Sunday, December 22, 2013

Weekend Paintsites Japanese Friendship Garden, Saturday December 21, 2013

The sky was clear and blue as our artists arrived for the Weekend Paintsite at the Japanese Friendship Garden. Many of our group chose to render the bright red traditional arched bridge while others ventured further into the park to find interesting sites. We welcomed guest Cindy Ling, a versatile artist to our plein air outing.

Wildlife inspects the artist

Showing their stuff

Lunch on the green

Brad Santos
The two weeping willows by the Tea House have surprisingly held their spectacular Fall colors so I couldn't resist taking a try at them.    Lots of Mallards, a pair of Mergansers, and a solitary egret provided additional interest but they didn't stay in one place long enough for me to capture their images.    Overall, it was a perfect day and, in the more protected lower pond area, unlike the past few paintouts, I didn't even need my fingerless gloves.     Brad

John Ediger
What fun!

Marilyn Perry
I thought I would paint the red bridge until I saw the beautiful yellow willows reflecting in the lower pool which also had mergansers, egret, mallards, and koi fish.  I had to change my plans. Marilyn

Friday, December 20, 2013

Santa Clara Civic Center Park & 2013 California Statewide Painting Competition at Triton Museum. Thursday, December 19, 2013

What started out as an overcast, cold morning which didn't seem too promising (after 11 straight smoggy, grey, Spare-the-Air days) turned into a clear, sunny, brisk day once Jenny & Sylvia were on site.  (They always bring the sunshine with them!)    We skipped the usual post-painting critique and headed over to the Triton Museum for a no-holds-barred critique of those paintings.  (We felt pretty safe doing this as none of the artists were there to defend themselves.   And the paintings were all so wonderful that we found we didn't have anything critical to say anyway --- what a disappointment.)

For more information about the Santa Clara Civic Center Park, go to:

For information about the Statewide Painting Competition at the Triton, go to:
Note: the exhibition runs through February 2, 2014

Upcoming Watercolor Society events:
  • Saturday, December 21, 2013:  Weekend Paintout at Japanese Friendship Garden, Kelly Park, San Jose
  • Thursday, January 2, 2014:   Palo Alto Baylands Park
  • Saturday, January 18, 2014:   Annual Holiday Party (RSVP by January 13, 2014.   Bring your 2013 plein air paintings and sketchbooks --- they'll be displayed on the big stage.)
Reference the Watercolor Society website for additional information.

What we did:
Marilyn Perry
When I first arrived, I thought the wind was much too cold, but I found a sunny, somewhat protected place to sit, and it turned out to be a very pleasant painting morning.    Marilyn

Brad Santos
Normally, when we're painting in public places, most passers-by like to stop and chat; maybe even wish they could trade places with us.   This time, I was envying them the nice warm offices they were heading for without pausing for even a moment to see what we were doing.     Brad
Jenny Tero
The park area around the City Hall offices provided lots of interesting trees, and benches from which to paint them. Orginally we were going to paint at the front of the park along El Camino, but it was so bitterly cold we retreated to the shelter of the buildings and   trees. Jenny
Jane Saltman

Jane Saltman
The Sculpture Garden hidden in the redwoods behind the Triton Museum was a an ideal spot to sketch. I found a sunny bench (a welcome spot on this cool morning) in front of an unnamed sculpture of a man and women (I named them Adam and Eve) with 2 wolves.   Jane 

Caroline Garbarino

The entrance to the Triton reminded me of an Egyptian promanade. Entering a painting for the blog provides a way for me to discipline myself to finish. I hope to make more time for painting in the New Year. Thanks for a museum adventure. Let's see more shows!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz, Thursday, December 5, 2013

It was cold but not too cold, (more like "brisk" or "bracing"), for our annual "Desserts & Savories"  Pot-luck Paint-out in Santa Cruz.    And in spite of the "briskness" (actually bordering on numbness), it was a beautiful, sunny, clear day with only a mild sea-breeze; we were all inspired to paint the interesting rock formations, the beach, or the wind contorted trees.    And happy to share the bounty of appetizers, desserts, hot soup brought by Dick & Yan, and hot coffee & tea provided by Jenny & Sylvia. 
For additional information about Natural Bridges State Beach, check out:

