Days on the Coast

It’s cozy inside today as the rain falls steadily outside, embraced by our dry season’s parched land.  A lot of rain for us this October. For that reason Bob and I felt particularly blessed that our getaway to the coast last week came at a break in the storms. Bob and I spent three nights in Fort Bragg (California) at a divine AirBnB cottage, walked the beaches, ate good food and saw lots of art galleries. He encouraged me to go ahead and ignore him now and then to do some sketching.


water soluble ink and watercolor in Toned Tan paper 5.5 X 8″ Strathmore sketchbook

The picturesque town of Mendocino, with its ocean views, water towers and “quaint”historic buildings has been sketched and painted sooo many times, but I had to remind myself “yes, but not by me”. Well, not in a while anyway.


8 X 8″ watercolor sketchbook


8 X 8″ watercolor sketchbook

Our lovely B n B called The Garden at Road’s End was down a country road five minutes outside of Fort Bragg. Eight acres at the end and a garden that rivaled any I’ve seen. Redwood forest opening onto lawns, fountains nestled in colorful bushes, a heather garden which was erupting in fall colors and more.  This sketch was done from the table in the cottage/room where we stayed – a perfect spot to nest and enjoy the garden view.


Bob catches me sketching in the garden!


We found our dinner with the locals at a tiny pub where the workmen were enjoying their after work pints (I could have been back in Ireland!) And the pizza was unbelievably good!


This was a first for me. . .being offered flowers while sketching!


I’ve learned that these quick capture landscapes need to be done small, and I would need to do many to get the hang of those ocean waves and rocky coast. Another time.


As I sat in a windy spot, this light and the colors changed so many times that I could have done many different sketches in a row, if I were faster. I think that’s the next territory to explore – greater speed.

A delightful vacation, and now it’s time to enjoy the rain (and deal with a leak in our roof!)



  1. Lovely drawings! Know the area very well as I live on the coast. What kind of soluble ink were you using, and why doesn’t it bleed? Thank you.


    1. Hi Jacqueline! In these sketches I’m using black Carbon Platinum ink which I put into my Lamy Joy fountain pen. It dries permanent. Other times I use the Lamy cartridge ink, which is water soluble and bleeds when you re-wet it.


  2. Love your sketches. I’m trying to speed up my sketching too. How long do you take for a sketch …. roughly? I recently discovered a great cheap water soluble disposable fountain pen Pilot V pen and like using it for portrait sketches.


    1. For quick portrait sketches i like water soluble ink too because it makes it so easy to get the shading using a water brush. The sketches I’ve shown here took from 10-40 minutes. When I do buildings lately, I take the time to measure and that takes longer. Sometimes it just depends on how happy I am where I am sitting!

      Liked by 1 person

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