Protecting and Restoring the Morro Bay Estuary.

Local painters celebrate the Central Coast and give back to Morro Bay

Local painters celebrate the Central Coast and give back to Morro Bay

Bernie Kurtz's painting, Morro Bay Estuary, was inspired by the view of the sun reflecting off the water and backlighting the brush. She painted it at the corner of Main St. and South Bay Boulevard in Morro Bay.

 

California’s Central Coast is full of beauty. Splashing and crashing back and forth, waves wear down rock formations along waterlines. Pelicans fly low, their wings still, gliding gracefully in line. Silvery morning light reflects off the back bay, illuminating the undersides of leaves and glowing through fog. The estuary channels snake through the salt marsh, appearing deep brown at low tide and shining white or blue when the water is high. The fiery red tips of pickleweed plants contrast with the cool green that surrounds them.

Tracy's Paz's painting, October Estuary, captures the path of an estuary channel through the pickleweed.

S.L.O.P.E. artist Tracy Paz captures the path of an estuary channel through the pickleweed in her painting, October Estuary.

A group of local artists called San Luis Outdoor Painters for the Environment (S.L.O.P.E.) have drawn inspiration from this wealth of natural beauty for an art show that celebrates the Morro Bay estuary and the Central Coast. Artists could choose to paint any coastal or estuary scene between Ragged Point in the north to Oso Flaco in the south.

The paintings they have created are just as varied as that long expanse of coastline.

Scenes from the Morro Bay estuary and beyond inspire painters

When Bernie Kurtz decided to paint the view from the corner of Main Street and South Bay Boulevard in Morro Bay, she was inspired by the way the sunlight reflected off the water and backlit the brush. “I could see so many layers and colors from that spot on a late fall day,” she says, “I had to stop and capture it.”

Bernie Kurtz's painting, Morro Bay Estuary, was inspired by the view of the sun reflecting off the water and backlighting the brush. She painted it at the corner of Main St. and South Bay Boulevard in Morro Bay.

Bernie Kurtz’s painting, Morro Bay Estuary, was inspired by the view of the sun reflecting off the water from the corner of Main St. and South Bay Boulevard in Morro Bay.

Dottie Hawthorne, a guest emeritus artist with S.L.O.P.E., stopped one morning to paint the way the light fell on the Shell Beach Cliffs and the shadows that the rocks cast onto the water. Her creation is called Coastal Cliffs Morning.

This painting by Dottie Hawthorne, an Emeritus member of S.L.O.P.E., is called Coastal Cliffs Morning. It was painted in Shell Beach.

The light and shadows falling on the rocks and water along the cliffs of Shell Beach inspired Dottie Hawthorne to stop and paint. She calls the finished piece Coastal Cliffs Morning.

When Laurel Sherrie caught a glimpse of “the late afternoon light with high tide and the trees in the distance,” she loved it and knew she had to paint it. Estuary Prelude captures this moment.

Laurel Sherrie's painting, Estuary Prelude, captures the late afternoon light with high tide and the trees in the distance. She painted it near the Canet Trail in Morro Bay.

Laurel Sherrie’s painting, Estuary Prelude, captures the view from the trail near Park Ridge Rock in Morro Bay in the late afternoon light. High tide and green trees are visible in the distance.

Painter Denise Schryver loves the ocean. “The more I study the ocean,” she says, “the more passionate I am about painting it.” For this piece, titled Sundance, Denise ventured to Dog Beach between Cayucos and Morro Bay. There, she challenged herself to see if she could “capture the light power and movement of the ocean wave.”

Sundance, a painting by Denise Schryver. Painted at the dog beach between Cayucos and Morro Bay.

Sundance, a painting by Denise Schryver, captures the power of an ocean wave. Painted at the dog beach between Cayucos and Morro Bay.

Giving back to the places that inspire them

S.L.O.P.E. artists are generously giving back to the places that have inspired their creativity by donating a portion of proceeds from sales at the art show to the Central Coast State Parks Association (CCSPA) and the Morro Bay National Estuary Program.

Artist Tracy Paz has also donated a print of her painting, October Estuary (pictured at the top of this post), to be given to the winner of a drawing. Tickets are available for a suggested donation of $5.00, and S.L.O.P.E. will give all donations they collect to the CCSPA and the Estuary Program.

Meet the painters and see their work up close

The show, Flowing Estuary to Living Sea, will hang at the Morro Bay State Park Natural History Museum between February 1 and March 31, 2019. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, February 2, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. We hope to see you there!

Watch the video below for a preview of more artwork from the show.


Help protect and restore the Morro Bay estuary

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