Carmel and Monterey were two of my uncle’s favorite places in the world. Whether he was painting a specific landmark as the subject or just using the area as a general background for one of his fanciful cottages or lighthouses, his love of this part of the California coast was evident in every brushstroke he placed in oil. Some of my most vivid childhood memories of Uncle Thom were of him working in those magic, misty surroundings.
I also remember playing with my brothers along the picturesque rocky coast of the region. Exploring tide pools, climbing about on cypress trees, walking in the surf, and watching the bay’s wildlife were often the fair of the day. The local fauna was especially enthralling to my young adventurer’s mind. Hearing the seals bark on the rocks and watching whales breach thrilled me with every encounter. But of all the creatures to be found there, the sea otters were always my favorite. Seeing their mischievous fun was akin to watching a circus at sea and served as inspiration for my latest composition, Otterly Ridiculous. In my mind’s eye, these comical critters scamper about a rock and swim merrily in the watery forests of kelp.
In the distance we see cypress trees cling to the stark cliffs in defiance of the winter storms at sea that sometimes break ashore. As tribute to both built beauty of man and the abundant kaleidoscopic of creation present there, I have hidden homage in the clouds, water, and cliffs. Lonesome gulls cry out over it all, giving mood to the scene as a whole.
Otterly Ridiculous was a bit of nostalgic fun for me to create. Memories of my childhood, my two brothers, and my uncle’s painterly ways washed over me as the sea does to my painted menagerie of furry friends. I hope the work makes you smile, and, as always, I want to thank you for sharing my adventure in art.
- Otterly Ridiculous is the third Limited Edition Artwork in the Animal Mischief series, which pays tribute to the antics of some of Nature’s most lovable creatures. The first two paintings in the collection are Mountain Mischief and Black Bear Bedlam.
- California Sea Otters live along the coast between San Mateo in Northern California and Santa Barbara in Southern California. They are especially iconic on the Monterey Peninsula, which is the inspiration for Otterly Ridiculous.
- Can you find the hidden lighthouse?
- Do you see the Humpback Whales playing off the coast?
- Other coastal wildlife portrayed in this painting include Seagulls, California Sheephead, Rainbow Surfperch, Sea Anemone, Mussels, Starfish and Sea Urchin. Can you find them all?