Destination San Simeon, a little further south on the California coast. I couldn’t easily get to the areas of rocky beach that I saw and wanted to paint, so I stayed up on the bluffs and battled the wind.
Storm Stack Companion
Sometimes when I paint en plein air, I have to contend with people jumping into the scene and asking me to include them in my painting. Erm, no thanks. This time, it was a rather insistent seagull that landed on top of the sea stack as soon as I started to paint, then left just as I finished. The painting was about movement and power, so it wasn’t all about him, but he was still part of the story and I was happy to include him. Or her.
Storm Stack Companion, 9 x 12 soft pastel plein air painting by Sharon Bamber
Inspiration for Storm Stack Companion.
Sometimes it’s interesting, I think, to see what I was painting. You can see all the choices I made while I translated the scene to my board. As artists, it’s the confident choices in composition, colour, contrasts of light/dark, warm/cool, large/small, intense/subdued, hard/soft, bold/refined that help to say something about a place and convey our emotion. It’s our choices that make our work unique.
This was the second painting from the bluffs, more of a vista to capture the atmospheric conditions left behind after the stormy weather had passed through. No seagull to keep me company this time, but I did have a slightly uncomfortable conversation with a passer by about gun laws and whether Canadians are allowed to carry concealed weapons. Really, the things people choose to talk about when they discover an artist on their own on a remote coastal bluff!
The Bluffs, 9 x 12 soft pastel plein air painting by Sharon Bamber
Favourite Places On This Part Of The Trip
Marina (just north of Monterrey): Why? It was full of sea otters swimming around and floating on their backs, holding paws. Pure heaven for animal lovers and wildlife artists!!
The 17 mile scenic drive at Monterrey. It claims to be one of the most scenic drives in the world and was worth the $10 we had to pay to drive that route (although maybe they should use some of that money to take better care of the toilet facilities!). Although busy, it would have been the source of some fabulous paintings. We couldn’t stop as we had to make up time because of the storm diversions. Perhaps next time.
Ragged Point (near San Simeon). Hoards of elephant seals! Unbelievably enormous, beautifully ugly males with their harems of hard won females and giant pups the size of adult sea lions.