Finding Art on the Beach

When I recently took a trip to the beach, I was amazed to find the wide variety of nature which presented itself. The ebb and flow of the beach’s water and waves creates a perpetual motion that hits nature right between the eyes, which then nature turns into art.

What do you see when you look down at the sand and seashore?

You’ll probably see your feet, but if you look a little harder, you might be surprised. I know I was.

Each of these photos was taken just as I found it; just waiting for me to come along with my camera.

I hope you enjoy the Art on the Beach as much as I did:

Draw Lines in the Sand


Black Seaweed


Nature's Wokders


Small Wonders

(To give you an idea of the actual size of this, I measured this little guy, 3in by 1.5in.)


Sand, Seaweed, and Pink

Like all great paintings and art, you typically always see a new facet of meaning and design aesthetic, you didn’t see the previous time. And each time I look at these pictures, I always discover a new texture, color, sea-shell, or grain of sand I didn’t see before. Now I’m convinced that I don’t have to go to an art museum or gallery to view art:

I can always find it in my own backyard while Travelin’ Local.

I know that many of my readers create their own art:

From the thought provoking and painstaking photography of Kevin, Travis, to Diane C, Lisa, Kim, and Henie, to the literary creative musings of Lance, Paisley, and Urban Panther.

What about you, do you have any art plans this weekend? What art lives in your backyard?

For me, art screams at me every day here at Travelin’ Local, and there’s never enough time to etch my prose and pictures of the many splendorous places I go and things I do; but little by little, what started off as a tiny hobby of mine called Travelin’ Local, is quickly turning into my life’s passion and work.

Torrey Pines Beach – Up Close and Personal

This is last story from my Torrey Pines series, featuring its ocean shore.

Although Torrey Pines was named for the pines trees that have prevailed for centuries, a major part of the park is the ocean and it’s view from the ground level.

I’ve shown it to you from afar, but not up close and personal.

Grandma and the Boogie Boarders

The day I was Travelin’ Local to Torrey Pines, it was Spring Break, so the beach was busier than most normal non-summer weekdays.

Under the careful eagle eyes of the lifeguards, this family was boogie boarding on the waves. The Grandmother, who came prepared with her big beach umbrella and snacks, was also keeping a watchful eye, as the children played in the surf.

Cliff and Wildflowers

In full spring blossom, the cliffs surrounding the beach presented quite a contrast between the flowers blooming against the natural color of the cliff walls. It’s amazing how much color just a simple cliff can have.

If you look closely, you can see the “holes” in the cliff wall. I’m sure that over the centuries, the ebb and flow of the ocean waves caused these holes. I found myself wondering what they will look like in the next thousand years.

Sand and Rock

I took my shoes off, and made a foray into the shoreline water. Watching the play of waves, sand, and rocks has always been a fascination of mine.

What causes the rocks to be the colors they are? What events have taken place that placed pink, black, and white to appear on this rock?

Young Love

The old adage that every picture tells a story, so as I wrap up this series chronicling my visit to Torrey Pines, I’ll leave you with a picture that moved me.

These young lovers are acknowledging and appreciating the majesty of the ocean, its power and all-encompassing strength.

Growing up in Ohio, I was very far removed from the ocean.

And then after high school, even though I lived for the next 20+ years on the East Coast, the ocean was somewhere I went for a few vacations, only able to enjoy and appreciate it for snippets of time, but never really understanding its grace and elegance.

Now I live only a heartbeat away from the magnificent Pacific Ocean, which I’m able to visit whenever I want. It’s become a part of me, the sound, the beat, and the rhythm. I can’t see it without being moved.

Do you have a place of seclusion, a place of relaxation, a place of enjoyment that makes you feel this way?

No matter whether it’s sojourning to Torrey Pines, walking high at Coldwater Canyon, going for a bicycle ride at Ballona Creek, or checking out the latest scene downtown, by Travelin’ Local the joy of visiting my “sweet spots” only make them sweeter, because I don’t have to go far, or spend a lot of money to appreciate what others around the world come here for every single day of the year.

Please take me to the Playground


As of 2002, two-thirds of children, 18 and under, who live in Los Angeles do not live within walking distance (which is defined as ¼ mile) of a public park, according to the study, No Place to Play, by the Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit conservation organization.

"From a public health perspective, the benefits of parks are clear," added Dr. Linda Rosenstock, Dean of the UCLA School of Public Health. "Children who live near parks are more likely to exercise, and kids who exercise are less likely to develop a wide range of preventable diseases. More parks help create healthier kids and a healthier community." Source: California, Report Highlights LA Park Needs (CA)

Prop 40, a Bond Issuance which passed in 2002, was enacted to build new parks, and to enhance our current park system through improvements, rehabilitation and services.

Proposition 40 raised $1.3 billion for state and local parks and historical/cultural resources, including $70 million for the City of Los Angeles, of which, $5 million is allocated for the Hansen Dam and Sepulveda Basin recreation areas in the San Fernando Valley, with the remaining funds to be distributed for parks throughout the city on a per-capita basis.

One particular beneficiary of the government’s funding is a park close to my home:

Stoner Recreation Center

I have passed by this park many times, and had seen the recent construction. However, until today, I hadn’t seen the new playground. And what a playground it is:

Stoner Recreation Center Playground

Put in the category of “Universal Access Playground,” Stoner Recreation Center ’s playground was designed with all children in mind.

I wish I had a local park like this when my kids were toddlers:

Great access

With nice wide elevated walkways and extremely stable railings, children of all ages, and physical challenges, can access the recreation areas and equipment. There’s even a wheelchair ramp at the other end of the playground.

What a great shovel

Access to this cool digging shovel was from the sidewalk, so even the youngest toddlers can play and fill their truck with sand.

