Friday, June 28, 2013

Bedwell Bayfront Park, Menlo Park, Thursday June 27th, 2013

Our leader, getting ready to head for cooler climes for the next few months, (I suspect already missing us), arranged for one last Paint-out before she packs her palette and brushes and boards her plane.   She chose the site well as it was a hot, hot day in the City but pleasantly breezy by the Bay.    Eucalyptus copses, rolling hills (maybe a former landfill but who cares), and unnaturally bright salt ponds gave us plenty to paint.   Brad

So pleased to see so many people at this paint site considering we only gave five day's notice.  Brad suggested this site last year when neither Sylvia nor Jenny were around, so it was time to find out what we had missed.  A lovely little park, with lots of  trails over the golden hills, and bay views all round.  Jenny

For more information about Bedwell Bayfront park, with easy access just off  Hwy 101, see:

Upcoming Paintouts 
Thursday, July 11th - Lexington Reservoir in Los Gatos
Thursday, July 18th - Anna Cook's "Mexican Garden" in Saratoga
Saturday, July 20th - Rosicrucian Museum in San Jose

And don't forget the California Harvest reception on Saturday, July 6th, and the Ice Cream Social on August 3rd (RSVP by July 20th).    Check the Newsletter for details.
photo by Anna

photo by Bonnie
 Lunch group - crowding into the largest area of shade we could find.   Jenny

Bonnie Sandler

Sara Kahn

Dick Zunkel
Despite blocked auto access to the salt marsh and Poetry Monument, our creative artists narrowed their vision and rendered trees, hills, and salt from their available vantage.    Dick

Broncha Berger
I enjoyed this outing, as always.  I had to finish at home from a photograph though.  The sun was too strong on my paper, and I couldn’t see what I was doing.     Broncha
Jenny Tero
The salt flats were as white as snow under a baking hot sun, and we needed to climb up the hill a way to get a more panoramic view.    Jenny
Jenny Tero
View over to the west side of the park in the later afternoon.  Trying a different style!   Jenny
Anna Jacke

Bedwell had an interesting mix of colors, textures and surprises.  I expected to be painting along the Bay but ended up in the middle of a field with golden grass and a random patch of blooming artichokes.  Even though I was in direct sun, I enjoyed watching and painting the butterflies landing on the blooms. I had completed my first painting before lunch, but thought afterwards to add a butterfly.     Anna

Marilyn Perry
I thought it might be too hot, but the pleasant shade and breeze made me completely comfortable.     Marilyn

Sylvia Waddell
This is a great place to paint - lots to see. The salt pans were intriguing.

Chris Burnham

Monday, June 24, 2013

Stevens Creek Park and Reservoir, Cupertino, Saturday, June 15, 2013

A weekend painter contemplates Stevens Creek Reservoir

With Rajit cruelly called to duty by his company, on a late Spring Saturday no less, Dick took over and led another successful Weekend Paintout. 
For additional information about Stevens Creek Park, see:

Please note that the next Weekend Paintout is scheduled for Saturday, July 20th, at the Rosicrucian Museum in San Jose --- check the Society website and July newsletter for additional details.

Uma Kelkar

Dick lead us painters and it was enjoyable with a good turn out and especially because I had my son come along and paint with me. The water was low in the reservoir and the uniform yet dense vegetation made painting the view extremely challenging. Just a bunch of trees I thought, but adding drama when you have only hues of greens to play with is not for the weak hearted. We all persisted unfazed of course. I toiled over my watercolor block for an hour and when that started looking gruesome, I gave it another shot in my book in 15 minutes. That's the painting posted here. Goes to prove, less is more.  -Uma Kelkar

Dick Zunkel
We had another great turnout for the weekend paint-out. Weather was on the chilly side, but bright sunlight prevailed.     Dick

Thursday, June 20, 2013

San Juan Bautista Mission, June 20, 2013

In July, 1947, "outlaw" motorcyclists took over Hollister for three days.     Sixty-six years later, in June, 2013, a pack of relatively law-abiding plein air artists from the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society took over San Juan Bautista, San Benito County's other incorporated town.   Befitting San Juan Bautista's Old West atmosphere, residents in hushed tones told each other "the artists are here today" and scurried for cover.   Nobody messed with us.   We had the run of the town:  The Mission, the old buildings around the Plaza, the quaint downtown were all fair game for our quick draw artists.   

For more information about San Juan Bautista, see:

A "bonus" paintout will be held Thursday, June 27th at the Bedwell Bayfront Park, in Menlo Park.   This is listed on the SCVWS website but not the June Newsletter.   Check your e-mail for the Paintsite Announcement for additional details.  For more information about Bedwell Bayfront Park, check: and

21st Century Watercolor Society "Wild Ones" in San Juan Bautista:

And here are snapshots taken during the critique of many of the paintings.   Some had not been completed, others were skewed or incorrectly cropped by the incompetent photographer; the dappled shade where we met for lunch played tricks on others.   Check later for the accurately scanned and credited versions.







