Sat, 29 Jul 2006 21:04:23 -0700
Dear John and Delia,
While much of the country is sweltering we are enjoying the cool crisp ocean air of Mendocino.
One reason Bill joined the local "pleine aire" painter's group up here a couple of years ago was in hopes the locals would turn him on to good places to visit and paint that he didn't already know about. In some cases, it is less a matter of not knowing about them than it is not knowing how to get to them.
Last week the painters group went to Hare Creek and we learned the way down to a beach, which we had previously only glimpsed from the highway.
A very narrow steep trail, a portion of which has stairs built-in, leads down between houses on a dead end residential street on the bluff above. The entrance is pretty cryptic, unlikely to be discovered unless you knew it was there, and a streamlet flows down over the lower portion of the trail making it pretty muddy and slippery. Nevertheless, some 16 intrepid watercolorists, oil painters, oil pastel artists and their hanger's on such as myself made their intrepid way down on Thursday afternoon.
The artists lugged an amazing amount of equipment with them, easels, folding seats, umbrellas, lunch bags etc. Amazing because at least half the group was well past middle age, altho there are a few younger folks, too. It is a nice mix of professional painters who sell their stuff and amateurs, like Bill, who paint for pleasure.
On emerging from their mossy, ferny, horsetail and blackberry enclosed descent they spread themselves out over the sandy expanse between the high cliff walls. Hare creek bisects the beach, flowing in a S curve out of the hills. Picturesque sea stacks, perfect waves rolling in with whitecaps against a deep blue bay and wildflowers amidst the rocky slopes provided lots of colorful subjects. My pleasure was to stagger back and forth across the sand to see the different angles and views the various members of the group had chosen to focus on. Bill usually urges me to see what the others are doing - "see if they are getting ahead of me" - but in this case I couldn't get close to where Bill had chose to settle in, since it required splashing across the creek and I didn't feel up to it.
During the afternoon a few locals with kids and dogs appeared on the beach periodically, - there must be more than one access - but in general it seemed more isolated and hidden away than many of the very popular other places the group has chosen to paint.
Bill has already decided he will return. I'll wear my boots for the next descent.