Saturday, December 30, 2017

Redwood Grove Nature Preserve, Los Altos. Thursday December 28, 2017.

This is a wonderful and little known site in the depths of Silicon Valley --- one which always amazes first time visitors who never suspected that there's a stretch of mighty redwoods between I-280 and the Foothill Expressway.  Sadly, it appears that many of the redwoods are dead, or are dying (possibly from the drought?), and are being cut down; their stumps mixed in with others still standing but looking none too healthy.   Still, there are enough remaining to give both the visual and the emotional feeling of being in a redwood "forest" and the boardwalk winding thru the Grove enhances the feeling of remoteness.

It was a cold morning to start and never really warmed up as the the day progressed.   Still, as you'll see, most of us toughed it out and painted the redwoods in the shade of the redwoods.  Fortunately, we were able to hold our Paintsites Holiday Pot-Luck at picnic tables in a sunny (but not warm) location.

There is no parking at the site proper though there is ample street parking with a bit of a walk down a steep hill into the Grove.    There is adequate parking at the adjacent Shoup Park with a pleasant, level trail connecting the two parks.   Facilities are limited to two Porta-potties

 For more information about this park, check out the  Los Altos Redwood Grove Nature Preserve website

Upcoming Paintsites:   See the SCVWS website or the January Newsletter for details.   Rain is forecast for early January so be sure to check the website and watch for Wednesday nite or Thursday morning e-notifications for cancellations or last minute changes in plans before heading out the door --- the last thing you want is to be the only artist at a remote Paintsite where Mountain Lions have recently been reported!

  • Thursday, January 4, 2018:  Wilder Ranch State Park, Santa Cruz OR, if the weather looks 'iffy' for the drive to Santa Cruz and there is a strong likelihood of muddy trails, then we'll paint at the Emma Prusch Farm Park in San Jose --- check the website and watch for the e-notification for our final decision.
  • Thursday, January 11, 2018:  Emma Prusch Farm Park, San Jose - lots to see and paint here so even if we end up at Emma Prusch on January 4th, it will be worth a return visit on the 11th.
  • Thursday, January 18, 2018:  Downtown Campbell
  • Thursday, January 25, 2018:  Charleston Slough, Mt. View 

The SCVWS Annual Holiday Party:   See the SCVWS website Home page links for details.   And remember to bring a 4" X 6" painting for the Painting Exchange.   A "Pear" or "Pears" (hopefully you'll be able to come up with a more creative title than that) is the theme of this years Painting Exchange and Community Painting.   We've already seen an example of a Pear painting by Lisha and it's something anybody would be happy to win in the Exchange.   But if you don't bring a painting (or produce one at the Community Painting station) you won't have a chance to win it.   Key Annual Party dates: 
  • Tuesday, January 9, 2018:  last day to RSVP for Annual Holiday Party
  • Saturday, January 13, 2018:  Annual Holiday Party, Saratoga

The Last Paintsite of 2017:   A wide spot in the paved portion of the principal trail, flanked by redwoods, near the Adobe Creek bridge was the most popular spot to set-up.   And the simple bridge a popular subject.
Helen's painting

Lisha and Helen

Lisha's sketch

Lisha's painting

Elaine G joined us for her 3rd Paintsite - hopefully she's hooked on Paintsites!

Elaine G's sketch

Elaine's painting

Susan B-G

Susan B-G's 1st painting

Susan B-G's 2nd painting

Thursday Paintsites co-coordinator Jane S.

Thursday Paintsites co-coordinator Marilyn

Marilyn's painting

Weekend Paintsites coordinator Alison's painting



Lorraine's 1st painting

Lorraine's 2nd painting

Broncha's painting looking back towards the park HQ.

First-time Paintsite participant Ling, a guest of Lisha, did this fine painting.   The pile of logs in the right-center are those trees which have been cut down.

Brad's painting of a few redwoods and some still brilliant deciduous trees on the park boundary.
We came, we shivered, we painted, we socialized, we ate (lots of excellent desserts I'm happy to say), we shared our artwork and went home happy knowing we'd put in an good day's work, the culmination of another fine year of Paintsites.    Bring on 2018!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Central Wholesale Nursery, San Jose. Thursday, December 14, 2017.

Another frosty December morning which turned, late-morning, quite warm and, by mid-afternoon, almost sweltering (almost) .   This was a new site, discovered by Alison Turner (Weekend Paintsites coordinator), for the Thursday Paintsites group.   And a fine site it is with lots of wide places in the paths for us to set-up and spread out.  Altho' it's called a "Wholesale" nursery, the public is welcome and for gardeners it's a great place to wander around and check out the huge variety of plants, a lot more than just the common annuals & perennials found in most local garden centers.    Plus it's much larger than most garden centers.   Definitely a destination for avid gardeners.  Enough about the nursery.   Isn't there a saying about "From Little Plants do Great Paintings Come"?   If not, there should be --- as you'll see. 

