Carmel Art Festival Day 2

Today was the day to start painting! Fog was forecast for the morning but clearing later in the day. So, I set my alarm for seven o’clock just to see what was going on. Seven rolled around, I looked out and it was still pretty well fogged in. I lay back down, and suddenly woke up. A skylight in the vaulted ceiling was streaming down sunlight…and it was 9 AM! Yikes!! I pulled on my clothes, jumped in the car and headed down the coast to where I wanted to do my first painting.

The fog was still lifting in places. I planned on doing a painting just past Hurricane Point where a river winds it’s way past a rock outcropping and hits the Pacific Ocean. It was windy! Now I know why they call it Hurricane Point! I had to hide behind my SUV in order to accomplish anything. For this painting, I was using an odd size canvas and not my normal canvas board. The wind was pumping the stretched canvas in and out, flapping it around. I could paint, but could not do anything with much precision. I had to peek around my car in order to view the scene I was painting. I did manage to finish the painting about 90 percent. I would have to finalize it where it was calmer! Below are a few shots at the scene, which was turning out to be quite a nice sunny day!


After stopping in Carmel for a quick lunch, it was time to head to Pt Lobos. I had previously spotted a location yesterday to check out first. As soon as I got there, and parked, the fog was starting to pour in. On the distant shoreline was famous Pebble Beach golf course, with the greens glowing in the late afternoon sun. It would go in and out of the light, which made for a magnificent background. I did a 20×16. A couple deer were grazing around me most of the time I was painting. I forgot to take a pictures of the work on the easel, but got some pictures of the deer.


With the sun hitting on Pebble Beach, I decided to name the painting just that!

I was pretty tired, so headed back to the room, had a nice dinner, then settled in to rest for the next day. I had two paintings good enough for the show, so tomorrow I didn’t have to panic to get any more paintings.

Below are the two paintings I did today:

“Meanderings” * 12×14 * Oil on canvas

Pebble Beach

“Pebble Beach” * 20×16 * Oil on canvas board


I had failed to mention something in my prior post today. When I came down to Carmel for the art festival, I also brought 8 paintings down, which are now being displayed at the Carmel art gallery, Sandy-by-the-Sea. I had spoken with them the week before, and they seemed anxious to show my work, however a little short on gallery space. So, most of the works are smaller. About half are plein air and the rest studio. Below is one of the works on display there.

“Pescadero Cove” (plein air) * 12×16 * Oil on canvas board

Carmel Art Festival Day 1

I am writing this in Carmel, but cannot post it to my weblog as the wifi Internet connection here at my motel seems to be intermittant. So, I will have to post it when I return home after the festival.

I drove down today to participate in the Carmel Art Festival. This is my second year in the show. What basically happens is you have two days to paint two paintings to offer up to an auction process. Although Carmel is only about 90 minutes from my home, I always stay somewhere in the Carmel area. I don’t want to bother with spending 3 hours on the road each day, rather devoting all my focus to the work at hand.

I meandered on my drive down, taking some back roads around Elkhorn Slough to look for places to paint.

Elkhorn Slough

I arrived in Carmel midday, and drove down past the town further south on the Pacific Coast Highway to see how the fog was rolling. In this part of California, it is hard to judge where the fog might be from day to day and even hour to hour. Later on, I checked into the motel, the same place I stayed last year, Munras Lodge.

For these plein air competitions, you have to 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 for the show. After getting the canvas stamped I decided to go down to Pt Lobos State Preserve where I planned on doing at least one painting. It was clear, and I hadn’t seen Pt Lobos without fog in quite awhile. I encountered Paul Kratter, another participant, already out painting. He was painting the exact scene I had planned on painting the next day!

A couple shots of Paul Kratter painting Pt Lobos.

I hiked around and found some other potential spots to do the next day.

This might make a good painting!

Prepping for the Carmel Art Festival

The Carmel Plein Air show is next week, so I decided to take a trip there to paint and look for places to paint. When you do a plein air show, preparation is key. When you have two days to come up with two great paintings, you better have a plan! I usually plan 3-4 works to do, and then decide which ones to actually paint based on the weather at the time. This time of year, Carmel weather is very unpredictable. It can be sunny one moment, shrouded in fog the next, and maybe even start raining.

