Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Plein Air Painting in Carmel, California

Point Lobos Sketch - 9x12, oil

This week, we're in beautiful Carmel, California, for a little R&R.  For me, it's a "busman's holiday."  A busman's holiday, if you're not familiar with the phrase, is a holiday in which you do what you do at work.  So, even though we're getting in a good bit of hiking and sight-seeing, I'm also painting.  If you're a painter and you come to Carmel, bring your paints - you'll regret it if you don't do at least a little sketching.

Our trip to Carmel took us from the vast almond-tree groves near Bakersfield and the endless acres of roses in Wasco through the rolling, vine-laden hills of Paso Robles to the quiet beauty of coastal Cambria.  From there, we went north up Route 1 to Big Sur.  Last year when we drove that 100-mile section of road, it was raining, and rocks the size of cinderblocks were hurtling off the cliffs and smashing into the pavement.  (The road is notorious for rockslides .)   This time, we had perfect weather and a clear path.  The road wasn't any less twisty, but the unclouded views were breathtaking.

Now we are in our little weekly rental, perched above Carmel with a view of the Pacific.  The weather is predicted to be mostly good this week, so I'm trying to get in some painting (and hiking) before the weather turns.

Yesterday morning, I painted at Point Lobos State Nature Reserve.  It's a painter's all-you-can-eat buffet - picture Monterey cypresses twisted like giant bonsai and sea cliffs riddled with caves and windows and both broad vistas and intimate spaces.  Late in the afternoon, Trina and I went back for a long hike, and the light was golden and beautiful.  It's a tough choice:  paint, photograph, hike or just sit and soak it all in?

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