Carmel-Brenda Swenson

Travel Sketching in Watercolor in Carmel & Pacific Grove, CA with Brenda Swenson

Carmel and Pacific Grove, located in Monterey Bay offer spectacular setting along the Pacific Ocean.

With its European charm and its sand beaches, Carmel is a must-visit California coastal getaway and one of the most romantic places in California.

Pacific Grove, affectionately known as Butterfly Town USA offers some of the most beautiful beaches in California.

Day 1: Orientation Meeting and Welcome Dinner

5 pm: Meet your fellow travelers, your instructor Brenda Swenson and your two tour leaders, Valerie and Jackie,  at our selected hotel in Carmel for our orientation meeting.

We will  go over the schedule for the workshop and treat you for a welcome dinner to celebrate the beginning of a week full of laughter, painting and new friendships.

Days 2 to 5: Sketching in Carmel & Pacific Grove

Here is a list of some emblematic spots of Carmel and Pacific Grove but not necessary our painting sites.

Carmel Mission

The beautifully restored Carmel Mission is a historic landmark since 1771. It is not only an active church, but also a museum.

It is the only Spanish mission in California that has its original bell tower and bell.

The museum and basilica contain impressive artifacts, the plantings on the grounds are gorgeous and the Mission also has a lovely chapel, fountains and gardens.


Fairy Tale Cottages

Carmel-by-the-sea is also famous for its storybook fairy tale cottages.

A trend started by Hugh Comstock in the early 1900s. Comstock’s cottage inspired other local residents to ask for their own fairytale cottages, and  many more of them were built in the village. 

Carmel’s fairytale cottages feature high pitched roofs, stone chimneys, and timbered details that make you think you are in Alsace or in a storybook!.

Coast Line and Cypress Trees

A scenic pathway meanders above the bluff overlooking Carmel Beach through sculptured Monterey Cypress trees.

The long stretch of beautiful rocky coastline in Pacific Grove,  features several scenic overlooks.

Because of its unique east-facing location, it is also one of the only spots on the West Coast where you can watch the sun rise over the water.


Both towns are home to many historic buildings with Spanish influences in their architecture: from iron balconies to tile decoration on steps, but also features of Victorian architecture.

The historic homes, some of which date back to the 19th century, include Victorian, Craftsman, Colonial & other styles.

Light House in Pacific Grove

Pacific Grove’s charming Point Pinos Lighthouse is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the US West Coast and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The building, lenses and prisms in this Pacific Grove lighthouse are all original.

This lighthouse is still an active aid to navigation.

End of Day 5: Show and Tell and Farewell Dinner


It is time to finish up some of the paintings started this week. The sketching workshop will end with a little “Show and Tell”.

We will then treat you for the farewell dinner before saying goodbye.

Day 6: Departure

You can leave at your convenience or extend your stay to enjoy this wonderful place. If you live close to Carmel, you can leave the night before after the farewell dinner.

About the Workshop:

“Join me for 4 days of sketching with watercolor in beautiful Carmel-by-the-sea. We’ll enjoy the free-flowing and colorful nature of watercolor at its best while sketching and having fun!

I’ll help you develop observation skills, color awareness, simple design principles and learn about light and shadows. We’ll investigate various techniques, sketching tools, and approaches to watercolor. Enjoy time with fellow artists, instruction and friendly critiques”.

Space is very limited (max 15 participants).

About Brenda Swenson:

Brenda Swenson is the artist author of two books, Keeping a Watercolor Sketchbook (Finalist, Award of Excellence) and Steps to Success in Watercolor. 

Her artwork has been featured in Splash (11,12, 14,19 & 20), An Illustrated Journey, Creative Freedom, Complete Guide to Watercolor, Watercolor Artist, Watercolor Magazine, Watercolor Highlights, Plein Air Magazine and numerous other publications.  

She has two instructional DVD’s on painting and sketching techniques. Brenda has achieved signature status in WW, NWWS, SDWS and CWA. An active participant in the arts community she has served on the board of directors for the National Watercolor Society and Watercolor West. 

She is in demand to judge shows, demonstrate and teach workshops to groups nationwide and abroad.

Dates and Rates

Oct 8-13, 2023 – SOLD OUT (wait list open) 

Oct 15-20, 2023 –only 1 spot left  

Price: $1,590 if you drive your own car to the painting sites

Price: $1,690 if you want to come in our car

The hotel is not included, see below

What is included in the price


  • A welcome reception
  • 2 dinners: one welcome dinner on day 1 and one farewell dinner on day 5
  • All art classes (daily demos, one-on-one support and instructions)
  • Transportation in mini-vans to painting locations if you choose that option
  • The use of folding chairs
  • Complementary snacks and drinks brought to the painting sites
  • A tour leader throughout the week


  • Your hotel. We have booked some rooms for the participants interested in staying at the hotel where the teacher and the tour leaders are staying. We will give you the info after you have signed up.
  • Some meals (the ones not listed as included)
  • Painting supplies (folding chairs will be provided)

How to Book

Both workshops are now full.  Please email us at to be placed on the wait list.

French Escapade LLC | 2389 Blackpool Place | San Leandro, CA 94577 | 510-483-5713 |
California Seller of Travel Licence-CST #: 2091909-40
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