Monday, December 11, 2017

Weekend Paintsite, Central Wholesale Nursery San Jose, CA December 9, 2017

The South Bay region is enjoying spectacular plein-air painting weather. Our weekenders ventured out to San Jose's Central Wholesale Nursery for a day of sketching and painting. The staff was very welcoming on a busy "slow" time of the year day. The scene was a burst of color with Cyclamen, topiary Christmas trees, and  beautiful autumn foliage. 


Cindy sketching the brilliant display of color

Evergreens were decorated with festive holiday ribbons.

Helen with her sketchbook painting of a potted tree

Helen and her perspective view of the nursery

Cindy's sketch of autumn leaves

Cindy's sketchbook entry of the nursery environment
Alison's sketchbook rendering of Cyclamens

Alison's perspective view of the nursery
Put it on your calendar: January weekend paintsite Jan. 27, 2018  Bernal-Gulnac-Joice Ranch  San Jose. Celebrate the great 408 as part of  San Jose’s 240th birthday! Check the Society website for schedule changes or rainouts before departing. 

Hayes Mansion & Edenvale Gardens Regional Park, San Jose. Thursday, December 7, 2017.

December Paintsites have started with cold early-mornings (low 40s: frost on the windshields; "Do I really want to bundle up and paint outside today?") which, so far, have turned into sunny and almost warm (in the sun at least) late-mornings and afternoons ("I'm really glad I went painting today!"). We've visited the Hayes Mansion before but there's always been lots of red-tape to cut thru to get permission to paint on the grounds and use the facilities.   Marilyn and Jane tenaciously cut thru most of the red tape (we were able to use the facilities) but were requested to set-up in the adjacent Edenvale Gardens Regional Park.   It turned out setting-up in the Park was actually an advantage as the view was the same and there wasn't the squadron of landscapers with power tools and tractors working the Park as there was the Mansion grounds.   

For more information about this Paintsite's dual venues, see ...
Hayes Mansion
Edenvale Gardens Regional Park

Upcoming Paintsites:   See the website or December & January Newsletters for details.
  • Thursday, December 14, 2017: Central Wholesale Nursery, San Jose
  • Thursday, December 21, 2017: Holiday break - no Paintsite
  • Thursday, December 28, 2017: Los Altos Redwood Grove, Los Altos
  • Thursday, January 4, 2018: Wilder Ranch State Park, Santa Cruz
  • Thursday, January 11, 2018: Emma Prusch Farm Park, San Jose
  • Thursday, January 18, 2018: Downtown Campbell
  • Thursday, January 25, 2018:Charleston Slough, Mt. View 

Other Activities of Interest:
  • Tuesday, January 9, 2018: last day to RSVP for Annual Holiday Party - see SCVWS website Home page for details
  • Saturday, January 13, 2018: Annual Holiday Party, Saratoga
  • Ends January 15, 2018:  "Small Treasures" exhibit at Hobee's in N. San Jose

Artists at Work:  From the Park we had about a 90 degree range of views of the front of the Mansion and took advantage of all of them.  

Head-on to the Hayes Mansion from the Edenvale Gardens Regional Park.  (You can barely see the palings of the metal fence which separated the two sites.    Also, note December's low sun angles which made for fine shadows on the immaculately manicured lawns.)   

Elaine G., tho' an experienced plein air artist, it was her first time with Paintsites.  To see more of  Elaine's artwork, visit her website ( )                link in the right sidebar.

Iris (right) and her guest, Helen, at her first Paintsite.

Left to right: Helen, Lisha, Salinda and Dick also set-up almost head-on to the Hayes Mansion.

Paintsites co-coordinators Jane S. and Marilyn

Left to right: A shady (or maybe that should be shaded?) group of artists: Lisha, Helen, Iris and Salinda

Susan B-G


Toni turned her back on the Mansion and painted some of the equally stately trees in the Edenvale Gardens Regional Park.

Lunch: Such a pleasant day painting, we'd have kept on except hunger drove us to gather for lunch.

Sharing:  After lunch we took turns showing our work and commenting on what we'd done.
Lisha shares her painting of the Hayes Mansion with us.

While Lisha describes her painting it looks like Marilyn (far right) takes notes

Jane S. talks about her painting while Three Wise Artists (you can see their shadows) look on appreciatively.
Our Day's Work:  Unfortunately, the paintings were photographed in direct sunlight which made them look washed out.  Actually the colors were brighter and the contrasts greater than they appear here.

Annie liked the atmospheric feel of her painting.

Broncha took advantage of the long shadows cast by the palms (a requisite in for every stately mansion in the Valley) to make a strong design statement.


Dick's painting

Iris with a long view of the Mansion from right of center.

New member Lisa T. used colored pencils for "Detail of Balcony at Mansion".

Lisha's painting of fine trees and their shadows with a hint of the Mansion.

Salinda's painting of the impressive shadows and oh yes, the Hayes Mansion.

