You could spend your life exploring and drawing and painting Pt. Lobos in the Monterey area. Here is a quick study in pastels. This was a particularly difficult one to do because of the nature of the medium – messy and full of fine dust!
The distant cliffs across the waters are seen through the trees. Unlike gouache, you cannot paint over layers as successfully in pastels. More layers mean less success, even when you use a workable fixative. In watercolor masking can help as well as the fact you work from light to dark, so darker watercolor can obscure lighter washes.
In the end, the sky was a messy mush up weirdness – the white scribbles were my solution to the problem, but oddly, it did help out in the end. The sky was a flat grey, and here it gives the same flatness of color that morning.
Oh, how I loved our visit to Pt. Lobos in Northern California! The coast is amazing – cliffs, trees, sea, waves, birds, and trails to wander with a surprise around every corner.
I took a lot of photos – digital, film – while on vacation in Monterey, California. Trees, flowers, streets, room. This is what I saw along the trail at Whalers Cove in Pt. Lobos, California. The cliffs are sandy and crumbly, but there are bits of very dark dirt, from black to grey. I wonder if this area had volcanic activity at some point. The color contrast of the soil and cliffs, along with the tenacious hold of the flowers, made for some rather lovely bits of bright color in late summer.
Today is a watercolor day!
I am surprised by how much less I am worrying about how my painting is going to look and how much I am becoming more involved with its process.
Working with gouache has certainly helped me with my usage of light and dark. For awhile I wondered if working with gouache, from dark to light, would mess with my mind with watercolor, which is light to dark. Actually, it helped a lot as I am more aware of light and dark than before, and thus it is easier to think about how to make it happen.
This is from a photo I took in Pt. Lobos Nature Reserve, along a path. The light was dappled and flickering as the tree branches and leaves moved with the shifting wind. It was a warm day, pleasant, and very, very much a prize of a day altogether. I think this painting does a fair job catching it, though, as always, there are areas for improvement.
Every now and again a place calls you, and you know that your life is changed by what you have seen and heard and smelled – a total sensory experience that nothing will ever equal. Returning to it may destroy the memory or add to it. Here, I think returning to the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve will only add to the experience.
We headed out to have a short 3-night vacation up in Monterey, California. We visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium, probably for our 4th time, as well as Point Lobos for the very first time. It is unparalleled. Tall pines, rugged coast, water, rocks and cliffs, pines and cypress, and history all combine to create a world into which it would be so easy to stay immersed in, never to return. The area of Monterey is stunning, with many beautiful and historical areas to be explored, such as Carmel, the city of Monterey itself, Pacific Grove. An abundance of parks and preserves are available to all.
I brought my art supplies with me, but couldn’t sit still. I had to keep exploring, along trails with rocks and roots and staircases, and easy paths lined with views of trees and meadows and plants not found in my neck of SoCal. In particular, the pines and cypress caught my attention, but so did the rocks and water and cliffs. I expect there will be a lot to draw from as I took a lot of pictures, most taken with care to composition and color.
Here is an old pine tree standing against the sky. It’s dying as it’s old, wooden branches attest, and yet it still bears needles and reaches to the sky. I fall in love with trees such as this – if they could just tell their tales! I used my home made iron gall ink with a very fine pen nib on Bee watercolor paper.