Upcoming Paintouts and other Watercolor Society events:
  • Thursday, December 19, 2013:  Santa Clara Civic Center Park followed by a visit to the Statewide Painting Competition/Exhibit in the nearby Triton Museum.
  • Saturday, December 21, 2013:  Japanese Friendship Garden, Kelley Park, San Jose
  • Saturday, January 18, 2014: Watercolor Society Annual Holiday Party, Saratoga
See the Watercolor Society website or December Newsletter for complete details

Getting very chilly by lunch time, and too cold to sit down and eat - it was a lovely spread though. 
Artists on the beach:
Laurie Barna

Sylvia Waddell keeping warm

Here are some snapshots taken during the critique --- some are finished (check back for the properly scanned images), others were not yet been completed (check back for the finished work)...

Mike Bailey

Here are some finished paintings:
Dick Zunkel

Sylvia Waddell
Sun, Wind, Waves - an exhilarating day by the sea! There were lots of birds on the rocks, but I left them until last in my painting and by that time most of them had flown away. The lunch was a lovely spread. Thanks to everyone who contributed.  Sylvia
Jenny Tero
It was only 52 degrees all day, but the sun was warm, the ocean crashing against the rocks was magnificent, and the food we all shared was delicious.
Brad Santos
A beautiful wintry day, talented artists and hordes of exuberant school kids enjoying their day at the beach - what's not to like.    Brad

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Roberto-Sunol Adobe, San Jose, Thursday, November 21, 2013

The first big storm of the season pounded the Bay Area on Wednesday, November 20.   But then a beautiful double rainbow over San Jose that evening gave hope for a better next day.   But then lingering showers Thursday morning made the day look "iffy" again.    None of that mattered, however, for the ten hardy plein air painters who met at the Roberto-Sunol Adobe and had a great day painting. 

For more information about the Roberto-Sunol Adobe see the following:
Upcoming Paintouts & Watercolor Society events:
  • Thursday, December 5, 2013:  Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz.   Lunch will be the annual "Seasonal Pot Luck" (with an emphasis on desserts!).
  • Thursday, December 19, 2013:   Santa Clara Civic Center Park.    We'll visit the Statewide Painting Exhibition at the Triton Museum post paint-out.
  • Saturday, December 21, 2013:  Japanese Friendship Garden, Kelly Park, San Jose.
  • Saturday, January 18, 2014: Annual Holiday Party
Check the Watercolor Society website or December newsletter for complete details.

Snapshots of some of the artwork produced and work in progress.    Check back for the finished products.
Finished paintings ...
Dick Zunkel
Here is another interesting paintsite that I have passed hundreds of times and never knew it was there.    Well done, organizers!     Dick
Leslie Grimm
It was a strange feeling to sit and paint this ancient adobe building and outdoor oven while a few yards away traffic on freeway 280 was roaring by.     Leslie
Liz Siegel
Brad Santos
I had no idea what this machine was until Dick figured out its function (later confirmed by a docent) --- a pump wagon.     I think it's wonderful how, with old machines & buildings, that time and the inexorable laws of gravity trump those of perspective.     Brad
Marilyn Perry

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Baylands Nature Preserve, Palo Alto CA November 16,2013

Despite weather media predictions of high winds and cold temperatures, the day could not have been nicer. Twelve plein air artists scattered throughout the site to render blue skies and high tide.

Photo by Yan Zheng

Shao Wei Liu

Dick Zunkel

Marilyn Perry
It was a beautiful sunny day for outdoor painting.  The reflections disappeared and reappeared as the wind came up and quieted. My ducks are green-winged teals, and I used my white pencil to put in the light vertical lines that are the field marks for these beautiful ducks.  Marilyn

Brad Santos
What with the ascending, descending, level and intersecting ramps, the wonderful blue pipe railings and safety wires were a real challenge .   Adding in all of the shadows put it over the top in terms of complexity.    But it was still a great day's paintout.    Brad

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Byington Winery, Los Gatos - Thursday, November 7, 2013

Blessed with a perfect day, sunny but not too hot, the vines mostly still held on to their autumn leaves and the scenery around them was magnificent.

