Sunday, September 03, 2006

Friday 28th July: "The greatest meeting of land and water in the world"

"The meeting of land and sea, Point Lobos"
12" x 16.5", Coloured Pencil sketch on Colourfix
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
Where on earth could be described as "the greatest meeting of land and sea on the earth? Point Lobos is the answer according to the artist Francis McComas and the Point Lobos State Reserve website
Landscape artist Francis McComas's brief but extravagant comparison remains unchallenged. All who come here agree that the beauty of this tree-clad headland is unequaled.
The Reserve is 3 miles south of Carmel just off Highway 1 and the website indicates it has a very great deal to offer - and I agree...........
Point Lobos State Reserve has outstanding passive recreation values, such as sightseeing, photography, painting, nature study, picnicking, SCUBA diving, and jogging. In addition to the spectacular beauty, nearly every aspect of its resources is of scientific interest. There are rare plant communities, endangered archeological sites, unique geological formations, and incredibly rich flora an fauna of both land and sea.
I was totally knocked out by the reserve but rather less so by the number of parking spaces available. I guess that's the price that is paid for avoiding it becoming too overrun with tourists like myself - even if I am wielding a pencil and trying to record it.

Point Lobos - coastline, cliffs and kelp
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
Highlights for me included: the totally stunning wild flowers, plants and trees; the enormous kelp forest seen from above(!); the pelican beach (see the photo) and the brown pelicans diving for fish; Bird Island; the clear aquamarine of the water - and most of all the colour palette of the area. I'm really going to enjoy developing future artwork arising from this visit.

Brown Pelicans on the beach at Point Lobos - and the marine inversion
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
The sketch at the top of the page is a larger one than others on this trip and was done on 'Blue Haze' (a very pale teal blue) Colourfix not dissimilar to the colour of the sky and sea. It's a colour study for (probably) a pastel painting. The subject is a marine terrace - created from clay and pebbles from eroded rock which was laid down as sediment 2 million years ago (ie it's recent!) and compressed and folded to create new rock. I majored in Geography for my degree and have studied geology - hence the odd geological diversions on this trip!

Marine Terrace
The flattest piece of "comfy rock" I could find to sit on!

copyright Katherine Tyrrell
It wasn't the most interesting view I saw while I was there but the paths near the more spectacular views were very narrow. Instead, after a good walk round, I opted for a more 'comfortable' seat on a sloping rock - I invariably opt for the comfortable spots!

As with many other places which are popular with artists, there in the car park, when I got back to the car was another artist packing up to go home. We exchanged notes about day - and then another artist joined us. It's great painting out doors - just like being part of a club without a name where you don't know any of the members but you know who they are when you see them!

Thanks again to Ed Terpening of Life Plein Air for giving me the tip off about Point Lobos in his draft digest of plein air painting locations on the Northern California coastline which I was 'road-testing'!

Francis McComas is an Australian who worked his way to California as a merchant seaman at the end of the nineteenth century. He was a watercolourist who painted the southwestern states of the USA



  1. Wonderful, wonderful movement and color in this one, Katherine!

  2. Katherine, you are doing such a beautiful job of painting this area! I LOVE Point lobos, my favorite place to go in the area! The the drive down to Big Sur is wonderful also, but you're right, KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE ROAD! Thanks for sharing. I am with ya on Monterey and P.G being "much more my cup of tea".

  3. Wonderful sketch. You've really captured the dramatic movement of Point Lobos, one of my favoriate places to paint. It's also challenging, like trying to capture the grandure of the Grand Canyon.


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