Last week I ran off for two days to the Russian River with my friend Kelli. When we camp in the North Bay, I take Caltrain to go meet her. It makes the trip somewhat adventurous. I usually sketch a little something while on the train and this time I ended up with a few pages of passenger sketches. It's always a challenge to try not to stare at people and be sneaky when you are drawing them.
Our first stop was breakfast at Hallie's Diner in Petaluma. We both got the Maya Tipico and it was great: black beans, eggs, plantains. That with some fresh squeezed orange juice perked me up.
We rolled into Guerneville around 2pm and hit the grocery store before the campground. I love that Guerneville has a store called Food for Humans right next to the Safeway. I have to say I miss the old school health food stores my mom took me to as a kid. The big box health food stores make me feel that it's a good thing people are increasing their interest in healthy living, but these little guys are my favorite.
Outside of the grocery store, two young girls were giving away kittens. They were so cute (kittens and kids). The girls really wanted me to take one. I hope they all found a good home.
We found a great beach spot thanks to Kelli. It was nice and secluded and had this little view of houses and the bridge. Everything looked so green and blue out there. People of all ages were kayaking down the river.
See? Beach to ourselves. With the exception of a few locals chatting with us a couple times, we were pretty much the only people here. I love swimming in natural water while staring up at trees and giant birds. We made the best picnic too.
We stayed at Bullfrong Pond Campground. It's a 3-mile single lane trek up past a redwood grove. This was our view near the campground. It was so nice up here, away from town and barely anyone was camped here during the week. We came up to sit at the picnic tables and watch the sunset both nights.
I'm not always one to paint plein air, but I really liked doing it while on this little trip. The sunset view was pretty magical as you can see here. At first with the painting, I didn't want to paint a sunset, but a streak of paint got in the sky, so that changed.
I managed to get two paintings done for the 100 Day Project while I was out there. It helps that Kelli paints too.
We did a 3 or 4 mile hike. It was super hot, but nice to get to the Gilliam River. I found this giant swing-like limb and had to climb up on it. It was so nice to be down here and away from the sun.
Since I spent two nights looking at this view, this painting feels special to me. I also really like it when my landscapes take on more surreal look. It reminded me of the work of Dustin Adams, a friend who makes beautiful photos exposed to colored light and holographic paper. Not exactly like it, but maybe how he might see things.
All in all, a perfect two day getaway. Since I took time off during the week, I had to work all weekend and it was so insanely productive and full of ideas. I worked on commission sketches, painted, started a book proposal, made a flyer for tonight's sketch night and added new things to my website (including gift certificates!). I think I need to start doing this monthly! Thanks Kelli.