The Artist Diaries: Big Sur, California (Photos)

“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” ― Vincent van Gogh

The Artist Diaries on Stark Insider. Can a student become a master? Loni Stark gives a weekend update from the California coast where her oil painting adventure continues.


I finally carved out some time to, as Clint likes to say, “attack the canvas.” If you’re like me, and have a hobby like oil painting (or perhaps writing, or photography, or some other creative pursuit) you know the challenge of finding time to pursue your passion.

Slowly I’m (finally) learning that in order to find time to paint, I need to be sometimes ruthless when it comes to time management. Fortunately I blocked off my calendar months ago to spend time in a 4-day plein air session along the California coast with painter extraordinaire (and a bit of rock star of the art world) Bill Davidson. A former trail lawyer, Bill has been instrumental in not only teaching me the fundamentals of blocking, emphasizing focal points, and working with colors, but also just flat out inspiring me. Inspiring me to try. Inspiring me to get out there and just give it my best go. Inspiring me to take risks.

On many occasions my paintings haven’t worked out. Trying to paint a cypress tree, I’ve discovered to much frustration, is incredibly difficult. I’m sure many a golfer knows that feeling of dread thad washes over them after a bound round. But, you know what? You keep going. As much as I’d like to think it’s possible, I’m not going to become a master painter over night. It might take years, decades. Or, it may not ever happen. But, Clint, and my fellow classmates and Bill (as other wonderful instructors in the past such as Kristin and Lee Hartman) always pick me back up, and, I find myself yet again ready to attack the canvas.

This outing was all about that magnificent inspirational wonderlust known as the California coast:


We spend Saturday at Rocky Point. The views, needless to say, were spectacular. The weather was quite random; morning fog, followed by breaks of sun, then rain, before opening up to the gorgeous skies you see in the photos below.

This morning we’re up a few miles by the historic Rocky Creek Bridge (1932). More views to die for.

“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”

― Vincent van Gogh

While I still believe my strong suit is buildings, I’m giving landscapes a go. There’s a certain romanticism to painting outdoors, mixing colors, and breathing in the fresh Pacific breeze, while enjoying the company of other aspiring artists.

For now, here’s some photos of my ongoing creative adventure. Stay tuned for new episodes of The Artist Diaries. Not everything goes to plan as you’ll see, but I’m resolute in my efforts to not let a (beautiful) cypress tree confound my efforts!

IN PHOTOS: The Artist Diaries – Rocky Point, Big Sur, California

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And last, but certainly not least: Artist (OPA) Bill Davidson takes a break for lunch with his plein air students at the Rocky Point Restaurant in Big Sur:


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