Dotti’s Carmel River Beach Surf

Carmel River Beach Surf
22″ x 15″ watercolor
From the Collection of
Dana & John Richards

There are only a few more paintings by my Mother, Dotti Rix McPherson that I have to share with you. I saved the best for last! This view is from the north end of the Carmel River Beach looking across to the Carmelite Monestary, home to a community of sequestered nuns called the “Sisters by the Sea”.

What Mom particularly loved about this view is that it constantly changed with the seasons. Sometimes the beach would be piled high with enormous pieces of drift wood which we used to make elaborate beach “houses”. In wet winters, the beach was sometimes bisected by the Carmel River which would come roaring down Carmel Valley through the wide sand beach and on to the ocean.

One year Mom wanted to take her grandchildren to her favorite beach. We arrived to discover that the entire north end of the beach was essentially gone! The river had carved a brand new channel that ate away the parking lot and undermined the restroom facilities and then curved north along the top of the beach eroding everything in its path! Almost all the sand you can see on the left side of this painting was gone, leaving a field of enormous boulders! Eventually, the ocean waves returned all the sand that had been swept away.

I can still see my Mom walking through this painting from one end of the beach to the other and back again as we did together many times over the years.


Welcome to DaneArt! I’m Dana Richards. I live and paint watercolors in the countryside near Stevenson’s Bridge in Solano County, California. Views of Mount Diablo, walnut orchards and farm scenes constantly inspire me. The birds, insects and animals along nearby Putah Creek and in my backyard pond provide additional sources of inspiration. Over the past year, I have been experimenting with Plein Aire painting with a group of other enthusiasts. My work has been shown locally at the Davis Art Center, the Pence Gallery and in other locations around Sacramento and Woodland. I can be reached at
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