Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Oregon Coast Revisited

I've written about the Oregon Coast before (here, here and here), but I can't get enough. The scenery is stunning, the food is delicious and the nature-viewing is spectacular.

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach. Thousands of sea birds (including puffins and murres) nest on the rock while some of the best tidepooling on the Northern Oregon Coast is at the base.
The last time we went we only had half a day to explore before we had to be back in Portland but it was better than nothing. We chose to go to Cannon Beach as it was the quickest trip from Portland (about 1.5 hours) and had guaranteed wildlife viewing. We had no idea what the tide schedule was when we went, but as luck would have it the tide was out, making the tidepooling great.

The Friends of Haystack Rock have a wonderful intrepretive program in the area and the guides are eager to help identify the marine life in the tidepools. They also have viewing scopes set up so that the public can see the birds nesting on the Rock.

Sea anemones and sea weed in a tidepool. The reflections on the water make photography a bit tricky. This was my best shot of the day.

A harlequin duck watches the surf.

Watercolor of ochre sea star

With the constant wind and moisture from the surf, it is challenging to sketch on the beach. Given our short time there, I decided to draw what we saw later. I planned on just a quick watercolor sketch of this lovely sea star but as is typical of me, I ended up spending nearly 2 hours on this piece. Ochre stars are very common along the coast and the only type of sea star I've ever seen there. This great website shows all of the other sea stars found in Oregon. Since I hope to be able to go back to the Oregon Coast again and again, maybe I'll get to see some of these other species someday.


Ken Januski said...

That's a lovely, and a complex, watercolor Gabrielle. I'd be very happy with. My feeling when I get involved with a sketch that takes a lot of time is that I should count my blessings! I'm almost always much happier with the results of something I got involved with than with my quicker sketches. Occasionally of course there are the 2-hour fiascos that you only realize you're unhappy with when you're done. But 90% of the time I'd guess I have a much greater sense of accomplishment with longer works like this. Unfortunately my skittish bird subjects rarely cooperate.

Gabrielle said...

Hi Ken, thanks for stopping by! Yes, sketching most live birds is rather a tricky undertaking. I look at some of the brilliant British bird artists, for example, and am blown away by what they can capture in just a few well-placed marks.

I've definitely had my share of a few of those 2 hour fiascos you mentioned. The worst is when you work really hard on a sketch and everything is going along perfectly and then you make one mark, just one mark, and it somehow ruins the whole thing. But to have time to do a 2 hour sketch, whether the end result is pleasing or not, now that's a blessing!