Saturday, June 06, 2009

Pacific Blues- impressionist painting of Big Sur Coastline

"Pacific Blues", 12x16, oil on canvas panel

This is the 4th painting that I have done of the Big Sur Coastline, and I'm sure it won't be the last.

Big Sur is located along Scenic Highway One, approximately 150 miles south of San Francisco and 300 miles north of Los Angeles. Historically, the name Big Sur was derived from that unexplored and unmapped wilderness which lays along the coast south of Monterey. It is a 90 mile stretch of rugged and heart-wrenchingly beautiful coastline between Carmel to the north and San Simeon (Hearst Castle) to the south. Highway One winds snakes along the coast at sometimes heart-stopping heights with the majestic Santa Lucia mountain range on one side and the rocky Pacific coast on the other.

This particular stretch that I painted is just north of the beautiful Julia Pfeiffer Falls and south of "Nepenthe". Locals know exactly what "Nepenthe" means, but for those not yet privy to this information, here goes.

According to Wikipedia, Nepenthe is a drug of forgetfulness mentioned in Greek mythology, depicted as originating in Egypt.

The word "Nepenthe" first appears in the fourth book (vv. 220-221) of the Odyssey of Homer. Literally, it means "the one that chases away sorrow" (ne = not, penthos = grief, sorrow). In the Odyssey, "Nepenthes pharmakon" (i.e. a drug that chases away sorrow) is a magical potion given to Helen by an Egyptian queen. It quells all sorrows with forgetfulness.

So what does this have to do with my painting? Not much, other than when I first saw the beautiful Pacific Coast at Big Sur, I can honestly say that I forgot all my troubles. We did stop at the Nepenthe restaurant for lunch, where a large Phoenix rising from the ashes is carved from a wooden tree stump and greets the many visitors that have passed through this restaurant over the years.

Here's the view you get to see over lunch or dinner:

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