Fern Grotto Beach

On Saturday morning I headed out on one of my favorite coastal trails, the Old Cove Landing Trail at Wilder Ranch State Park. This is a great trail for hiking and birding featuring coast chaparral and great ocean views. This is also a nice place for sketching.

A very accommodating male California quail perched out in the open at the beginning of the Old Cove Landing Trail.
Another California namesake, a singing California thrasher perched up in coyote brush. I could hear the thrasher’s warbling song from Fern Grotto Beach.

I headed down the trail to Fern Grotto Beach. This beach is framed by sandstones cliffs that are crowned with lush vegetation. I wanted to sketch the view from the beach and a log dictated where I would sit and my perspective.

For this sketch I used a panoramic Moleskine watercolor journal which was perfect for the expanse of the scene. I first laid in the cliffs with loose washes, letting colors runs into each other in a wet-on-wet extravaganza. I kept all of the painting loose rather than detailed. Once the paint was mostly dry I tied the sketch together with dark sepia pen strokes. I held then pen toward the end in order to keep the lines loose and lively.

This hike is not just for the birds! Harbor seals at a seal haul out.

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