Saturday, September 28, 2013

Annual Santa Cruz Paintout, Thursday, September 26 - Saturday, September 28, 2013

When we got to Santa Cruz for the Annual PaintOut, there was quite a buzz amongst the locals.   We thought it was for us but turns out it was for the many recent whale sightings close in-shore and just off the Capitola wharf.     Other than that, the 2013 Santa Cruz PaintOut was an absolute success!    The weather couldn't have been better, the variety of  subject matter couldn't have been more diverse, or the camaraderie more convivial.

Much thanks to Watercolor Society members Shirley Motmans and Jane Ferguson who hosted afternoon parties and critiques in their lovely Santa Cruz homes; to Karen Druker who organized the event and conducted the critiques; and to Sylvia Waddell, co-chair of the Paintsites group,  who coordinated with Karen and kept everybody on the same page.
Shirley & Jane

Day 1, Thursday, we met at Moran Lake Park which offered a choice of painting the lake proper or crossing E. Cliff Drive to Moran Beach and painting the beach & surf.    For more information about Moran Lake Park, see:

After a morning's painting, it was lunch followed by an afternoon painting session.   Then, late afternoon, we broke up and headed to Shirley & Augie Motmans' spectacular bluff top home for a wine & cheese reception and "gentle" critique by Karen Druker.   
Shirley & Augie - our gracious hosts

"Gentle" Karen's critique was, but also insightful and entertainingly animated:
"Thumbs up" - the unanimous verdict

A yellow sky?   Yes! - What else could it be?
Thank you, I'm pretty happy with it too

This little gem speaks to me

 After the critique, some of us headed to The Crow's Nest for dinner.

Day 2, Friday, the group met in the West Harbor parking lot where boats (lots of boats, too many boats); a breakwater with fisherman and a lighthouse; paddleboarders, and the breaking surf all offered wonderful subjects.  See  for information about the Harbor.

Again, after a long day's painting we met at Jane Ferguson's beautiful new home for yet more wine & cheese, fancy little pastries (which Jane baked that morning), and another "gentle" critique led by Karen.
It's not the size of the canvas that matters

Looks like a home run!
 After the critique, those who weren't exhausted by the already long day headed to the Pearl of the Ocean restaurant.

Day 3, Saturday, the group, which included a number of Santa Cruz Watercolor Society members, met at Lighthouse Point at the Surfing Museum on West Cliff Drive.     Check out  for info about this very popular and scenic location.

 Here are some snapshots taken during the Day 1 critique (photo quality is poor, the paintings actually much superior):








Karen #1
Karen #2



 And here are some from Day 2 (the photos are just as poor, the actual paintings just as fine):





Sunday, September 22, 2013

Santa Clara Caltrain Depot, Saturday September 21, 2013

Rain was forecast to arrive in the South Bay Saturday morning. Dark clouds hovered over the circa 1863 depot, but held off until eight determined artists had nearly completed their work. We are plein air artists... rain shall not dampen our spirits.

Brad Santos
An interesting day to paint - we barely finished before the first storm in many months bore down on us.      I believe the old "Oregon & Washington R.R. & Navigation " passenger car on the siding next to the Depot must have felt like it was back in the good old days racing a storm along the Columbia River into Portland  .   Brad

Dick Zunkel

Marilyn Perry
I got shelter from the rain under the eaves that you see in the middle of my painting.  After so long without significant rain, it was nice to watch the rain.  Marilyn

Uma Kelkar
The sheer joy of painting outside, with wind in the hair, the musty smell in my nose that I get after every paint out, I returned home elated and emotionally relaxed. Next time anyone is here, please lug your giant camera with you. I am against lugging around things that will be used only for few minutes, but this spot has the expanse of wide rail road depot tracks in the middle of town and a museum with wonderful models. Imagine the amount of sketching one could do at home using the reference photographs! For another wonderful paint out, to our fearless outdoor leader, cheers!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Gamble Garden, Palo Alto, Thursday, September 19, 2013

With the wonderful Summer of 2013 winding down, the Watercolor Society plein air painters visited the always popular Gamble Gardens in Palo Alto.       The only disappointment was that those hoping to paint the Cinderella pumpkins,a favorite in past years, were foiled by the young gardeners who'd planted the big squash joyously harvesting their crop.    Fortunately, there was much more to paint: the Gamble House itself, the challenging Gazebo and its cloak of the spectacular Porcelain Berries, the zinnia beds, several formal gardens, fountains and walks ...

For more information about the Gamble Gardens, please check out:
Artists are always welcome - just don't set-up on the bricks or tiles (stay on the paths) and don't dump your waste water on the property or in the restrooms.

Upcoming events not to be missed:
  • Thursday, September 26 - Saturday, September 28, 2013:   Annual Santa Cruz Paint Out - check the Society website or September Newsletter for details.
  • Saturday, October 5, 2013:  Annual Show Reception & Awards - 1:00 - 3:30, Rose Shenson Gallery, Triton Museum of Art, Santa Clara

Lunch & critique
still critiquing - missed Caroline the first time

porcelain berries!

Some of our finished work:
Dick Zunkel
 Media: Brush pen and ink with watercolor wash.   I created the falling water by scratching the paper surface with a knife point.  Great fun at Gamble Gardens!     Dick
Mary Raftery
Caroline Garbarino
Always a symbolist, I chose the artichoke because it is a flower and delicious edible that can protect itself.   Thank you for the meditative beauty and warm community of yet another wonderful paintout. Caroline
Brad Santos
Thought I'd try something more intimate this time.   Unfortunately, intimate, in this instance, doesn't mean simple or easy.    Brad

Monday, September 9, 2013

Ardenwood Historic Farm, Fremont, Thursday, September 5, 2013

With many of the PaintOut regulars in Croatia for a real plein air adventure, for those left behind, it was a fine day for painting in another of the area's agricultural "remnant" parks:  a place to imagine, courtesy of period-costumed docents, what life was like a century or more ago in one of the rich farming areas around the South Bay; a working farm with livestock and a harvest underway; old farm equipment, train and horse-drawn wagon rides --- an opportunity to immerse oneself in a different pace of life perfectly attuned to plein air painting.

For additional information about Ardenwood, check out:

Upcoming Paint Outs:
  • 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

The Critique:  Sylvia and Marilyn can't believe what they see; it gives Liz a chill....
Marilyn Perry
Ardenwood Farm is such a large interesting place, and I have never visited it before, so I took a long time to stroll around before I settled on a subject and started drawing.  On my way out I purchased organic vegetables that had been grown on the farm, and they were all very delicious.     Marilyn

Liz Siegel
 Beautiful quiet morning at Ardenwood Farm. Liz

Brad Santos
The last time we were here I painted the grand front of the house (see Marilyn's & Liz's paintings above).   This time it was the more relaxed, but still elegant south side.   Next time maybe one of the "working" sides of the house.   Brad