Friday, January 22, 2016

Cooley Picnic Area, Stevens Creek County Park, Cupertino. Thursday, January 21, 2016

Since there seems little hope in the near future for local reservoir paintsites we thought we'd go for the next best thing - a creek which feeds into one of the major reservoirs.    And although we've painted at various spots in Stevens Creek CP before, this small day-use area was a new site for us.   We'd hoped for a roaring creek - which we almost got - but the creek was still low (unfortunately just high enough to cover the larger rocks in the creek bed) and the water fairly heavily silted.   But the sound of the water was wonderful - when you look at our paintings, listen for the sound of the creek.   In addition to the creek itself, there are some fine old trees on the bank, on gravel bars mid-stream, and in and around the parking lot.   Some of us did trees; some did the rippling, riffling, and rushing creek, and some were bold enough to do both in one painting, 

(Green grasses and brilliant green mosses were everywhere in the park and were particularly vibrant when full sun light fell on them --- this promises to be a Green, Green Spring for Paintsites.   Let's hope.)

For additional information about this park, check out:
Note: there is a parking fee for the Cooley Picnic Area but no Pay Station there.   The Pay Stations are located in the parking areas below the spillway and just above the dam at the launch area.

 Upcoming Paintsites: 
  • Thursday, January 28, 2016:   Bernal-Gulnac-Joice Ranch, Santa Teresa County Park, San Jose
  • Because of the predicted traffic crush during Super Bowl Week, we will have two Paintsites on Thursday, February 4th -- one in the North County and one in the South County. Pick which is most convenient:
    • Thursday, February 4, 2016:  North County Paintout:   Los Altos Redwood Grove Nature Preserve, Los Altos
    • Thursday, February 4, 2016:  South County Paintout:   Belgatos Park, Los Gatos
  • Thursday, February 11, 2016:  McClellan Ranch Preserve, Cupertino 
  • Thursday, February 18, 2016:  Palace of Fine Arts and CWA Exhibition, San Francisco
For details, see the SCVWS website or the January and February Newsletters.    Remember, if the weather looks 'iffy', which it's predicted it will be thru May, check your e-mail or the SCVWS website Home Page for cancellation notices.    Also, since we often visit sites where mobile service may be weak or absent (hence the coordinators unreachable) and mobile apps inaccurate -- if attending an unfamiliar location, best check the instructions sent by Paintsites before heading out.
Finally, since you're reading this, you're obviously just wandering around on the Web --- to see more plein air art by SCVWS members, periodically check out the "Members Blogs" as Sylvia, Anna, Mary P. and Dick routinely update their blogs with their latest work.

Trees:   Focusing on trees were ...


Dick's painting of the creek bank and split rail fence bordering the parking lot.

Sylvia's painting of one of the big specimen trees by the parking lot.


Liz's finished painting of the Sycamore trees.
I finally finished the Sycamore trees. A real challenge for me trying to interpret the background hillside covered with winter bushes. The thing that I enjoyed the most was trying to convey the shadows on the trees.   Liz

Brad couldn't figure out how to make the same sycamores white so he made it anything and everything but white.


Jenny's painting of big oaks in the parking area.

Caroline's preliminary sketch of what's left of a big sycamore.  (The most sizable trunk of which was probably cut down as it overhung the parking area.)

Caroline's finished painting.

The Creek:


Jane's first painting of the creek and the bridge leading into the Cooley Picnic area.

Jane's second painting of some white water.   (Remember, listen carefully for the sound of running water when you look at this painting.)

Nora's interesting composition of a calmer, wider spot in the creek.   (When a stream widens, it normally smooths out.)   Think of this painting as a 'palate cleanser' before heading down to the next rapids with ...
Lisha (seated), Leslie and Salinda.    Leslie is offering a critique of Lisha's painting and it must have been a favorable one because Lisha seems pleased ...

as well she should be --- Leslie was correct! (as if there could be any doubt) about Lisha's painting of a stretch of particularly turbulent white water.

Trees and the Creek:    What follows is what happens when artists gets greedy and attempt to put everything into a painting --- really fine paintings!


Rich's painting of a blasted old tree (left) fighting to hold on for dear life on a small gravel bar mid-stream.

Leslie's searched for, and found, her perfect spot downstream from where most of us painted to come up with this interesting composition.
I was happy to find this classic S shape in the stream and be able to sit in the sun to paint it.  A nearby frog provided extra cheer!   Leslie
Sylvia's second painting of trees lining the bank above the creek.

Jenny's second painting of a bend in the creek and a bend in an old tree.

Tom was looking for rocks in the creek to paint and found these.
Lunch & Critique:  We had handwarmers, we had finger-less gloves, what we needed was some sun!  And not just for our personal comfort - our paintings took forever to dry.

Our show-and-share 'Critique'.

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