I'm filling up my truck

This little boy spent a long time first digging up the sand with the shovel on the left, raising it up the pole, dumping it on the surface, and then watched his truck being filled via the sand slide.


These three children were enjoying the shade while digging in the sand.

I love a good slide

If you have children, it’s easy to picture them enjoying every minute of their time sliding down the slide or jumping on this sea horse.

Sand and sidewalk aren’t the only types of surfaces that surround the playground—they also use a soft, cushiony material designed to keep bumps and bruises to a minimum.

I was surprised—and very happy–to see the improvements at the Stoner Recreation Center; but even before, it was pretty good.

More on that in an upcoming blog post…………………..:)

I had a great time watching the kids, talking to a few of them and their parents; and enjoying a day at the park.

Will you be heading to the park with your kids? Or maybe your kids are grown like mine, and you just enjoy the park without the worries of watching your kids. Maybe you don’t have any but dig the outdoors.

Either way, Travelin’ Local continues to amaze and surprise me.

Torrey Pines, Dolphins, and another day in San Diego

When we last left Torrey Pines, I was at the top, looking in all directions.

A few yards down from the trail, I saw that several people were looking out at the ocean; so of course, being the naturally curious person I am, I stopped to see what they were looking at.

Low and behold, as you can see here, dolphins were frolicking in the midday ocean’s sun and were having a swim. Although, they were pretty far from the shore, you can clearly see one of the dolphin’s fins peaking out. Needless to say, I was very excited because I had never seen one in its natural habitat.

The coastal strip of San Diego is more than a hundred miles long, and with its Mediterranean climate of mild wet winters, and warm dry summers, results in a long growing season, and probably the best weather anywhere in the world.

San Diego’s average temperatures, range from a January minimum of 45F, to an August maximum of 80F, with a yearly average of 62F!

Hey, Life’s a Beach.

The majority of rainfall comes during the winter and early spring, with a seasonal average of less than 10 inches.

The salt marsh, pictured above on the right, is a highly productive ecosystem—,creating an extremely important wildlife habitat. It serves as both a nursery for fish and shellfish and a feeding and nesting ground for resident and migratory birds.

BTW, my car is parked in the little strip located to the left of North Torrey Pines Road, so my walk was literally onto Torrey Pines, which is seen from this mountaintop looking north.

Located to the south are Blacks beach and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography pier.

This woman and her companions were using one of the most interesting “Wheelchairs” I had ever seen.

I talked to Susan for a few minutes, and she told me that she was a “Guinea Pig” for this particular model, and loved it. And it’s obvious why:

As you can see from the picture–it’s a beach wheelchair. Amazingly, although it took a little bit of effort to get it onto the hill, once there, I was very impressed with its ability to move on the trail.

Its maneuverability was fantastic as opposed to a traditional wheelchair; which for all intents and purposes, would’ve been near impossible to navigate here; it didn’t get stuck in the sand, and easily afforded her the ability to go where she couldn’t have gone in a normal chair.

I love this idea and I know that Susan did, too; because she told me!

As I turned and reached the final corner facing the beach, I suddenly found myself enclosed in a harbor of pines—, glorious and stunning.

Torrey Pines

This pine is probably the remnant of an ancient coastal forest which has been reduced during the drying period of the last ten thousand years to the sandy soils of the sandstone bluffs and ravines of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and Santa Rosa Island. Extensive root systems and blankets of summer fog help the Torrey pine survive and thrive. The continuous winds cause the pines to grow twisted and gnarled creating a blanket of shade for the travelers on the trail.

As my Travelin’ Local sojourn takes me back to Los Angeles, I’ll leave you with this picture. The mixture of deadwood and new wildflowers fascinated me.

Buried in the sand together–the visual contrast between the dead pines and the new yellow flowers is quite striking.

For another look at Torrey Pines, be sure to check out Kevin’s recent visit over at his blog, Kevin Oke Photography. He took ordinary sights and converted them to artwork. It’s definitely worth a look.

San Diego, Torrey Pines, and the next place to Travelin’ Local, will always be etched into my memory. But as for reminiscing, I’m already plottin’ and plannin’ my next local cool spot to visit.

I am a Seashell

I am a seashell

waiting for

somebody to see



I am shiny and

curled up like a

cinnamon roll.

I’m rough and



I swim

with the

sea and

the sea

with me.


I am

cold inside

so if you

touch me

you’ll shiver and



I swim

around the

sea with

animals living

inside of me.


I’m joyful

in the sea

with fishes

and sea


surrounding me.


I like

being a





can hear

the sea

inside of


By Melissa, age 7

Brought to you via A Poem a Day

A Poem a Day is part of the organization called Writers in the Schools (WITS). WITS is a non-profit organization that encourages, and engages children in the pleasure and power of reading and writing. WITS writers work in year-long programs in over 350 classrooms in order to help students develop their creative and analytical thinking skills, which are so important in today’s competitive and complex world.

This topic is near and dear to my heart as I used to teach 5th grade students and am passionate about all things education. I lend my total and wholehearted support for any group that’s helping kids to read and write more often.

WITS’s focus is on inner city kids, but they also offer workshops at art museums, hospitals, community centers, and juvenile detention centers, just to name a few. If you’d like more information on their work, or even purchase one of their books, please feel free to click here.

I was excited to find out that California does have a link to this project, California Poets in the Schools; however, I was disappointed that the Los Angeles County Public Schools does not have a website to feature their students’ work. If you know of such a link, please let me know as I’d love to feature poems by local youth poets here.

I love reading and writing, and am a firm believer that a love of reading starts and home, but continues in the classroom. Does any of your local schools offer and participate in any program like this?

As time goes, I look forward to featuring more such K-12 writings, and I’d love to feature one from your Travelin’ Local schools.