Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I Just Had To Get Out And Paint!

Late winter / early spring on Point Dume is a dream.  The coreopsis are in bloom and they carpet the entire top of the promontory creating a blaze of gold.  It's pure heaven.   As I walked down from the top of the bluff, I looked down to see the sea and rocks peeking out from behind the cliff....  All along the walkway, the yellow coreopsis indicated the way.
What a great day!

Today was one of those days when I just HAD to get out and paint.  I look at the calendar, the weather and see what is possible.  Appointments are looming.  Rain is predicted.   Tuesday is a minimum day for Tyler at school (which really cramps my style).  But it seemed with all of the upcoming impediments, Tuesday would have to do.   It was very pretty on Monday, but I have my Master Class with David Gallup, so I couldn't get out because I just don't want to miss that class -- I really love it.   Then when I woke up this morning, the weather was foggy. 
Ugh...  I really dislike painting fog. 

But like I said... I just HAD to get out and paint.

So I had everything organized and I jumped on the freeway as soon as I dropped Tyler off at school.   Off to Point Dume.  I knew the coreopsis were or would be soon at their peak.  This is something not to be missed even if it was foggy.   It was a pleasant drive and at one point, as I neared the beach, the sun began peeking out through the fog giving me hope for a sunny day.  But it wasn't to be.

In past visits, I had always approached painting on Point Dume from Westward Beach, a city owned parking area near Zuma Beach.  However, I had recently read about a small area to park on the top of the bluff and I figured that with this fog and this early I might just score a parking spot.  Happily, I was the first one there.  I got all of my gear out and with it on my back, began hiking all around.  What a gorgeous spot.  I explored many paths through the coreopsis which still have maybe another week to go before full bloom (you can bet I'll be back).  I walked down the path to the beach on the opposite side of the point from the spot you see in the above painting.   Finally, after coming back up the cliff, I settled on a spot with an observation bench out on the top of the point. 

At first I was alone, but then the hikers and visitors started coming by.  One young man walked up behind me and startled me.  After I calmed down, we began to talk.  It turns out that he is learning English and is on a visit here in the States from Switzerland to hang glide (although not today). I asked him if he had seen any whales.  (They are migrating up the coast right now.) (All of this somewhat awkwardly because I speak no French... so between my gestures, my Spanish and his English, we did pretty well.)  Off he went and I went back to my painting.  A bit later he came running back shouting.   When I paint, I'm pretty much in my own world and it dawned on me that he had been shouting for a while. 

Guess what!!  He had actually spotted a whale!  He was very excited and I was disappointed, because by the time he got back, the whale was not to be seen.  However, he hung around for a while and together (because of his sharp eyes) we saw that whale surface several times and even saw him spout!  Some other hikers came by and we all enjoyed pointing gleefully and exclaiming each time that whale came up for air.  I called the young man the Swiss spouter spotter.  We took pictures of one another... sorry.. no whales in the photo.

Eventually everyone walked on and I went back to my little painting.  Despite the fog and the interruptions and excitement, I was fairly happy with my little 8x8 painting which I will post later.  (I'm learning not to post everything.  I'm also learning to wait a while and really look at a study to see if I can liven it up. (I've been told by several experts that there really are no plein air police).   I packed up, hiked back to the car and made it back into the valley in time to pick up Tyler for his early out.

I am SO glad I just had to get out to paint today!


CrimsonLeaves said...

Is that a shadow on the beach? Beautiful job, Marian. I always love your paintings that look down from a bluff. Always gorgeous! I've never seen a whale except on tv or in an aquarium/zoo.

Marian Fortunati said...

Hi Sherry.. Thanks... Yes, in the painting, the cliff is creating a shadow on the sand.
Well, unless you come to the coast, you're not going to see one "in person".
He (or she)was pretty far off shore, but it was still thrilling.

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