Keep Off the Rocks!

"Keep Off the Rocks" 9 x 12 chalk pastel on paper (framed)
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Last summer, we spent a day at the beach at Aliso Creek. I don't normally go to Orange County beaches, being partial to San Diego. I did get some great photos of the rocks and cliff at this beach, though, one of which inspired this painting.

This group of rocks looks particularly inviting, with lots of flat areas. It has a large sign warning people to stay off of the rocks, probably because they are constantly bombarded with waves and most likely slippery (see the green in the upper half of the painting). Throughout the day, the lifeguards repeatedly had to trot out to the rocks and tell people to go back to the sand. Finally toward the end of the day, they drove over to the area and made a loud announcement on the speaker, reminding people to stay off the rocks not only for the rest of the day, but the rest of the summer. It was pretty funny.

It's been dark and rainy off and on all week, so I felt like working in darker tones. For this painting, I used gray-toned Canson Mi-Teintes paper. I was going to keep the piece somewhat dark and gray, since it was a pretty cold day there and I wanted to make the rocks a little foreboding. I had to sneak in some bright color though. I've never been able to pull off a neutral look in any of my works. I also enjoyed the pathway the water made through the rocks, and used stronger pastel strokes to create the rushing water. I added a figure toward the top of the rocks, to capture the temptation so many visitors felt to ignore the "Keep Off" sign that day at the beach.

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