forest

Woodsy Weekend

It's been a long time since I've written anything here. I've been wanting to get back to this blog, but it's just easier to post a quick photo on Instagram. Yet, I want to get back to it so here it is.

A couple weekends ago, I spent time in the woods with my husband and dog. I am starting to think we have a knack for finding the best spots on Airbnb and VRBO. Sure, there are amazing $400 a night places that look like a dream, but the ones we find are way better than pictured and a lot less money.

Our actual back deck view.

Our actual back deck view.

We headed past the Golden Gate Bridge, which is always good in my book. I can't count the times I've said I could live in Marin or Sonoma County, which my husband laughs at. You'd understand why if you were familiar with Marin housing prices! They should give me a discount because, you know, my name :) This area has the best mix of ocean, forest, river, farm fresh food and seafood. Maybe all I need in the world.

Cat corner.JPG

I loved this corner of the cabin: a purple and orange cat painting with records (including Patti Smith, Sam Cooke, Leadbelly and George Harrison). Listening to records while painting and looking at the view in the first picture was pretty much the best way to spend the day.

Cabin interior.JPG

With this painting, I wanted to keep it super loose and maybe even abstracted. I tried painting it once and realized the green chair was too big, so I started it over. It turned out way more detailed than I wanted it to be. I have been thinking about this lately.: how I want to keep things loose and wild, but they end up rendered and as they should be. Maybe I shouldn't fight how I naturally paint?

These Douglas Iris were everywhere

These Douglas Iris were everywhere

There were a million wildflowers out: Indian Paintbrush, Douglas Iris, yarrow, poppies and many more. We tried to go on the Chimney Rock hike in Point Reyes, but they don't allow dogs. I plan on going back next weekend since the hike supposedly has over 90 types of wildflowers!

So many poppies.

So many poppies.

Pride of Madeira shrub

Pride of Madeira shrub

Ice plants in Point Reyes 

Ice plants in Point Reyes 

This was one of the prettiest places I have ever been. The water was a mix of blue and aqua, flowers in full bloom and waves crashing around. I love these kinds of "you can tell the earth is round from up here" views.

An imperfect photo of a perfect sunset in Stinson Beach.

An imperfect photo of a perfect sunset in Stinson Beach.

We stopped in Bolinas for beach time and dinner at my favorite Coast Cafe. Then watched the sunset along 1 at Stinson Beach. Best weekend ever!

Cabin Weekend in Tahoe

Ah, Lake Tahoe. Bright blue, shimmery and clear... well no, not when the forecast was cloudy and rainy. Last Friday, I left for Tahoe with my boyfriend and his family for his dad's 60th birthday. We all knew it was going to be cooler and and raining, so we packed up our coats and headed to this cabin in Tahoe City. It was a great weekend with a great family (only bits and pieces of them shown here).

Feeling pretty lucky knowing I would be here all weekend. 

Feeling pretty lucky knowing I would be here all weekend. 

I had felt a little worried about going away for 4 days when I have a lot of work to do, but I surrendered myself and just enjoyed the weekend. It was pretty easy to relax here!

Quite a dreamy cabin, huh?

Quite a dreamy cabin, huh?

Despite the weather, I knew my bag of paints and book would be of use for the weekend. We were able to go for a run the first day since it was cloudy, but not yet pouring rain. Just as we left, a mama bear and her cub walked up behind the cabin! It was my first time seeing bears in the wild. In all my years of camping, I had heard them at night at campsites, but never seen them. It was super cool! I knew I had to paint it. 

Gouache painting of bears at the cabin.

Gouache painting of bears at the cabin.

Dinner time!

Dinner time!

We ate well all weekend, being sure to include salads with all our decadence! Everyone made such good food. The younger girls put together the beautiful pine cone floral centerpiece gathered from outside. Happy birthday to Victor! 

The girls "acting natural."

The girls "acting natural."

There was a covered porch swing!

Love that A-frame!

Love that A-frame!

And a pool table upstairs!

Chess!

Chess!

The rainy and sunny road south.

The rainy and sunny road south.

After a couple days at the cabin, we headed to South Lake Tahoe to have brunch and check out the area. I had never been to this part of the lake before. It's a lot more crowded than north Tahoe, but still nice. It was a rainy day, but still so beautiful. 

Gloomy weather in South Tahoe.

Gloomy weather in South Tahoe.

And the clouds came back in! Personally, I was ready to get back to the cabin. I was so inspired to work!

So many trees...

So many trees...

I am ready to go this week! Surrounded by trees, wonderful people, rain and being in an A-Frame all weekend gave me a little boost for my work week:)

 

 

 

 

A Weekend in Tahoe National Forest

There's something about getting away from cell phone service, being under the tallest of tall trees and jumping into cold mountain waters that reinvigorates the soul like nothing else. This weekend, I went with some very good friends to camp in the Tahoe National Forest. 

