Friday, April 15, 2016

Nola's Iris Garden, 4195 Sierra Rd., San Jose. Thursday, April 14, 2016

This was a return visit to one of the Bay Area's truly undiscovered gems --- more of a "Valley of Heart's Delight" than a "Silicon Valley" experience.   A quick hitting cold front passed thru several hours before we got there, dropped 1/4" of rain then moved on although the "cold" in the cold-front hung around, mainly in the form of a brisk breeze.

Bearded Iris come in every color but true red and with the bi-color and bright "beards" on many of the varieties, there was a lot more to even a single, small blossom than first met the eye.  And when the sun moves across or thru a petal the range of hues is immeasurable. A problem with painting here is that you see one bloom and say, "That's what I'll paint today!". But then the breeze ruffles another bloom just down the path and you say, "No, that's what I'll paint today!".   But then out of the corner of your eye a ray of sunlight sets another blossom aglow and you say, "No, that's what I'll paint today!" and, and  .... you get the idea.   Before you know it you've spent half the morning admiring row after row of flowers    The truly disciplined artists were able to settle down and get right to work.    But the undisciplined ones had just as rewarding an overall experience.

And that was just the iris.   The hillsides & distant mountains are still a beautiful green; there were horses and deer racing across the hills; big, handsome trees lined the drive and were dotted here and there on the hillsides; there were some rusty things; and, perhaps best of all, was our wonderfully gracious and welcoming hostess - Nola - who made our day very special.

The garden is open on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM this Spring while the iris are in bloom .   Visit to view the flowers and select the perfect one for your home garden or come to paint --- Nola is happy to have artists visit but it's probably best to check first if you come to paint as the paths between the iris beds are narrow and obstructing them on busy days would be a problem.

For additional information about Nola's Iris Garden, refer to the website:
(Expect to spend a couple of hours looking at the different varieties.)
(Nola's is also on Facebook)

Upcoming Paintsites:
  •  Thursday, April 21, 2016:  Gamble Garden, Palo Alto
  •  Thursday, April 28, 2016:  San Jose Heritage Rose Garden (not the Municipal Rose Garden), San Jose
  •  Thursday, May 5, 2016:  Hakone Gardens, Saratoga
  •  Thursday, May 12, 2016:  Grant County Park - Hike & Sketch or Sit & Paint, San Jose
  •  Thursday, May 19, 2016:  Sawyer Camp Trail (regular time) and Filoli Artist Access (2:30 - 6:30.  Pre-registration required.)
  •  Thursday, May 26, 2016:  Anna Cook's Mexican Garden, Saratoga 
Check the SCVWS website and the April and May Newsletters for details about these very popular paint sites.   And please remember, continue to check your e-mail or the SCVWS website Home Page for cancellation notices and the Sunday e-notifications for specific driving and parking directions.

Painting in the formal circular garden were ...

Two varieties of iris by Kathy.

Kathy's yellow iris

Kathy's mixed bed of bearded iris.

Joy's purple iris.   (The leaves really are very blue on many varieties.)
Jane in the circular formal garden.
Jane's (maybe finished, possibly unfinished - still to be determined) white iris.

Jane's purple iris.

Candy's purple bi-color iris

Candy's bi-color yellow iris.
Annie was experimenting with a new ink pen.
Annie's ink sketch of a single iris blossom.

Annie's second ink sketch of a stalk with multiple blossoms.
Helen's bi-color yellow & orange iris.
Lisha's bi-color iris.
Georgia working in the circular garden amidst the iris.
  The informal borders were nice too....
Teresa working on a large pencil sketch of a single blossom.
Carole rushing to finish her painting so it could be photographed.
Carole's almost finished yellow & purple bi-color iris.

 Looking at a big picture ....
Cathy set up in the lowest section of the garden.
Cathy's rows of bearded iris in the lower garden.    The oak tree on the hillside would have made (maybe someday will) an incredible subject in its own right.
Mary's painting of the drive into Nola's.   The leaves of the overarching eucalyptus have almost the same bluish color as many of the iris.

Definitely worth the drive- I wish I could have stayed to enjoy lunch and see everyone's work.  But I needed to thaw out - just like April to remind us it's not yet spring.  See you next time,    Mary 

Jenny.  (Note the grapefruit bush on the right of the photo.)

In the finished painting, Jenny decided that the grapefruit didn't belong so she 's covering it with her hand during the critique. 
Jane's quick sketch of the surrounding hillsides.

Brad (photo by Marilyn)

Brad's painting of a demonstration bed with the distant hills and peaks.   (What's that white shape in the middle-ground?   See the next photo to find out ...)

... it's Sylvia.

Sylvia's painting from a lower row of the demonstration beds towards the hills.

John's quick sketch of the hills and mountains.

 And last but not least, our painters of rust:
There are many interesting
things to paint here.   Not all are necessarily traditionally "beautiful", unless you consider rust "beautiful", but, in the correct hands, Candy's, Liz's and John's in this case, it turns out rust can be "beautiful"  ....

John, our master painter of things rusty.
John's rusty wheelbarrow with red geraniums.

And Liz, a convert to the beauties of rustiness.

Liz's painting of red geraniums in the rusty wheelbarrow.
Another convert - Candy's rusty wheelbarrow with a cargo of geraniums

Lunch on the deck overlooking the still verdant hills.

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