of me taking a picture of the ledge we were standing on (my shot on the right). Brad had pointed out that it was really eroding golly, he was right!
Here is another glorious view a bit farther down the coast. It was so cool to be above the purple clouds that hovered across the waters.
Eagle-eye Brad noticed way, way, way down below that there were two tiny little dots in the water...SURFERS! I have circled where they are and enlarged them a bit...even still, I can hardly see them. Dang tri-focals!!
This next image is one of my favorites of the whole took my breath away being there. Even Brad, who has done a lot of traveling all over the world to climb boulders and cliffs, said that he had never seen anything like it. Good Old U.S.A! We live in a wonderful country...I want to see more of it!
Now we move to a new location which was at the half-way mark of our journey before heading back. I had seen images of this place on the web, and really wanted to go there. So glad we did. It is the McWay Falls, at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

Before we got to the actual waterfall, we explored some of the trails that split off in different directions. Below is a composite of two photos showing Brad standing by the dangerous terrain off the main trail (as the signs try to explain to folks like us).
There were lots of wonderful trees along the paths...ancient and weathered.
We found out that there is no access to the beach allowed...tourists would make a mess of it in no time. But it was SO inviting looking down there. At the bottom of this image, hidden in the foliage, is the creek that pours water out onto the beach. So we began the long trek to the far side of the cliffs on the right, to get the best view.
Behold! McWay Falls! (I know...not huge...but in a great location!)
Jenni and I are both laughing (nervously). Notice that she is touching my shoulder, as my hand steadies me on the railing. I had just gotten a little woozy at those heights. Taking a tumble was NOT on my agenda for the day! (Though I really did want to get down to the beach...just not THAT way.)
Getting close to the end now, folks. On the way back to Monterey, we found the unmarked, one lane road (with a little help from the tourist guide info) that took us to Big Sur's most popular coastal access point...the U.S. Forest Service's Pfeiffer Beach. Once you walk down the sandy pathway under the canopy of trees... opens onto this amazing beach, surrounded by towering cliffs!
One of the main attractions is this huge arch shaped rock formation. The water has blasted a perfect doorway through the stone. I've seen a photo of the rays of light during sunset glowing through the arch...magical.
Thought I'd try out the timer on my camera for this self-portrait. Jenni is walking up on the left.
Well, my friends, this marks the end of the trail. Hope you enjoyed the tour!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Monterey Trip: Pt. 3

Time to visit some of the more well known tourist spots. We'll start with the Monterey Aquarium...super place to spend hours looking at amazing things!

Below...the Kelp Gardens. Mesmerizing...sways to the rhythm of the waves.

The penguin display...
"Um...yeah...that outfit DOES kinda make your butt look big."

A few more things you'll see...note that the sand dollars are alive...not bleached like you find them on the beach.
One of the huge tanks they have..."The Open Sea" display. The turtle was great! At the bottom of the tank was a huge school of fish...notice the open circle where the fish keep moving away from the hammerhead shark.
One of my favorite areas was where they have the jellyfish...could watch them for hours.
I started with fish bones...I'll end this part with fish mammal bones.
The Aquarium is part of "Cannery Row". Here are a couple of views from down the road. Kind of makes me want to read the famous novel by John Steinbeck.

Nearby is "Fisherman's Wharf"...great places to eat...especially if you like clam chowder. Free Samples everywhere!

Here's an angry giant pelican, moments before he wrecks havoc on an unsuspecting fishing vessel.
Didn't know they made industrial gull-poop catcher.
A couple of shots of nap time..."Sea Lions in a Box" (that floating crate is literally loaded with loud barking sea lions...for $2 they'll let you get up close and see them)...and "Whale Dog".
Okay...we'll end this post with a few images from the well-traveled "17-Mile-Drive" which takes you through several golf courses, the best known being "Pebble Beach". Mid-way through, you end up at Carmel-by-The-Sea (which I only looked at briefly...another trip required to see everything). These photos were taken at the famous "Lone Cypress Tree".

By the time I was heading back to my hotel, it was nearly dark...and was definitely FOGGY! I was a bit tense on the very curvy, hilly road...especially since I don't see well driving at night. I pulled over to take a photo of the ridiculous driving conditions. But my camera senses light almost like night-vision goggles, and captured way more detail than you can see with your eyes. I seriously considered driving back looking through my camera display, so I could see better!
Okay...only one more set of photos left to post. I'm saving the best for last..."BIG SUR" on Highway 1!! See ya back here real soon!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Monterey Trip: Pt. 2

This first batch of photos is limited to the town of Pacific Grove, California...just on the outskirts of Monterey. "P.G." is where I stayed for the week...lots to see within walking distance.

I got a few good shots out of the window of my plane. On the left...some nice coastal views north of Los Angeles. I thought it would be clear and sunny where I was headed. But on the right, you can see the cloud-cover that was to block out most of the sunshine the whole time I was there.
Here's my smiling face as I pull out of the San Jose airport in my rental down, radio up, jammin' to some Peter Gabriel's "Sledge Hammer". On the first moments on the beach...gray, overcast skies, a hat and jacket required. (But I'm smiling on the inside!)
This is the Point Pinos Lighthouse, and a golf course, just down the road from my hotel...

Next up...several photos of the wonderful rock formations along the beaches of "P.G.".

Much of the coastal area of Pacific Grove is protected by the can see a bit of the wildlife below.
On the left side are some tiny black dots in the middle of the water...Sea Otters!!
Lots of Seals and Marine Birds!
That's it for this post...more later.