Carmel Beach path - acrylic study - Janis Commentz
October has evaporated, but autumn still awaits. I am grateful for my abundant fall. I hope my reflections remind you of a special place that you can return to. A place that reminds you of good times, perhaps of your dreams and people you love or have loved.
I traveled during "open art studio season" to studios in Monterey and Carmel. I love the central coast of California where I often visited as a child. Carmel-by-the-Sea holds special memories for me as well as magnificent beauty.
October is well known for sunny weather. However, because I spent 52 years in school, this is my first autumn visit in many years.
The one square mile town of Carmel becomes touristy each weekend, and I prefer to linger during weekdays, walking along the beautiful dog-friendly beaches and visiting special hidden corners.
Yes, I took my paints. Light and atmosphere in a different environment proves challenging and inspiring.
Carmel was originally an artists' colony of visual artists, writers, and more. Many names of note have been associated with Carmel and Monterey (definitely a topic for another blog!) Langston Hughes, Upton Sinclair, Edward Abbey, Robinson Jeffers, Robert Louis Stevenson, Ansel Adams, and more recently Doris Day and Clint Eastwood. This month, Carmel is celebrating an excellent new film about their creative history. I highly recommend a listen:
Official Trailer: Bohemian Soul: A Carmel Documentary | House of 8 Media
Film: Bohemian Soul: A Colony Awakens - YouTube
I learn much by connecting with artists. The entire coast was celebrating pumpkin season! Not the faux flavor in pricey lattes, but the real gourds and pumpkins of the season!
What I didn’t paint, I brought home in photos! A future of paintings awaits.
Quintessential Carmel-by-the-Sea: Sea Urchin and Periwinkle (like many homes - no address - names only), along Scenic Road - view of Point Lobos, early cottage style Carmel - Court of the Golden Bough, original stone home - early 1900s, my acrylic study at the gem of the missions - Carmel Mission, watercolor sketch along Scenic Road
Playing with different ways and times of day to capture the point at Carmel Beach - palette knife with acrylic and watercolor
Although I stumbled upon painters with workshops, spoke with painters in their homes and galleries, I sought solitary time to take in the beauty and sketch/paint on site.
Below, my reflection from a day at Point Lobos, the beautiful state reserve just south of Carmel:
Today, I decided to just take it in. Not feel as though I have to go, paint, sketch, do, be. But enjoy. When I was a small child, we walked here. In fact, my parents had a harness for me as a toddler so I wouldn’t fall off steep cliffs above the sea. Today, I am struck that decades ago I walked by the same trees, ancient, almost mystical cypresses.
Today, after a few overcast days, the sunshine beckoned me. Some say the mountains are calling. I’ve never heard a mountain call…but this…yes, the ocean and the seashore and the rocks call me.
Point Lobos is treasured by many. Barack Obama visited two weeks ago.
I take in the sights and smells and sounds and I feel close to my parents; it’s a meditative place.
So, today, rather than bring my paints, I decided that I would be.
Thinking about how I will paint. It’s the rocks that hold everything together! (In Joshua Tree, we draw rocks often). Sketch a scene. You can return at any time of day or weather condition to paint. Or watercolor your sketch from your photo to grow more familiar with your subject.
Feeling smug. I packed a picnic with tomato soup. It's the perfect Point Lobos lunch. Seated near the China Cove Trail, I am having one of the most delightful picnics ever. Picnics with my mom often centered around tomato soup in a thermos! Today Habanero cranberry cheese, apple wedges and H20.
On my last hike up the steep steps, I carried a backpack and easel. Today I am just going to feel the breeze and let the sights and scents soak into my soul
I sit on the bench above China Cove. How many have sat here attempting to capture the moment?
Sea glass green
The absolute epitome of sea green
Light dancing on the water
The scent of pinecones
Pelicans gliding across waterways
The gentle lapping of the waves
Grateful for the bench in the shade of the pine tree
Today, in October's radiant glow, I believe this is a taste of Heaven on earth. When I was a girl, my mother would carve a mermaid in the wet sand at China Cove. In 2003, I was able to carve a lovely sea lady for our daughter. Now a seal sanctuary—humans are banned from the cove; taking the steep steps down to the cove is a distant treasured memory.
POINT LOBOS STATE RESERVE: from top - Cypress Grove, my cartwheel - China Cove, my mermaid for our daughter 2003 - China Cove, China Cove, "China Cove" (sold) acrylic on wood panel 18x24 - Janis Commentz, moi in sand fort - China Cove, at Cypress Grove, "China Cove" watercolor 7x9 - Janis Commentz, Gibson Beach
FUTURE EVENTS AND EVENTS:
I have not forgotten France and I am delighted that my new France Sketchbook Calendar 2023 was printed locally and is available at Esty and soon at Rainbow Stew in Yucca Valley.
November 15 - my 2023 Joshua Tree Calendar will be available
November 5 - Acrylic Painting Workshop at Cactus Mart
November 12 - a very special community “20th Annual Art and Craft Affair” My ravens are feathering up for this event.
In January, I am part of an all women exhibit at the 29 Palms Art Gallery and will be teaching a Paint and Sip class on January 14, a fundraiser for the gallery.
On January 31, I teach an acrylic workshop for the Desert Plein Air Art Association's 2023 "Paint the Desert" Plein Air Festival.
February exhibit at Pilates& Arts in Joshua Tree.
In this ever-challenging world, we are all seeking calm and encouragement. As the pods of the red yucca attest, each season is part of the process. Take time to enjoy the colors, sounds and events of nature. If you have children in your circle, teach them the joys of autumn outdoors. The wind gently blowing on a walk. A flock of birds dancing in the sky. Desert foliage transitioning. Listening to a friend. Encouraging!
What are your autumn activities? Does the rhythm of your pace change with the seasons?
Each community has a different art vibe.
Perhaps you must be an armchair traveler. Enrich those travels! With a with a careful search, many fascinating resources await online. Seek places you would love to visit. Seek out artists whom you would like to know more about. Study music, writing, drama! Share with young people in your life!
Get out the paints! Even the traditional Prang watercolor box is highly useful. Accept gift offers when people are clearing out art supplies! I feel I don’t need every new art material invented and tend to stick with the basics. Good watercolor paper, canvas, gouache. Golden and Liquitex acrylic paints, Windsor & Newton watercolors and gouache.
As writers must show up, so must visual artists. Habits are important.
My autumn entertainment: "Birdie Parade" small raven paintings in progress,
acrylic on wood blocks 5.5 x 5.5 x 1.5
I wish for you time to express your creative side and to nurture your soul before the busyness of the holidays. Treasure every memory made with those who are important to you! Enjoy each season.
Inspired by all of you,
BThank you to the many who have visited my website! In my blog I share my art, insights and techniques. I welcome comments and questions.
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