Pacific Pup: The California Coast According to Annette


Like many other children of California, I was absolutely crazy about the beach. It represented the total freedom of summertime, and an exciting excursion away from home in San Jose. But more specifically, I fell for the harbor seals. I wanted to be one when I grew up. How could you not love them? Those big round glistening eyes, adorable button noses, plump blubbery bellies. In fact, my first work of art was a seal which I painted on my childhood kitchen wall, the medium my mother’s designer lipstick (that one didn’t sell so well).

Drawing and painting was always my outlet. However, as someone endlessly fascinated with plants and animals, I chose to study biology. To my great and happy surprise, I stumbled across a practical combination of art and biology at Cal State Monterey Bay through the Science Illustration Graduate program. I had found my niche in the world!

This summer, I’m so excited to embark on my first creative experiment, which will be an account of California coastal communities seen through the eyes of a sketchbook artist. Ten weekly illustrations of varied coastal topics will be drawn in the field (a.k.a. on the beach). These will include musings and observations, tribulations, techniques, and fun nature facts. Drawing out of doors is the best and most enjoyable way to truly observe the environment, in my biased opinion of course. Spontaneous, energetic, and even messy, sketchbooks can teach you not only about your surroundings, but also what you love most about them.

For me it is the harbor seal, but is there some charismatic creature that melts your heart? A snowy plover, perhaps? Or maybe you are a botany buff, or a mushroom hunter? Whatever it is, I hope I can inspire someone to pick up a pencil instead of a camera, and fall in love with the California coast in a new way.

See you at the Beach!

Annette Filice

Science Illustrator

Sketch Notes: Asilomar State Beach, Pacific Grove, CA. 6/19/2010. No seals, but lots of shorebirds! Cloudy, chilly, and the wind is picking up. The hills appear bluish-gray in this light.


  1. Hi Annette! Although I enjoy living along the coast of southern California, your sketch of Asilomar is evoking some mean nostalgia! The natural landscape is certainly more well preserved than in my neck of the woods, and it’s calling my name. We do have somewhat well preserved wetlands nearby. I may break out the binoculars this weekend!

  2. Jane Kim says

    Wonderful!!! I can’t wait to see what’s to come.

  3. Thank you for your comments, Gianna and Jane! I hope you had a chance to break out your binoculars this weekend, that makes me want to do the same!

  4. says

    Pacificpupintro.. Awful 🙂

  5. says

    Pacificpupintro.. Great idea 🙂

  6. says

    Pacificpupintro.. Peachy 🙂

  7. says

    Pacificpupintro.. May I repost it? 🙂