Aloha from Waikiki, Hawaii

Aloha! I am in Hawaii this week and wanted to share a few photos from our first couple of days in Honolulu + Waikiki.

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First things first, here are a couple of pictures of the famous Waikiki Beach…

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I love that view.

I also love the view of this infinity pool along the beach…

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Awesome.

We went to a luau on our first night here, and it was so much fun. We went to the Paradise Cove luau and I’d recommend it if you are interested in learning a bit about Pacific Island culture while seeing a good show by talented locals and getting dinner.

We saw hula dancers and a man climb a tree to toss down orchid flowers (He made it look so easy!)

 

Here’s everyone lined up to learn about fishing traditions…

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We tried our hand at spear throwing…

…admired the plant life…

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…and enjoyed the sunset!

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The food has been great so far, too. I have been eating all the fish tacos. Haven’t met any here that I didn’t like!

We also tried this frozen treat, banán a dairy-free soft serve made from local bananas and fruit that tastes a bit like frozen yogurt. Yum.

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Now we are up on the north side of Oahu and excited to explore the area up here! I’ll share more photos from here later and in the mean time I’ll be posting over on instagram.

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Have you been to Hawaii? What was your favorite thing to do? 🙂

 

kate

How to Spend a Day in Cambria, California

Cambria, California is a small, lovely seaside town about 20 minutes north of Morro Bay. It makes a great stop if you are driving between LA and San Francisco, and is close to some cool sites in the central coast area like Hearst Castle, the elephant seals at San Simeon, and the Paso Robles winery region.

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We started our day with a visit to Moonstone Beach – a great place for a walk, a picnic, or to just enjoy the ocean. We’re visiting in April, so it was pretty windy + still a little chilly… but warm enough for a great walk. There’s a long boardwalk that makes the beach views accessible for everyone.

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There are also lots of hidden coastal access points off of Highway 1. We stopped at one rocky beach outcrop to explore a bit of the seaside by ourselves…

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In town, there are so many great restaurants, coffee shops, and boutique shops…

Plus plenty of art galleries to stop in, some antique shops, and a little playhouse connected to the Harmony cafe. We ate at the cafe, and if you are in town check the adjoining J. Buckley Theatre’s schedule for frequent events like live music, local plays, and retro movies…

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Our favorite dish was the sea bass – really fresh!

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We also ate at the Indigo Moon on the other side of Main Street.

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We more or less ordered one of everything and it was all delicious!

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I love hidden gem places like Cambria! Do you love little seaside towns, too?

 

Kate

 

Paintings and Palettes: New Videos

Happy Friday! I mentioned earlier this week that I’d been working on a video all about watercolor palette set-up, and I’m excited to share it now!

And last week’s video, in case you missed it, was an acrylic cloud painting tutorial for beginners. This is an easy painting using only a handful of colors!

 

I hope these videos are interesting or useful for you! If you like them, you can subscribe on my youtube channel to get a real-time update when they drop. I am hoping to make more videos because one of my goals for 2018 is to build up my video editing muscles! 🙂

Have a good weekend! I’m going to see the new Avengers movie – anyone else? So exciting!

 

Kate

New Spring 2018 Botanical Watercolors

Hi there! Hope you are having a great week so far. It has been warm and sunny this week here in Morro Bay, CA and I have been enjoying spending time outside!

You might have seen on instagram lately that I picked up a lot of Winsor and Newton watercolor paint that I bought on eBay a couple of weeks ago. I was excited to try out these watercolors – and I ended up creating a lot of florals!

My favorite might be this flower-heavy horizontal bouquet….

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Or maybe this orchid study. My favorite thing about this orchid painting? The gold shimmering highlight on that flower pot:

I love metallic accents like that.

I also made a couple of coordinated sets of watercolors – I get a lot of requests for matching pieces so I’ve been interested in creating more sets like this. They look great as part of a gallery wall set up!

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(Peaches always make me think of Georgia!)

Here are a few more photos…

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I had so. much. fun. painting these!

Since I’ve been on a watercolor craze lately – I’ve also been working on a video overview of how to set up a watercolor palette and I’m excited to share that with you guys soon!

These are up in my watercolors shop now.

 

xox

Kate

Painting the California Coastline – Part 2

I’m back with another update on my California Coastline art collection! In Part 1, I talked about some of the things that happen before any paint gets on the canvas. Here in Part 2, I’ll show some behind-the-scenes process for how I prepare my canvases.

