Monterey: Trip Home

Driving up Highway #1 from our visit to Monterey Aquarium, Julia and I saw a beautiful spot and pulled over to see Pigeon Point Lighthouse. This picturesque scene was made even moreso by the sight of a grey whale and her calf swimming past the lighthouse at close quarters.


We enjoyed the scenery so much that we decided to extend our homebound journey. Travel spontaneity is often punished when it comes to finding a last-minute hotel, but we lucked out with a great room by the harbour in Half Moon Bay, and across the road was a cosy and homey seafood restaurant where we had our dinner. Perfect. The Next day we had a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, then set out on foot to find something to draw. We found a view of Pillar Point at the north end of Half Moon Bay, I set up my drawing rig, of easel and folding chair, and got to work.


The colouring for this sketch was done on site. I’ve only managed this a few times since starting to draw left-handed, and hope to do it more often. Part of the issue is that I become uncomfortable after an hour or so in the chair and must move and stretch all my broken bits-and-pieces. When the subject is elaborate (such as my earlier posts about the BAY) or the site is crowded (such as my earlier post about the AQUARIUM) I capture as much as I can on site and refine the picture later, but when the subject is free of architectural detail and I’m in a secluded spot, I can do the whole thing on site. I hope this becomes the norm as I get faster.


The next day we checked out of the hotel and hit the road again. Further up the coast we came to Montara State Beach, parked the car and started to draw. Julia bust out some great pastel sketches, but I’d stupidly left my watercolours back in the car (rather than in my coat pocket as I’d thought) so was only able to do the drawing on site, even though I think I could have finished this entire painting on the spot. By the time we got back in the car it was nearing time to eat, so we took a detour on the homebound leg of our trip to check out a pizza place we’d heard about. A tasty end to great trip. Then it was homeward bound to feed the hungry cat.


This trip to Monterey, the Aquarium, and back, was a very pleasant start to a month of travel. Stay tuned for tales (and sketches) of our trip to CHICAGO.

14 thoughts on “Monterey: Trip Home”

  1. Thanks for sharing your trip James. I’m really enjoying these snapshots of your holiday, and your journey back into drawing. Your sketches are just beautiful. Such a lovely way to capture memories of good times.

    • Thank you, Julie. It is still unclear if I will regain enough dexterity and speed of hand to be a professional story-artist again (I hope so though!) Whatever happens, I’ll always need to draw, professional or no.

    • Ha Ha! Well Steven, we both did quite a few Monterey sketches, but not enough for a whole book. But a collection of all our sketches done over the past 6 years might be thick enough to make a coffee table book.

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