Thursday, November 12, 2015

Ainsley House, Campbell. Thursday, November 12, 2015.

This was our first cold day since that really cold, miserable rainy May morning in the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden.   But at least it was bright and sunny and, by normal mid-November standards, pretty nice all in all.    The Ainsley House (a Tudor Revival, which is, of course, exactly what you'd expect in downtown Campbell) has lots of interesting features and details which make for a really challenging subject - it's not as straightforward as you'd think at first glance.
     We were treated to an unexpected pleasure when the Reading Hour let out from the adjacent Campbell Library and about a dozen young children shot out of the library, spotted us painting and had to see what we were up to.   They were enthusiastic, well-behaved and  inquisitive:  "What are you doing?"  "Painting" we said - they knew that but had to ask anyway.  "What are you painting?"  "The big house over there."   "Oh yeah, I can see that now."   Poking a finger in a well on the palette  "what color is that?"  That was a tough one - I'm no longer sure what some of them are but "red" or "yellow" or "blue" was close enough and satisfied them.   Then we got into "what happens when you mix red and green?"   "Red and blue?"  "Black (Payne's Grey) and anything."   Fortunately, I hadn't done anything with the foreground yet so we had room to experiment.  Just when it was getting fun (for me), they tired of me and were on to the next artist where I assume they asked the same questions.   Could this have been a preview of next week's paintout at Hidden Villa?   I hope so.    Incidentally, one of the moms told me their children painted with watercolors at least an hour every day.  I'm so jealous.

Future Watercolorists of America:

Future Watercolorists of America try their hand(s) mixing colors. (Photo by Yan)

Future Watercolorists of America critiquing old artist's painting. (Photo by Lisha)
For information about the Ainsley House, see:
For information about Ainsley House Holiday events, see:

Upcoming Paintsites:
  • Thursday, November 19, 2015:  Hidden Villa, Los Altos Hills.  Special Event.   
  • Saturday, November 21, 2015:  Hidden Villa, Los Altos Hills.    Special Event.
  • Thursday, December 3, 2015:  Santa Cruz.  Mission Santa Cruz and Holy Cross Church.  Annual Holiday Plein Air Pot-Luck.
  • Thursday, December 10, 2015:   Willow Glen (San Jose) - Residential Holiday Decorations.
  • Thursday, December 17, 2015:  Stanford Quad and Sculpture Tour (Sit & Paint or Hike & Sketch).
  • Saturday, December 19, 2015:  Stanford Quad.
For details, see the SCVWS website or the November and December Newsletters.

Note:   Watch for the Annual Holiday Party announcement in the December Newsletter for the SCVWS social event of the year - definitely not to be missed!

The Ainsley House:
Painting near the south-east corner of the building - closest to the Library - artists (left to right) Liz, Christine and Nora.

Painting from the south-west corner - nearest to the City Hall - more artists.

Betty's painting of the south-east corner of the Ainsley House depicts the most complicated sections of the false-thatch shingled roof  - very challenging.

Liz tackled the same corner from a slightly different angle and emphasized the multitude of small paned casement windows (another standard Tudor Revival characteristic).


Jane (Photo by Yan)

Jane's painting of the east side of  the house.  (No matter which elevation we painted, the unique roof demands attention.)

Dan  (Photo by Yan)

Dan's finished painting of the east side of the house as seen from the parking lot.  (The large chimney is another typical Tudor Revival characteristic.)

Alan and John looking very relaxed (considering that's the Campbell Police Department behind them).

John's painting looking towards the complex south-east corner from the opposite end of the house.


Melanie's painting of the south-east corner picks up the roof shapes, the typical windows, the half-timbers and -- something no one else noticed -- the little white holiday lights strung under the eaves.   (Not many people know that the 16th Century Tudors loved to decorate their homes with holiday lights just as we do today.)

Rich's finished painting.

Lisha's painting from pretty much the same angle done in a higher key.


Iris' painting of the back corner of the house and the gate leading into the garden.  (The garden has been a popular subject in the past but was closed for renovation.).

Dick and Yan

Dick focused on the little bay window over the front entrance -- lots of panes and lots of reflections. Note the woman peering through the bottom center pane.


An artist not afraid of a challenge:   Katherine's unfinished painting of the large bow window with its very complex perspective (at least 5 planes - it was hard to tell) at the south-west corner of the house.  


Brad's head-on painting of the Ainsley House.


Nora also did the full frontal elevation which shows the pleasing proportions of the building.

The famous Campbell Water Tower:  While the rest of us focused on the Ainsley House, Jenny and Sylvia, who have painted there many times before, moseyed over to the iconic Campbell Water Tower. 


Jenny's painting of the Water Tower and the Campbell Water Company building.


Sylvia's painting of the same.
 Lunch and Critique: 

The preferred painting spots were all in the shade so lunch in the sun was quite welcome.  (Photo by Rich)

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