Thursday, March 19, 2015

Kirk-Farrington House, San Jose. Thursday, March 19, 2015

What a day we had!   We had: (a) incredible weather; (b) a fantastic site: a handsome 1878 Victorian house, heritage trees including two magnificent Magnolias which may the largest in California, and, if that isn't enough to create subject overload, hundreds of spectacular tree peonies - maybe just a bit past their peak bloom but awesome nonetheless; (c) a wonderful host, Pam, who, even though she sees the garden every day, shared our enthusiasm for it; and (d) lots of wonderful, fun people who just happen to be fine artists as well.     See for yourself ....

Farrington Historical Foundation Executive Director Pam Bliss -- our wonderful hostess

For additional information about the Kirk-Farrington House, check out their website:

Upcoming Paintsites:
  • Thursday, April 2, 2015:  Uvas Canyon County Park, Morgan Hill
  • Thursday, April 9, 2015:  Lucie Stern Community Center, Palo Alto
  • Thursday, April 16, 2015: Ulistac Natural Area, Santa Clara
  • Thursday, April 23, 2015: Cummins Iris Garden, Scotts Valley
  • Thursday, April 30, 2015: Chateau CharMarron Peony Garden, San Jose (11:30 start time)

The house isn't large but is nicely proportioned and very well maintained.   It was a popular subject.


Dan's painting of the Farrington House

Dick - staying cool in his shade was in a "reflection" mood

Dick's painting of Farrington House corner windows

another reflection by Dick

new member Jayne
Jayne's painting of the entrance to the Farrington House

Jayne's second painting of a fellow artist

Leslie's painting of the front of the house

Marion and Leslie
Marion's small sketch of the house

Marion's finished painting of the house


Melanie's painting of the house


Sylvia's painting of the side of the house from the tree peony garden
Leslie and John

John's painting of the house
Bobbi's sketch of the house

Bobbi's finished studio painting of the house

 Behind the Farrington House is a lovely little gazebo framed with wisteria:

Helen working on the gazebo

Helen's painting of the gazebo

Leslie's sketch of the gazebo with the artists eating lunch

An old, stand-alone bell and some of the fine specimen trees were also worthy subjects:
Candy's painting of the bell


Broncha's painting of some of the Kirk-Farrington trees

And of course there were the tree peonies .....


Bonnie's painting of a trio of tree peony blossoms


Candy's painting of a tree peony peeking thru the fence

Cathy is, happily for everybody, back with us

as is Alwyn, the Paintsites mascot

Cathy's painting of a trio of tree peony blossoms

Cathy's painting of a trio plus one

Lisha surrounded by tree peonies

Lisha's painting of tree peony blossoms

Sylvia's painting of single tree peony blossom

Liz's painting of a particularly beautiful tree peony blossom

Marilyn (and her new hat)

Marilyn's painting of a tree peony blossom
Brad's painting of a yellow tree peony
Pam told me something of the history of this variety --- it occurred to me that the hybridizers are consummate artists in their own right.   Brad

Iris in the shade of one of the big magnolias


Yan in the tree peony "forest"

After lunch, the critique ...

Friday, March 13, 2015

Sunnyvale Heritage Orchard. Thursday, March 12, 2015

 We missed the peak bloom of the apricot trees in the Heritage Orchard (not that that stopped us from painting blossoms where they would have been but for the record warm February) but still found plenty to paint: the beautiful, bright green, just emerging foliage; a few blossoms; the rugged, gnarly trunks and limbs of the older trees; some old tractors and farm equipment; each other; and, perhaps most important of all, the answer to the age old question of  "Why did the chicken cross the road?" 

For more information about the Sunnyvale Heritage Orchard and the adjacent Museum, check out:

Remaining Thursday Paintsites in March:
  • Thursday, March 19, 2015:  Kirk-Farrington House, San Jose - we hope there will still   be some of the spectacular tree peonies and the old wisteria in bloom.
   Some of us started out "small" with blossom, leaf, branch, and specimen studies ...

Helen working on her Apricot 'botanical'

Helen's sketch of (a) new blossom, (b) spent blossom, (c) new leaf, and (d) parent tree


Iris' painting of Spring flowers in bloom

Liz & Melanie

Liz's take on (a) apricot leaf, (b) blossom, (c) tiny little apricot, and (d) tree from which they all came

Melanie focused on a single branch in exquisite detail ...

... as did Sylvia who focused in equal detail on a different branch and added an old wheel for flavor

Moving on to bigger (but not necessarily better) things ...  The old wagon with the yellow wheels was a very popular subject.

Rich's sketch of the wagon was from the middle of the orchard

Bonnie painted the wagon and apricot trees the way they should look in mid-March


Elaine's trees with the last of the blossoms, the first of the new leaves, and some orchard equipment


Sylvia's painting of the old wagon and trees - also the way they should look mid-March

Sylvia and Bonnie

Some other old orchard equipment also caught our eye ...

Not content with the old wooden wagon, Broncha focused on the old, heavy metal model "Thirty" Caterpillar tractor - apparently a popular model in the "Valley of the Heart's Delight"


as did Brad

Buildings associated with the Sunnyvale Heritage Museum were also worthy subjects ...

Iris's painting of the Museum

Dick decided to shine a little light on the day


While most of us were happy to stay on the paved patio, others weren't afraid of a little dirt and ventured into the orchard itself to work .....

Rich's second sketch of another piece of orchard equipment

Kaaren painted the orchard and the distant Coast Range with an old orchard implement accent

Kaaren working in the midst of it all

Lisha's painting of Kaaren painting in the orchard

Jane's painting of a magnificent apricot tree

Another artist at work - this one of Melanie by Helen

 Still wondering about "Why the chicken crossed the road?"  -  keep going

Some of the other artist's in attendance ...


Jolene's first time with the Thursday Paintsites group

After a hard day laboring in the fields, we rewarded ourselves with a nice lunch ..

Before starting our "critique" ...

Finally, here's what you've been longing to discover ---  the answer to the eternal question "Why did the chicken cross the road?" -- to get in Leslie's painting of course!

Leslie's painting s