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Plein Air at Rosecrans National Cemetery


Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery 18 x 18" oil on canvas
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery 18 x 18″ oil on canvas

I got out early with my plein air kit and drove…no particular destination in mind but felt the water pulling me to the West. It had been a few weeks since I’ve painted the environs of our Southern California coast and it is always a source of excellent subjects for rendering with a brush and paint.

I found myself heading up the Point Loma Peninsula via Rosecrans Boulevard. Once inside the Navy Base and Federal Reserve lands up there I was amazed, as always, at the sense of height and distance from that perspective. Downtown San Diego and Coronado are seeming miniature villages, miles away and below as you drive through the hallowed grounds of the National Cemetery. It is a somber, yet peaceful and beautiful place. I recommend that any visitor make the drive, but definitely stop and get out of your vehicle. It is worth the effort to take some time to feel the fresh sea breezes, hear the peaceful quiet and take a few moments to reflect on the fallen soldiers and military who rest in peace there.

I did…and this painting is my tribute to them.

“To the Fallen”
18 x 18 oil on canvas
Available here

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Cabrillo Tide Pools


Yesterday, I returned to Cabrillo National Monument Park, which is at the tip of the Point Loma peninsula in San Diego.  On the coastal side of the park, they have paths down to the tide pools, which are great place to set up an easel and paint. I entered the park at 9:01am, just a minute after the gate opened and drove down to the second parking lot.  As I hiked down to the water’s edge, I had to stop to snap a few photos of the birds–Pelicans!


There were lots of them.  I think they were flying back home after a feeding foray because this is where they were all roosting.  Pretty amazing, huh?  I think the dark birds on the left are cormorants and the lighter colored and larger birds on the right are Pelicans…or maybe the smaller birds are juvenile pelicans.  I’m not enough of a “birder” to know the answer on that one.  You can tell this is a favorite spot 🙂


It was windy and cold but after driving all that way to paint, I wasn’t going to quit.  Here is a shot of the easel and painting in progress at the waters edge.  You can see the birds in the background.


You can see in the photos the water is really disturbed because of the high tide.  It was mostly just a lot of white foam from the crashing waves.  Because that would be too much white for my painting, I took artistic license and depicted a calmer ocean.  I’m putting the finishing touches on and will post the completed painting later.

All in all it was a great day for painting!



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Winter Swell, Cabrillo

I got out for a plein air session last week-end. Had been sick for some time with a nasty flu that left me with a persistent nasal drip and cough. It was good to get out and the day was absolutely gorgeous. I’ve been meeting up with a painters group that uses online social media to designate places to have painting sessions. This morning, I was the first to show up (as usual), and I arrived early at the Entrance to Cabrillo National Monument on Point Loma in San Diego. It was a crystal clear and chilly December morning. As I drove into the park and headed down the hill to the lower parking lots where there is access to the tide pools, a magical thing happened…

…a Peregrine falcon swooped down not more than five or ten yards in front and to the left side of my slow moving truck–and without flapping soared down the hill about three feet off the blacktop pavement…it was almost skimming the tops of the buckwheat and sage bushes at the side of the road, leading me into the park. It was so magical, I was laughing as I drove behind my escort. I followed it all the way to the bottom of the hill–nearly half a mile. What a great way to start the day.

When I parked, I got out with my easel and bucket and took some photos as I went…I’ll share them with you…

First I got out and took a photo of the view from the parking lot…

Then, I walked down the trail a ways and saw this…

and this…

and I painted this…

which came out like this…
(apologies for the phone photo)

And then I packed up, hiked back to my truck and drove out of the park but had to stop and take some shots because it was just too beautiful to resist…

looking West…

…and looking East…

A very quiet and emotional place.

What a great day it was.