Painting Monterey County

"Waiting to Fish"  8x8" Oil  $650 framed

Well my friend, I can honestly say that the Monterey coastline and it's vicinity is practically the best place on earth for plein air painting! I know I've said that of Yosemite, and then Palm Springs desert, and then Hood River, OR., but every time I head out the door to plein air paint, there is always another beautiful scene that tops the prior spot. There is good reason to celebrate our country's scenic spots and all it has to offer us. 

I painted about 9 pieces in all, but I was not as productive due to a bit of gluten exposure which made it difficult for me to concentrate, but I recovered well enough to continue on my quest. My first piece, "Waiting to Fish" above, was a rather quick one at a boat repair shop out in Moss Landing. We spotted it on our drive south from the San Jose Airport. There was a crusty ol' man of the sea, Gordon, who quietly worked inside of this boat while I painted it with my friends. He was trying to fix his livelihood of lives, nestled amidst old shacks, fishing gear, ladders, and mechanical equipment of unknown sorts. Pretty interesting stuff indeed that I secretly promised I would return to paint again someday.

With painting friends Sergio, Michael, Anton, and Jennifer at Moss Landing.

One of the best spots of all was Garrapata. It is located south of Monterey some 15 miles or so, but beware, it is lined with poison oak!  If you ever lose your balance and fall into it while hiking the trail, then you better be prepared to bargain with yourself because this place is well worth the itch. Although I am not allergic to it, I still would have to say it's beautiful beyond measure. The color of the water was turquoise as it crashed upon the cliffs. The "gang" and I met up with pastelist Aaron Schuerr and his 13 year old son Jasper to paint as the sun rose.  The piece below was about my favorite piece from entire trip.

Garrapata Morning  12x16" Oil  $1,400 framed

Viewing north with artwork on the easel at Garrapata.

Garrapata Response 12x16"  Oil $1,400 framed

This was my second one that was just around the bend looking at the Pacific ocean. You might be able to see the shadows cast from the thick paint in the lower left of the piece.  

Painting in Garrapata with Jennifer Diehl

"Pastures of Heaven" 12x16"  Oil  $1,350

Then one morning we ventured out to Steinbeck country, to the Pastures of Heaven, from which he titled one of his pieces. It was so spectacular as the sun rose and kissed the green hills dotted with oaks. We had to quickly respond to the morning's brush of light with paint as it was a fleeting sight to see. While we painted Pastures of Heaven, we had a visitor who happened to be a freelance journalist, and so, shamefully, we got into the local paper. Yup, that's me, front and center!

Garland Eucs"  8x8" Oil  $650 framed

There were many more spots that were just as magical to share with you, but too many to share in one blog entry.  Sergio suggested this one place inland from Monterey called Garland Ranch.

Well my friend, that is about all I can write about tonight, so I'm going to sign off for now. I hope you enjoyed the journey.


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Traveling with Oils or Pastels

"Asilomar Overlook"  9x12" Pastel

Painting at Point Lobos in 2014

I just can't sit still! My thoughts are all a jumble because of an upcoming trip to the most beautiful area I have ever seen and painted: California's Monterey Bay and it's vicinity. I guess I'd call it excitement!

Part of my excitement stems from all the things I have to remember to pack. I have to take into account all the painting supplies, it's portability and weight, and my destinations. Not to mention all the personal belongings I have to lug around just to take care of my personal health, but I digress. Did I mention clothes? Oh yeah...one probably shouldn't paint naked, but I would guess it's been done before, although I'd prefer clothes on. Yes, most definitely would, especially clothes for the type of weather.

So, to keep my mind from stressing out and overthinking the trip, I have made lists to keep me organized. Ahh, I can now relax a bit and just enjoy the process. Sometimes I may consider packing all of the items, but there may be times when I will need to edit because of the location, the method of travel, access to extra supplies and what I am willing to do without. It's kind of like camping but for artists.  Here is a list of items that I have put together for you to consider:

