Bird Festival show…

This month of January, the Morro Bay Art Center is showing artists’ work focusing on the birds that we’ve seen locally and afar. I have entered three oil paintings and notecards. The Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival takes place every year In January when the birds migrate into and through Morro Bay. A very exciting time!

The show is open January 11 – February 19, 2018.

The duck display of courtship can be quite amusing or showy. Videos capture it very well, but since I paint stills you’ll have to enjoy and imagine what might be next. Lots of feathers flapping in display intrigue me.

Pintail Courtship Display                                © Heather O’Connor
Ruddy Duck Courtship II                              © Heather O’Connor
Western Gulls at Rest                                       © Heather O’Connor
California Quail in the Arboretum                                 © Heather O’Connor

To see prices, please go to the pages for available artwork at the top of this page.

Until the next sketch…Peace, Heather

A Morro Rock summer…

This summer, showing my paintings in the Morro Bay Art Association was great success… It was a show of the favorite places that visitors to our town love to see… “Morro Rock.” I’ve sketched and painted it numerous times. We all love the “rock” in all its personalities. The one below is a bright day with a bit of the marine layer in the distance. It often creeps in gradually…

Morro Rock Over the Dunes

Morro Rock, a State Historic Landmark, was formed about 23 million years ago from the plugs of long-extinct volcanoes. Morro Rock was an important navigational aid for mariners for over 300 years because the rock is approximately 576 feet tall which made it the most visible, however not the tallest,  in a chain of 9 peaks. Portuguese explorer, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo named the rock “El Morro” in 1542. In Spanish “Morro” means crown shaped hill. Morro Rock, sometimes called the “Gibraltar of the Pacific,” is the last peak of the Nine Sisters, which extend from San Luis Obispo to Morro Bay.

The rock itself was quarried on and off until 1963. Morro Rock provided material for the break waters of Morro Bay and Port San Luis Harbor and other coastal jetties in addition to walls and houses in San Luis Obispo. In 1966, a bill was introduced which transferred the full title to the State of California. Later the San Luis Obispo County Historical Society and the City of Morro Bay succeeded in getting the Morro Rock declared as a California Registered Historical Landmark #821. Morro Rock, also, became State Landmark #801 in 1968. The rock has since been designated a bird sanctuary for the peregrine falcon and other bird species. Bird enthusiasts may follow the peregrine activities on the website Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch.

Morro Rock Across the Dunes

This painting has a marine layer building over the cold Pacific Ocean while the foreground where I stood is bright and sunny. No wonder that we all love it so much and see artists gazing at it and painting it frequently.

These two oil paintings were SOLD. That put my spirits and bank account in a very positive mode. If you ever see a piece of artwork that you’d like to have, please contact me. Many can be made into notecards.

Remember that the San Luis Obispo County 2017 Open Studios Tour is coming up in October 14-15, 21-22.

Until the next sketch…peace, Heather

A tree…and many visits…

I’ve been looking at a eucalyptus tree at Laguna Lake in San Luis Obispo and thinking I could focus on it. I’ve never really been content to practice on one specific subject to draw or paint. Don’t know why… the variety of numerous subjects was more fun…so many things, all sizes, all shapes, all textures, many colors to choose from…

The idea of focusing on one tree didn’t seem that exciting. But this time, I did one pastel, then another, then a third, then a monochromatic value study, then a partial area of the eucalyptus.

Eucalyptus #5 at Laguna Lake, San Luis Obispo, CA
Eucalyptus #5

Different days, different light conditions, different weather, sunny, cloudy, windy, calm.

All in pastel, then a black and white scratchboard and lastly the oil. I kept thinking and thinking and am still thinking there is more to get to know about this tree.

Eucalyptus, scratchboard, at Laguna Lake, San Luis Obispo, CA
Eucalyptus – scratchboard

Finally, I have a little oil painting which I put in a gold plein air frame.

Eucalyptus, - oil, 5"x7"
Eucalyptus at Laguna Lake – oil, 5″x7″

Every time I went to see this tree, some new thought popped into my head. This is fun and not boring as I had thought it might be.  It was like getting to know a new friend, each minute spent with the new friend another layer of the acquaintance expanded the personality of my new friend.

Curiosity always pays off. Now it’s time to go back to visit my new friend by the lake again…

Until the next sketch…peace, Heather

 

Success… Open Studios Tour

My first chance to participate in the Open Studios Tour turned out pretty well !  Lots of visitors including friends, neighbors, mothers with artistic children and many new people who just decided to see what I was creating.  If you have the desire to see any pastels, notecards or mitered corner napkins, to purchase for holiday gifts, please contact me in the form below my signature.

One of the most exciting things was that I raised $155 for the Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch on sales of mitered corner napkins, stuffed peregrine toys, peregrine pins, hats and t-shirts. People understood that 25% of any sales I made would go to the Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch which is a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit who gives a $1,000 scholarship to a Cal Poly Wildlife Biology student.

Pastels and watercolor on display
Pastels and watercolor on display

People loved my pastels of seascapes, Morro Rock, the CalPoly Arboretum and were fascinated with my birds painted on elk hide for wall hangings.

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My studio

The view out of my small studio over our raised bed garden with the Pacific Ocean in the distance was a pleasant surprise to many visitors.

Oil paintings in the studio with feathers
Oil paintings in the studio with feathers where I work

Until the next sketch…peace, Heather