Custom Search

Thursday, January 1, 2009

En Plein Air at Crystal Cove Beach

I could not ask for better weather when my husband & I stayed at a Crystal Cove cottage on Monday night this week. It was 70 degrees during the day, but dropped down into the 40's at night. The skies were crystal clear and so was the water, I got a true sense of the reason they named this place Crystal Cove. When I looked down from our deck to the water, I could see through it's seafoam green to the seaweed on the shallow ocean floor. The afternoon we got there, the winter storms two weeks ago had carved out a shelf that went so far inland, it washed down the rusty red picket fences near the abandoned cottages. I saw the concrete slabs and old asphalt that had been hiding under tons of sand for ages. It was very interesting to see the history of the former areas where old tents and summer shelters once stood long ago. I even saw an old plastic toy soldier from the 60's who washed up and someone placed him on the old boardwalk. Little things like that are so special to see here. I could not paint that afternoon because of the immense curiosity in me to explore all along the north shore and observe the carved out sand bank right in front of the cottages. I took many digital images to record this rare event. The sunlight was a brilliant burnt orange and it color cast each cottage in a technicolor gold, the sandstone bluffs turned a red-orange that was like it was on fire. I got high on those colors, my gigabyte camera chip became filled with precious images of rustic cottages bathed in warm light. It was a dreamy evening and I could not sleep well as I was looking forward to rising with the sun and paint the early morning hours.
I got off to an early start and hiked with my Radio Flyer wagon to the shoreline by the "Beaches" cottage. I wanted to paint it again but chose a 16x12 to include more water. I scrambled fast to get this size of a canvas done in 3 hours, it was a challenge. When I was done I thought it looked okay, but I didn't like the large mass of sand in the front and the all blue sky. I brought that painting home and proceeded to change it's look by making it more contemporary/abstract looking.

I show it here from painting in plein air. I will add another image tomorrow or Saturday to show the abstracted look. I turned it upside down in my studio and worked on it so it would look okay if you saw it upside down, that is a trick that famous artists like Richard Schmid use to balance out a composition or design. I like to be different once in awhile, it turned out much better to me.
After that, I had some breakfast with my husband, we checked out of the cottage and prepared our picnic lunch for later. I went back down the hill and got an idea to act like a kid. I placed my knee on the back of the Radio Flyer and headed south down the driveway. It was fun but I immediately started to go out of control and tried to skid to a stop with my sandal. It didn't slow it down and I rolled over, first hitting my knee and then skinning the top of my foot and stubbing my toe. I was laughing the whole time, I think some other people did too. How silly it must've looked for a grown woman to be rolling over. When I was a 5 yr old kid in 1960, we used to have a red Radio Flyer wagon in Oneonta, NY. I would take it down a steep hill and turn the corner right at the last minute to avoid going into Main Street. I do not know how I did it, must've been the small size of me and the blind foolishness. Ten years ago, I found a vintage Radio Flyer just like that one and now use it to carry my art supplies. How I love this wagon. I proved I can still be foolish today, I got the bandaids all over my leg and it smarts.
I decided to drag my wagon down to the tidepools since the tide was way out and look back along the shoreline and paint a panorama. You can see here the beginning oil sketch in burnt sienna on the 20x10 linen I used. It is in the works at this point, I got about one-third done and felt drained and full of aches and pains. I could not do two paintings that were larger canvases in one day. It is very promising looking and I will post the finished piece later.
My husband, Tom took this image of me painting en plein air. There's that wagon, it makes a great table too. I hated to leave this wonderful place again, but I know I will be able to come back and paint again here. In the winter, the temperature gets pretty cold as soon as the sun starts to go down. I long for the summer already to be able to paint in comfort. Long Johns are great for winter, I wore them in the early morning hours! I changed to lighter clothes for the afternoon.
We partied on New Years Eve, it was my husband's and my 16th anniversary, we went to the Renaissance in Dana Point with another couple, it was a ball dancing all night. My feet are sore today, but I am glad it is 2009 and we are in for big changes this year as a country and people. I am growing as an artist, a mother and wife too. This is going to be interesting this year to say the least! Happy New Year to all!

No comments: