Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Villa Montalvo, Saratoga, Weekend Paintsite Saturday November 18, 2017

Villa Montalvo, built in 1912, was once the grand estate of Senator James Phelan. Upon his death, he bequeathed Montalvo as follows: "I would like the property at Saratoga, California, known as Villa Montalvo, to be maintained as a public park open under reasonable restrictions, the buildings and grounds immediately surrounding the same to be used as far as possible for the development of art, literature, music, and architecture by promising students."  The grounds now encompass 175 acres including immaculately maintained gardens and untouched natural areas.

The villa itself is usually closed to the public, but because "Yuletide Marketplace" was taking place inside the villa, we got to go inside the villa for sketching and holiday shopping.  The temperature started out a little chilly, but it warmed up to be a beautiful day.  This is the second month in a row that a Thursday paintsite was cancelled due to weather difficulties, and two days later the weekend paintsite had glorious weather.

Link to Villa Montalvo website

Upcoming paintsites:
Nov 30: Rancho San Antonio, Cupertino
Dec 7:  View of Hayes Mansion from Edenvale Gardens Park, San Jose
Dec 9:  Weekend Paintsite: Central Wholesale Nursery, San Jose
Dec 14: Central Wholesale Nursery, San Jose
Dec 28: Los Altos Redwood Grove

Villa Montalvo

Jayne's two-page journal entry

Alison's painting of the villa

Alison's painting of the stained glass window
above the grand staircase of the villa

New member Na showing her painting
and biscotti that Alison bought at "Yuletide Marketplace"

Na's painting of tree in autumn foliage

Marilyn in the Italianate Garden

Marilyn's painting buddy

A protea in the Italianate Garden

Marilyn's painting of the Italianate Garden

Alison, Jayne, and Na in front of the Villa

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Pao-Hua Buddhist Temple, San Jose Thursday, November 9, 2017

Pao-Hua, meaning in Chinese “the Temple nourishes the blooming of the Lotus of Buddhism,” is a beautiful site which facilitates the teachings of Buddhism for the local community and is an education center for sharing the differences between western and eastern cultures. There were many interesting subjects to sketch and/or paint including the front (mountain) gate; the elaborately decorated roof and colorful eaves of the main Temple; a large inscribed bell; several Buddha statues, shrines, and altars surrounded by burning incense and beautifully arranged seasonal fruit and flowers. 

Many thanks to the Pao-Hua community for allowing us to paint at their temple.

For more information see:


Upcoming paintsites:
Nov 16 - Cooper-Garrod Vineyards, Saratoga
Nov 18 - Weekend Paintsite - Villa Montalvo, Saratoga
Nov 30 - Rancho San Antonio, Cupertino
Dec 7 - View of Hayes Mansion from Edenvale Gardens Regional Park, San Jose
Dec 9 - Weekend Paintsite - Central Wholesale Nursery, San Jose
Dec 14 - Central Wholesale Nursery, San Jose
Dec 28 - Redwood Preserve, Los Altos

Front gate of Pao-Hua Buddhist Temple

Side view of the main temple and ancient bell

Artists taking shelter

Jane S.

Lisha's painting

Weeping olive tree in front of the main temple by Lisha

Temple Bell and Decorative roof tops by Tanvi

Jayne's sketchbook page showing elaborate pagoda style roof

Chinese Guardian Lion or "Foo Dog" by Jayne

Weeping Olive and Temple by Leslie

"Foo Dog" by Leslie

An incense offering to Buddha painted by Annie

Temple roof-scape by Annie

Front gateway by Jane S.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Sunnyvale Baylands Park, Thursday, November 2, 2017

Sunnyvale Baylands Park has over 70 acres of developed parkland plus an additional 105 acres of seasonal wetlands preserve.  The land is owned by Santa Clara County and managed by the city of Sunnyvale.