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In general, I’ll prepare my canvases with a couple of rounds of priming and sanding. I’ll do this even for canvases I buy “pre-primed” – because I like to get the texture of the cotton to a smoothness I like. It’s just personal preference.

1 – Priming the Canvas

For me, priming is an important step that helps prepare the canvas for oil paint. I use a white acrylic primer that you can find at most craft or art supplies labeled as gesso. Having the primer as the base for my painting creates a continuous seal over the canvas, preventing my oil paints from being absorbed into the canvas over time. The primer will also help prevent fine cracks in the paint surface as the painting ages.

I use a wide brush like the one of the left to spread my white acrylic primer over an entire canvas (including the edges!) as a first layer.

2 – Sanding the canvas

Once the primer is dry (it doesn’t usually take more than 15 minutes), I’ll sand it gently. For sanding, I use a fine grain sandpaper – either 220 or 420 (maybe both!).

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Sanding the canvas between layers of primer helps me achieve the level of smoothness I want – the more layers of primer/sanding, the less texture when it is time to start the painting. I usually do two layers of primer with sanding after each layer because I like to strike that balance of a relatively smooth surface that also still has some tooth to it to grip my paint.

 

3 – Toning the Canvas

Earth tones are a popular choice for toning canvases – I especially like Raw Sienna or Yellow Ochre. For the ocean scenes I’ve been painting lately, my go-tos have been either Yellow Ochre or Naples Yellow – they give a nice warm feeling to the canvas and compliment my heavy use of blue in the final composition.

Here is an example of a canvas I toned with Naples Yellow from my recent time-lapse video:

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Preparing the canvases overall is a step I really enjoy – it helps me get in the zone before painting. It also helps me feel more confident – like I’m setting myself up for success by providing a strong foundation.

And a quick update on how the collection is coming along — remember the rough sketches from Part 1 where my ideas usually start? Here is one of those alongside how it ended up translating to the canvas:

 

I love a good before and after. 🙂

-Kate

A March Day Trip to Sequoia National Park

Earlier in March, we took a day trip from to Morro Bay to Sequoia National Park. There are lots of cool things to see and do in both Sequoia and the nearby Kings Canyon National Park, but our mission was to see some of the tall sequoias in the National Forest and especially the General Sherman Tree.

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My number one hot tip for journeying up to Sequoia Forest in March? Check the weather forecast first!

We were definitely caught off-guard to leave Morro Bay in the upper 60 degrees F and find ourselves in Sequoia facing this:

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And this!

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All the cloud/snow/fog in that photo is obscuring the mountainside – we were at an elevation of about 6,000 ft here.

We weren’t deterred. We rented some snow chains for our tires and my husband put them on. He is from Minnesota so I figured, he knows what he’s doing!

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He told me afterwards he had never put snow chains on a car before, but he had put them on a lawn mower. Apparently, in Minnesota they attach snowplows to lawn mowers to clear snow in the winter! Me (from Atlanta) and the man renting the snow chains to us (from California) were both gobsmacked to hear this.

When we made it to the pull off for the trail to the General Sherman tree, the lot was sparsely populated and looked like this:

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Still not deterred! We made our way to the tree in 6 inches of snow.

Worth it:

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The General Sherman Tree is the biggest living tree by volume in the world – 275 feet tall, and 36 feet in diameter….

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It was awe-inspiring to gaze up and take in the size of this tree surrounded by so many tall, beautiful sequoias in the forest.

We made it back down the winding mountain roads safely, turned in our snow chains, and headed on. On our way back we stopped at In-N-Out and chatted the whole way about what an odd but amazing day it had been.

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This was definitely a unique experience for me and a story I think I will be retelling for many years!

p.s. – But seriously… did anyone else know that there are places where they put snow chains on lawn mowers?? I learn amazing things all the time.

 

xo

Kate

Ocean Painting Time-lapse

Hi guys, hope you are having great week so far! It’s *almost* Friday and I am excited about that!

Earlier this week, I wrote about the preparation steps that are part of the process for creating an art collection. Today I’m sharing a time-lapse video of one of the California Coastline paintings:

In the video, I talk a little about some of the inspiration for this painting, as well as some practical insight into how I set up my palette, what tools I used, and how I moved through the stages of the painting.

Let me know what you think!

Have a good weekend,

Kate