zaterdag 30 augustus 2014

Time flies when you are having fun....

WOW, it is already Friday. Which means that my first week is almost over. Time flies when you are having fun....

Wednesday afternoon I went to the aquarium and started to sketch the giant octopus when I got home. I finished it yesterday, with pen and watercolors.

Yesterday after work I drove to Carmel. I took the scenic route, along the coast. An amazing sandy white beach in the middle of Carmel! The plan was to visit the mission in Carmel. I have been there last year, but was planning to sketch it this time. Well, I was dilly dallying around Carmel and never got to the mission. Maybe later.... Anyway, on my daily drive along the coast, I saw some blows out in the bay. Whales! Not too far from shore, I could spot some with my binoculars.

Back at home I drew a sea otter, with my Faber Pitt pens and added a little watercolor.

Today I drove to the Fisherman's wharf in Monterey. There are lots of sea lions, harbor seals and some pelicans near the wharf. I walked around, had a marvelous cappuccino (with real taste, sorry my US friends..) in an Italian coffee shop and I visited the Monterey museum. 

The Fisherman's wharf

A pile of sea lions at the wharf

I  booked a boat trip for tomorrow. The boat is leaving at Moss Landing and will visit the Elkhorn Slough. I have been here on my way to Monterey. Lots of wildlife, I do hope to get some better pictures of sea otters tomorrow.

donderdag 28 augustus 2014

Painting, walking and sight-seeing

I started with some small paintings in my handmade watercolor journal 5 1/2" x 7 1/2". First I made a watercolor painting using a reference image I took at the Santa Cruz arboretum last Sunday.

Then I created a watercolor of Pacific Grove. This is a very typical landscape/seascape in PG, rocks, the ocean, purple flowers and some cypresses.

And a watercolor of the little beach at Lovers Point.

Today I went to the Monterey aquarium. I walked thru Pacific Grove and took the recreation trail along the coast to the aquarium. The cottage I rent has 2 annual passes to the aquarium, which makes it easier to go only for a limited time. I visited a few exhibits, gazed at the giant octopus.... and went to 2 films/shows in the auditorium. One was about deep sea creatures (I saw some strange animals I never ever saw before) and a lovely story about Luna, one of the sea otters rescued by the aquarium.

I did bring my sketchbook, but it stayed in my bag. It was crowded and not so easy to find a quiet spot. But I took some photo's, maybe I will turn one into a painting.

Walking back I spotted many harbor seals resting on the beach, some seals resting on rocks and I did see a few sea otters today. The weather is perfect as well. This has been a great day!

dinsdag 26 augustus 2014

Enjoying myself

Monday after work I went to find a SIM card for my mobile phone. And I did find a good deal at the local shopping center. 30 days of unlimited calls, so I can dial into all the conference calls for work.

Then I moved on to what I came to do, relax, sightseeing and sketching/painting. I took the Ocean View, just around the corner and it is a beautiful scenic route. There are lots of places to stop along the road with beautiful views of the ocean. I did some sketches with a brown Pitt pen in my journal (sorry for the bad quality of the images, but I do not have a scanner here :-)).

And a lovely photo I took of the lighthouse.

After the tour I went to the local farmers market and bought some fruit, tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini's. I am making pasta tonight!

And we are already in the next day. After a few hours work I decided to take the same scenic route again. Yesterday was a full day and I had hardly time to sketch. And that is what I am here for! So, now in a slower pace, stopping and sketching along the way. Rocks and a little beach in pencil.

On the way back, I stopped at Lovers Point, no(i)sy seagulls were wondering what I was doing...

