Sunday, February 26, 2017

Cuesta Park, Mountain View, CA Thursday, February 23, 2017

Due to extremely muddy trails and flooding we had to cancel the Coyote Valley Open Space paintsite. After some quick thinking we rescheduled the paintsite to Cuesta Park in Mountain View. 

Cuesta Park is a city park with mostly paved trails, open grassy areas, plenty of trees, a playground area, a bandstand, and a meadow with the remnants of fruit trees including an old overgrown, moss covered almond tree - still blooming. Cuesta Park is a popular location for all, from toddlers to the young-at-heart and plenty of happy dogs eager to pick up the new the scents of spring. We had a beautiful sunny yet chilly day, and luckily, we caught the ornamental trees in full bloom, just in time before the next bout of rain. What more could a plein air painter ask for - pink blossoms amplified against a backdrop of redwood trees, and swathes of bright, green grass contrasted with dark shadows.

Editor's note: These are some of the most beautiful and skillfully rendered plein-air paintings I have seen. Everyone must have been inspired by the spring colors. RZ

One of several ornamentals in full bloom

Leisha and Helen painting view of the meadow

Helen and Leisha painting from one of the more sheltered spots

Srivani painting a striking view the shadows cast by the redwoods 

Marilyn, all bundled up for chilly but sunny day of painting

Marilyn’s painting of Zara, a very happy, red dog 

Marilyn’s painting of the blossoms

Mary’s painting of a back lit tree, capturing it's prominent shadows

Lorraine’s first of three paintings of Cuesta Park’s magnificent trees 

Lorraine's second painting

Lorraine’s third painting

Leisha’s first painting of the meadow view

Leisha’s second painting of the meadow

Helen’s view of the meadow with Marilyn, our hired model!

Srivani’s painting of Marilyn 

Srivani’s painting of the Redwood shadows

Jane’s painting of the pink tree in bloom

Candy’s ink sketch of the Redwoods

Candy’s ink sketches of park goers. Quite a popular spot when the sun comes out.

Candy’s sketches of owners walking their dogs  

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Maryknoll Retirement Residence, Los Altos Thursday, February 16, 2017

Maryknoll is a magnificent building easily visible from I-280 just north of the Foothill Expressway Exit.  It was built in 1926 as a Catholic seminary for students preparing to enter the Maryknoll order.  In the mid 1970’s it was converted to a residence for retired Brothers.  The architecture contains Spanish mission, Baroque, and Oriental influences.  For more information see

At a typical paintsite we would have had to cancel due to rain on a rainy morning like Feb 16.  But Maryknoll is an exceptional site with a cloister walk where, despite the rain, we could sit and paint in dry and comfort with a view of the bell tower, chapel, and part of the residence.  As the day went on, misty skies turned to bright blue skies, and some of us painted another painting or two with bright sunshine and sharp shadows. 

It is lightly raining outside but artists (l. to r.) Helen, Lisha, Jane, Joe, and Liz are dry and comfortable in the cloister walk.

Helen’s painting of chapel

Lisha’s painting of bell tower
Joe’s painting of bell tower and chapel through arched colonnade of the cloister walk

Marilyn’s painting of the same

Lorraine sitting and painting in the cloister walk

Lorraine’s painting of bell tower, chapel, and courtyard

 Joy’s painting of chapel

 Anu’s painting of cloister walk
Mary R's misty painting of the bell tower (painted in a light rain)

Kaaren’s painting of cloister walk showing Lisha painting
and Jane S. chatting with one of the Maryknoll brothers
Kaaren’s painting of Rancho San Antonio CP and hills

By noon the rain was over and the sun was shining brightly.
Here is Anu in the sunny courtyard.
Anu’s sunny painting of Buddhist temple bell and Rancho San Antonio CP beyond

Anu’s sunny painting of bell tower and chapel

Jenny’s painting of bell tower and chapel

Jenny’s sunny painting of cloister walk

Jenny’s painting of Maryknoll grounds

Lisha’s sunny painting of Maryknoll residence

The artists are admiring their work at the critique.
The shadows are sharp because the sun is shining brightly.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sunnyvale Historical Society and Museum, February 9, 2017

This was another first for the paintsite group.  Instead of cancelling on a very rainy day, we sketched inside a treasure of a collection, The Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum.  We had painted the apricot orchard outside this museum many times over the years, but this is the first time we went inside the museum.  We were delighted with the artifacts inside that depicted the history of Sunnyvale from the time of the Ohlone Indians through the advent of technology, with emphasis on the pioneer Murphy Family.  The museum is housed in a replica of the Murphy family's Bay View House which was built in Maine, dismantled, shipped to California via Cape Horn, and reassembled in the area which is now Sunnyvale.  The Murphy family's wagon train was the first to scale the summit of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, opening the California trail to thousands of immigrants.  This was in 1844, two years before the Donner Party set out in 1846.

Sunnyvale Historical Society and Museum Association Director,
Laura Babcock, our wonderful hostess
Jane sketching in the kitchen

Jane's kitchen sketch
Jenny sketching in the kitchen
Jenny's sketch of an antique doll and pram
 Jenny's sketch of Bernard D. Murphy, born 1841

Jenny's sketch of a 1921 gas pump

Kaaren sketching in the kitchen
Kaaren's pen and ink sketch of kitchen utensils

Kaaren's pencil sketch of antique kitchen utensils

Anu's sketch of a 1921 Gilbert and Barker gasoline pump, installed on street corners,
one gallon per pump.
Anu's sketch of the Airship Macon stationed in Sunnyvale 1933-1935
Anu's sketch of the guest bedroom

Elizabeth Yuba Murphy by Caroline
Elizabeth Murphy was the first recorded white baby born in California. As a baby, she fell off a horse into the Yuba River and received her middle name. She married at 18, was given a ranch for her wedding gift in Los Altos Hills, and produced five children.

Joy's sketch of a stove and bell
Lisha's sketch of downtown Sunnyvale with train from an Ali Pearson mural
Lisha's sketch of downtown Sunnyvale with auto, horse, and buggy
Lisha's sketch from an Ali Pearson mural of the Libby-McNeill building,
an early Sunnyvale business
Marilyn's sketch of an 1890's John Church pump Organ


The artists admiring their work in front of the Technology Timeline exhibit