Friday, May 31, 2013

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park - Hike & Sketch, May 30, 2013

Since this was the first Hike & Sketch outing since January, Jenny & Sylvia eased us into the routine (we were allowed more than 20 minutes per sketch - unprecedented!) with gentle forest trails through shady, cool redwood groves; a sandbar in the San Lorenzo River with an old RR trestle; more trees (Ronald Reagan, when running for governor in 1966, was famously quoted as having said, "If you've seen one redwood, you've seen them all."      If he could have joined us on our Hike & Sketch he'd undoubtedly have a different opinion --- we saw many unique redwoods and interpreted them with different mediums and in many ways); finishing up in adjacent (and civilized) Roaring Camp for lunch, a critique and one last sketch or painting.

For more information about Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, see:
And for additional information about privately owned Roaring Camp, see:

photo by Jane Saltman
Over the river and through the woods and down a steep bank to a sandbar we did go .... A hike well worth the effort!   And the view upstream was just as lovely.

Marilyn Perry
I have loved Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park for decades.  It is one of my favorite places to take out of town visitors.  I rode on the passenger train which crossed this bridge when I took the Santa Cruz Beach Train from Roaring Camp to Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.  Thinking of that train ride made it even more fun to paint the bridge.     Marilyn 

Brad Santos
This little caboose next to a tranquil pond far removed from the commotion of "downtown" Roaring Camp looked like an inviting place to take a nap after a full day of hiking and sketching --- if only it had been open.    Brad

Sylvia Waddell
I was trying out some toned sketch paper and a water soluble wash pencil- not sure I liked it.

Jenny Tero
I used a water soluble pen and watercolor pencils for this view of the fire damaged redwoods. Jenny

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Alviso Marina, Saturday May 18th 2013

A perfect day to paint. A light breeze off the bay at Alviso Marina made it comfortable, but also forced our Saturday artists to lay down their washes quickly before they dried before their eyes.  A good turnout bodes well for the continuation of week-end paint-outs. Dick

Dick Zunkel

Uma Kelkar
As always, many thanks to the organizers and volunteers - for weekend paint warriors like me, the weekend paintsites is a lifeline. So, to have Dick and others step up while Rajit is away gives me immense pleasure! Thank you. Now, turning to the subject of painting. Alviso - an unknown jewel! I had worked off Great America Parkway for years and had never turned left after exiting 237! Without much tree cover, the exalting views at Alviso were also exasperating. The wind, the relentless sun(and we are only in spring) wrapped up each of my watercolor sketches under 40 minutes. Whether I liked it or not. While the other courageous artists turned to paint the marshes, the strong sun made me turn my back to it. I have painted a spot that captures an abandoned cannery, a newly constructed, 49ers stadium, the abandoned mercury mines atop the blue hills afar, the parking in Alviso, a place that is still sinking - all around Silicon Valley the place where most number of startups reside. I couldn't help but be amused by the juxtapositioning of these contrasting elements. Uma

Bonnie Sandler
What a wonderful discovery it has been to go to these paintsites and find so many places I never new existed before! My husband and I returned to Alviso the next day for a long walk. Fabulous! And of course its exciting to see what everyone else chose to paint. What a lot of creativity in this group! Bonnie.

Anna Jacke

This was my first time in Alviso. I never knew much about South Bay history until driving along Elizabeth and Hope Streets.  The Bayside Cannery first caught my attention as did the several unique house fronts dotting the baylands and trails at the Alviso Marina County Park.  I enjoyed the views and was able to complete 4 small paintings by mid-afternoon. Anna

Jean Massey
My niece said "Only an artist sees beauty in decay."  Stained cement walls and falling wood provide a bird refuge. Jean

Brad Santos
I'm always intrigued by the rolling, folded, golden & creased East Bay hills as seen from popular paintsites in the Palo Alto Baylands, Mt. View's Shoreline Park and, best of all, from Alviso; more so than by the nearly uniformly verdant West Bay hills.     It was a perfect day to paint them.     Brad