For information about the elegant Byington Winery, check out:

Upcoming Paintouts:
  • Saturday, November 16, 2013:   Palo Alto Baylands 
  • Thursday, November 21, 2013:  Roberto-Sunol Adobe, San Jose 
For more information about these paintouts, see the Watercolor Society website or the November newsletter.
A fine day's work (photo by Yan Zunkel)
Dick Zunkel
As soon as we drove onto the site I knew this would be a good day for painting.  The fall scenery at and around the winery are breathtaking.  Like so many of the beautiful places we go, there is "too much to paint," so I chose the end of a row of vines.     Dick

Mary Paquet

"November Morning at Byington Winery":    Upon arrival, I did not even wander the beautiful grounds with fabulous chateau after spotting the breathtaking view of Monterey Peninsula from a picnic table. The overcast was still over the ocean, soon to be replaced by glorious cobalt blue skies. I loved the landscape shapes as the mountains marched to the sea.    Mary
Mary Paquet
"Artist at Work":    An artist paints the vineyard.   An olive tree dominates the left front, and colorful shapes suggest the orange-yellow vines and burnt sienna soil.  Distinctive evergreen shapes complete the scene.    Mary
Mary Paquet
"November in Byington Vineyards":   I painted the vines climbing the hillside while chatting with a new member who was thoroughly enjoying himself.  He joined our society because he likes plein air painting.  He found the group very welcoming.  I was not quite done when we were ready to leave, so I completed work on this piece in the evening with my Thursday evening art group.    Mary

Sylvia Waddell
There were still some small grapes on the vines and lovely colors and textures in the leaves. The view from Byington Winery is amazing with the trees and hills going off to the distant ocean, so that inspired me. Sylvia
Mary Raftery
... a beautiful day - what a warm, sunny and great location.    Mary
Jenny Tero
It was wonderful to see the ocean from the winery -  I like this view with a few autumnal trees to frame it.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Coyote Hills Regional Park, Fremont, Thursday, October 31, 2013

Aside from a layer of smog in the distant north and a cool afternoon breeze coming off the Bay, it was an exceptionally fine day for plein air painting.    And not too bad for hiking either.   So we took advantage on both counts for our first Hike & Sketch Paintout since May.    Interesting rock formations, wide swathes of green, yellow, orange, pink & red pickleweed marshes, humble but beautiful fennel stalks, and the angled maze of salt evaporation pond levees gave us plenty of subjects to choose from.

For more information about the Coyote Hills Regional Park, check-out:

Upcoming Paint Outs:
  • Thursday, November 7, 2013:    Byington Winery, Los Gatos
  • Thursday, November 21, 2013:   Roberto-Sunol Adobe, San Jose
Check the Watercolor Society website  or the November Newsletter for additional details

What the camera saw:   an intrepid plein air artist braving the wilderness

What the artists saw:
Leslie Grimm 
The low autumn sun brought out beautiful colors in the rocks and trees -- fun to paint!    Leslie 
Jane Saltman 
Rock Outcrop.    Jane
Brad Santos 
It took millions of years to make these beautiful rocks - Jenny gave us 20 minutes to paint them.   Brad
Marilyn Perry
Jenny Tero 
The view from the top of the hills was magnificent:  almost monotone, hazy and perfectly still.  When the breeze got up the colors of the water changed to a lovely aqua blue - but it was getting too cold to stay up there.    Jenny
Jane Saltman

Marilyn Perry
For hike and sketch days, I plan simple paintings, and I finish them within the time limit which is very enjoyable.    Marilyn

Jenny Tero 
The pickle-weed next to the almost dry marshlands was a glorious mix of colors in the early afternoon sun.     Jenny
Leslie Grimm