Sunday, April 29, 2012

Los Gatos Creek Trail, Hike and Sketch, April 26th, 2012

After a scorching weekend, the hike & sketch day was positively chilly, and we had a few rain spots at the first stop by the Billy Jones Wildcate Railroad.  Not daunted we strode on, finding some wonderful views of the lake, with colorful boats and flowers beside the water, and our final site was in the shelter of the reservoir dam, where we found a grassy picnic spot and ate lunch to the sound of rushing water, (and jackhammers from the road-works nearby).

Brad Santos  The Vasona Hike & Sketch  (a "hike" for me, a "stroll" for Jenny & Sylvia)  had a January-ish start:   cold and grey with a strong wind coming off the lake.    We started with a short stop at the little excursion railroad in Oak Meadow Park rail; then a view across the lake towards the boat dock with pendants flying; then another vista across the lake with the mountains in the background; and finally, my eyes watering and nose dripping, Jenny & Sylvia led us off the main path to a secluded, sunny, sheltered spot below the dam-spillway for lunch and a final sketch.     I used my Tombo water soluble pen/brush for a sketch of the main spillway gates and backside of the dam - cascading water, lots of interesting concrete planes and shapes, and a heron  (not depicted).

Dick Zunkel

Leslie Grimm.    
The day started cloudy and drizzly but soon turned sunny.  The 
colorful boats caught our attention across the lake.

Jenny Tero 
Have never noticed this rusty piece of machinery before  (or model of an engine? no one was sure what it was), but it made a nice contrast with the foliage at the miniature railroad station in Vasona Park.  (Finished this one at home; we only stop for 15 minutes when we're "hiking")

 Sylvia Waddell
I used my brushpens for drawing to encourage me to get bolder with color. There were some lovely stormy skies over the lake so I enjoyed creating a very wet sky and letting the paint do its own thing.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Dick Zunkel Demo Thursday April 19th 2012

Dick Zunkel Demo painting

Thursday's paintsite was a demo by SCVWS member Dick Zunkel. He uses pen and ink, and juicy watercolor to create loose and dynamic paintings.
Dick had to compete with noise from a jack hammer digging up the road and we were a little confined because the grassy areas of the park were all fenced off due to replanting - such are the trials of plein air! However, the weather was perfect, we had a record turnout, and Dick's demo inspired us all.
Dick first sketched quickly in pencil, then refined the drawing in waterproof ink using a #5 or 6 speedball dip nib. He emphasized that good perspective is an important basis for the painting. The dip pens give great variety to the lines. Once the ink is dry Dick wets the paper for the sky and puts on a wash of Raw Sienna. He then brushes on some Cobalt Blue and adds a little Alizarin Crimson on the horizon. He uses a flat 1" brush for most of the painting and loosely suggests all the elements rather than defining them completely. If you missed his handout the information is available at
Thank you Dick, for a great demo.

Janice Faulstich
It was a beautiful day in Los Gatos with a great turnout!  We all enjoyed Dick Zunkel's demo of his unique pen and ink with wash technique. Everyone produced nice work with his easy to follow directions. Thanks, Dick, for taking the time to show us how you work, and thanks to Jenny and Sylvia, who make our Thursday outings so enjoyable. As usual, I have a few perspective issues, but who can complain when it was such a nice day? Janice

Caroline Garborino
Wow! I've become enlightened! I didn't have to anguish over an academic painting and I nearly finished in an outdoor session. I love Dick's pen-and-wash technique! Caroline

Leslie Grimm

Mary Paquet
This is a painting of Valeriano's Restaurant in Los Gatos. Dick Zunkel did a great demo, and I found I did not bring the right tools. Mary from Santa Cruz suggested I use the eye dropper in her acrylic ink bottle, so I did. I quickly made a freehand drawing, no prior pencil marks. I got blobs and inconsistent lines and I like it! So I added some light watercolor washes and voila, the piece was done. Mary

Michael Rogan  Pen and Ink with Watercolor

Brad Santos
Thursday's Paint-Out and Demo by Dick Zunkel in Los Gatos started out on
a loud note but, keen right-brain people that we are, we shut out the
distractions and, applying Dick's principles, came up with many fun,
loose, and interesting paintings.

