Monday, November 19, 2018

Rejuvenation at Cannon Beach

11/13/18 Cannon Beach from Ecola State Park

We’ve been returning to Cannon Beach, Oregon, nearly every year since we discovered it three decades ago. A small beach town that’s crowded in the summer, it’s deserted once the weather turns cold and stormy – which is our favorite time to go. February, May, October, November and even December are the months we choose, and the weather can change from sunny and chilly one moment to stormy and windy the next and back to sunny again. It’s best not to check the weather report – just pack a range of jackets and layers and see what you get.

11/13/18 The Needles through a rain-spattered window.
Last week we got the full range – sunshine, a little rain, a lot of rain, high winds, deep fog, overcast skies. During the pleasant weather, we walked on the beach for miles. During the less pleasant weather, we stayed in our hotel room, where Greg photographed from the deck and I sketched through the wide windows. That’s really all there is to do in Cannon Beach – and that’s all we need. A few days of that, and we return home with our spirits rejuvenated.

Sketching from our room, I pulled out the full arsenal of sketch supplies – even larger papers that I never take on location. When we walked on the beach, I stuck only a Field Notes and a couple of pens into my jacket pockets. It’s a nice balance between maximalism and minimalism.
 One goal for the trip was to make at least one 9-by-12-inch full-color sketch, possibly to frame if I liked it enough. A second goal was to take lots of photos to use for reference sometime during the long winter months. As you know, I’m not a fan of drawing from photos, but I would like to make one of Cannon Beach and practice the techniques I learned in class last year. 

I did make one sketch that might qualify for a frame, but it’s not my favorite of the visit. My favorite is the graphite-only sketch at the top of the post that I made in my usual DIY sketchbook signature. Because we always stay right on the beach in front of iconic Haystack Rock (and the smaller Needles surrounding it), I tend to focus on that up-close-and-personal view. But a mile or two north at Ecola State Park, the view of the same rocks takes on an entirely different dimension. From that distance, I realize that those ancient mammoth boulders are only tiny pebbles next to the mighty Pacific. And if we were walking next to Haystack, we would be smaller than grains of sand.

That’s how tiny we are in the grand picture. It’s reassuring.






11/15/18 On our last morning before we left for home, the sun was finally bright enough to make a full-color sketch with
plenty of light and shadows. I finished this hastily, even as housekeeping was knocking on our door (we were a bit late
for checkout).

11/14/18 sunset (9"x12" watercolor paper)

11/13/18 Sunset from Ecola State Park

11/14/18 beach dwellers

In the sunshine . . . 

. . . under overcast skies. . . 

. . . in the foggy cold. . . 

. . . Cannon Beach will always be one of our favorite places on earth.


  1. Really wonderful sketches! You really captured the feeling of being there (at least that’s what it seems like, I’ve never been there!) Seems like a great place to unplug and unwind!

    1. Thank you, Cathy! And yes, it is the ideal place to unplug (especially with spotty cell service on the coast ;-) ) and relax.

  2. I love seeing all the sketches here. Each medium has such a different feel to it. I love the graphites and the full color sketch you were doing at checkout. I can just imagine having housekeeping knocking when you were trying to finish. You had a perfect view to work from the room. Great job!

    1. Thanks so much, Joan! I definitely take full advantage of the room's view -- all the way to the last minute and beyond!


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