Sunday, February 19, 2017

Maryknoll Retirement Residence, Los Altos Thursday, February 16, 2017

Maryknoll is a magnificent building easily visible from I-280 just north of the Foothill Expressway Exit.  It was built in 1926 as a Catholic seminary for students preparing to enter the Maryknoll order.  In the mid 1970’s it was converted to a residence for retired Brothers.  The architecture contains Spanish mission, Baroque, and Oriental influences.  For more information see

At a typical paintsite we would have had to cancel due to rain on a rainy morning like Feb 16.  But Maryknoll is an exceptional site with a cloister walk where, despite the rain, we could sit and paint in dry and comfort with a view of the bell tower, chapel, and part of the residence.  As the day went on, misty skies turned to bright blue skies, and some of us painted another painting or two with bright sunshine and sharp shadows. 

It is lightly raining outside but artists (l. to r.) Helen, Lisha, Jane, Joe, and Liz are dry and comfortable in the cloister walk.

Helen’s painting of chapel

Lisha’s painting of bell tower
Joe’s painting of bell tower and chapel through arched colonnade of the cloister walk

Marilyn’s painting of the same

Lorraine sitting and painting in the cloister walk

Lorraine’s painting of bell tower, chapel, and courtyard

 Joy’s painting of chapel

 Anu’s painting of cloister walk
Mary R's misty painting of the bell tower (painted in a light rain)

Kaaren’s painting of cloister walk showing Lisha painting
and Jane S. chatting with one of the Maryknoll brothers
Kaaren’s painting of Rancho San Antonio CP and hills

By noon the rain was over and the sun was shining brightly.
Here is Anu in the sunny courtyard.
Anu’s sunny painting of Buddhist temple bell and Rancho San Antonio CP beyond

Anu’s sunny painting of bell tower and chapel

Jenny’s painting of bell tower and chapel

Jenny’s sunny painting of cloister walk

Jenny’s painting of Maryknoll grounds

Lisha’s sunny painting of Maryknoll residence

The artists are admiring their work at the critique.
The shadows are sharp because the sun is shining brightly.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sunnyvale Historical Society and Museum, February 9, 2017

This was another first for the paintsite group.  Instead of cancelling on a very rainy day, we sketched inside a treasure of a collection, The Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum.  We had painted the apricot orchard outside this museum many times over the years, but this is the first time we went inside the museum.  We were delighted with the artifacts inside that depicted the history of Sunnyvale from the time of the Ohlone Indians through the advent of technology, with emphasis on the pioneer Murphy Family.  The museum is housed in a replica of the Murphy family's Bay View House which was built in Maine, dismantled, shipped to California via Cape Horn, and reassembled in the area which is now Sunnyvale.  The Murphy family's wagon train was the first to scale the summit of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, opening the California trail to thousands of immigrants.  This was in 1844, two years before the Donner Party set out in 1846.

Sunnyvale Historical Society and Museum Association Director,
Laura Babcock, our wonderful hostess
Jane sketching in the kitchen

Jane's kitchen sketch
Jenny sketching in the kitchen
Jenny's sketch of an antique doll and pram
 Jenny's sketch of Bernard D. Murphy, born 1841

Jenny's sketch of a 1921 gas pump

Kaaren sketching in the kitchen
Kaaren's pen and ink sketch of kitchen utensils

Kaaren's pencil sketch of antique kitchen utensils

Anu's sketch of a 1921 Gilbert and Barker gasoline pump, installed on street corners,
one gallon per pump.
Anu's sketch of the Airship Macon stationed in Sunnyvale 1933-1935
Anu's sketch of the guest bedroom

Elizabeth Yuba Murphy by Caroline
Elizabeth Murphy was the first recorded white baby born in California. As a baby, she fell off a horse into the Yuba River and received her middle name. She married at 18, was given a ranch for her wedding gift in Los Altos Hills, and produced five children.

