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Art, family, Recreation

Sketching the Cliffs with my Boy

Each summer for the past 5 years our family has made the trek up to Sea Ranch, CA. 100 miles north of San Francisco, this sleepy little town is somehow sheltered from so many of life’s little distractions. The roads to get there are winding and when you arrive there is little-to-no cell phone service.

Aside from the ocean, the town’s main attractions are a biker dive called “Bones”, a legit video rental shop (a perfect time capsule to every Friday night of my youth), and a small grocery “The Surf Market”. As you can see, these make for the optimal conditions to disconnect.

Instead of running around town, managing work and errands, you go out for a run or a hike. You check out the beach or watch the seals. You probably hop in the hot tub. And if it is 4pm you indulge the one appointment you’ve set for that day, “happy hour” with your wife and mother-in-law. The only mandate is that you unwind, and because of the environment it takes zero time to fall into this mindset.

While there, I did however get to enjoy one of the few goals I set out for myself. Take some coffee out to the cliffs with the fam, and sketch with my oldest boy.

Love this shot. Jess captured the moment perfectly

For Ben, I grabbed the watercolors, some fresh paper and his Curious George coloring book for an anchor and flat surface to work on. For me, it was all about my sketch pad and a dull HB pencil.

The moment we sat down was special. Hudsy was playing in Jess’ arms and Ben got right to work liberally spreading the paint across his paper with confidence. As for myself, I was a little overwhelmed. There was so much landscape to capture. What should I choose? After a moment, I glanced over at my focused 3 year old and realized how perfect it was watching him work on his landscape. So I focused on him and the stunning backdrop. Ben worked on his piece for about 30 minutes while I rapidly tried to capture my perspective with the pencil. Later, I followed up with a 05 pigma pen and some watercolors. I’m really happy with how it came out. The colors of the scene are vibrant yet cool. And the tone captures the lightness of the moment.

I’m lucky to have such a great family and fun experiences like these. I’m also fortunate to have a son who likes art and is happy to share these moments with me. As Hudson gets older, we’ll bring him into the mix. For now, he’s tiny and has to be wrangled (cuz if he isn’t, he’ll get into anything. Seriously, that kid is fearless). I should also mention that Jess, my wife is extremely artistic and talented herself. As the kids get older I look forward to the family projects that we’ll all share.

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