Saturday, September 02, 2006

Thursday 27th July: Carmel by the Sea - and a marine inversion

Leftovers from lunch
Pen and sepia ink and coloured pencil in Moleskine sketchbook 8" x 10"

On Thursday I decided to go to Carmel pr 'Carmel-by-the Sea'. I've always been intrigued by it as a place, ever since I learned about it when Clint Eastwood was Mayor!

The above sketch is as colourful as it got that day as the whole of the Monterey peninsula seemed to be suffering from a marine inversion. The sky was grey, the clouds were very low, the sea was grey - and the 'plein air' was hovering just above 60 degrees - where was the sunshine?

I did try to do a plein air pastel painting on the beach - honest - but it was soooooooooooo cold! Sitting still means you get a lot colder than when moving around. I found after not very long that I just couldn't focus and was continuously thinking about long it would take to turn back to my hotel and go and find as many layers as I could. It wasn't as if I hadn't come out prepared - but I was still very cold. So I have a pastel which has been started and which I will probably try and finish - but it'll have to be with the aid of photos and my very vivid memories of that morning on the beach! This is the view I would have been doing if it had been warmer - and the view would have been bluer instead of grey!

This is the very uninteresting sketch of the view from table at lunch at the Portabella restaurant. I had the option of sitting outside but inside was warmer! This was compensated for by the much more interesting view on my plate - the remnants of which you can see in the sketch at the top of the blog. The restaurant gets great reviews in Trip Adviser whereas I'd have characterised is as good but not stunning.

In the afternoon, I decided to have a tour of the art galleries in Carmel to see what rated as art in a place like Carmel given that it is a small community which was founded by artists and writers. There are an enormous number of artists associated with the galleries - and there was a very wide range of work on offer. However most of the art had little or no association with Carmel or Northern California and I didn't 'rate' quite a lot of it.

Looking back there's only one gallery where I can remember contemporary and/or plein air local landscapes which I liked. Given its location and artists, I think it was the Nancy Dodds Gallery which describes itself as a world away from the rest of Carmel Galleries - which this gallery certainly was!

This sketch of a tree at one of the intersections on Ocean was largely done because I'd been on my feet for too long and desperately needed to sit down for at 10 minutes!

In the evening I decided to walk around the corner from the inn I was staying at in Monterey and visited Stokes restaurant. It has some appalling reviews in its entry in Trip Adviser and I can only assume that it has changed hands or management recently as my own experience was very much better. In fact I'd go so far as to say it was probably the best restaurant meal on the whole three weeks.

Stokes Restaurant
pen and sepia ink and coloured pencil in Moleskine sketchbook 8" x 10"

It's a bit silly though - having two large sketches of the meals and restaurants as the highlight of my visit to the Monterey peninsula!

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  1. Oh, what fun! I especially love the after-meal sketch. A long time ago, I lived for a while in Carmel. It was beautiful, but I never got over the feeling that I'm an East Coast girl and could never be at home for long on that other coast. Did you have similar feelings on your travels in the western US?

  2. I love your food/restaurant sketches! Food is such a luxury...especially good food! You're an inspriation to keep a better sketch book. I hope you have enjoyed your travels.

  3. Katherine,

    Living 15 miles from Carmel for 10 years, I can honestly say, the town is a bit full of its self. I actually like the feelings of both Pacific Grove and Monterey, as far as towns go, much better. It is interesting that they shoulder Carmel but Carmel gets all the press, it is fun looking though. I am glad you found some interesting meals and restaurants to sketch. The coast and Monterey wharf can be really interesting places to sketch. Wish I was into drawing when I lived there. Great job on sketching your meal, makes me want Cioppino!

  4. Carmel (and the Northern California coast in general), is best in the Fall, and to some degree Winter. You don't get the flog and low clouds then. Sorry the weather wasn't cooperative!

    I love the sketch of Stokes.

  5. The coloured pencils with pen work so well in the moleskin - I love these sketches and you have inspired me to try coloured pencil - I have used them with graphite for some of my night sketches and find the coloured pencil bleeds sometimes through if I spray the page to fix the graphite.

  6. Alison - Moleskines luuuurve coloured pencil. I wish I knew what paper it was as I'd be ordering reams of it!

    Laura, Tami - I have to say Carmel was not somewhere I'd choose to stay for any length of time - I'm glad I went through. Now Pacific Grove and Monterey seemed to be much more 'my cup of tea'!

    Cynthia - glad you liked the food sketches - more to come!

    Ed - just my luck getting an inversion! I think I've had a fair old variety of weather on this trip! The 50 degree drop in temperature was quite something though!!!


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