Saturday, September 26, 2015

Annual Santa Cruz Paintout, Thursday, Sept. 24 and Friday, Sept. 25, 2015

Maintaining Karen Druker's tradition of a two-day September Monterey Bay Paintout, we returned to Santa Cruz and painted with SCVWS member Shirley Motmans and her Santa Cruz Art League Plein Air Painters at the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor on Day 1 and at Natural Bridges State Beach on Day 2.    Tho' we may return to the same sites every few years, the variety to be found makes every experience unique and you find yourself asking yourself  "Why didn't I ever notice that before?"   So while some things change, some things are the same:   Shirley and Augie Motmans' exceptional  hospitality and Karen Druker's "gentle", perceptive, (and entertaining) critiques. 

Upcoming Paintsites:
  • Thursday, October 1, 2015:  Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve - New site - either paint near the parking lot & restrooms or take a short hike to an overlook and paint there.
  • Thursday, October 8, 2015:  Ardenwood Historic Farm, Fremont- time to paint pumpkins; or chickens; or Victorian architecture, or more pumpkins, or ...
  • Thursday, October 15, 2015:  Baker Beach, San Francisco - the Golden Gate Bridge!
  • Weekend Paintsite - Saturday, October 17, 2015: Main St., Los Altos - urbanscapes with fall foliage.
  • Thursday, October 22, 2015:  Portola Vineyards, Portola Valley - no grapes by then, just more colorful fall foliage.
  • Thursday, October 29, 2015:  Triton Museum, Santa Clara - sculpture and, hopefully, a special open day at the Members Annual Show just for us.
For details, of which there are many this month, see the SCVWS website or the October Newsletter.

Day 1:   The Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor:    Our official destination but there's more than boats to paint --- there's lots of people activity:  excited whale watchers readying for an excursion, joggers, dog-walkers, kayakers, casual diners at Aldo's (staff there graciously allowed us to paint on their deck and even offered use of their umbrellas), sunbathers, and friendly "locals" as interested in us as we were in them.   And if that wasn't enough there's also the adjacent Seabright State Beach and the breakwater and its lighthouse separating the beach from the harbor.    Mother Nature compensated for the intense heat (mid-90s official temperature = probably 110 degrees on the sand and, as you can imagine, like most beaches, no shade) with some very unusual and beautiful cirrocumulus clouds.   For more information about the Yacht Harbor, see:

Boats:  Since the harbor exists to service boats and boaters, we'll start with Leslie who saw more boats than the rest of us put together:   she walked the full length of the West Harbor, up Arana Creek (a favorite, secret paintsite of Shirley's and her Santa Cruz Art League Plein Air Painters), back down the East Harbor side, then back up to the bridge which separates the upper and lower yacht basins and back again.   And still found time for a boat sketch and a finished painting ...
Many Boats:  My impression of the thousands of boats here.    Leslie.

Two Boats:  I liked the colorful kayaks on these boats.    Leslie.

A bunch of boats with an interesting background captured in Carolyn's very different and wonderful painting.  Do look closely, there's a lot to see.

And even more boats:  Kay found the forest of masts an inspiration for this quick sketch.

Brad's painting of boats in the harbor.    The owner of the trimaran in the left foreground came up to talk to Shirley and me - a delightful and interesting young man who was preparing to embark on months long sailing adventure.

The back ends (technically the sterns) of these two sailboats were a popular subject ...
... of  Tom's (a quick sketch), ...

... and Kaaren's, ...

... and Shakun's.

While others found the pointy ends (technically the bow) equally interesting ... 
Marilyn in the shade on Aldo's deck.

Marilyn's painting of two sloops tied to a nearby dock.

Kaaren's bow on painting.

The breakwater offered no natural shade but provided a great vantage point for some interesting things to see and paint ....

Jenny, a Santa Cruz Art League plein air artist, wisely provided her own shade.


Broncha's painting looking toward the umbrellas on Aldo's deck.

LaVonne and a Santa Cruz Art League plein air artist

LaVonne's painting of (possibly) some dredging equipment.   Whatever it is, the birds found it a satisfactory place on which to rest.

The Lighthouse: easily the most popular subject ...

Shakun and Nancy found some shade from which to paint ....

Nancy's painting of the lighthouse.