Endless shades of green in  Tahoe National Forest . 

Endless shades of green in Tahoe National Forest

We basically talked about this trip loosely for a couple weeks, but we didn't even book a site until a week before. Our goal was to find some swimming holes and that's about it. We headed north on 5, then over to 80 east and finally up 49. The last time I had been camping in the area was when I backpacked to Island Lake near Grouse Ridge, which is a bit south of where we ended up. This time, we were camping between Downieville and Sierra City, two tiny towns in the mountains. If you ever head up this way, try to get all your supplies in advance. Both towns have stores, but I doubt they are open very late. 

Gurdy, being cool in the van.

Gurdy, being cool in the van.

Union Flat Campground, site 2

Union Flat Campground, site 2

Our campsite was rather cozy, but we didn't have any neighbors and basically had our own private bathrooms since there are only 11 sites at Union Flat Campground. We liked the green spiky plants growing around our site and could hear the river rushing by. There are a lot of campgrounds in the area, but we stayed here because it was reservable and we were arriving late.

North Yuba River

North Yuba River

This swimming hole was at the campsite. Bryan was brave enough to jump right into the river in the morning. The rest of us were leery of the gigantic trees shading the area, so we opted to swim later at a sunnier spot. 

Shannon and I watched.

Shannon and I watched.

We loaded up the van and headed up to find a spot closer to Sierra City that the ranger suggested for us. It was a bit of a downhill, but we scoped out a swimming hole that was just perfect.

Good times

Good times

As you can see above and below, it was the most perfect and beautiful spot. Not pictured is the waterfall to the left that you can only see when you are in the water. We all jumped off this spot and swam around for the day.

Pre-jump

Pre-jump

Log rides

Log rides

We had the place to ourselves for hours before a couple of nice families showed up. Then we headed back to make the best burgers ever with kale salad and sweet potatoes. Though we may have had some beer and wine this weekend, we kept the food tasty and healthy. If there's one thing I've learned camping this summer, it's to further simplify what you bring and what you cook. 

South Yuba River Bridge

South Yuba River Bridge

The last day, we head down to South Yuba River. Even at South Yuba River, a place fairly crowded with locals and visitors, you can find spots to yourself like we did here. Just head even a little further up or down river and you're good to go. It's super beautiful and there are natural slides into deep pools. You can see the trees aren't so tall and it's a bit more dry down here. It definitely makes for warmer waters to swim in, but of course, more people. 

South Yuba River

South Yuba River

South Yuba - check out that slide under the bridge!

South Yuba - check out that slide under the bridge!

The view from our tent. You can imagine all the stars we saw from here.

The view from our tent. You can imagine all the stars we saw from here.

Take me back already! Every time I head out to the woods, it makes me feel like I shouldn't leave. I get so much clarity. I even brought art supplies with me and didn't use any of them. Just spent time with good people and stared at nature. Ahhh...

New Campfire Art Print Available

I'm a little sad it's been so warm here in California. I like to camp in the winter when it's cold and there are less people, but I have a feeling we are skipping winter with the drought and warm weather we are experiencing. Still, I will be camping in a few weeks and I thought it fitting to post my art Firewater, which is now available as a print in my Etsy shop. I hope you have a serene weekend.

Firewater,  available  here

Firewater, available here

Marin in Marin

As much as I work, I find it super important to drive away and be in beautiful places. Last Sunday, I spent the day at Mt. Tamalpais near Stinson Beach. About three years ago I camped here and I did a photo shoot in the area earlier this summer. I returned for some tranquility and found one of the most beautiful hikes ever.  We roamed through fields with ocean views, trekked into damp woods and then above the fog. Whether it's blue skied or foggy, it's perfect.

The Matt-Davis Steep Ravine Loop is about 7 miles and as you will see in the photos below, stunning and always changing. 

Good beginnings start with winding staircases. That's  Bryan  way up there.

Good beginnings start with winding staircases. That's Bryan way up there.

Dense branches everywhere and lots of ispiring patterns.

Dense branches everywhere and lots of ispiring patterns.

Lush ferns and walking along a creek. 

Lush ferns and walking along a creek. 

A foggy trail above Stinson Beach. 

A foggy trail above Stinson Beach. 

The ladder made this trail extra cool.

The ladder made this trail extra cool.

This part of the trail wove in and out of the fog.  

This part of the trail wove in and out of the fog.  

...And it cleared up! The trail was blue skied once we hit the top. 

...And it cleared up! The trail was blue skied once we hit the top. 

We wrapped up the hike around 6 or so. The thick trees made a nice peephole to the sea.

We wrapped up the hike around 6 or so. The thick trees made a nice peephole to the sea.

It's always good to get lost. 

It's always good to get lost.