Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Dr. Pierce's Medical Discovery

You know you're from  Mendocino County if you recognize this nostalgic landmark. It's actually in northern Sonoma County, but us folks from the coast pass it on every trip to 'the big city'. I have no idea what the medical discovery consisted of, but am very glad that the modern residents didn't do away with this little bit of whimsical history. Ok, so the hills of oaks and vineyards aren't half bad either and certainly create a wonderful backdrop to this outdated proclamation. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Backlit Brambles

I've been in sunset mode lately eh? I s'pose it's because the fog has been in residence quite often this month and I've had a hankering for warm colors. Such a delight to be able to boost my mood with tubes of paint and sharing the results with such loving folks as you all. I shot this photo one evening when dining at the newly refurbished Westport Hotel. I leapt up from the table and raced outside before the sun said its good byes, and was so happy to be able to create the same feeling I had at that moment. The lavender ocean with the orange sky really do cheer & warm me right up. Just wish I could wear this around my neck or attach it to my hat like cyclists do with those tiny rear view mirrors! 

Golden Confetti

Everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame, but I hafta tell ya that the sun gets it every night around here that the fog hasn't chased it away. We race around like maniacs taking pictures and finding places to park to watch the golden orb sink into the sea, hoping for the 'green flash' on the horizon or the most spectacular backlit wave. It's pure magic and I love how the sun's reflections sometimes appear as  sprinkled confetti atop the moving water. Liquid gold chips from heaven, slipping from the distant horizon to right beneath our feet, and such glorious moments cause us to well up with gratitude for God's gift of eyes and hearts to take it  all in. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Amber Reflections

It is so spectacular to encounter a sunset like this while you're minding your own business and just trying to get home for dinner. Yep, pull the car over NOW and see if the lens will be able to see and convey the impact that the eye takes in. Thankfully I got a few decent photos to work from and here you have a larger than life daily occurrence shrunk down to seven by five. Even though small, it packs a powerful punch and sets your heart a dancin'.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wild Sweet Peas and Surf

Lansing Street used to be the main highway through Mendocino, but thankfully they built a bit of a bypass so that people can meander a bit more slowly. Sights like this can almost send you off the cliff if you're zipping merrily along in your car, and there is very little space to pull over. I managed to find a tiny spot for my car one evening so that I could try and capture the late light falling on this profusion of wild sweet peas and other brambles. Now I present this snippet of wonder to you from a grateful heart.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Daisy's Place

As one ambles along Main Street in Mendocino, this luscious view appears and just about knocks your socks off. This is the MacCallum house and Daisy is who lived here in the late 1800's and up until 1953 when she died at age 94. These days, it is a lovely B&B and restaurant and my favorite place to sit is on the sun porch that you can see behind all those window panes on the left. Breakfast on the open porch on the right is not half bad either! Our little town is rich in history and a visit to the Kelly House museum and the Ford House can fill in a lot of the remarkable details. Come on by and sit a spell.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Ten Mile River Meets the Sea

My son Abe was visiting over the weekend and he obliged me by going out painting, though it was also a great opportunity to walk his dog. We wanted to go south towards Elk but the fog was threatening, so we turned north toward Ten Mile. We parked this side of the fabulous new bridge and walked down the little path toward the dunes and I found this neat view looking north. Can you imagine living in such a spot? These people are certainly rich in visual opportunities as they gaze south toward the river, the dunes and the wild ocean to the west. You can barely see it, but there's a stretch of the lost coast there in the background.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Hare Creek Beach

A most delicious day is being had by all that are visiting or residing on the Mendocino Coast today. It is beach weather and that's exactly where I wanted to go! I gathered up my gear and tromped down these romantic and beachy steps out onto the sandy expanse, looking for just the right vantage point. I couldn't help but focus on these trees that are leaning to the left due to many a windy day, along with the sandstone and scrufty bluffs and rocks. Long gone are the days for swimsuits and suntans, but painting at the beach is  just as fabulous and much more productive..........