Elaine G's sketch of the Mansion and artists Salinda, Lisha and Helen in the foreground

Elaine G's completed painting of the Mansion

Susan B-G's painting of the Mansion and a dog-walker in the Park.

Tanvi's first painting - she was striving for something looser so ....
Tanvi's second painting -- looser? yes but not loose enough so ....

Tanvi's third painting - aaah, finally, loose enough!
Toni liked the look of the trees in the Park.  There are some old oaks, big eucalyptuses shedding bark in long strips, various conifers, pepper, and lots of smaller hardwoods --- a tree painters paradise in a small space.  

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Rancho San Antonio, Cupertino, Thursday, November 30, 2017

This was the last Paintsites Hike & Sketch of 2017 and a fine one it was!   The last time we visited Ranch San Antonio, in June, 2016, it was the final Hike & Sketch led by beloved long-time Paintsites coordinators Jenny and Sylvia, the developers of the Hike & Sketch concept.   That was one hot day (temps in the mid-90s) and, to make it even more memorable, Jenny & Sylvia led us on some of the more taxing trails.   This time, led by Jane and Marilyn, we took the less strenuous Permanente Creek and Lower Meadow Trails to Deer Hollow Farm.   They'd also arranged for a temperate day, one of those rare days when it was equally pleasant to paint in either the shade or sun.   How often does that happen?

For more information about the Rancho San Antonio County Park, Deer Hollow Farm, and the Open Space Preserve, see:
Rancho San Antonio County Park website
Note:  the lower parking lots near the restrooms quickly fill up when the park opens and don't thin out until after 10:00 AM.  If the lower lots are full, don't despair, it's only a short walk from the upper lots near the park entrance down to the staging area.

Upcoming paintsites:
  • Thursday, Dec 7: View of Hayes Mansion from Edenvale Gardens Park, San Jose
  • Saturday, Dec 9: Weekend Paintsite: Central Wholesale Nursery, San Jose
  • Thursday, Dec 14: Central Wholesale Nursery, San Jose
  • Thursday, Dec 28: Los Altos Redwood Grove

On the trail:
Our first stop, just a few steps from the parking lot, was the Permanente Creek Picnic Area.   Looking south from the conveniently placed picnic tables was a small stand of trees in brilliant autumn colors against a background of green hills and blue sky.   That was the most popular subject.   To the north, across a grassy meadow was the huge old Bay tree - not as colorful but equally impressive.  (Incidentally, once on the trail, the pervasive fragrance of the Bay trees was constantly with us.) 

Looking south, artists painted fall foliage

Salinda and Lisha

Jane's painting

Liz's painting

Lorraine's painting

Marilyn's painting

To the north, across the meadow, was the big Bay tree.  (How big? So big it wouldn't fit in the photo frame!)
Helen's painting of the Bay tree

Mary R's painting of the Bay tree
Brad's Tombow sketch of the big Bay tree

Jenny and Sylvia would have been proud of us --- we actually limited ourselves to 20 minute sketches and small (but excellent) paintings at this first stop. 

On to the second stop:
Then it was back on the trail to Deer Hollow Farm.   Jane called a halt where the Lower Meadow Trail crosses Permanente Creek for our second sketching session.   It was here that discipline broke down ... some showed admirable self discipline and sketched for 20 minutes, packed up and moved on; others were completely out of control and refused to put their pencils or brushes down until they'd completed their painting.

Lorraine's painting of trees along the trail

Salinda's painting of artists by Permanente Creek

Liz's 10 minute sketch of artists at work.  (She managed to include all of us even tho' we weren't sitting together.)
Helen's painting along the trail

This week Marilyn's painting buddy was an acorn woodpecker

Despite being distracted by her painting buddy in the nearby snag,
Marilyn was able to paint this painting of eucalyptus.
Trails End: 
The final series of paintings (not just timed sketches) were done at Deer Hollow Farm where, in a compact area,  there's lots of subjects from which to choose: farm animals (cows, goats, & pigs), fowl (chickens and geese), historic buildings, farm equipment, and plants & trees.

Jane's painting of Stella with a persimmon tree in the background.  (Stella was quite fractious when we were there - I asked the ranger if it was because Jane was making Stella nervous by painting her.  The ranger said "No. Stella and the two other "girls" (cows) were just having some hormonal issues".   It's that time of year apparently.  Just goes to prove you never know what you'll learn at a paintout.)

Susan B-G's painting of lively goats

Salinda's painting of a pair of goats

Liz's painting of a pumpkin

Tanvi's painting of farm buildings

Anu's painting of farm buildings

Lisha's painting of farm buildings and artists
Helen's painting of artist at the farm

Then lunch; the "show and share" critique; and a pleasant walk back to the parking lot.
All in all, another great Hike & Sketch.   Jane & Marilyn are already hard at work laying out plans for Hike & Sketch Paintsites in 2018 but it will be difficult to come up with one as pleasant as this was.