Oil Painting

Pochade Plein Air Box  I use an Open Box M
Brushes  I love using flats of various sizes and one very soft Bright Rosemary brush
Brush cleaner/Murphy's Oil
Brush holder
Tripod   I use a Manfrotto befree
Gamsol odorless solvent
Gloves  I use latex free gloves
Baby wipes
Plastic grocery bags for trash
Paper Towels with a bungee cord
Wet Panel Carrier. I use a RayMar panel carriers that are lightweight.
Backpack to hold all of this stuff with pockets for snacks
Oil paint.  I use Gamblin paints simply because they are made here in Portland and I want to support a local business, not to mention their quality to detail.  However, there are a few other brands that I like to explore the use of. I switch my palette out a lot as I love trying out new colors. I do like using a warm and cool color of each primary plus a few extra convenience colors. Here is a list of what I may pack for my palette:

Cad Yellow Light
Indian Yellow
Yellow Ochre
Cad Red Light
Quinacridone Magenta
Ultramarine Blue
Cobalt Blue
Bice  Vasari Brand
Phalo Green
Cedar  Vasari Brand
Raw Umber
Warm White  

Here is my Oil Painting Backpack all ready to go.

Pastel Painting

Open Box M Pochade Box. Check out my blog post on my modified box HERE.  Unfortunately, Open Box M no longer produces this pastel box like this due to it's extensive design.
Pastels   Half sticks in a range of of colors and values
Cotton rag
Gamsol solvent for dispersing pastel for an underpainting
Carb Othello Pastel pencils  Neutral colors work best for sketching out the composition
Pencil sharpener
2" wide masking tape
2  1" wide foam brushes
Baby wipes
Latex free gloves or hand barrier cream
Sanded Pastel    Paper mounted to foam core, museum board or gatorboard  I like using Uart's 320 grit paper in a light beige tone.
Glassine   Tape to the backside of the mounted pastel paper as a protective cover for the painting.
Panel carrier  I two pieces of cardboard taped together like an envelope

Miscellaneous Items

Bug Spray
Sunscreen  I like the spray on kind
Clip on Mini Lights for nocturne painting
Umbrella  I use a BestBrella or the larger Shade Buddy
View Finder
Sketch book and Sharpie Marker
Hazardous Materials Disclaimer Sheets for Gamsol Oil painting products
Folding chair

So that's my list of goodies, and somehow they all have to fit into my backpack. Sometimes I will bring both mediums and that is what I did when I flew out to Door County, WI last year.  It's a painter's challenge in space conservation at best, but I think I've got a good handle on it.  Anyway, like I said, some of the items listed may be left back at home due to what I am willing to do without. After all, it's artist camping at it's best.  

So since I am on the subject of plein air, I have announced a new plein air workshop specifically for pastels.  Pastels en Plein Air will be June 25-28th in the Portland, OR area.  Here are some specifics:  

Fee:  $350
Dates:  June 25-28, 2015
Location:  Greater Portland area
Time:  9:00-5:00 pm

For more details about the workshop, click HERE.


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"Bridal Veil Falls" 16x12" Pastel

My family and I took a drive out to Yosemite for a much needed Spring Break. We drove from Portland, OR to Mariposa, CA in about 12 hours, and were so glad to be stable in our new Hideaway by 5 pm. I rented us a place through AirBnB and it was delightful and clean, and it accommodated all we needed for rest from our daily outings.  Once we arrived in Mariposa, we gathered food items from the market for snacks and quick morning b-fasts for early starts out to the park. Yosemite was about a 35 minute drive from our Hideaway, and was scenic with bolders getting larger as we approached the Park. Our first day-trek out to Yosemite, we took a longer route that rides circuitously through Oakhurst and wound through the hills and entered up to the Tunnel View. I waisted no time to set up and paint.

This photo does no justice to the depth and breath of this view. It is a must see in real life!

While I thought my family would take this time to hike the trail above the viewing area while I painted, they instead decided to watch people watching me. I thought they were nuts as it's just tourism at it's best, with nearly every language spoken at the rim. I heard what I believed was Japanese, Romanian, and Swedish, but what the best part was when a bunch of fun loving Italians sang a wonderful spirited song right next to me while I painted. Oh, I love this job!

The Valley Below  12x16" Pastel

View of Yosemite Falls, midmorning, upon completing the piece.

Yosemite Falls  12x12" Pastel

Painting at Mirror Lake

Many people are curious and stop to ask about my painting. Some take photos of me, and when they do, I ask if they would please share them with me. It's not always possible to get a good shot of me doing what I love, but this one rocks! The photographer is Carlyn K and we connected through our imagery. You can see her beautiful work HERE.

Mirror Lake  11x14" Pastel

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