hiking

Weekend 5/3/17

Field Tripping

I'm headed to Long Weekend in Oakland on Saturday for Alicia Dornadic's show New Words for Green. I am so excited for this show! Alicia makes beautiful work with a generally delicate touch. I have watched her work in Hawaii become more loose and bold. She joined us at the last Sofa Sketch and it was so much fun to have her there. I can't wait for this show!

You can follow her on Instagram.

Long Weekend is an awesome space too. I have not been in person yet, but from the internet, it looks like they have gorgeous art supplies and other cool stuff. 

Reading

I hate to be a buzzkill, but this article about parts of Australia's Great Barrier Reef dying is making me sad. When are we going to learn to change???

Seeing

Don't go thinking I sketched this!  Suhita Shirodkar , urban sketcher extraordinaire did

Don't go thinking I sketched this! Suhita Shirodkar, urban sketcher extraordinaire did

A friend and regular at Sofa Sketch, Suhita has been capturing disappearing signs around San Jose. The site gives me a nice nostalgic feeling as I've lived here so long and know them well. I love her style between the freeness, accuracy, washes, line and color. A true master and total joy of a human, 

I love the illustrator Christoph Niemann. I recently mentioned the episode about him on the Netflix series Abstract. He recently went to the North Pole and made some paintings. I love how he only captures what is necessary. And you must check out this animated version on the National Geographic site.

Watching

Yosemite Part One

In March of this year, I won the permit lottery to climb Half Dome at Yosemite. Last year, I wanted to accomplish some sort of grand physical feat. This year, after talking with my friend Rachel about hiking Half Dome, we both applied for a permit. I applied early the first day applications opened and selected a few full moon dates. A month or so later, I received the good news that we would be hiking Half Dome for the Harvest Moon. it is fairly difficult, though many do it and it doesn't require any expert training. I imagine you can't be too scared of heights and you have to be able to hike 14 strenuous miles. 

An old book and a painting from when I was a kid.

An old book and a painting from when I was a kid.

When I was a kid, my parents would take me to the bookstore and I was allowed to pick out one book. One time, I picked out the above Sierra Guide. I have perused this book since I was about 8 years old and the cover picture of El Capitan has stayed with me. I also painted this picture as a teen with some cheap paint on board. Still, as a child or adult, I never visited Yosemite, fearing the endless tour buses and crowds I had heard about. I felt I had seen enough Ansel Adams photographs and could just leave it to my imagination. 

Nick at El Capitan

Nick at El Capitan

Soon after entering Yosemite, you see El Capitan. It's no wonder that everyone uses the words majestic, magical and captivating when they describe Yosemite. It really is. All the Yosemite photos in the world can't capture actually being there. We stayed at Upper Pines Campground, which was a bit crowded but really it's the company and surround landscape that matters.

Rachel, very happy to be in Yosemite.

Rachel, very happy to be in Yosemite.

Rachel had warned us there was a fire last week in Yosemite. There was also one that started the day before our arrival. Being the positive group we were, we allowed fate to decide whether we would actually be able to climb Half Dome...well, actually the rangers decided by closing the trail gate. When we were informed of the closing, I can't say I wasn't disappointed. I had been looking forward to this for 6 months! 

The mystical Yosemite Valley

The mystical Yosemite Valley

We decided to do the the Four Mile Trail as an alternative since it would be a 9.4 mile roundtrip hike. As you can see the views are spectacular. Just layers of rock and layers of trees under a gigantic sky.

Above the valley.

Above the valley.

Getting higher.

Getting higher.

And even higher.

And even higher.

We saw a double rainbow over the valley while walking through some rain. It was one of the most beautiful views I have ever seen. The rain cooled us down as we pushed ourselves to the top. The thunder made me just a little nervous, but luckily it cleared up.

We're giddy to be here.

We're giddy to be here.

People on the trail laughed at my reaction after coming around the bend and seeing this view of Half Dome. It sort of appeared magically and I couldn't get over its beauty. 

Another surreal peak of Half Dome.

Another surreal peak of Half Dome.

Um, yeah.

Um, yeah.

Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir spent 4 days up here at Glacier Point. I am thankful this park is preserved.

3,214 feet above Yosemite Valley

3,214 feet above Yosemite Valley

Hahahaha. We convinced Bryan to do this. Such a good sport.

Hahahaha. We convinced Bryan to do this. Such a good sport.

The whole crew.

The whole crew.

Bryan and I hiking back down. 

Bryan and I hiking back down. 

Glacier Point from the valley. Yup, we hiked that.

Glacier Point from the valley. Yup, we hiked that.

