The Wreck of the La Feliz

Along the Santa Cruz coast, just northwest of Natural Bridges State Beach, is a historic relic that is just shy of 100 years old.

It looks like a weathered flag pole that is leaning slightly shoreward, placed on a cliff above the rocky reefs. In reality it is the mast of the 72-foot freighter La Feliz, leaning against the cliff.

On the night of October 1, 1924, violent waves pushed the coastal freighter onto the rocky reef below where the Seymour Center at the Long Marine Laboratory (temporarily closed) now sits. Locals helped rescue all 13 crew members from the floundering ship.

Sketched and painted in sepia from a period photograph of the salvage of the La Feliz.

The mast was laid against the cliff in order to salvage the cargo and other equitment of the La Feliz. The cargo consisted of 3,100 cases of sardines from Cannery Row in Monterey.

There have been over 450 shipwrecks recorded in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Few relics of these wrecks exist today, except for the La Feliz auxiliary mast.

A beautiful Sunday morning, looking to the Northwest.

I did what I always do when I want to learn more about something, I sketch it! I hiked out to the mast on two different occasions and sketched it both times. It is always nice to sketch something more than once. I feel each time that I understand the subject at little more and each time I learn more and more about the mast of the La Feliz.

A Friday after work sketch of the mast of the La Feliz, looking south.

For my first sketch of the mast, I first drew with pencil them inked in the lines with a Uni-ball Micro Deluxe pen. I erased the pencil lines and then added watercolor the scene.

On my next sketch (featured image) I did the exact opposite. I loosely sketched in the scene with a water-soluble colored pencil (walnut brown) and then I painted the scene, letting some of the watercolor washes run into each other. Once the paint dried, I added ink lines with my Uni-ball. Both were sketched on location.

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