The park with its natural grasses and seasonal wetlands has a very different look at different times of the year.  For our visit the winter rains had not yet started so the natural grasses were brown and there was no water in the seasonal wetlands.  There was still lots to paint as we focused on the many stands of different kinds of trees, the panoramic views of the Milpitas Hills and surroundings, and the geometric sculptures.  There was a sharp distinction between the brown natural grasses and the velvet green of the well manicured turf grass.  We were reminded of how much effort goes into caring for the turf grass when a very polite and apologetic gardener asked a group of us to please move so he could mow the grass with his riding mower.

The temperature was very pleasant.  It was mostly cloudy when we began, then the clouds dispersed leaving sun and sharp shadows, and by the time we finished our lunch, it had totally clouded up again.

Link to Sunnyvale Baylands Park

Upcoming paintsites:
Nov 9 - Pao-Hua Buddhist Temple, San Jose
Nov 16 - Cooper-Garrod Vineyards, Saratoga
Nov 18 - Weekend Paintsite - Villa Montalvo, Saratoga
Nov 30 - Rancho San Antonio, Cupertino

Toni's painting shows trees, turf grass, natural grass, Milpitas Hills,
high tech buildings, and radio controlled plane

Toni in the Great Meadow

Lorraine's painting of eucalyptus tree with playground in background

Leslie's painting of benches, waiting for the rains
to fill the seasonal wetlands


Cindy's painting of trees with Milpitas Hills in background


Annie's painting of Great Meadow surrounded
by natural grasses and stands of trees

Broncha at the end of the boardwalk

Broncha's painting of boardwalk really captured the shadows

Jane S at the start of the boardwalk
with the Twin Creeks Sports Complex in background

Jane S's painting of seasonal wetlands and
stands of eucalyptus trees

Lisha by the geometric sculptures

Lisha's portrait of a tree with high tech buildings
and Milpitas Hills in the background

Helen sitting in the shade of geometric sculpture

Helen's quick watercolor sketch of tree avenue

Helen's painting of tree avenue

Grace sitting on top of the hill before the gardener asked
her to move off of the grass so he could mow

Grace's painting of stand of geometric sculptures

Marilyn's painting of geometric sculptures with tree tunnel
and Milpitas Hills in the background

The artists have finished their picnic.  Thanks, Cindy, for taking our picture.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

AeroDynamic Aviation, Reid Hillview Airport, San Jose, Thursday, October 26

The Aero Dynamic Aviation flying school was once owned by the husband of SCVWS member Marion Podolski. He has since retired, yet we are very grateful that the staff have continued to let us paint at their facility. The site had all the elements of a great plein air challenge: comfortable spots to set up (temps were in the 80s but there was plenty of shade to share) and subject matter that obligingly stayed put, except for the odd plane that went for a quick spin.

Link for additional information about AeroDynamic Aviation

Upcoming Paintsites:
Nov. 2 - Sunnyvale Baylands Park
Nov. 9 - Pao-Hua Buddhist Temple, San Jose
Nov. 16 - Cooper Garrod-Vineyards, Saratoga
Nov. 18 - Weekend Paintsite - Villa Montalvo, Saratoga
Nov. 30 - Rancho San Antonio, Cupertino

Iris and her painting of an airplane
with Karen B. under her umbrella in the background

Helen and Lisha sitting by airplane

Helen's quick watercolor sketch of  an Aviat Husky

Helen's painting of an Aviat Husky

Marilyn found a shady place to set up and get a great view of  a SportStar.
Thanks to the AeroDynamic Aviation staff for telling us that this
plane was not scheduled to fly on our paintsite day.

Marilyn's painting of the SportStar.  The staff was right.
This airplane posed for us all day.

Toni had a very comfortable painting location.

Toni's painting

Leslie had many airplanes to choose from

Two sketches by Leslie

Two more sketches by Leslie

Leslie's painting of airplanes

New member Tanvi's painting of two airplanes

Cindy and Broncha set up their easels in the shade

Cindy's painting of the SportStar

Broncha's painted a fine painting of this airplane even though
its pilot took it out for a quick spin

Annie's airplane study

Annie's quick watercolor sketch

Annie's painting of an Aviat Husky

Jane S's painting of a two-engine airplane