Thursday, March 10, 2016

Calero County Park, San Jose - Hike & Sketch. Thursday, March 10, 2016

Although the forecast was for only a slight chance of rain, once we got to the park, it sure looked like that was an overly optimistic forecast.   Plus the recent heavy rains had made the trails muddy and slippery in spots, boggy in others, and seriously eroded in others (the trails weren't open to equestrians) but none of that deterred the Paintsites crew.    We set forth and almost the first thing we saw was a sign describing the tracks of the various wild animals with which we'd be sharing the trails.   Most are fairly benign and would be fun to see --- except for one: wild pigs!   We crossed paths with the brutes a few years ago and I wasn't anxious for a repeat encounter.   Although we didn't see any pig tracks in the mud, Jane wasn't particularly reassuring when she commented that she'd seen evidence of their depredations along the trail.   So some of us (me in particular) kept a keen eye out for them.   Fortunately we didn't see any.   We only saw some beautiful California landscapes and had a happy morning and afternoon painting them.

For more information about Calero County Park, check the official website:

 Upcoming Paintsites:
  • Thursday, March 17, 2016:   Stanford University Quad and Sculptures, Palo Alto.
  • Thursday, March 24, 2016:  Santa Clara Mission, Santa Clara.
  • Thursday, March 31, 2016:   Wunderlich Park, Woodside.
For details, see the SCVWS website.    Remember, check your e-mail or the SCVWS website Home Page for cancellation notices as El Nino is definitely back.  

First Stop:  About a third of a mile uphill hike from the parking lot we settled down for our first sketching session.

Left to right: Sharon, Joy, Sylvia, and Georgia on a more or less level spot on the Los Cerritos Trail.

Joy's painting of sturdy oak just leafing out with the Figueroa Trail snaking uphill in the distance.

Sylvia's painting of the Los Cerritos Pond and the Figueroa Trail in the foreground, the Coyote Hills in the middle-ground and the Diablo Range in the distance.

Katherine's painting of the Los Cerritos Pond.

Candy, Jane and Helen (hidden by foliage) in the wildlife viewing platform ( a perfect place for plein air painting the  pond) above the Los Cerritos Pond.

Brad's painting of the wildlife viewing platform and three artists.

Or, looking at this a different way, left to right: Helen, Jane and Candy.

Helen's panorama of Los Cerritos Pond in the foreground and the Coyote Hills and Diablo Range in the distance.

Jane's painting of the same scene.

... and Candy's.

Second Stop:  It started clouding up a bit more and we (at least some of us) considered hiking back to the parking lot.   But Sylvia, who is used to making these sorts of decisions from her years of leading Hike & Sketch paintouts, said we'd made it that far and we should keep going -- all of us should keep going.   It turned out, of course, to be the right decision so we pressed on and set-up at the junction of the Los Cerritos and Pena Trails.   From this vantage point we could see the old stables, the barns, and the Bailey House (built c. 1867) - all in run-down condition and currently off-limits to the public.
Left to right:  Helen, Sylvia, Katherine, Candy and Jane.

Candy's sketch of the artists lineup - left to right: Jane, Katherine, Sylvia, Helen and Brad.
Jane's painting of the Bailey House, barns and stables with the Diablo Range in the distant background. 

Katherine's painting of the old Bailey ranch-stead and the closer Coyote Hills.

Sylvia's painting of the same.
and Candy's ...

... and finally, Brad's.

Wildflowers:  We'd hoped to see hillsides covered with wildflowers but it turned out that the best wildflowers were in the parking lot (and off Bailey Ave. on the drive to the park) so that's where John and Marilyn, after reconnoitering  the trails, returned to paint...

John's painting of a bunch of California Poppies.
Marilyn's painting of another bunch of California Poppies.

John also did this sketch of the picnic area from the parking lot.
... and this one of another of the handsome oaks.

Lunch and Show-and-Share Critique:   We reunited in the picnic area adjacent to the parking lot for lunch and a brief "critique".

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