The night before, the forecast for the Carmel area was morning fog clearing during the day. It was clear in San Jose when I took off on the Harley around 6:30 AM. I wanted to be at Point Lobos State Preserve when it opened at 9:00. When I got within 10 miles of the ocean, the fog was just thick as can be. Driving through Carmel, and down the Big Sur coastline, it was the same. I stopped at Pt Lobos for about an hour, took a short hike, and the fog was still thick. So, I decided to head back to Carmel, have some breakfast and see if the fog would lift. It didn’t.


Along the North Shore Trail at Point Lobos

Time to go gallery hopping in Carmel!! I visited a number of my favorite galleries, and during that time, walked into an unfamiliar gallery which I found out had been open for about 6 months. One thing led to another, it it looks fairly certain I will start showing my work there very soon. I won’t mention the gallery name, or when my works might be on display until we get things settled.

The fog was starting to lift slightly, so, time to head to Big Sur. I got to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, and it was nice and clear, so checked out the river, then headed back up to Pt Lobos for the second time. Still foggy! Oh well, I’ll do a painting anyway! So, I hiked the North Shore Trail a ways, and did a small 8×10.



The scene and my painting at Point Lobos.

It took me about an hour, finishing around 5:00 and the fog never lifted. I was hoping to catch a nice sunset, but it just wasn’t going to happen today. So, I loaded up the Harley and headed home. It turned out to be a drab day, but I will have to be prepared if we get two drab days when we have to paint next week for the festival.

Big Sur

We had been having spring like weather, plus it had been awhile since I had painted the Big Sur area, and taken the Harley out on a painting trip, so decided to do both today.
I left around 7:30 when the sun was just starting to peek over the hills and mountains behind the house. I love the early morning motorcycle rides when the air is cool, and the sun is dappling the landscape with color.

After passing through Monterey and Carmel, I arrived at one of my favorite painting spots, Garrapata State Park around 9:00. I had done quite a few paintings here, including the one which won “Best in Oils” last year at the Carmel Art Festival. The California marine layer, aka fog, was hanging just offshore, so I drove around for a few minutes to see where I wanted to paint first. I ended up at one of my favorite parts of Garrapata, gate 8, and started in. Below is a shot of the Harley parked alongside Hwy 1, south of Carmel.


My first painting was a 12×16 of Sobranes Point with the fog starting to drift in. As I was painting, the fog would drift in and out. The focal point of the painting, however was the foreground bluff which stayed bathed in the morning sunlight the entire time. At times, the entire point would envelope in fog. Below is a picture of my easel, plus a quick shot on the easel of the painting. It’s not a very good shot of the painting, and I will post a better one at a later date.


It was getting toward noon, so I hopped on the Harley and headed into Carmel for lunch. A restaurant I frequently stop at during trips to Carmel is Cafe Stravaganza. It is tucked in a little corner south of the main town in the Crossroads Shopping Center at the corner of Hwy 1 and Rio Road. Some years ago, a local friend who owned a store nearby said Doris Day, the famous movie star and singer, used to eat there as it is close to an animal hospital (Doris Day is an avid animal and pet activist). If you like Mediterranean food, I would recommend it. Plus it is not too pricey, at least compared to most Carmel restaurants!

After lunch, it was back down the coast to do another painting. I stopped at gate 2 in Garrapata, and found another view of Sobranes Point, except further away. The fog was really rolling in and out and covering most of the point, plus much of the ocean. I love trying to paint the moodiness of the fog and this painting became a study in gray. Once again, the focal point was a close by bluff which the sun was illuminating against the steely gray of the background fog.

Below is a shot of the painting location.


My easel while painting.


The final painting, once again a quick snapshot on the easel. I will post a better one at a later date.


I finished this painting around 3 in the afternoon. By that time, I was almost completely enveloped in fog. My back was starting to get a little sore, so I decided to call it a day. I hopped on the Harley, drove down the coast to Bixby Creek Bridge, and it was really socked in, so headed back north towards Carmel. Passing Carmel, Monterey, Castroville (the Artichoke Center of the World), then Gilroy (Garlic Capital of the World), and finally San Jose, I arrived home.