Friday, October 16, 2015

Baker Beach, GGNRA, San Francisco. Thursday, October 15, 2015

This was the first visit to this spectacular (but a bit out-of-the-way) site for a number of us.    Happily, neither the long drive from the South Bay during the commute period nor the fog and cool breezes off the ocean dampened our enthusiasm or energy level once we arrived.   This paintsite is unlike most others in that there's no indecision as to what to paint --- the Bridge makes that decision for you:   you sit down and paint the Bridge.  (After it's released it's spell, it's OK to paint other subjects -- which we did.)    A great thing about this paintsite is that steps from your car you're treated to two spectacular vistas.   To the North:  the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands (also part of the GGNRA and which includes the barely discernible Point Bonita Lighthouse).    To the Southwest:  Lands End and the Sea Cliff district.    (And, technically, maybe a third vista due West:  Japan as there's nothing but the North Pacific between our paintsite and that distant land.)      Added to the majesty of the site was the weather:  fog came and went, low clouds formed and broke up just as quickly, even the high overcast occasionally cleared so we were left with constantly changing colors whichever way we looked.

For additional information about Baker Beach, including driving directions, refer to a couple of official websites:

Upcoming Paintsites:
  • Weekend Paintsite - Saturday, October 17, 2015: Main St., Los Altos - urbanscapes with Uma - fun and challenging.
  • Thursday, October 22, 2015:  Portola Vineyards, Portola Valley.
  • Thursday, October 29, 2015:  Triton Museum, Santa Clara - paint on the grounds and then hopefully the Community Gallery will be open so we can see the Members Annual Show.
  • Thursday, November 5, 2015:   Redwood Ridge Estate, Los Gatos.
  • Thursday, November 12, 2015:  Ainsley House, Campbell.
  • Thursday, November 19, 2015:  Hidden Villa, Los Altos Hills.   
  • Saturday, November 21, 2015:  Hidden Villa, Los Altos Hills. 
Ongoing:  Time's running out - don't miss the best ever Annual Member Show at the Triton Museum in Santa Clara.  The Show runs thru November 7th.   Open Saturdays and Sundays only (plus Thursday, October 29th). 
For October Paintsite details, see the SCVWS website or the October Newsletter.    For the November Paintsites, all special, you'll have to wait until the November Newsletter is published.

The Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands:
The fog and clouds teased us all day:  obscuring parts of the towers ("Hey, where'd the South Tower go?") and then revealing them in all their splendor ("Aargh, that color's so bright it hurts my eyes") --- who'd have thought a bridge could mess with an artist's mind so much.   The Headlands were also constantly changing: from grey, to muted greens and beige, to rust, to bright red.    The well-behaved ocean, trying to keep things simple for us, changed within a much narrower range of greys to blues to greens (when the sun was fully out.)

An interesting phenomenon was the morning shadow the North Tower cast on the Headlands (like a giant gnomon on a sundial) when the sun was out.   It was a case of  "now you see it, now you don't" and when you did see it next, it had moved.   

The Golden Gate Bridge as a giant sundial, the North Tower as the gnomon --- you can see by the shadow on the Headlands it's 11:37 AM.  (Photo by Marilyn)

The Golden Gate Bridge and some of the SCVWS Paintsite's Golden Girls (left to right: Jane, Candy, Lisha, Helen, Janice) and an appreciative admirer.

Candy's first painting of the Bridge.

Candy's second Bridge painting.

Janice's painting.   The fog had lifted and the low clouds drifted away for a few minutes so we had a glimpse of the Bridge in all it's orange (not really "gold") glory and the elusive North Tower shadow which Janice captured here.
Helen using the over-the-left-shoulder technique to paint the Bridge.

Helen's preliminary sketch of the Bridge.

Helen's finished painting of the Bridge.   Note:  the fog has crept back in and obscured part of the South Tower.
Jane.  The day started out more than a bit chilly with all of us wearing all the clothes we'd brought -- and wishing we'd brought more. 

It improved a little --- enough for Jane to drop her hood.   But not enough to shed her finger-less gloves.

Jane's preliminary sketch of the Bridge.
A preliminary pen and ink. I quickly found out that the new pen I bought was water soluble.   Jane

Jane's finished painting of the Bridge.   (Note the North Tower shadow.)

More Golden Girls (Lisha, Broncha, Marilyn) and Alan;

...  and their view of the Bridge from beach level.   (Note the two figures on the beach between Alan and the Bridge - they were wonderfully depicted by Lisha later.)

Marilyn's painting of the Bridge
Alan's finished painting of the Bridge.   (Note the North Tower shadow.)

Lisha's painting of the Bridge and the Marin Headlands.

Brad's painting of the Headlands and the Bridge.

Mary worked her way down the beach a little closer to the Bridge.
Mary's painting of the Bridge.

Lands End and Sea Cliff:  
The constantly changing light as the cloud cover and fog came and went - sometimes from minute to minute - made for equally constantly changing colors of the bluffs --- one of the things that makes plein air painting so interesting.   And challenging.   And frustrating.   But mostly so much fun.

Candy has already finished her Bridge paintings and was starting on her third - Lands End and Sea Cliff.

Candy's painting of Lands End and Sea Cliff.

Broncha's painting of Lands End and Sea Cliff.

Lisha's painting of Lands End and Sea Cliff.

Lisha's painting of the two young women who were having so much fun playing in the surf -- laughing, shrieking when a wave hit them, racing in and out of the water.   I don't know when I've last seen two people enjoying themselves as much as they were - they brightened our day too.

Lunch and Critique:

After lunch, the "critique" in which we show-and-share our day's work.

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