Friday, May 17, 2013

Chateau CharMarron Peony Gardens, May 16, 2013

For the grand finale of the wonderful series of garden paintouts this Spring (the Cummins Iris Garden in Scotts Valley, the SJ Municipal Rose Garden, tree peonies at the Kirk-Farrington House, the replica 12th Century Samurai's Garden Estate, and Jane Kwant's lovely garden), Jenny & Sylvia arranged for us to visit some Queens of the Perennial Border - herbaceous peonies.     They didn't disappoint.   In addition to the beautiful blooms, there were extremely shaggy llamas eager to pose for us and a distant view of Calaveras Reservoir which Kaaren captured perfectly.   How perfectly?  She sold her painting on the spot!  

For information about Chateau CharMarron Peony Gardens and about peonies in general, see:

Smiling Artists


Brad Santos
Whoever came up with the name for this variety --- "Cherry Bomb" --- certainly knew what they were talking about!    Brad

Broncha Berger
The feeling of solitude and desolation on that long drive to the Peony garden in a foggy day was worthy at the end.  We were able to enjoy the act of painting, the company, and one person even sold her painting.  Broncha

Anna Jacke
The gardens were filled with fragrant peony blooms in a variety of colors. But in the end, it was the llamas in the nearby fields that really caught my attention.  The sounds they made while rolling the grass or spitting at visitors was worth the 17 mile drive from my home.  I left the Peony Gardens with 4 completed paintings and a smile for the road. Anna

Sylvia Waddell
What a wonderful spot! Despite the cold and drizzle it was a feast for the eyes, and once the sun came out at lunch time it was positively idyllic. I sketched the llamas first and only attempted the peonies once I was fortified by lunch! Sylvia

Mary Paquet
What a fabulous place to paint -- gorgeous peonies and a view from atop the magnificent dry mountains to the East. I settled down amidst the peonies known as "Sorbet" and painted. After I got home, I darkened the background and altered some of the values on the flowers. I was amazed at the number of artists that made the trek to this very unique paintsite, complete with doe-eyed llamas grazing in the fields. Mary Paquet

Jenny Tero
After lunch when the mist had cleared from the valley, the view of the Calavaras Reservoir brightened to reveal golden hills and lovely cloud formations in the sky. Congratulations to the intrepid artists, (about 15 !! ) who braved fog, cold, threat of rain, and a long drive into unknown territory on windy steep roads. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

San Jose Municipal Rose Garden, May 9th, 2013

We added in a visit to the Rose Garden because the weather this year has produced such abundant displays of roses everywhere you go.  At the Rose Garden the display was magnificent.  Every bush was overlaiden with a profusion of flowers and the overal affect of all the colors in their separate beds was a delight.  On top of that, the weather was perfect for painting - full sun, but cool enough to be comfortable.    Jenny

Marilyn Perry
What a beautiful garden and what a beautiful day! We are so lucky to have such a fantastic garden so close by and easy to get to. There were lots of people visiting the garden, and two of them stopped by to chat and they both said that seeing us there painting in the garden added to the ambience and their enjoyment of the garden.    Marilyn

Jenny Tero
It was difficult to find a location where you could get a view of the many rows of roses - this was looking out from the central fountain. I liked the contrast with the redwoods behind and the little "hut".    Jenny
Jenny Tero
This was from the small hilly ridge beneath the redwoods after lunch when the sun had moved around.  From that higher vantage point you could get a sense of the overall size and shape of the garden and the full color range of the gorgeous roses.  Jenny
Dick Zunkel
The garden was on display in brilliant sunlight contrasted by cool shadows under the trees.  I began painting alone but was soon surrounded by many onlookers, 3 feet tall and less.  To paint plein air is to remain focused.  Dick

