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Heads Carolina, Tails California And Hurricane Flo... Florida

When you live in Charleston, everyday can feel like a vacation getaway. But it's still nice to change up the scenery from time to time. I had the pleasure of traveling to Southern California and Florida this summer with my plein air gear in tow, of course. One trip was eagerly planned and the other was "mandatory". Both were lots of fun! My plein air backpack officially has east AND west coast sand inside. A combo as unique as, "That's so gnarly, y'all!"

I've been to Southern California several times to visit my sister and best friend, but my trip in late August was different. With my STRADA Easel in tow for the first time on the West Coast, most days felt more like a dream... Lo Jolla in particular. (Insert heart eyes!)

California coastalscape oil painting

I felt like the Little Mermaid perched up on her rock taking a look at... what are those called?... CLIFFS? (Must read in the voice of Ariel. ;)

california coastalscape oil painting

This day was certainly a highlight as the waves were crashing oh so close. I felt a few sprinkles here and there. Ahhhh how refreshing!

California coastalscape oil painting

I enjoyed my time in La Jolla so much that I had to return the next day to observe and paint from a different view. I set up near the famous La Jolla Cove where tourists gather daily to view the seals on the rocks below.

California landscape oil painting

I then traveled a bit inland to Temecula Wine Country with my sister who was set to photograph a wedding in the area. I set up from above a hilltop at Calloway Winery. I painted while listening to live music and trying to drown out the bachelorette parties partaking in all of the winery festivities

(can't blame them).

When I wrapped up this painting, I went over to run my sister's photo booth while she did what she does best... photograph! (Check her out: ) This Charleston gal was so chilly once the sun went down that I begged the wedding planners to get a fire going in the nearby pit. Yep, a fire going in AUGUST! So needless to say, the west coast cliffs weren't the only things that were challenging me.

California coastalscape oil painting

My next day out painting was spent with my new friend, Renee, whom I met this past spring at the Plein Air Convention and Expo (PACE) in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She lives by the beach in the gorgeous Corona Del Mar in Orange County. The lighting on this iconic slanting tree and cliff was so lovely. The warm sun hitting my shoulders and the slightly chilled water slipping over my toes added to the heavenly experience as I painted next to Renee.

California coastalscape oil painting

This particular day out in San Diego was interesting for a couple of reasons. I was there because it was close by to my sister's engagement shoot and not because I was overly excited about the view like in La Jolla or Corona Del Mar. This was also my quickest painting as I painted only as long as my sister was shooting being that we rode together. It's funny how often times the plein air pieces where I have the least expectations and the least amount of time turn out best. A few residents walking the neighborhood ensured me that I was capturing the energy of this golden hour view well. Yay!

california oil painting

Here is my finished 11" x 14" plein air painting which turned out to be my favorite piece from my SoCal adventures. (sold)


Not long after my return from California, Charleston was ordered a mandatory evacuation due to the potential threats of Hurricane Florence. I live downtown Charleston where the flood risks are high on a regular rainy day (especially at high tide). It was a no-brainer. I gathered back up my plein air gear and decided that a trip south to visit my sister in her new Jacksonville, Florida home sounded like lots more fun than possible power outages and street "lakes".

florida beach sunset

A hurricane? You would have never known it in Florida!

florida sunset

The clouds were like candy for my eyes every evening!

florida marsh

Flamingos? In Florida? Yeaaaa, I didn't think so. Google says these pretties are Roseate Spoonbills. They're sure to make a painting soon.

beach photography

Luckily, I had my sister along on my day trips to Amelia Island and Big Talbot Island to ensure my camera settings were accurate. I was giddy to be adding so many new photos to my inspiration file.

beach oil painting

Here's one of my favorite studio pieces from my Florida reference photos thus far. I was told that Big Talbot Island had a very similar feel to Charleston's Botany Bay with its untouched, driftwood filled beach. Indeed it did!

beach oil painting

Here I am painting out on Atlantic Beach where I met a fellow SC artist who'd also decided to have a "hurrication" in Florida.

Beach oil painting

This piece was done out on Ponte Vera Beach and it's my favorite plein air piece done in Florida. I am most proud of it because I literally fought these stinkin' BITING flies the entire time, yet I followed my intuition and persevered (blooding ankles and all!!).

Now to sale some more paintings so I can travel some more

in order to paint some more in order to sale some more.

Then... REPEAT!


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