Jenny Tero
I used hot press paper for the first time - it was much better for the ink drawing, but didn't take the paint so well as cold press Arches.  Achieving Dick's casual style was surprisingly difficult.  I had to rescue this one with a lot more paint and scratchy ink lines at home.
Sylvia Waddell

Dick's demo was very inspirational - but his technique is not as easy as it looks! I was struggling with the buildings, but really enjoyed some quick gesture sketching when the Western Wheelers turned up for lunch. Sylvia

Anne Jacke
"I thoroughly enjoyed Dick Zunkel's demonstration.  Even though I did not have the correct pen, I found that pen & ink is fun. His talent is obvious as is his joy in creating great work.  For me, it's almost like creating a coloring book then finishing with watercolor instead of crayons.  It really brings out my inner child and it loosens up my painting.  Thank you Sylvia, Jenny and Dick!"

Monday, April 16, 2012

Emma Prusch Farm, Thursday April 5th

Caroline Garborino

"This paintout was an incredible time travel journey into a world that I was born too late to enjoy.
If only I could see San Jose through my grandfather's eyes..."

Anna Jacke

Mary Paquet

"Corner of the Past" by Mike Rogan

Brad Santos

"There's a rooster in my palette! Honestly! I settled down at one of the concrete picnic tables on the knoll above the barn to try my hand at 'look-down' perspective. I wet my palette and set it on the table and sat on the bench with my back to the table. Working out my sketch and talking to Mike, I heard a tapping sound behind me and, on turning to investigate, found one of the park's handsome roosters standing in my palette sampling the various colors. I shooed it away. Later, I was thinking if I'd been smart I'd have put down some paper for it to walk on --- then I'd have a painting by a rooster instead of a painting of a rooster. Probably worth more than just chicken-feed!" Brad

Emma's House by Dick Zunkel

Pot bellied pigs by Sylvia Waddell
"I love visiting Prusch Farm - the chickens and roosters are so much fun to watch, and there's some great rusty farm equipment. I spent my time sketching the animals and birds and watching small children being chased by geese who wanted feeding. The geese are as big as some of the children so it must be quite alarming to come face-to-beak with a hungry Goose! 
It was a great day, and as always all you guys are great to be out painting with." Sylvia

Monday, April 2, 2012

Agnews Historical Park, Thursday March 29th 2012

We had another excellent turnout for this paintsite. A combination of Mediterranean Revival style buildings and beautiful old trees belie the tragic history of Agnews. (It was once a hospital for the insane). Today it forms part of a lovely campus for Oracle America Inc.
Laurie Barna

Ann Foster

Anna Jacke

Agnews offered may wonderful structures to paint with perspective challenges.  The architecture and unique mosaic patterns of brick were intriguing.  I would definitely return to that site to paint again.  Great choice! Anna.

Mike Rogan

Sylvia Waddell
I have painted the buildings before, so it was the reflections in the windows that grabbed me this time. I loved the brickwork, and it was fun to incorporate that into my sketch.

Brad Santos
A bit of a grey day at Agnews but we had a choice of four wonderful, eclectic, early 20th Century buildings in a parklike setting to paint. So lovely was it that It was somewhat difficult for me to reconcile the serenity of the grounds with the many sad stories associated with the facility over its long history. An unusual part of the day was that few of the numerous convention or event participants wandering the grounds exhibited much interest in our painting --- unusual in that normally there's lots of interest (or at least peeking) at what we're doing. Brad.  

Dick Zunkel

If you like Dick Zunkel's wonderful loose style with pen and watercolor - look out for his demo at our paintsite on April 19th!