Joy's sketch of a stove and bell
Lisha's sketch of downtown Sunnyvale with train from an Ali Pearson mural
Lisha's sketch of downtown Sunnyvale with auto, horse, and buggy
Lisha's sketch from an Ali Pearson mural of the Libby-McNeill building,
an early Sunnyvale business
Marilyn's sketch of an 1890's John Church pump Organ


The artists admiring their work in front of the Technology Timeline exhibit

Monday, January 30, 2017

UCSC Arboretum, Santa Cruz. Thursday, January 26, 2017

This was a Paintsite  for 'firsts':   Our first visit to the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum which turned out to be a fabulous site.  (The fact that it was a warm, sunny day after so many recent grey, cold paintouts probably colored our impression.)     And, altho' the Proteas had just begun to bloom and the Banksias were just finishing theirs, there was still plenty to paint or just to wander and look at:   lots of unusually vivid colors for Northern California in January and unusual foliage textures for any time of the year.  Plus we spotted the resident white hummingbird --- too fast to sketch but a thrill to see. 

The other Paintsite 'first':  Our first ever involvement in a big-time** police action:  The Great Scotts Valley Bank Robbery of 2017 no less!   It started with a masked desperado holding-up  the Scotts Valley B-of-A; followed by a high-speed police & Highway Patrol chase on Hwy 17; car wrecks; a shoot-out with the suspect (who escaped on foot but was captured in SJ on Friday); road blocks and closures until well into the evening --- and there we were, right in the middle of it!    Right in the middle along with tens of thousands of other motorists stuck in the backup on Hwy 17.

For additional information about the UCSC Arboretum, see the official website: 
For a video of the white hummingbird, see:

Upcoming Paintsites:
  • Thursday, February 2, 2017: Winchester Mystery House, San Jose.  
  • Thursday, February 9, 2017:  Historic Santa Clara site TBD.
  • Thursday, February 16, 2017:  Maryknoll Retirement Residence, Los Altos.
  • Thursday, February 23, 2017:  Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve, Morgan Hill
(Note:  Registration for the Annual Member Show remains 'open' until  February 15, 2017.) 

Details can be found on the SCVWS website and in the February Newsletter.

Ongoing activities of interest involving Paintsites regulars:

  • The 'Vino Locale Show'  has been extended until February 25, 2017.   The restaurant is located at 431 Kipling St., Palo Alto.   Hours are:  Lunch:  Tue. - Sun.:  11:30 AM - 2:30 PM.   Dinner:  daily:  5:00 - 9:00 PM.      The  Vino Locale website is:
  • In addition to her ongoing 2nd & 4th Monday morning Watercolor classes, Kay Duffy is offering a "Collage Workshop" at Hakone Gardens on Saturday, February 11, 2017.
  • Kay and her daughter Judy, a photographer, are presenting a "Mother and Daughter Share their 'Visions of Yosemite'" show at the AEgis Gallery (14531 Big Basin Way at 4th St., Saratoga).   The show runs from Tuesday, February 28 - Sunday, March 26, 2017.    A Reception will be held on Saturday, March 4, 2017, from 4:00 - 7:00 PM.    Gallery days/hours are:  Tue. - Wed., 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM; Thu. - Sun., 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM.     The AEgis Gallery website is:

Painting in the New Zealand, Australian, and South African Gardens ...
Allen's pastel sketch

Helen's painting #1 of a Banksia

Helen's painting #2

Left to right: Jane S., Liz, and Melanie (photo by Liz)
Jane and Melanie rode with Liz.   Homebound, to get around the road blocks and backup on Hwy 17 they drove up Skyline Blve. to Page Mill Rd. before dropping down and catching I-280.   Brad, Helen, Lisha and Katherine, with Lisha and Katherine skillfully navigating, (in spite of Helen's encouragement to plow thru the CHP roadblocks), managed to get home on a maze of back roads.   As of this posting I haven't heard from anybody else but I assume everybody made it home OK, if not in time for dinner.

Jane's sketch of a large acacia

Jane's finished painting of the acacia
Liz's painting of two large sculptures.

Melanie's painting of a mighty eucalyptus
Jenny's sketch of another huge eucalyptus

Jenny's painting #1

Jenny's painting #2

Lorraine's banksia (right) and ??

More eucalypti - these by Mary R.  There were still some monarch butterflies in the Eucalyptus Grove.

Brad (photo by Liz)

Brad's leucadendron (obviously) and ??? in the South African Garden

Lunch and the Critique:
Smiling artists
** We've seen several small-time criminal acts committed by Fred Ediger against the Arts but they pale in comparison.