Thursday, August 29, 2013

McClellan Ranch Park, Cupertino, Thursday, August 29, 2013

You mix a perfect day for plein air painting; an interesting paintsite with a burbling creek, fields, redwoods, giant sycamores, oaks, old ranch buildings, farm animals, bee hives, a huge sundial, flower & vegetable gardens, lots of lizards, ...; and a wonderful group of talented plein air painters --- and this is what your get....

For additional information about the McClellan Ranch Park, see:

September will be a big, big paintout month - join us for one or more of these upcoming events: 
  • Thursday, September 5, 2013 - Ardenwood Historic Farm, Fremont
  • Thursday,  September 19, 2013 - Gamble Gardens, Palo Alto
  • Saturday, September 21, 2013 - Santa Clara Railroad Depot & Museum, Santa Clara
  • Thursday, September 26, 2013 - Moran Lake, Santa Cruz
  • Friday & Saturday, September 27 - 28, 2013 - Annual Santa Cruz Paintout, Santa Cruz
Check the SCVWS website or September Newsletter for additional details

Some serious critiquing going on here ...
And, after the critique we're all still smiling  --- a good thing!

 (Photo by Yan Zunkel)

Here are some snapshots taken during the critique session - check back for the finished paintings....

Here are some of the finished paintings:
Dick Zunkel
The quality of work produced today was remarkable.   Bright sun and cool breezes made for a perfect painting day.     Dick
Marilyn Perry
There is so much variety to paint here, but I knew ahead of time that I wanted to paint Stevens Creek, the little creek that gives its name to that big street with so many car dealerships.  While I was painting, I was serenaded by the calls of the chickadees.    Marilyn
Grace Tang

It was very educational to visit an 18 Acre Natural Preserve Park where a densely wooded creek is running through.    The Stevens Creek, originating from the Sta Cruz mountains, flows through the Stevens Creek Reservoir; runs north through
Cupertino, Los Altos, Sunnyvale and Mountain View before emptying into the San Francisco Bay! I did not know about the creek until Marilyn talked about the nature walk class she joined not long ago.  Grace
Liz Siegel
 Beautiful day to try and capture the trees along Stevens Creek.    Liz
Brad Santos
A great place to paint:  in the shade, close enough to the creek to hear it, and lots to see.   My intention was to focus on the Tank House but I soon got carried away with all of the trees, shrubs, and meadow grasses.    Brad

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Weekend Paintsite Cooper-Garrod Winery and Stables August 17, 2013

Twelve weekenders enjoyed an day with mixed sunshine and clouds at Cooper-Garrod Winery and Stables. Some arrived early and left early while others completed paintings and stayed for lunch. The variety of subjects made for a great painting day.
Photo by Yan Zheng

Shao Wie Liu

Shao Wie Liu

I was hoping to go outdoor painting with a group for as long as I had been working in the video game industry, 20+years. My job is creating 3D environments and props for video games and put 2D picture ( called texture) and effects on them. The 2D texture and effects combined are called Materials. So I am a 3D material artist that does require 2D painting skills. I often doodle watercolor at lunch break. I am very happy to find a wonderful group of people/artists to go plein air painting! I had a great time at my first outing!
Thanks!  Shaowei Liu 

Brad Santos
An unusual August sky, unusual background sounds for a paintout (horses clop, clopping around us), and lots of interesting vegetation, in addition to the always fascinating vines, made for a good days painting.    Brad

Jan Lanoue

Dick Zunkel

Marilyn Perry
I have very pleasant memories of bringing my Cub Scouts horseback riding here years ago when my son was a Cub Scout and I was a Den Mother.  I don't remember any grape vines then, but I remember that the horses were very cooperative, and we had a great time.

Grace Tang
Had an awesome time watching the horses taking their morning walk with their attendants. The horses did show their personalities as being social or shy, curious or courageous, just like us, as they walked by me on the roadside. " Frankie" would not walk by me until I stood up and took off my white hat and greeted him.... 
Grace Tang 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Tower Hall, San Jose State University, Thursday, August 15, 2013

It's not well known but when Tower Hall was built after the Great 1906 Earthquake, the architects, over a few beers, decided to have a little fun with the future generations of art students & artists they knew would be drawn to their creation:   "You know, it might be fun to add buttresses and other Gothic elements and some Moorish features to our basic Spanish theme.   Then we'll cover it all with ivy to really confuse people.   They won't have a clue as to what they're looking at."    So they did, and it does, and some of us don't.

For more information about Tower Hall, check out:

Upcoming paintouts:
Thursday, August 29 - TBD - check your e-mail for updates

Lunch on the lawn

Dick Zunkel

This is another site I had walked by many times when my daughter was a student here, but never studied the building. The paintout caused me to look at the tower and adjoining building with the artists eye and appreciate it's intricate detail. Rather than attempt to render the entire structure, I chose to sit close and paint a "worms eye view."     Dick

Brad Santos
Lots going on architecturally on the tower.   We found the gargoyle perches but, disappointingly, no gargoyles.     Brad

Sylvia Waddell

I was struck by this view of the the old tower and the newer City buildings right behind, which also meant I didn't have to put in too many fiddly architectural details!.  Brad's right though, the ivy is a great cloaking device!   Sylvia

Grace Tang

Tower Hall is considered the centerpiece of San Jose State University.  It is also the oldest structure designed in the Spanish Revival style, which houses lecture halls and administrative functions. The dense plants growing along the exterior walls of the building add some antique qualities to the 100 yrs old building. It is heartwarming to see students walking across campus with their minds completely absorbed in their school work!   They are the future owners of our nation!    Grace

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Los Altos Redwood Grove Preserve, Thursday, August 1, 2013

With our leaders in distant lands, the plein air group was left to our own devices.    We're all adults and normally we could have done just fine on our own - as it was we did OK; but we could have used their commanding presence in dealing with the swarm of 3 - 4 year old morning day-campers and the horde of 5 - 6 year old afternoon day-campers.   The latter group driving us from the shady benches we'd selected for our lunch break and critique session.   But we didn't surrender without putting up some resistance -- not until we'd held a hurried critique.

For more information about the Los Altos Redwood Grove Preserve, check  out:

Hope you can join us at one of the upcoming Paint-Outs:
  • Thursday, August 15 -- Tower Hall on the San Jose State University campus 
  • Saturday, August 17 -- Cooper-Garrod Winery and Stables in Saratoga
Check the Watercolor Society website or the August Newsletter for details

Lunch under a native Black Walnut - before we were evicted

The critique

Here are a few hurriedly photographed paintings (note the interesting dappled shade on the paintings --- a happy accident?) --- please visit again to see the finished and carefully scanned / photographed work ...



Here are some of the finished paintings & artist's comments:
Grace Tang
It was a unique experience visiting this " little sanctuary " of redwood trees transplanted from those native in Sta Cruz.    And it was a wonderful place to find peace while painting amongst the excitement and laughter of very young day campers, who were instructed to use their 'walking feet' when moving from one place to another....  To add some variety to the redwoods, I tried to revive the Adobe Creek that is meandering through the grove.  Grace
Deborah Olenev

I enjoyed the beautiful Redwood Grove and painting with other artists. I wanted to capture the majesty of the Redwood trees in my painting.     Deborah

 Liz Siegel

Beautiful day to paint poison oak..."Leaves of three, let them be."     Liz

Brad Santos

Why would anybody paint Sycamores when they're in a wonderful Redwood Grove?   Beats me --- I plead temporary insanity.    Brad