Twenty three strong, the Thursday Paintsite group had, thanks to Sylvia through her friendship with the master craftsman restoring the buildings and grounds of this private garden estate, a privileged and magical experience. Tucked in a small valley in the hills above Silicon Valley and isolated from 21st Century sights and sound, we were transported back 800 years to feudal Japan. Temples, shrines, stone lanterns, massive gates, a tea house, a huge Copper beech, brilliant red and green Japanese maples, manicured conifers --- too much to recount but an experience to remember.
For more information and photos of Kotani-en, see: http://www.kotanien.com/
Thanks for a great day at Kotani En. The story of the development of the private garden by a partnership between an rich man and the Japenese cook/architect was fascinating. The shapes of the ancient trees, rocks, and man-made structures are honored in this simple painting. I was especially taken with the 300 year-old evergreen donated by the emperor of Japan backed by the flaming red beech tree. Mary
Special thanks to Sylvia and Jenny for organizing such a beautiful paintout, particularly the complexity of getting everyone on the grounds with their shuttle service.
The rapidly changing light made this a challenging exercise painting from shadows to sun-dapple to white-paper blindness. I tried out a new paint set today, the Yarka pan set from Cheap Joe's. I really like the intensity and transparency of the pigments, but hated the way they packaged them. I secured the paint pans and rack with double-face tape making it a viable plein air paint set. Dick
A huge thank you to Sylvia and Jenny for their extra effort to organize and implement all the logistics. Also thanks to the drivers. It was a beautiful garden and a beautiful day, and I feel privileged to belong to SCVWS to get the pleasure of painting at Kotani-en. Marilyn
A serene and seemingly timeless garden, I could almost picture a samurai, hundreds of years ago, strolling through his garden, admiring the structures, the plants, supervising the artisans, admiring the artist's work. Brad
With bright sunlight coming through the overhead foliage, the amount of light on the subject went from total clarity to complete obscurity every few minutes. I settled on a darker background to contrast with a light stone lattern.