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Mendocino

Several months ago, Alan was perusing the internet for "Plein air" events around the country.  Submitting an application for the Mendocino Open Paint Out (MOPO) was easily completed but as the event approached we hadn't decided if we wanted to make the trip or not.  We've traveled through Mendocino a few time through the years, but did we want/need to make the trip again? 

Formerly a logging town, the active artist community, with a population of 900, is perched along
rocky cliffs overlooking the Pacific, but that in itself was not reason enough to make the trip.  Perhaps, the Florida heat was the deciding factor.  Looking at the forecast for northern California, it appeared that temperatures would be substantially cooler than home.  Locating a reasonably priced 1-bedroom house on a rural property  in nearby Little River on Airbnb was the second part of the equation.  Being able to book the flight using air miles clenched the deal.  So we were California bound!

Arriving a day before the event started, we were able to visit nearby towns and parks so Alan could decide on painting venues for the week.  After getting his papers stamped the following day, we were off to his first destination, an old
house near Mendocino Headlands State Park which wraps around the waterfront.  Over the next week, we traveled to Van Damme SP, Russian Gulch SP, Jug Handle State Reserve, Noyo Headlands and Marina, Big River SP, Greenwood State Beach and Point Cabrillo Light Station and countless unnamed coves and overlooks as Alan painted and I snapped photos.  Perfect weather, or our interpretation of perfection, followed us for the entire week.  Temperatures ran between 70-75 during the day and 55 at night with light breezes and sunny skies.

Intrigued by the water towers dotted around Mendocino, I spent hours walking through town
documenting the structures.  Built at the end of the 19th century, the towers have provided residents and local businesses with water.  Historically, windmills were used to pump the water up to the towers.  Some of those are still standing, but electricity now pumps the water from the shallow water table to the towers, which then use gravity feed systems.  The town still has no central water supply, so many towers are still being used, but several have been converted into cozy dwellings, some of which are available for overnight guests.  


The 50+ participating artists for MOPO hung their works at the end of each day at the Mendocino Art Center.  Daily viewings were offered, and the week culminated with awards on Friday and a "quick paint" event on Saturday.  Music and locally produced wines were offered at the closing on Sunday.

Heading off the next day, we meandered through the Anderson Valley wine region, stopping for an occasional tasting, as we drove to San Francisco for the final day of our trip.
Old barns on newly acquired State lands
Alan's rendering of the barns





























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