Shakun's lighthouse painting.
Broncha's painting of two kayakers returning from an ocean paddle past the lighthouse.

Marilyn's lighthouse painting.

Jane K.'s lighthouse painting.
Mary R. taking a sketch break after completing her ...
... lighthouse painting.
Tom's unfinished lighthouse painting.

Karen just getting started on her lighthouse painting.

Karen's finished lighthouse painting.
Susan and Elaine taking a break on Aldo's deck.

Kaaren painted Seabright State Beach from the breakwater.

Kaaren's Seabright Beach painting.

June's painting of Pleasure Pt. and (I think) the Opal Cliffs near the Motmans' home.

Unfortunately, I don't remember who (Judi, Elaine, Susan, Dalene, ??) painted the following paintings - two probably finished, two in the early stages.  If you recognize any, please let me know and I'll attribute them properly ...

Pot-luck reception and Critique at the Motmans':   It was still quite hot for our pot-luck reception hosted by Shirley and Augie Motmans in their beautiful Opal Cliffs ocean front home --- but nobody minded too much.    After all, if we can paint in the sun, we can drink wine in the shade.   Organized and coordinated by Marilyn, we had more than enough to eat, lots to talk about and, before we could dig into dessert, Karen's always fun, informative, and "gentle" critique.



Karen studies Leslie's Boat paintings before delivering her verdict.  (The verdict?  two thumbs up.)

Same with Carolyn's harbor painting.    (So much detail going on here, this one merited passing around for closer study.)

And with Marilyn's painting of boats.

Karen and Nancy.

Karen appreciated that Shakun's shirt was color coordinated with her painting, which Karen really liked too - she dubbed Shakun a marvelous "colorist".

When Karen talks, we all listen attentively!

The critique over, it was time for dessert, no time for photographs.

Day 2: Natural Bridges State Beach:    Friday morning started out hot, hot, hot which had us initially thinking another full day of painting might not be wise.  Fortunately, the predicted highs of another mid-90s afternoon never materialized.   (It only made it into the mid-80s and there was a gentle breeze by the water all day.)   That and the presence of some fine shade trees, mainly enormous eucalypti, meant we could set-up steps from the beach, sit in the shade and paint.    We'd originally planned our pot-luck and Karen's critique at 4:00 but moved that up to accommodate those of us who were worn out (me) and those hardier sorts (Marilyn and Shakun) anxious to do some serious tide-pooling with Alison, an accredited naturalist.    

The Rock:   There's no longer an actual rock "bridge" between the rocky ledge at shore's edge and the offshore rock but the rock itself is an interesting subject --- we covered it from a variety of perspectives over an 180 degree arc ... 
Alison's unfinished painting from just below the main parking lot looking out to sea.

Tom's painting from approximately the same place.

Shakun's painting from the park entrance overlook (just out of the frame on the left in Alison's and Tom's paintings) looking towards the beach.
Marilyn's painting from the overlook.
I finished this after tide-pooling which caused me to put in much more detail of the tide pool area and the mobile home park on top of the cliff (gateway to the tide-pool area).    Marilyn.

Judi focused on just the isolated rock remnant.

Brad gave the Rock a supporting role.

There was more to paint than just the Rock ...
Carolyn's drawing of a mighty eucalyptus done with eucalyptus twigs and sumi ink.

 Karen painted the layers of tangled thickets lining Moore Creek (which flows into a wetlands preserve at Natural Bridges SP) on Yupo.

Our morning's work done,  it was time for ...
(Note the tablecloths Marilyn provided - who says artists have no class?)

The Critique:   After lunch, we were treated to another of Karen's "gentle" Critiques ...
... which always leaves us smiling and feeling pretty good about our work.

Karen instantly recognizes the work of "The Colorist" (Shakun) and it brings a smile.

Nothing but praise for Tom's painting.

Karen found a lot to like in Marilyn's unfinished panoramic view of the Rock from the overlook --- especially the use of greys.
The only flaw Karen could find in any of our paintings was with a driftwood log in her own work!   We were finally able to convince her it was OK.

Impressed, as we all were, with Carolyn's bold and unconventionally created drawing.
Note:   Not all of the work produced over the two days is shown here - hopefully more images will trickle in over the next few days so come visit again.

Alison and Shakun on the tide-pool rocks.  (photo by Marilyn.)