Big Sur Thanksgiving

Suddenly, summer turns her rosy, hot face on us. When I think of summer I immediately think of warmth, water and travel (at least for us in the northern hemisphere).

For those of us in New England this week, we’ve been watching the temperatures climb into the 90’s. So, as we all try to cool off, let me share what artist’s refer to as a “cool” painting, not rad cool, but color temperature cool. Cool colors are in the blue, green range. They leave you feeling cooler, refreshed, peaceful, laid-back. “Big Sur Thanksgiving” is a cool-toned painting. It was inspired by one of the loveliest spots in California: the Big Sur Coast.

But first, let me share how this painting began.

We travel across the country in a narrow, tall, Mercedes Sprinter van. My husband, Dale, designed the interior. A large king/queen bed sits in the back that doubles as a playground for the boys. O-rings mounted to the ceiling can bear the weight of our boys’ hammocks where they sleep. All our seats rotate, so the driver and passenger seats swivel backward to share the small desks the boys use for their schoolwork during mealtime. You can see the layout at “Lights on the Road“. Solar panels on the roof, a tiny sink and running water, a freezer/fridge combo means we are self-contained for days without hookups. I particularly like that the solar set-up is enough to run a fan, my blender (fruit smoothies on the hot days) or the low amp microwave. But before you think it’s smooth sailing, let me also share that with three guys outnumbering this one girl, we didn’t put in a bathroom. That got a little challenging during COVID regulations. But we managed just fine.

The Sprinter wears a coat of deep, creamy grey. I often think it looks like a shark, stealthy and easily mistaken for an industrial vehicle. But inside, a little oasis of our Fincher family culture. I might be painting, the boys listening to books and Dale connecting Jesus’ life to ours (like in his Stories of Jesus for the Modern Family).

When we lived in Colorado, we would plunge into van life for 4-8 week trips. Often we’d leave during Colorado’s mud season. This time we timed it so we’d hit Big Sur for Thanksgiving day. So stealthily we drove from the Rocky Mountains to the Big Sur Mountains. And after a cozy night of rain, we drove to the magnificent and rough coast of Big Sur. We pulled off the side of the road for this picture.

Big Sur offers these hairpin turns right along sheared cliffs dropping hundreds of feet into the ocean. From the pull-off spots you can see the rough ways of sea and land crashing together.  We saw seals and huge water birds, the surf calling us to find a sandy beach. When we finally did, I got to paint while the boys played in the waves. The Big Sur coastline is magnificent.  And that’s why I painted this scene, to remember and to share. I’m offering it now to you. See auction details below.


Big Sur Thanksgiving is available for public auction until Father’s Day.

15 x 22 1/2″ watercolor on Arches 300 lb rough watercolor paper. Unframed.


  • Bid in comment below this post only.
  • Bidding starts at $40
  • Bid in $10 increments
  • Bidding closes at midnight Eastern time Father’s Day, June 20, 2021
  • You will not be notified if you are outbid.
  • Shipping will be in addition to final bidding price.

Good luck!



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I chose rough watercolor paper to build up the roughness of these often competing forces: mountains and ocean. Some people think you need to choose one of the other. But at Big Sur, California you experience them in one moment. They work their power on each other, breaking the other apart. How many waves have to crash on the rock before it splits and falls into the ocean? I found the aqua and earthy yellows in the water particularly interesting. And look at how much of the turbulence of the rain storm is reflected in the ocean. And then the challenge of the far horizon, all buttery yellow. All painters know that receding objects must be cool to look further away, closer objects are warmer. So I had to be sure to warm up some of the nearer mountains. That was a challenge in this mostly cool colored painting. But, I found a few warm spots. Be sure to look for the swimming lagoon. Do you see it, by the aqua waters? There’s even a tiny beach if you’re brave enough to climb down to that sun-warmed sand.

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How did you happen to paint the painting in reverse from the photograph? Absolutely stunning painting.

Ah, I see now……very clever.

$75…This is fantastic!

$80 – I think that’s the next increment 🙂 It’s beautiful! I especially like the colors you’ve used.

I’ll bid $90

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