Friday, July 20, 2012

Coral Glow on Mendocino

I love this house that sits just around the corner from mine because it always welcomes the southern sunlight in memorable ways. Besides that, it even has a set of swings out front for sweet moments of ocean gazing. It's one of those quintessential kind of places, defining the style and feeling in our sleepy little coastal berg. I've been royally blessed to live in such an inspirational place and NEVER take this visual feast for granted.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

West Side of Town

Here we are in Fort Bragg's west side, not far from my studio. When I'm out and about visiting Laura and it happens to be the "Magic Hour", I race out into the middle of the street and try to snag a shot before the sun goes down or a car comes by. I need all the peach colored sky I can get today because we are socked in with some kind of high cloud cover so it was fun to work from a sunny photo. This is another one of those 15 minute windows of time at the end of the day when everything is lit up by the slipping sun, when even the electrical wires are lit up and beautiful.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Amber Oaks, Emerald Vines

After going to the Little River Inn for breakfast with my Dad and his pal, I spent another chunk of the day priming panels my favorite orange color. I do this so that when I skip a tidbit here and there, that a warm color shows through rather than stark white. I love how it influences the sky color because my paint is thin in that area and the skies always seem to glow as a result of the toning color beneath. With all this orange going on, I automatically gravitated toward an image I have painted in the past and wanted to do it in miniature. This is a French style barn someplace out in the Napa Valley that I discovered on one of my wanderings. This lighting condition lasts about 15 minutes, making it very hard to paint on location and though I paint pretty quickly could NEVER really complete a painting in that small amount of time.

Here are my panels, all primed and ready to be painted on. On the windowsill is a fun little solar "Happy Face Flower" that Suzi Long gave to me one day when I visited her.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Living Bouquet

Since I just caught the left edge of this actually massive sunflower field, it looks like a bouquet. I snapped the shot for this painting one hot but memorable summer morning in Provence. It would have been delightful to paint on site, but it was much too hot to be out in the open air without an umbrella or nearby tree to shelter us from the burning rays. However, the sunflowers thrive in those conditions and it's a good thing they do because they bring big smiles to so many of our faces.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Rusty Yet Regal

I came across this rusty monolith in a funky carport on the island of Lanai. I'm thinking that the front end that's most exposed to the sunlight and rusty dirt has changed color over time. It obviously just sits there year after year and the brighter green of the door is just deep enough into the structure that it has retained some of its former glory. I definitely love old cars and trucks, but haven't painted too many for some reason. Maybe I am turning over a new leaf, and since green is my favorite color this was a splendid place to start.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

All Tied up Together

I woke up this morning to a very thick blanket of 'pea soup' fog, as my grandma used to call it. I thought how neat it would be to either paint in the Noyo Harbor, or to zip down on my way to the studio and take a photo to paint from. Well by the time I was up and ready to go, the sun had started winning the battle but down to the harbor I went anyhow. I peeked behind buildings here and there and found just the right shot and immediately went up to the studio to make it happen rather than stand amongst all the fishermen and fishy smells. Sometimes being there can add to the flavor of the painting, but in this instance it would have been a tad unpleasant..................

Friday, July 13, 2012

Fog and Flowers

Here we are again on my favorite street in Westport, Pacific Way. On this day though, the ocean wasn't even visible but the flowers were shouting for attention instead. On foggy days, the colors are even more vibrant because the sun isn't bleaching them out or causing too many shadows. This is a snippet of the funkiness of that street, along with fog and rambling roses-a jumbled up scene of house after house, all enjoying life on the coast.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Bluffs at Little River

I was itching to go on location today before I hit my studio, so I drove south toward Little River and stopped at the wide pullout just before Van Damme State Park. I love the layers of bluffs and trees in that spot and though this is a small, square format, I think you get the idea of moving back in space while still hanging out at the beach. Glorious sunshine invites inspiration, so even though the rest of the day at work was more challenging I feel like the day started out just peachy.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Roof Upon Roof Upon Watertower