It has been (and still is) a beautiful day, lots of sunshine and relaxing. I hope to paint a bit more now that I am back at the cottage. There are still a few hours in this day!

maandag 25 augustus 2014

My first days in California

I arrived last Saturday in San Francisco. After a long flight I checked into my hotel, refreshed up a bit and went out again. Into the sunshine. And of course did some shopping. The first thing on my list was a Stillman and Birn sketchbook. I heard really great things about it in the Facebook group. Up to Aarons brothers. I bought a sketchbook from the Alpha series, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" is the size. And I did bring  a 50% off coupon with me, but did not need it, the sketchbook was in clearance and I am a happy camper.

During the night I experienced my first earthquake. I woke up and the bed was shaking. Very strange, I even sent a Whatsapp to my sister, telling her about the earthquake. And then went back to sleep again.... not realizing that the earthquake was a big one, causing a lot of damage a bit further up north.

On Sunday, I left the hotel after breakfast.

Driving south to Santa Cruz, where I visited the arboretum from the University of Santa Cruz. I walked around and followed the hummingbird trail. I did see a few hummingbirds but they were too fast for me to catch them on camera. I saw lots of beautiful exotic plants.

And then continued my drive next to the coast. I was a beautiful day, very sunny and because it was Sunday, lots of people walking, hiking, strolling and surfing. I stopped a few times to enjoy the views along the coast near Santa Cruz.

Then I continued the trip south to Monterey. I stopped at Moss landing to see if there were any sea otters to spot. And yes, I did see one, the picture is not very clear (it is difficult to keep the camera still with a big zoom).

I hope to show you some better pictures of a sea otter later this trip. I did the grocery shopping and then it was time to go to my home for the next few weeks. I unpacked, had dinner and went to sleep early. Jetlag! See you later.

woensdag 20 augustus 2014

Last sketches for my trip

I am in the last few days before my trip to the US and I am busy. Not only with work; we had another go-live scheduled during the weekend, but also with preparing for my trip to California. I will be flying to SFO this Saturday and will stay in the Monterey area for almost 4 weeks. The first 3 weeks I will work in the mornings and sketch/paint/go sightseeing and relax in the afternoons. I hope to fill some sketchbooks with my travel sketches and I will keep you updated as well.

My sister will join me after 3 weeks to spend the last week in Monterey with me and then we travel up to the Sonoma valley, where we will stay another 10 days before heading home. We both will attend the Art-is-you art retreat in Petaluma, both for 3 days. Lots of fun to look forward to!

Some of the sketches I did in the last weeks:

A pen and watercolor sketch in my handmade watercolor sketchbook 5 1/2" x 7 1/2". For the WetCanvas WDE (Weekend Drawing event)

A pen and watercolor sketch in my handmade watercolor sketchbook 5 1/2" x 7 1/2". For the WetCanvas Animal and wildlife challenge August

And a painting of Maria in watercolors  in my Moleskine watercolor journal (A4). For the WetCanvas WDE (Weekend Drawing event)

My next blog post will be from the other side of the world, I hope you will join me!

zondag 10 augustus 2014

More sketches in my artist journal

As you can see, I am missing some sketches... It is very difficult to paint every day, especially when you are working all day long. But I am happy with the ones I did do.

All in my handmade watercolor journal.

Market day in Russia in pen and watercolor, the reference image is from Paint My Photo:

And a very light watercolor wash for the daisies

A sweet sea otter, as practice for my trip to California. I hope to see and sketch some in real life! In watercolors

dinsdag 5 augustus 2014

Sketches in my handmade artist journal

Last week my sister came for dinner and we made an artist journal / sketchbook each. I made mine from Fabriano Artistico watercolor paper. I bought 25 sheets on sale.

The journal is about 5 1/2" x 7 1/2" and because I did not want to spoil it... I made another one. And this weekend I made a bigger one as well (double the size).

I will be travelling to California in a few weeks time and want to sketch and paint every day. This is my practice run, trying to create every day.

A watermelon still life for the WDE (Weekend Drawing event) on Wetcanvas

And a fish with blue lips for the WDE

Poppy seed heads with pen and ink

And a sketch from Pacific Grove, where I will be staying a few weeks