So, we drive up to Monterey, California from Tucson, Arizona, to attend the 3rd annual Plein Air Convention. It is great to be amidst such talent, all concentrated right next to the cool, misty Pacific ocean. Monterey/Carmel/Salinas is an art and artist friendly area…I definitely feel the love. However, the best part of the trip this year is the over land “getting there” and the “coming home”.
Here is the report of our adventure…with a “Gallerina” (like a Marina, where paintings are sail boats) at the end to illustrate the beneficence of road trips to the plein air habit. Scroll on!
Oil Painter Kevin Macpherson gives the keynote. Here he is with his special dog. Special dog for special person…Check out Macphersons book, Landscape Painting Inside & Out for great guidance.
Local oil painter Jim McVicker with Jean Perry.
This is interesting. Jim painted the large painting on site over many days. Now he extracts from it, creating a “plein air” painting of a plein air painting, mining previous work.
Marcia Burtt and Kate Starling
Utah oil painter Kate Starling speaking with local acrylic painter Marcia Burtt.
This year the expo organized a gallery for participants and demonstrators. See something you like, go to the demo! Pastel above, oil below.
After absorbing as much demo, marketing and materials info, etc. as the gray matter can hold, we make a break for it and get to painting.
Free at last!
Gay Schiebl and Lisa Cypher.
Lisa (left), Gay (right), Meredith (below)
Our scene, in case you missed it.
Tucson based Angela Alter’s custom-made-to-order plein air gloves. It is amazing how much warmer it feels with these…
Next day after our morning education, we head out to Asilomar State Beach…little chilly-windy.
Next day, behold, Sun! We head up to Carmel-by-the-sea…Carmel for short. Windy much?
I’ll take one of these…
…and some of these.
Lisa paints the Cypress. Gay offers cheer to the distraught.
After the painting is over. Happy-Fuzzy.
Moving right along…next day, the ultimate entanglement, Monterey Marina.
Maybe best to keep it simple?
Painting is spectator sport.
Later that night, admiring the day’s work, the Dinghy’s takes a head-plant onto a wet palette…the proverbial peanut butter side down. Such are the hazards of the plein air habit…
Next day we decide to paint Cypress..out in an ancient grove perched on some serious cliffage at Point Lobos State Park.
Rusty moss?! WOW.
300 years, here.
Your…my…our…brain on Plein Air…
And then there is the Monterey Bay Aquarium. They are having their 30th year anniversary this year with a new exhibit called “Tentacles” which all about Encephalopods (squids, octopus and cuttlefish).
Many a grey whale right off the coastline. Nice to see what’s actually under the water…
I first visited this Aquarium as a wee-tyke and saw the Kelp Forest. It hasn’t changed! The forest is presented in a three story aquarium which is hooked to the ocean so there is wave action. It is most wonderful to watch everything swaying, flowing and swimming all at once, like a painting. (everything is like a painting…life…)
…these rock fish have 40 year life spans.
manganese and vermillion, the painter ponders…
Similarity? (no, Jack is not with us on this trip, but his larger than life personality is, obviously.)
William De Konings inspiration, “The Encephalopods”.
Recycled Eco Ingenuity. There is a healthy amount of interpretive display here at the Aquarium, almost as much as actual animal display, art plays a huge part, most informative and engaging.
After the convention is officially over, we decide to explore the area more. We take the famous “17 mile drive” along the coastline and up through Carmel and Pebble Beach. No painting, but lots of looking, there is just too much to take in, we are sea sponges.
Tidal pool with hermit crabs.
The famed Monterey Cypress. No, these won’t grow in Tucson…
There it is, out there all alone…the trademarked tree.
Heading South we leave Monterey early in hopes to stop and paint along Highway 1, if only we could see….
Oh wait, sunrise…
…and there it goes.
Almost through the fog, just as we are about to turn inland and give up we give it one more shot, this time at Morro Bay.
Gay paints the baylet.
I get a chuckle out of this character.
I like the blue-green tarp.
We pack up to make it to Thousand Oaks near Malibu (for your bearings) before dark.
We take this rest stop opportunity to check out our “painting booty”. This makes us feel pretty good…
Later that night, just east over the Hill from Malibu, we catch the lunar eclipse, magical. Intuitively Fortuitous?
I enjoy Marinas. Here is a snippet of the totally man-made Marina Del Rey…
…with sea lions…we think they’re cute, not so the sailors.
Continuing on our way south, we make a stop in Irvine to check out the Irvine Museum. They have many wonderful publications on plein air/artist/cultural history of California, and a dedicated director, Jean Stern, who we meet and talk to. I really like Bischoff and Wendt. Masters of Color!
But first we must hug trees, we are in California after all.
As we cruise along, we enjoy the local poets, especially Shirley Love, a relative of Gay’s!
Our new destination is Ramona, California, up in the hills northeast of San Diego (funny how everything is “east of” out here, “west of” would be..in the water.) We go totally resort here, hotubbing and horsbackriding..and painting of course!
Sure, we know how to ride, but…
…do you have something a little bigger?
Me on the feisty-chomping-at-the-bit Quarter-Pony “Captain”, with zealous Cowboy Dave…
And Gay on…is it “Poky”? Anyway, we re having fun, but would have more fun with our paintboxes in those saddlebags and maybe if Dave would take a siesta.
Now, for some painting.
Preparing canvas and sightseeing.
Morning plein air.
Evening plein air.
Sad to have to go so soon, we pack up and head east for one last painting adventure before Tucson.
Toddle-loo to misty (foggy?) Ramona and horsey haute couture.
Off through the Anza-Borrego, having heard so many wonderful stories about the area…
…in Gay’s super trusty plein air portage.
There is a Hot Springs smack in the middle on nowhere…but it is too hot already at 9 A.M. for soaking. See those palm trees over there on the right? Water…
We paint instead.
We are reminded of our home Sonoran desert but, this is a little different, plants are less conservative in their growth. Creosote and Ocotillo are mega!
Heading south to the I-8 we pass through the (ghost?) town of Ocotillo, also home to a vast field of otherworldly turbines…if it wasn’t so brutal outside, we could stop for another study. Plein air can be about anything and everything, not just plants and rocks…
Yuma Dunes and the All American Canal. Gosh, there is so much more I could tell you, too much! So let’s stop here…
…That’s all Folks…happy hunting…oh…I mean painting.
Stay tuned to Excursions for plein air adventures and projects-this summer season promises more than ever.
Check out the Gallery from this adventure below. All of this work is pure, totally on site, plein air.
Paintings are for sale unless otherwise indicated. Email us. If you do not have our addresses simply comment to this post with your interest and we will respond.
Asilomar Beach, Monterey
Monterey Marina, California
Point Lobos, State Preserve, California
Morro Bay, California
Anza Borrego Sate Park, California
All Content Copyright Meredith Milstead and Gay Scheibl.