Last Sunday I was able to catch a view of Mendocino that I hadn't really ever noticed before while I was at an event at the Mendocino Presbyterian Church. Looking out the north facing windows, a jumble of rooftops, trees and this water tower are framed against the ever changing sky and much to my delight I might add. In olden times these towers actually stored water and the gravity fed the water down into the houses, but nowadays most of them have been converted into living quarters. I'm telling you, every nook and cranny of this town is paintable and even after 26 years, I haven't exhausted half the possibilities! 
Keep viewing below as I'm sharing a couple more pieces of my son
 Levi's artwork. This talented guy grew up in this amazing environment and it is obviously serving him well...................

"Ella" 20x24 acrylic on canvas  $625 unframed
contact Levi  to purchase

"Bob Dylan" 12x12 pencil on bristol board $125 unframed
contact Levi to purchase

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Misty Mood

Even though I prefer the sunshine, the mist and fog around here is captivating because of the subtle colors and layering effect. Here then is our most identifiable landmark, the Mendocino Presbyterian Church veiled in fog but prominent nonetheless. I understand that it is the oldest church in California that has been in continuous use since it was built in 1868, though Wikipedia says that it is one of the oldest. Check out the website of the Don McCullough, the current pastor's amazing photography and find out what he does when he's not sharing his heart with the congregation and town. I might have painted this edifice 100 times over the years, but its elegant shape and contrast to the bluffs and surrounding trees pull my trigger every time. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Old but Glowing

I have to say that I am just as big a fan of funky and rustic as fancy and refined. This barn across the street from Leslie's house has caught my eye time and time again, but it wasn't until the morning that I was racing home last week that I decided to finally paint it. She fed me out in the driveway and I did the fastest little sketch on record. Afterwards, I plopped it into one of my pizza boxes (great wet painting carriers) and sped on home. It has been sitting on my shelf awaiting refining, though not in the fancy sense. I just had to push the darks a bit and deal with the barn door that used to be obscured by an unnecessary fence. Now I have the feeling that I do when I look at it in person. I have to add that I am thrilled that a new orchard has been planted on the property as well. So much better than another house!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Cliffside Cypress

The location of this tree has always amazed me, growing right there out of the cliff and facing every kind of crazy weather pattern. These trees are certainly resilient and define the north coast in a very particular way. I'm so glad that I zipped out the door early yesterday to enjoy the sunshine on the bluffs because the fog came in today and everything has been blanketed in a soft gray. I wonder if the fireworks that will be on display this evening will even show up!  Regardless of the skies, my spirit is buoyed up by the fact that it is summer and our lives are full of sunshine on the inside.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Jubilant July

Back at home and working at getting back in the saddle so to speak. Today might have been the best weather day in the 26 years I've lived here on the coast, plus we were able to eat outside at dinnertime last night! This just isn't all that typical or predictable, so it's just plain wonderful. I walked to the end of my street and whipped out my easel and supplies and 'went to town' along the headlands. I did two paintings today, so I'll likely post the other one tomorrow and hope to stay a little more consistent with both painting and posting. Thanks for hanging with me and sharing a little bit of my world.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Colorful Bluffs

It was just so marvelous to gaze southward toward Encinitas, drink in the perfect light and air and use a palette knife for a change. People camp along this bluff and many folks walk down the long flight of steps to surf, picnic or just wade in the shallow waves. We were quite the spectacle, easels poised and paintbrushes flying and it was fun to receive one comment after the other. There were 7 of us that day, all working on capturing our personal impression of the place and Leslie and I encouraged them happily along. What a great  memory and what dear hosts we had that facilitated the group and spoiled us rotten!
So sorry that my posts have been erratic lately. The details are SO boring, but suffice it to say they were all technical and quite frustrating, but I hope to be back on track now that I'm home again.