Now for the finished, polished up, photoshopped versions:

Jenny Tero
Jenny Tero
Jenny Tero
It was a beautiful day, warm in the sun with a strong breeze. Deserted when we got there, but later swarming with visitors who were more interested in the roving cockeral than us.  The vibes were right and I made three reasonably successful paintings!     Jenny

Sylvia Waddell
A delightful day and such a lot of subject material to choose from. This is definitely a site we should revisit!     Sylvia    

Laurie Barna
 Thanks so much for arranging this paintsite location--beautiful, and with so much to choose from.  The weather was beautiful, and I so enjoyed using my new Soltek easel.  I think because I was so eager to paint, that I really got "off" on some of my building proportions, so am not truly happy with the painting.  For me, my struggle is always design/mood vs. "accuracy."     Laurie

Liz Siegel

Anna Jacke

Anna Jacke
I really liked the cemetery gate and spent most of my time focusing on different views.  I had been at the Mission last year with and had painted the bell tower and the mission building.  There is always a new angle to sketch and paint.  We had great weather and perfect temps for this adventure.  I also scanned the Plaza Hotel from my journal.  I had some challenges with the early morning light and shadows, but it's all good!     Anna

Mary Paquet

Mary Paquet
Here are the two pieces I did, the second after lunch.  The Mission at San Juan Bautista was the very first mission I visited upon coming to California.  It remains my favorite.  I've painted the mission a couple times, so I made a point of changing my viewpoint. We had a great day with many artists making the drive from San Jose.   Mary

Bonnie Sandler

Painting here was so relaxing!     It was so quiet and peaceful.   No traffic.   This composition is so standard.   I should have picked something more interesting.   The pepper trees are always a challenge for me.   They're partly transparent.  That's hard for me to do.  I had to eliminate a lot of other trees in the foreground that were obscuring this little cabin.   Bonnie
Brad Santos
 Located in the corner of the Plaza opposite the Mission, this little building used to be a restaurant.   At least I think it was as I remember having a nice lunch there (or perhaps someplace very similar) on a very hot day with my wife.   In either case it brought back pleasant memories.    Brad

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Ainsley House, Campbell, June 6th, 2013

From a time before there was "Silicon Valley", when Campbell was a hub of the "Valley of Heart's Delight", there was the Ainsley House.   in the Tudor Revival style, the unusual roof (steamed/bent cedar shingles in imitation of traditional English thatch) was an intriguing attraction for most of us:  How to capture the intricate curves, waves, swoops, curls and lines of the roof was a challenge we couldn't resist and met in a variety of ways.    All different and all successful.

For more information about the Ainsley house, see: 

Of additional interest for plein air painters, The Campbell Historical Museum, located in the Ainsley House, is currently presenting works of early 20th Century California Impressionist Francis Cutting.  For details, see:

Next up for the Paintsites gang, Thursday, June 20th --- a big, big road trip to sleepy San Juan Bautista!    A mission, the adjacent old plaza, picturesque buildings, funky shops & restaurants --- lots to see and paint.    Join us --- watch for the official e-mail notification and details.     To see what's there, check out: 

Jenny Tero

Instead of tackling the whole building, which is what I usually do, I aimed for zoning it on just one part of it - much easier.    Jenny

Dick Zunkel
What a great day to paint, but as always, the Ainsley house presents so many challenges to artists due to its size and mixture of straight lines and curves. I chose a small corner for my subject after starting from several locations. A woman pushing a baby carriage crossed into my view so I did a quick "gesture" sketch of her to add interest to the painting. Medium: Pen and water soluble calligraphy ink with watercolor wash on a 140 lb. block.     Dick

Grace Tang
It was a lovely morning to paint with fellow artists. The curvy roof structure of the Ainsley House provides an interesting and artistic look to the whole house. I am wondering how it was built and maintained for the last 90 years!   And the gardens and surroundings are amazingly beautiful as well!!!    Grace

Bonnie Sandler
I fell in love with the quaint green striped awnings.   It was quite a challenge to do those roofs with edges that roll down.   I had to eliminate a hedge that obscured the walkway and fountain.   Bonnie

Brad Santos
Anxious to get started, I choose the most obvious, wide-angle view --- not really sorry that I did as it was a perfect day to paint just about anything --- but there were some small sections or details (the near corner for example) that were very complex and would have offered a greater challenge and, if done well, a greater reward.    Brad