Sunday, January 27, 2013

Weekend Site Villa Montalvo, Jan 26, 2013

Brad Santos

The day started out inauspiciously:   rain on the drive to Saratoga, the long sweep of lawn below the Villa torn up for refurbishment (so there were no grand views of the main building) and grey skies & drizzle for my first, monumentally unsuccessful painting.      After lunch I thought it best to tackle a less 'grand' subject and settled on a large urn.     The sun came out, the sky turned a clear blue --- life was good (and the painting better) -Brad Santos

Rajit Chandra
After looking around the grounds, in the grey and rainy morning, I chose a spot in the Italian Garden. The light and the mood changed in the beautiful garden as the skies cleared and I worked to finish the painting. It was well into the afternoon when I stopped - Rajit Chandra

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunnyvale Heritage Orchard & Drawing Exercises, January 17, 2013

After several challenging paint-outs, weather-wise, we had an absolutely perfect day, weather-wise (for January at least), for a day in the Sunnyvale Heritage Orchard.    The day started out with Sylvia presenting a series of drawing exercises:   We limbered up our fingers, honed our eye-hand coordination, and were guided through a series of drawing exercises, each focused on a specific technique.     (The past few years Jenny & Sylvia have presented a number of informal painting demonstrations which have been well attended and unanimously appreciated -- always more informative and entertaining than advertised.   Watch for the next one!)     Then, hands twitching and heads bursting with new ideas, we headed out to tackle old farm equipment, gnarled apricot trees, and patches of mustard.

For additional information about the Sunnyvale Heritage Orchard, check-out:  
and for the affiliated Heritage Park Museum:

Dick Zunkel
Sylvia's mini-seminar covered the material in my six-week drawing 101 class in about a half hour, and did it better. With her inspiring instruction still in my mind I rendered the old wagon at Heritage Park with brush pen and watercolor wash. I chose to sit near the subject so as to force the perspective. The other side of the wagon would have made a more interesting subject due to the odd way it was resting on the berm, but the light was better on the south side.   Dick

Keiko O'Leary - Orchard Tree and Mustard

 Sylvia's exercises made a big difference for me. I have done many of them before, but to do all of them just before a painting session made the painting so much easier. I'm hoping I'll have the discipline to incorporate a few of these exercises into my pre-painting routine. I think doing gesture drawings of the trees beforehand allowed me to capture the essence of this tree when I painted it. Thank you, Sylvia!     Keiko

Mary Paquet 
I loved the drawing exercises and applied some of the gestural work on the tree and some negative painting. Harking back to our lesson on the use of ink by Dick Zunkel, I added the small branches using a dip pen and ink because I left my rigger brush at home. Loved the beautiful day we captured.   Mary

Brad Santos
I had fun with the drawing session --- now all I have to do is practice, practice, practice!   Class over, I wondered into the orchard and ended up painting (I think) the same tree I painted the last time we were here.  And I think I managed to get in a few more branches than last time.    For sure the background is better.     I reckon the next time I'll put it all together.   Brad

Sylvia Waddell - Blind Contour Drawing
Blind contour drawing is a great exercise in eye-hand coordination. Resisting the urge to look at your drawing is really tough!  Sylvia

Jenny Tero
Sylvia's drawing exercises were much appreciated and I learned a lot just by doing things I wouldn't normally think of doing. Having had a "bad-paint day"  here's my attempt at a left handed pencil portrait - I know it doesn't look like anyone on earth, but I was surprised that I was able to even get a face.  This might be a way to "loosen up" - with a bit more practice!    Jenny

The "Drawing Exercises" session before the Paint-out
 Limbering up to draw

Engaged in the "negative painting" exercise
The attentive class

The inspirational instructor

Friday, January 4, 2013

Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, January 3, 2013

Unlike the last few paint-outs of 2012, weather for the first paint-out of 2013 was merely "brisk" rather than downright numbingly cold.    The group hadn't painted at the Winchester Mystery House for a number of years but the manager remembered us and was pleased that we'd returned --- the sort of welcome we invariably receive.   Lots to choose from to paint in a relatively compact area with some formal gardens and lots of interesting Victorian buildings (or maybe it's just one building - it's difficult to tell).    All in all, a great start to the New Year.

A reminder - bring your plein air paintings (done on paint-out days, when on vacation, or wherever) to the Annual Party for display.     We'll have a dedicated table on the stage for sketch / travel books.   For larger and framed works we'll have a few spare easels but best if you bring you own.

For more information about the Winchester Mystery House, see:

Mary Paquet
I had a lovely time at the Winchester House, standing at my easel in the sun. As I circled the property I was immediately struck by the light and shadow in an old barn leading to a glass greenhouse. The cold moist air made for very slow drying, and I am an impatient painter. I finished a few bits at home. Mary Paquet

Dick Zunkel
 I live only a few miles from this site, but have never been there. What a great place to paint!  The light was perfect, but Yan and I were in the shade. It became so cold I had to stop painting.  This is a good way to keep from overworking. It was my first rendering with a brush pen. I usually draw with a Speedball nib and fluid ink. When I began, I was not happy with the look and considered starting over. The pen is difficult to work on medium texture paper.  However, I kept at it and am satisfied with the results. Dick

Caroline Garborino

This was the first time I really "saw" the Winchester gardens. Decades ago when I
toured the grounds, the out-buildings were not open. I loved the self-guided tours with recorded
(actor's) voices of the gardener, the maintenance man, and chauffeur. I hope to go back and paint
the gardens from the front. This paintout was completely enchanting, and I'm sure I saw Sarah.


Sylvia Waddell
This is the Foreman's house, not quite so rambling as the Mystery House so somewhat less intimidating! Sylvia