I think most artists dream about standing on the seashore, happily painting, if not the actual scene, an impression of the sights before them. I am no exception. Given a choice between working in my studio or going out into the open and capturing what I see, I would choose the outdoors any day. Well, almost any day! When I sold a large painting a couple of years ago, we packed up and pursued a dream – standing on the shore of the Pacific and seeing what I could do.

Lesson one: Nature is capricious! It was cold, it was wet, and foggy. Temperatures in the 40’s, and a cold wind blowing off the ocean. The place was gorgeous – literally within sight of world famous Pebble Beach Golf Course, I was in tall cotton. Unfortunately I come from South Texas, where in September the temps can easily still reach 100+. My fingers turned forty shades of blue, and my ears a brilliant Crimson.

Fortunately, I had brought a coat. Painting outdoors has to be done quickly, too. If the paints aren’t drying the shadows are moving, or, in California, the fog is coming in like a freight train!

My little easel, while convenient, is none too stable in gusty breeze.

Still, there is a good deal of pleasure looking back and remembering what it took to make this impression of that cold, foggy day, all alone in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

If your dream is to paint outdoors, whatever it takes, do it! The memories are priceless.



  1. Practice, practice, practice. Thanks for the encouragement, my friend.


  2. Your writing is as picturesque as your painting, Shirley! Go, go, GO!!!


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