In which the artist, seeks the sun on a day-long plein air training paint-out.
Pacific Grove is known for its summer fog. Had I known this, I probably would not have moved here, considering I love sun all the time, allowing only for occasional bursts of violent wet weather as a necessary counterpoint to the delirious monotony of beautiful weather. Violent weather is something I acquired a taste for while living on the East coast, so I need my storm fix now and then but mostly…give me sun! This morning it was foggy in Pacific Grove.
However, I can usually count on it being sunny just over the hill in Monterey, and so this morning Monterey was my location for a full day of painting. Deciding to paint as if I were in a competition, the bike was loaded up with several blank canvas boards in a wet canvas carrier, my half-box French easel, and a couple of canvas bags full of paints, towels, and mediums. Off I went, trundling down the rec trail to Monterey. The recreation trail follows the old railroad bed along the beautiful coast. It’s hard to believe that this trail was once closed to walker, filled with rails, railroad ties, and gravel, making it’s way along the edge of the water all the way to the Pacific Grove train station, now vanished, existing only in fading photos, photos that fade away like the foggy landscape presented to me at the Monterey harbor. Though it is hard to see in the photo, since the photo seems to clarify the scene, in person it was much more muted and misty.
As I have said in other posts “gray matters” so I dived into this scene of fogginess, picking a near boat, one that I had admired before, making it the subject of my painting. This was a day of many paintings so I painted fast, laying in grays and softness, and only sharpening the subject, a salty little sail boat.
You may know that my ol’ dad, Bill Lewis, lives out in this harbor on a boat very close to this one. So this subject is dear to me in many ways. Harbors are places that people look at from afar, experiencing the beauty, part of which is a certain longing to get out there on one of those little boats. I have done that many times, rowing out with him to the boat, hunkering down for a dinner of chilled salmon and vegetables, a few snifters of brandy, and hours of talk that we can’t remember the next day.
So I did enjoy painting the Monterey harbor yet again. Here it is. I wonder how many paintings I’ve done of it, and from this vantage too! I’m happy that I focused on the little boat, so like ol’ dad’s, and made it the focus of the painting, very much like when you are on a little boat in the harbor. You feel that your boat is the focus, the center, of the world somehow. You are separated from the frenetic world and the harbor moves you this way and that as the sun sets and the stars begin to shine down upon your little kerosene lamp and your glass of brandy.