Bonnie Sandler
I actually couldn't make it to the paintsite thesame day as the rest of the group. I went the day after. What a lovely park! I think I shouldhave included some people and a park bench to give the viewer something concrete to look at. There's so much detail.
In paintings I've done since this one, I've begun to group the flowers into bunches rather than try to paint them separately. Its just too busy.   Bonnie

Caroline Garborino
Jenny photographs a sea of roses.  Caroline

Friday, May 3, 2013

Cummins Iris Garden, May 2, 2013

After suffering through what seemed like an interminably long winter of always cold, and usually grey, paintout days, we were smacked with record high temperatures for the paintout at Jim and Irene Cummins' Iris Garden in Scotts Valley.    But what might have been a miserably hot day was pleasantly perfect as we spread out on the lawn or paths under the many shade trees overlooking the meticulously tended iris beds.     Add in the mild breeze coming up from the ocean and it was an ideal day for painting.     In addition to the thousands of iris competing for our attention with their riot of colors (every color except true red) there was an equal number of interesting farm implements, artifacts, & sculptures as well as an old barn.    Maybe best of all, our wonderfully gracious hosts said we'd be welcome to come back any time.   Jenny, who arranged for the paintout, was already thinking about when the return visit will be. 

For a 2010 Santa Cruz Sentinel article about the Cummins and their beautiful garden, see:
Also, the Cummins' garden was featured in the Monterey Bay Iris Society Newsletter - (pages 17 - 20):

Mary Paquet
I had such a lovely time painting in the private Iris gardens. I liked the contrasting colors of these Irises and used three of them as my models. I like to zoom in on my subject. My paper was drying really fast, making it harder to mix color on the paper. At times I got some blooms which suggested the shapes of Irises in the background. I used negative painting around the happy accidents.  The Cummins were so very friendly, spending time with us, serving us ice water, and  educating us on the various hybrids. They grow these gardens for love, not profit.    Mary 
Marilyn Perry

Jim and Irene Cummins's stunning iris garden is located in such a beautiful valley, that it was very important to me to show my irises ("Over the Rim" on the left and "Reckless Abandon" on the right) in their natural setting.   Jim and Irene were wonderful hosts, and Irene brought me not one, but two glasses of ice water.    Marilyn
Brad Santos
 This was one of those cases where, with an almost infinite number of perfect blooms from which to choose, I chose "Persian Berry" (1976).    I'm not sorry I did --- I only wish I could have done it more justice.     Brad
Jenny Tero
There were so many weird and wonderful artifacts to draw and paint that choosing was very difficult.  I particularly liked this row of imaginery birds, some made out of rusty iron garden implements.  You could return to this garden every week and not run out of subject matter. And as for the irises.....      Jenny

Broncha Berger
Here is one of the two pictures I did last Thursday.  I did the drawings on site and painted them at home.  The place was very special.  I loved the Irises, the rusted tools hanging around, and the welcoming proud owners.     Broncha
Sara Kahn
I stayed until 5 in the afternoon to finish the painting. This is Acrylics on Board. 16" x 20". Sara
Sylvia Waddell
I did a blind contour drawing first then hastily painted before lunch. Flowers are always such a challenge - I so admire people who paint them well.     Sylvia

Jane Saltman
 I have never seen so many varieties of Irises in one place. We definitely have to go back again next year.     Jane

Leslie Grimm
There was so much to see at this site -- incredible irises, dozens of handmade birdhouses (two occupied), and a marvelous collection of antique rusting farm tools.  We artists roamed around with our jaws dropping and cameras clicking for a good while before settling down to paint.   I couldn't choose, so here's all three in one!     Thank you Jenny for finding this site!     Leslie

Dick Zunkel
What a great place to paint!  Yes, I know I should have taken advantage of the blooming irises, but I couldn't resist the barn.  I added a little detail that is every biker's dream, a rusting old motorcycle just waiting to be found and restored aka a "barn find".    Regretfully, the cost of restoring an old motorcycle starts at about $20,000 plus the cost of the motorcycle.  Oh well, I'll just look at my painting and dream on.   Dick