Carmel-On-The-Sea

At the Plein Air Conference and Expo last month in Monterey, we had the fun of participating in a paint-out on the beautiful beach at Carmel-On-The-Sea. The weather was perfect, amid a group of blustery days; the sun shone and there wasn’t too much wind.

We walked down the beach a little way, towards a view of Pebble Beach off in the distance, and set up our gear.

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I was working on creating a quick tonal underpainting, while the fog was rolling around in the distance. I had recently purchase a set of primary colors from Michael Harding paints (at the PACE) and was excited to play around with the oils a little, and see how far I could mix with just the primaries.

turns out I could mix some lovely tints and tones of green, which went along well with the view.

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The shadows were growing long, and it was time to pack it in, go somewhere to get warm, and take a little walk in the quaint town of Carmel.

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Lover’s Point: Pacific Grove, CA

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Recently we took a trip to this quaint little Victorian town near Monterey. The day was overcast and blustery, the bay was choppy and a steely grey. A perfect time for a quick outdoor sketch in oil. There was a little town park at the tip of the town, called Lover’s Point, a place dating back to Victorians who loved to bathe in the waters, and take boating trips in the bay. The boulders were personable, yet a little dangerous.

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I’m working on birch panels that have been stained a transparent earthy red to seal the wood. I start the sketch quickly, using marks that block in the basic shapes of the boulders, sea and sky. I noticed that the shapes of the boulders were quite smooth, leaned together at odd places, and had interesting cracks and things that seemed to go through the whole grouping.

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The light was fairly constant, since the sky was overcast. The water was moving and crashing, transparent in some places, opaque in others.

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There was a misty and nostalgic atmosphere to the space and composition that I tried to keep in the painting. I was pleased with the way that the boulders opened up the space to the vastness of the sea. Beautiful northern California!

Historic Empire Ranch, Part II

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The moody monsoon time of year brings cooler temperatures and light breezes, especially in the wide plains and pastures at the Historic Empire Ranch near the Santa Rita mountains.

I’ve been painting plein air on wood panels. I try to keep the beauty of the wood in the painting. Here it is raw, and a view of the barnyard.

Finally, the painting study in oil finished, an hour later.

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Protecting our Cultural and Natural Heritage

A group of artists and activists in southern Arizona are concerned about protecting the Santa Rita Mountains from the proposed Rosemont Mine. Below is a weathered outdoor map of the Empire and Cienega Resource Conservation Area, provided by the Forest Service (are the pock marks bullet holes? You see a lot of bullet holes on signs in Arizona).

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A Canadian company, Augusta Resource, is going through the process of acquiring mining rights to this area, and plans to mine for copper for the next 20 years. While mining is an Arizona industry, grand-fathered mining rights from the early 1900’s don’t necessarily reflect current needs to protect bio-diversity and cultural heritage. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/04/arizona-mining-project-wins-a-key-permit/

It is also questionable whether Augusta Resource plans to “flip” the property to another institution once the permissions have been made.http://www.ajelp.com/articles/not-your-fathers-mine-the-rosemont-copper-mine-and-dry-stack-tailings/

A view in the late afternoon on a crest just below the old Rosemont Ranch:

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I am documenting the area through oil painting studies done plein air:

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The study completed, in the 1 hour left before the sun sinks below the hills to the West:

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At risk in the area are: Recreation and Tourism (hiking, bird watching, horseback riding, ATV riding, taking a scenic drive); Biodiversity/Charismatic Species: Jaguar, Ocelot, Yellow-Billed Cuckoo, Southwestern Willow Flycatcher, Gila Chub, Gila Topminnow, Desert Tortoise, Chiricahua Leopard Frog, Lesser Long-Nosed Bat. Plants: Huachuca Water Umbel, Pima Pineapple Cactus, Coleman’s Coral-Root, Beardless Chinch Weed, Wildlfe connectivity and corridors; Water/Watersheds: Diminished riparian areas of Davidson Canyon and Cienega Creek watersheds will affect ranching, vineyards, wildlife and vegetation; Cultural Resources: More than 4 Native American tribal farming and historic burial grounds; Business: Vineyards in the Davidson Canyon area; Pecan Industry in Green Valley; Ranching (Cattle).

Please visit: http://www.scenicsantaritas.org, www.LensOnTheLand.com; and www.skyislandalliance.org.