Camp dinner with my sweet crew. Utterly grateful for to have these people in my life.

Camp dinner with my sweet crew. Utterly grateful for to have these people in my life.

Aquarius and the moon

Aquarius and the moon

When my friend Gabby looked at her sky app, we found that our sign, Aquarius, was on the full Harvest Moon. How perfect is that? We're definitely going to apply for the permit lottery again next year. I had hoped they would give me other options, but I was sent a refund the day after we were supposed to hike. Yosemite was as stunning as I imagined and then some. It was more populated than I am used to for camping. I also thought frequently of the original Miwok who were booted from the area and how odd it was to see tour buses and campgrounds of people spending time enjoying Yosemite in their place. It is sacred and beautiful land and I felt it to be a privilege to be there. 

Stay tuned for part two tomorrow. 

 

Labor Day Weekend

It felt like all I did was work this Labor Day weekend, but between a scenic hike and working on new art for a show, it didn't feel like work at all. 

The crescent moon over some gold fringe. 

The crescent moon over some gold fringe. 

First off, we celebrated a good friend's birthday. This was the only photo I got, but I thought that it fit the relaxing mood of the weekend. His girlfriend did such a lovely job decorating.

Berry Creek Falls trail

Berry Creek Falls trail

We hiked to Berry Creek Falls on Sunday to prepare for hiking Yosemite's Half Dome next weekend (still can't believe I will be doing this!!!). It was a 10.5 mile hike. I saw the warning sign that it would be strenuous, but it felt pretty easy for the first few miles. By the end, I felt a few blisters and my legs were shutting down. Maybe my tough workout the day before didn't help things or the fact that we finished the hike in 4 hours roundtrip, not the 6 posted. Still, I love the feeling of a grueling hike. 

Big Basin pines.

Big Basin pines.

I love the curve of the tree line above. It was an incredibly beautiful California day on Sunday. Perfectly blue, perfectly sunny.

Berry Creek Falls

Berry Creek Falls

At Berry Creek Falls, we saw butterflies fluttering around and of course a rainbow arced in front of it. We were expecting a unicorn next. 

Bryan tending to the map.

Bryan tending to the map.

We had lunch at this tiny waterfall. I lay back on the ground becoming one with nature or something like that. Of course when I sat up, my tangled hair was covered in twigs. Oops. 

A tiny Rachel amongst the green and blue.

A tiny Rachel amongst the green and blue.

I love taking pictures of peepholes in the canopy of trees. There is something about this color combo that reminds me of being a kid exploring the Santa Cruz Mountains. 

The colors of decaying leaves are something else. 

The colors of decaying leaves are something else. 

The Beach House, work in progress.

The Beach House, work in progress.

And a new painting for my show at Seeing Things Gallery that opens on Friday, September 5th. I spent a lot of time this weekend working on this one. Hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend! 

Mid-Summer Work and Mid-Summer Play

It's been an interesting summer between work and this strong desire to venture out and camp or take a vacation. There's too much work to warrant a lengthy vacation, so I've gotten creative about enjoying this summer. I just went on my third one night camping trip and I have to say that it is so much better than not going at all! 

Mission Peak

Mission Peak

On July 12, a group of friends and I headed up to Fremont to hike Mission Peak. It's a hike I've done before, but not quite like this. We started at 6pm, so the skies were still blue and the sun was strong. As the evening moved on, we saw the fog roll in around the bay, city lights come on, the sunset on one side and the moonrise on the other side. A lot of other people had the same idea, so the trail was crowded, but it was a really magical experience with some good friends. 

Garden of Eden

Garden of Eden

The following week, I headed down to the Garden of Eden at the San Lorenzo River and to camp at Henry Cowell State Park with a couple of friends. As I said before, I've been spending done some one night camping trips this summer since I've been too busy to go longer. I have to recommend it! I did spend time sketching out ideas for new projects too. 

Sketching the Garden of Eden swimming hole at the Henry Cowell Campground

Sketching the Garden of Eden swimming hole at the Henry Cowell Campground

Henry Cowell overlook

Henry Cowell overlook

Camping at Henry Cowell is different from a lot of sites in the area. You are amongst oak rather than redwood trees. It's really beautiful and there's this overlook with a 360 degree view. Next time, I'm going to head up there to stargaze!

Pajaro Dunes rental

Pajaro Dunes rental

And finally last weekend, I went to Pajaro Dunes, a beach resort in Watsonville. It was so beautiful! I had work to do, so I tried to be very disciplined while I was out there. At least I had this great view!

First sketches

First sketches

I managed to get down to the beach to swim, bury Bryan and play with his nieces at the beach. It was such a blast! 

