2013 Carmel Art Festival

I was honored for the eighth time to participate in the Carmel Art Festival. The show works like this: the artists have two days to paint at least two paintings to offer up for auction. You must have the back of your canvas (or whatever you are painting on) certified before the contest. They usually stamp it with a date, and put a little sticker on it. This is to ensure no one walks in with a painting they didn’t really paint on location during the time allotted.

Although Carmel is only about 90 minutes from my home, I always stay somewhere in the Carmel area to avoid spending 3 hours on the road each day, rather devoting all my focus to the work at hand. Early mornings and late afternoons are the best time to paint, which makes all the more reason to stay in town.

I drove down to Carmel around noon Wednesday, meandering a little bit in the area to look for new places to paint. After checking into my motel, I headed over to the reception area to get my canvases stamped, then out to a place on Scenic Drive overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Carmel River State Beach to start painting. A lot of the artists head to this area first as it is fairly close and there are only a few hours after the canvas stamping to paint until dark. For this reason, I had avoided it in past years, but decided to try it this year.

I spent several hours painting, waiting until almost sundown to finish the sky. In this instance, you can paint much of the scene in shadow as it will not change much. However, when the sunset lights up the sky, I quickly tried to catch the colors. I stayed until it was almost too dark to see. Below is the scene, and my painting on the easel. You can click on any picture to see a larger version.

The painting wasn’t quite finished, but some of the details could be done the next evening.

In the morning, I drove up to Elkhorn Slough to do another painting. I had been painting this area the last couple shows, and enjoy the vistas. Parking along Elkhorn Road, with a great view of the slough, I opened the rear of SUV up and turned on the car radio to keep me company, as I frequently do. After painting several hours, the radio suddenly went off. Upon checking the ignition, the battery was almost dead and then I realized I had also left my headlights on! I raised the hood, as the universal sign of distress, but no one seemed to want to stop, so it was time to call AAA, the American Automobile Association. An AAA truck was not too far away, so he stopped by and gave me a jump start. It was time for a lunch break, so I drove into Moss Landing and had Sand Dabs at Phils Fish Market. (Actually half the reason I like to paint the slough is it is close to this great restaurant! The restaurant was just listed as the #1 world’s best beach restaurant by the BBC.)

I wanted to work on the painting another hour or two, so drove back to the spot and finished the painting.

About mid afternoon, it was time to head back to Scenic Drive and finish the prior evenings piece. By now I had two good pieces for the show, so the pressure was lessened from now on.

Point Lobos State Preserve was my destination Friday, which is a favorite of about everyone in the show. I first stopped and painted Whaler’s Cove.

Whalers Cove, Point Lobos
Whalers Cove, Point Lobos

The afternoon I painted a quiet little spot in the preserve called Hidden Beach.

After framing the two pieces for the auction, I drove back into Carmel and dropped them off. Below are the four pieces I did, the first two were entered in the auction. The second two, I want to touch up a little bit before they were displayed anywhere. Click on any picture to see the entire painting.

After a leisurely morning, I headed over to the show. The show was quite strong. We had artists from all over the United States, plus Australia and the Netherlands. You can see all the paintings on their website here. Below are a few pictures of me and the show.

Sunday was somewhat of a repeat of Saturday. After a leisurely morning, I checked out of the motel, grabbed a deli sandwich and headed down the coast. I found a spot along Garrapata State Park for lunch and enjoyed the view…

Upon returning to the show, I met the lady who purchased my first painting, “The Last Five Minutes of Glory“. She was born and raised in Carmel (lucky lady!), had seen that scene countless times, and it reminded her of the Carmel of her youth. She purchased the piece as a wedding present for her daughter. It’s always nice to meet a collector who falls in love with your work! It’s a big moral booster!

Later that afternoon it was time to head home and start thinking about next month’s plein air festival in Los Gatos!