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Weekly Paintings By National Award Winning Artist Terry d. Chacon

Friday, August 14, 2009

Painting Avalon, Catalina Island

Painting Avalon, Catalina Island. Fellow artist Joan Coffey and I started going to Catalina 3 years ago to do some plein air paintings. Each year a group of different artist have joined us for the 3 day event. This year the artists on the list were Patricia Rose Ford, Judy Schroeder, Louise Smith and Susan De'Armond.

"Casino Glow at Catalina"
(photo by Patricia Rose Ford)

We boarded the Catalina Express at Long Beach around noon on Tuesday and headed out to Catalina Island. Once there, the hotel driver came to pick up our luggage and painting gear to take to the hotel for us. Six people were way too many for the van so some of us opted to walk to the hotel. The Glenmore Plaza Hotel Glenmore Plaza Hotel, Avalon hotels, CA, USA is the 2nd oldest hotel in California. The oldest being the "Coronado" in San Diego. It is so charming and a delightful place to stay. Walk out the front door and you are literally 50 feet from the water.

Joan and Susan at the Glenmore Plaza Hotel

After putting our luggage in our room we went to Busy Bee's Cafe for a bite to eat and our traditional Margarita toast to celebrate our time on the island.

My first painting of the day (above) was from main street looking across the water to the very famous Catalina Casino. Casino Theatre and Ballroom - Visit Avalon, Catalina Island No, not a true casino but a gathering place with lots of action going on all the time. A movie theatre, a museum, a stage, a dance floor. A wonderful place to visit with loads of history about the island.

"Night at the Green Pier/Catalina"
(photo by Patricia Rose Ford)

Another tradition the group has really liked is night painting. The first night I painted the Green Premiere Pier. The lights are fantastic against the dark sky in the distance. Everything just shimmers. It is a delight to paint at night along main street with the entertainment from bands in the night clubs to karaoke. So many people are out and about, it is truly a lot of fun.

After painting we all met in my room and had an art critique and gab session of all the events from our first afternoon and evening on the island. Then off to bed as we wanted to get an early start the next morning, and put in a full day of painting.

"Morning at the Yacht Club-Catalina"

Painting in the morning is always a challenge at Avalon. The clouds are very low over the distant mountains with the sun peaking in and out of the morning fog. Very beautiful but certainly a challenge. I chose to do a small 6 x 8 of the Yacht Club. Catalina Island Yacht Club

I really liked the tower in the front of the misty distant mountains, which became my subject for the painting.

"Buena Vista View-Catalina"

View from Buena Vista Point. We quickly grabbed a sandwich from the deli and got a cab ride up to Buena Vista Point on top of Mt. Ada. The Inn on Mt. Ada Santa Catalina Island, CA

The view was spectacular and it was so hard to decide on a choice for my painting. I decided to do the view of the harbor leading into the casino. The breeze was fabulous, although it was tough to find a level spot for my easel. I had to paint on a slant and each time I tried to walk away from my painting it was straight up. Slipping and sliding I did fall and skinned up my fingers and toes. But all in all it was worth every minute to see this spectacular view. I definitely want to go back to this place.

"Casino Night-Catalina"

After a wonderful dinner with my artists friends and more margaritas to celebrate the occasion we set off for another night time painting session. I chose to do the walk way to the casino. It is just brilliant all lit up at night with the different color lights and reflections on the water. A few of the people who stopped to watch me paint asked if I was Van Gogh as they thought my painting was a resemblance of Starry, Starry Night. I laughed, but was shamefully excited to be talked about in the same breath as Van Gogh.

After the night session which was around 11 pm, we thought we would get a cup of hot tea and discuss the day. Unfortunately the only thing open on main street at this hour were the bars. We decided to go back to our room for a critique session and get to bed for the next day.

The next morning we arouse early to go have a nice breakfast before starting the day. Susan and Judy had spotted a little restaurant that was serving fresh peaches, that seemed like a great idea. We all loved the peaches with our breakfast. After packing up our belongings and storing them downstairs until our departure we headed to Descanso Beach.
"Descanso Beach-Catalina"

The reflections in the water that late morning were so colorful, I new this would be my spot. One of the happenings of the morning was when fellow artist Joan Coffey was stung by a bee. The bee's this trip were so bothersome. I found I had more paint on myself from trying to swish them away from my face. Luckily Joan was not hurt too bad by the sting and was able to continue painting.
"Catalina Wall Street"

My last painting of the day is the view from the walkway from the Catalina Express looking towards Catalina Street. The umbrella's are plentiful as people are having a wonderful time on the beach. I loved the way the light was so brilliant as it came down Catalina Street and across the water in the forefront.
We all met up around 3 pm for a wonderful late lunch early dinner, and one last margarita for the trip at Mi Casita. We found they truly had the best margaritas, one we cannot wait to have on our next trip.

It was a wonderful trip with my painting friends. It has now become a tradition and we are already planning our next trip.

Sad and exhausted artists leaving Catalina. Pat, Susan and Joan on their way to the Catalina Express.
Until next time, ENJOY THE ART! Terry d. Chacon

PS: More photos of the trip will be added as I receive them from my fellow artists friends. Joan and Pat are great at taking photos. I know you will surely enjoy them. So please check back. As always paintings are for sale and are available in note cards and giclee's.

Pss: For those of you who are asking, the paintings are 9 x 12 oil on canvas board and painted completely with a palate knife. Thanks for asking.


  1. Great pictures and beautiful paintings, Terry. I'm glad that despite the honeybees the trip was satisfying. Catalina is a true oasis but it could use a late night tea shop for ladies needing to chat. Deb K

  2. I love Catalina Island, just spent a romantic wkend there with my fiance, was fabulous. Founf a gorgeous hotel, and had the best meals and service. Wow!

  3. I love Catalina also. I paint there every Aug. A real treasure, glad you enjoyed it. Terry


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