Back to work, I'm tracing over an early sketch on the window of the rental. Illustration work is much different from painting. It's much more of a planned process. 

...And back to the beach! We ate at Phil's Fish Market for dinner. Had a super bowl of cioppino. You have to eat here if you are in the area. You also have to head out back at sunset. Whales breached as the intense sky and iridescent water changed to every color imaginable. 

All in all, it's been a hard working summer, but these little breaks are needed to revive me!

Joshua Tree, Arizona and New Mexico Pt. 1: California

As a California girl, I love that I don't need to leave my state to experience mountains, sea and desert. This year marks the second year of a new annual tradition to head down to the desert during the holidays to decompress.

From December 26th through January 2, I visited Joshua Tree, Arizona and New Mexico. I had been working on my show at Seeing Things Gallery for months and preparing for the holiday season prior to leaving. I had been working non-stop and although it was good practice in self-discipline and creativity, I was literally giddy to be out on the open road and not cooped up inside.

It has taken me a few weeks to post about this amazing trip. In this time, I have thought about how I can create an environment at home that is similar to how I felt on vacation. I have also been working hard at getting organized this month so that I can have a more smooth year, especially since I have a lot of exciting things planned (see my New Year post).

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Pioneertown Motel exterior

Pioneertown Motel exterior

We stayed at the Pioneertown Motel in Pioneertown. With a population of 350, the town resides up in the hills near Joshua Tree. The town itself was built as a set for Western movies and the hotel was where actors would stay. Can you imagine how I felt making this my home after months of chaotic work? 

The bathroom shelf.

The bathroom shelf.

The Barbara Stanwyck room. She actually stayed here! 

The Barbara Stanwyck room. She actually stayed here! 

Pioneertown, a strip of old western buildings, some still in use as shops.

Pioneertown, a strip of old western buildings, some still in use as shops.

This was my third time altogether in Joshua Tree National Park. I love that cell phones lose service soon after you enter. That's when I know I'm in a good place. We climbed Ryan Mountain and were rewarded with 360 degree views of the park.

Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree National Park

Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree National Park

Bryan on Ryan Mountain, doing his best Ansel Adams

Bryan on Ryan Mountain, doing his best Ansel Adams

A panoramic view from Ryan Mountain

A panoramic view from Ryan Mountain

Peak hikes are my favorite. Such a good workout and always worth the climb.

Peak hikes are my favorite. Such a good workout and always worth the climb.

The next day we hiked a small and lesser known trail in the park that was recommended by a ranger. It seemed like nothing special at first, but took us by surprise with its wild rock formations.

Cyclops eating a rock?

Cyclops eating a rock?

Channeling my inner Georgia O'Keeffe by sketching some rocks.

Channeling my inner Georgia O'Keeffe by sketching some rocks.

I'm so glad we found out about this "secret" trail. I found this near-perfect circle in nature.

I'm so glad we found out about this "secret" trail. I found this near-perfect circle in nature.

Rose quartz in my hand from along the trail and quartz lined throughout the rock.

Rose quartz in my hand from along the trail and quartz lined throughout the rock.

My backpack with patches from Costa Rica, Maine and New Mexico.

My backpack with patches from Costa Rica, Maine and New Mexico.

I finally made it to the Salton Sea! If you don't already know, it looks like an oasis in the desert: a large body of water sparkling in the middle of dry and dusty land. It was created at the turn of the century by diverting the Colorado River. Long story short, it is a heavily salinated body of water that causes a strange ecological environment. We were on the eastern side, at Bombay Beach.

Bombay Beach, Salton Sea, CA

Bombay Beach, Salton Sea, CA

Here are some of the obligatory fish photos that everyone takes when they visit the Salton Sea.

The Ski Inn, Bombay Beach, Salton Sea

The Ski Inn, Bombay Beach, Salton Sea

The Ski Inn bartender on the left was a funny man. These two gentlemen could not have been more perfect in this old bar. I was so glad we visited since it's for sale and you never know the fate of these old places. The people here were so nice and quirky. One man, in his ATV gear, talked about how the area flooded in the 70's when he was a kid. He rowed his boat through houses looking for candy. Definitely an upcoming painting...

Graffiti in Bombay Beach

Graffiti in Bombay Beach

I didn't get too many photographs of the trailers and homes in town. I felt that I wanted to respect the local's privacy. Here's one example of the graffiti and artwork you see sprayed on buildings around town. Bombay Beach was so surreal. It definitely seemed like a place where people escape society and just live a little differently. I plan on returning to check out the west coast of the Salton Sea next year. Well, that was Pt. 1. I'll be posting the other half of my trip in Arizona and New Mexico next time.