Cindy Briggs


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Full Circle Moments: Carmel-by-the-Sea

Full Circle Moments Carmel-by-the-Sea View from Napenthe/Big Sur

Full Circle Moments: Carmel-by-the-Sea

Returning to Carmel-by-the-Sea to paint has been a family tradition for over 20 years. With my Aunt Ellie Weakley and her teaching partner, Cathy Goodale, Carmel is where I first started painting en Plein Air (painting outside from life). I remember going for the first time and trying to paint a full sheet (22” x 30”) watercolor of the Carmel Mission on my very awkward Russian Easel and feeling quite insecure about the effort.

Full Circle Moments Carmel-by-the-Sea Carmel Mission Sketch

Carmel Mission Sketch

I learned a lot that October and have returned many times to Carmel-by-the-Sea since. Not just to paint but to also renew my art spirit through painting, exploring, walking the beach, making new friends, and visiting the galleries.

Now following in my Aunt’s footsteps, I take people to paint in artist sketchbooks – releasing the desire to create a masterpiece and just paint for the experience.

We draw and paint on location by the sea, up in the vineyards, downtown by the charming shops, in Nepenthe overlooking Big Sur, and even Monterey. There is something about being in Carmel-by-the-Sea, a place that draws in artists from all over the world!

This coming October, however, I am doing something different to add more interest to this annual retreat. I have invited my cousin Carol Frazier, a singer, songwriter and creative coach, to add to the level of creativity and to teach creative writing. I am hoping to make it extra special for everyone as we take a little bit of time to express in our journals with her creative promptings.

A favorite writing exercise of mine is free-flowing writing. Allow me to share with you some of my words:

Quiet. Calm. Blue. Renewal. Grateful. Love. Honor. Hope. Better. God. Prayer. Truth. Energy. Pondering. Wisdom. Flow. Determination. Art. Beauty. Inside. Outside.

As I was writing these words, I felt it in my heart and soul, and recognized that I was sitting in the same spot where I had tried to paint that first plein air watercolor of the Carmel Mission – I was having a full-circle moment. This Haiku is what came from my heart:

Place of Renewal
Inside Outside I return
Painting from my Heart

It was wonderful to share that moment with my many artist friends, my cousin, and my dear friend, Theresa Goesling who I’ve traveled with to many countries to teach and paint en plein air. What a dream it is to continue to “Make Every Day A Painting” and paint our Heaven on Earth, and share it with my returning and brand new artist guests.

Please join me in Carmel-by-the-Sea this October! But if you can’t make it, won’t you consider Santa Barbara or Tuscany, please?


Ten Tips to help you Finesse Fix your Watercolor Paintings 03

Ten Tips to help you Finesse Fix your Watercolor Paintings 03 mobile

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