Art And Beaches And Oil

Carpinteria is a tiny beach town with no crowds and safe beaches. When Spanish explorers came here in 1769, they saw the carpentry workshop of the Chumash Indians, who used the local tar to seal their boats. Hence the town’s name — the carpentry shop. It’s one of my favorite destinations, and it’s only 90 miles from home. This weekend was finally cooler (thank you, thank you, thank you!) so we headed north with a beach umbrella and a picnic basket and cameras and a couple of books. Perfect!

The tar, or pitch, oozes from the sand and dirt at the beach.


The low beach cliffs are “paved” with naturally occurring tar.

DSCN2500_edited-1The drilling rigs which inhabit the channel have produced more than 100 million barrels of oil since the fields were discovered in 1964.

DSC_3682_edited-2As I was looking at the pictures from yesterday’s getaway, the tar reminded me of a visit to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art this past July. What the two have in common: tar. It oozes from the lawn and sidewalks that surround LACMA, and it has entombed mammoths and saber tooth tigers and lots of other critters.

I was at LACMA in July to see the exhibit “From Van Gogh to Kandinsky: Expressionism in Germany and France”.

IMG_20140713_145918_123_edited-1Another other big museum in Los Angeles that I enjoy visiting is the Getty Museum, created with the wealth of oil magnate J. Paul Getty.

DSCN0005 edited 1

16 thoughts on “Art And Beaches And Oil

    1. So much wealth comes from carbon-based deposits. When I drive north along the Pacific Coast Highway, there’s a spot where I see the constant flame of natural gas being burned off. It’s near the Mobil Oil dock. And yet we have so much sun and so much wind. I would rather see wind turbines offshore than oil derricks.


  1. Interesting tie-in with the tar topic. I’ve heard such good things about the Getty. It would be fun to visit it except for my almost phobia of big cities….. πŸ™‚


    1. The Getty is one of my absolute favorites to visit. It’s high on a hill top, affording a view of the Pacific on one side and downtown LA on the other. There’s also another Getty museum out at the beach in Malibu. It has all of J. Paul’s Greek and Roman antiquities. Traffic is dreadful, but if you should make it our town I volunteer to be your brave tour guide.


  2. What a great article, and accompanying photos! I haven’t been to Carpinteria since I lived up in Thousand Oaks. It’s a great little town. I do remember the beach tar up that way, including on Oxnard and Ventura beaches… sticking to our feet, bathing suits! Your tie-in with the Tar Pits and the Getty is awesome. Thanks for an interesting story.


    1. Thanks Sue. I do love Carpinteria – it is so laid back and uncongested, and free parking a block from the beach! What’s not to love? But then we have so many great museums here in the LA area (if you can get to them).

      This latest trip has taught me a new life lesson: mayonnaise takes tar off of shoes. Who knew? (the internet did, I didn’t)


  3. I forgot about the tar pits being near you – it must get on everything – glad to read about the mayo cure! The water and strong sun looks so beautiful. I never made it to the beach this year, too cool and I need it to be HOT to go into the cold water!


    1. Yes the tar pits are quite near, but the museum is vigilant about fencing off the large pools of it. I’m always surprised though, when I see it oozing from the sidewalk.

      It’s probably been decades since I actually went swimming in the Pacific. The nearest I’ve gotten is to wade about in the tide pools and look at the wonderful little beings who live there. I mostly like to have a book as a prop while I take wee naps, and to be near the sound of the surf, and to feel the sand on my bare feet. It has been plenty hot this whole summer — enough to tempt you, probably. Odds are we’ll have some hot days this winter too. Keep us in mind if you in the neighborhood; I will do the driving.

      Liked by 1 person

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