May 8 – We knew we were in for some challenges, weather-wise, when we arrived at a rocky beach in Pacific Grove. The wind was so strong that we set up behind a group of large boulders as a windbreak to prevent our canvases from getting blown right off our easels.
I noticed right away that I was a bit off. Everywhere that Alan set up his easel, it seemed to block my view. I mentioned this once or twice, but by the third time it crossed my mind that he may have been doing this to tease me. As I watched him settle in and begin to brush on his sky, I realized that no, he had just found his perfect view for the day. To complain any further would just sound bitchy. I moved to the other side of the rock pile and started to sketch out my scene of Lover’s Point. The set of the rocks prevented me from placing my easel with a straight on view so I had to keep turning my head. It was a lovely view, but each time I turned my head, I was immediately distracted by the powerful waves crashing directly in front of me. Finally, I’d had enough and looking forward, I painted over my sketch. First, there came a narrow bar of pale lavender blue with a couple of streaks and puffs of clouds. Next a deeper ocean blue with a few white caps. Finally, I arrived at the sandy shore with a large rock that looked like an outstretched hand, palm up. This is the rock that pushed my decision to change views after investing a fair amount of time in my initial sketch of Lover’s Point.
The wind got stronger and the waves crashed harder onto the rocks below me. Great plumes of spray formed again and again. At first, I waited for them to die down. I had tried before, unsuccessfully, to capture the power of the crash accompanied by the delicacy of the spray. Yet, all previous attempts looked contrived. Today, throwing caution to the wind, quite literally, I took out a new palette knife and slathered on some white paint. Hmm, not bad, I thought, surprised. Encouraged, I reached for the toothbrush I always carry, but never use – until now. I flicked spray with abandon, slathered paint like butter on toast and got completely lost in the process of just having fun.
“See those clouds on the horizon? It looks like it’s raining out there over the ocean,” I heard Alan say from somewhere that sounded very far away. I ignored him. I was having too much fun. A few minutes later he said, “We should probably pack up soon so we don’t get caught in the rain.” Rain? No way, I thought. It’s still bright and sunny. Here’s the problem with my logic on this one. Alan was born in Monterey. I, on the other hand, was born in New York. Clearly, I am not the expert on Monterey weather. Unphased, I happily continued to paint, until I felt the first icy droplets. They were really no more than a mist initially, but that changed quickly. Realizing my error in judgement, I scrambled to put my things away so they didn’t get wet. My wood painting panel painting lay on the ground, sadly abandoned in my haste to get everything buttoned up and protected from the elements. All of my beautiful, new explorations were now in danger of being washed away! Alan, my lovely knight, quickly scooped up my painting and took it to the car. I ran, hobbling, easel and chair quickly encased were slung over one shoulder and my paint bucket with unwashed brushes in dirty water sloshing, was gripped tightly in my other hand. I slammed everything but the water bucket into the hatchback of my car. Frantically, I began to wash my brushes in the pelting rain that was working its way up my back, under my coat.
I slammed the car door shut and gave a loud exhale. “Why are you always right?” I asked and Alan just smiled.