Friday, January 8, 2016

Casa Grande & New Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum, New Almaden. Thursday, January 7, 2016

Last year at this time I remember some of us complained about how boring we'd found clear blue skies week after week the past few Winters.   After five Paintsites lost to the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years holidays and two to rainouts in December, so desperate were we to get out and paint again, we wouldn't have complained if we'd had a clear blue sky, a soggy grey sky, or anything in between for our first 2016 Paintsite.   We didn't get a clear blue sky or a soggy grey sky; we got rather nice (except when they obscured the sun and we felt the cold), bright white cumulus clouds scudding above us.  And we actually heard an unfamiliar sound: water running in the creek.  Hopefully it's working it's way into one of the local reservoirs.   All in all, a fine start for 2016 which promises to be a great year for Paintsites.

For additional information about Casa Grande and New Almaden, see the following websites:

And, finally, a reading assignment:   an interesting 19th Century contemporary description of the mine:

Upcoming Paintsites: 
  • Thursday, January 14, 2016:   Wilder Ranch State Park, Santa Cruz - Hike & Sketch or Sit & Paint.
  • Thursday, January 21, 2016:   Cooley Picnic Area, Stevens Creek County Park, Cupertino
  • Thursday, January 28, 2016:   Bernal-Gulnac-Joice Ranch, Santa Teresa County Park, San Jose
For details, see the SCVWS website or the January Newsletter.    And, if the weather looks 'iffy', check your e-mail or the SCVWS website for cancellation notices.

Remember:    The Annual Holiday Party is Saturday, January 16, 2016.   
Details and sign-up forms are posted on the SCVWS website - RSVP by Monday, January 11, 2016.   Everyone is welcome to display their 2015 plein air paintings (not just those done at Paintsites) on the stage.      Sketchbooks and journals can be placed on tables, framed and larger matted paintings can be displayed easels - bring one if you can.

Casa Grande - the big star of this paintsite:

Salinda and Dick

Dick's painting of a back corner of Casa Grande.   (Many of us chose to paint the rear elevation because the even more impressive front elevation was in the shade.)

Lisha (left) and Candy and their view of Casa Grande.


Lisha's painting of a side and rear elevation of Casa Grande.

Candy was working close to Lisha and had much the same take on the building.
Melanie and Larry.    This was Larry's first plein air experience and Melanie was happy to share some pointers with him.

Melanie's painting of Casa Grande and the three very tall palm trees which some of us found so difficult to work into our paintings.   But, obviously, it was a snap for her.

Larry's first ever plein air painting displayed no fear of tackling the very difficult full rear elevation, from a low vantage point, of Casa Grande.    Unfinished, visit again to see the finished painting.

Jenny's husband John has accompanied Jenny to Paintsites since he retired last year.   He started out doing occasional pencil sketches, progressed to ink and now, he's putting in some color and sharing his work with the group.    We've all been anxious to see his work - it's well worth the wait.
Brad's painting of the side and rear elevations of Casa Grande.

Other than Casa Grande itself, there are other interesting subjects on the grounds...

The old Water Tower:


Jenny's painting of the Water Tower.


Liz's close up painting of the Water Tower and the two very gnarly, twisted trees next to it.   (Jenny and Sylvia also captured the trees in their more distant takes on the Water Tower.)

Sylvia's painting of the path leading to the Water Tower.
Other Buildings on the grounds:


Helen's sketch of an old outbuilding.

Helen's finished painting of the old building.

Marilyn braved the shady (as in much colder) side of Casa Grande so she could get just the angle she wanted on the entrance to the gardens ...

Marilyn's painting of the Garden Gate.

Mining Machinery:   This was, after all, one of the largest mines in the Americas so it only made sense that there'd be some interesting machinery about.    Leslie was able to hunt some down ...

Leslie's painting of a little cart on rails which would have been used to remove ore from the mine shafts.

The lovely drought tolerant gardens around Casa Grande:
Jenny's painting of a portion of the rear entrance garden.


Salinda has been coming to Paintsites with Dick for some time now and  finally decided her work was good enough to share.    Better than 'good enough' we all agreed!

Jane started out sitting on the hard, cold concrete when Melanie took pity on her and went and got a doggie-bed (kinda like an old bean-bag chair but softer)  from her car for Jane to sit on.     That's why she's smiling.   That and how her painting turned out....  (Melanie is always so prepared:  ever heard of another plein air artist lugging around a doggie-bed to a paintout?)

Jane's painting of the rear gardens.

Those are purple gloves Sylvia's wearing - her hands aren't that color from the cold though they might have been if it weren't for the gloves.

Sylvia's painting of the back garden and the back of Casa Grande.
Just the right number of benches to accommodate all of us for lunch and then on which to place our paintings for our show-and-share 'critique'.

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