Sunny California

Mary Liz Ingram —  April 23, 2015 — 1 Comment

It’s been a while since, months can pass so quickly, but I find my thoughts daily straying to my few days on the Pacific.

I left the downpours of an Alabama spring behind and spent some time on the shores of California. A rare retreat alone, my husband and I felt like excited, curious children on a grand adventure. We ran around Hollywood Blvd., drove down the coast in a little red rental car, climbed over the rocks and tidal pools of Laguna Beach, went whale watching, and Stephen took a surfing lesson while I giggled and watched.

It was glorious.

With such incredible surroundings – the tallest palm trees I’ve ever seen, the sky catching on fire as we watched the sun sink into the ocean, dolphins, gray whales and sea lions right in front of me – I planned to paint and draw a lot.

But, I enjoyed myself so immensely and found myself so relaxed, I didn’t feel like doing much of anything besides staring at the ocean and listening to it sing. I found the words of Mary Oliver’s poem “Today” drifting through my mind: “Today I’m flying low and I’m not saying a word….Quiet as a feather. I hardly move though I’m traveling a terrific distance.”

Here are a few paintings, doodles and thoughts from those transforming days in California:

Pacific Ocean treasures, watercolor

Pacific Ocean treasures, watercolor

When I saw this collection of ocean treasures – shells and seaweed, sticks and pebbles – I was reminded of the poem “Breakage” by Mary Oliver as well. I recommend you read the whole poem…all of her poems, really. They are so simple, so beautiful.

I go down to the edge of the sea. How everything shines in the morning light!


First you figure out what each one means by itself,

the jingle, the periwinkle, the scallop full of moonlight.

Then you begin, slowly, to read the whole story.


Mary Liz Ingram


One response to Sunny California

  1. Perhaps next time you visit California, you could visit northern CA,. I moved to Mississippi from a little town up Hwy. 101 called Crescent City. It’s walking distance to Oregon and is absolutely the opposite of Southern CA. No crowds, no palm trees, no celebrities, but you’ll find such a beautiful spot along the ocean! It’s a very quaint little seaside fishing village that is pretty much undiscovered. Sort of like Carmel before it became “CARMEL!” I would work 12 hour shifts as a nurse and then be out on the beach in the morning to watch the sun rise through the mists. The whole town would roll up its’ sidewalks if there were whales in the harbor! You could drive 5″ one way and be walking in the redwoods or walk 5″ the other and be on the beach. I found it was very difficult to take a bad photo while I was there. It’s been more than 10 years now and I still paint from the photos I took when I was there. Loved that place!!!

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