For more information about this Paintsite see ... Central Wholesale Nursery, San Jose
Central Wholesale Nursery plants & landscape supplies
Upcoming Paintsites:   See the SCVWS website or December & January Newsletters for details.  (Tho' it looks like we're into another drought, there's always a chance of inclement weather or treacherous driving conditions, so always check the website and your e-mail for cancellation updates before heading out the door.)
  • Thursday, December 21, 2017:  Holiday break - no Paintsite
  • Thursday, December 28, 2017: Los Altos Redwood Grove, Los Altos -  Mmmmm -- our Annual December  Paintsites Pot-luck - one of the best traditions Sylvia and Jenny started.    We paint, then pig-out.

  • Thursday, January 4, 2018: Wilder Ranch State Park, Santa Cruz
  • Thursday, January 11, 2018: Emma Prusch Farm Park, San Jose
  • Thursday, January 18, 2018: Downtown Campbell
  • Thursday, January 25, 2018:Charleston Slough, Mt. View 

Also coming up:  The Big, Big SCVWS Annual Holiday Party:   See SCVWS website Home page links (below the red shoes) for details.   And remember to bring a 4" X 6" painting for the Painting Exchange.
Dates to keep in mind::

  • Tuesday, January 9, 2018: last day to RSVP for Annual Holiday Party
  • Saturday, January 13, 2018: Annual Holiday Party, Saratoga 

Artists at Work:

From a central open space in the nursery many of us set-up with interesting subjects in a 360 degree circle encompassing the old barns and sales buildings, the mature trees in big boxes (probably for the trade), individual plants, and even other artists.

Anu.   Note how well her cap coordinates with the bedding plants in the trays behind her - now that's artistic!
Cindy painting some of the many boldly colored ceramic pots and animals.


Jane S. can't decide if it's gotten too hot or it's still too cold to paint with a jacket on.  So she's compromising.  (Aren't we lucky in this area to have to make decisions like this mid-December?)

John - nothing rusty to paint but he's still a happy artist and were we ever happy to have him back with the group after a brief absence.

Kaaren - also, happily for us, back after a short absence, eschewed the bright red plant at her feet and opted for a wider subject matter.   She brought her 2018 Calendar featuring her exceptionally fine fruit & vegetable still life paintings (I believe some of which we've seen in exhibits) to share with the group.

Lisa T. back with us for her second Thursday Paintsite.

Lisa B - also brought her 2018 calendars featuring her very eclectic artwork for the group.   What a treat!   She has some ideas for a 2019 Paintsites Calendar with paintings by Paintsites artists which sounded interesting.    We agreed that we'll explore that in a few months and see if there's any interest.

Brad (Peter) trying to emulate Leslie's wonderful Tombow sketches.   Not successfully this time but Leslie gave him a tip which should make all the difference in the world the next time.   (If you think he's going to share the tip with the rest of you, think again!)

Lisha found a delightful little perennial with small but beautiful blue flowers with which to spend her morning.

Liz forgot some essential part of her painting kit but made do, very well thank you, with what she had.

Lorraine set-up in one of the shade plant areas.

Marilyn had her heart set on painting poinsettias but they were nearly sold out so she purchased one and returned it to the plant area to paint it.

Salinda set-up in a corner of the nursery with lots to paint and tackled it all.  (Incidentally, Salinda recently sold her first painting - congratulations, well done!)

Dick painting the barn like buildings.

Iris painting a large tropical looking plant.  (The bright red plants in pots behind her are cyclamens.
Leslie sketching topiaries.

Tanvi and Elaine G. taking a break.

We Paint then We Eat Lunch:

We congregated for lunch to eat, meet and get to know some of the new members, and look at the calendars Kaaren & Lisa B. passed around, the cards (mostly botanicals) Elaine G. has created, and a unique little "book" which Liz created.

It was so pleasant sitting here (sun or shade) that it was difficult to rouse ourselves for the next activity ...

Showing and Sharing our artwork:

Jane S. holds up one of the day's outstanding paintings.  So outstanding in fact that Helen and Tanvi felt compelled to salute it (in the future they'll have to learn to salute with their right hand as does the artist in the lower left cornerl).   Or maybe they were saluting Jane in appreciation of her erudite commentary?  Or maybe they were just shielding their eyes from the sun?   Or all three?

The Show & Share audience waits for the next painting to be presented.
Here's our artwork which we illustrates the variety of subjects we tackled.

Anu's painting of Cyclamens

Annie's  painting of the Nursery barn/store.   Redwood trees along the Southwest Expressway lent a fine "borrowed" landscape element.

Brad's painting of a row of topiaries.  (There were many such scattered throughout the nursery.)

Dick's painting of the Nursery barn/store.  (If you visit, the retail area is under the green shed roof on the right.)

Elaine G's painting of deciduous trees in tubs.

Elaine G's painting of a second old building next to the barn/store.

Helen's painting of rows of trees in pots and the long shadows they cast.

Helen's painting of cyclamens.

Jane S's painting of plants in the Native Plants section.  (There is also another water-wise section.)

John's painting of Annie

John's painting of a pile of pallets (not to be confused with the palettes artists employ)

Kaaren's painting of Icelandic poppies and Fall colors
Cindy's painting of pastel pots.

Cindy's painting of a trio of deciduous trees showing the last of their fall foliage.

Broncha's painting of the barn//store,

Leslie's pen & ink and Tombow rendering of a garden sculpture.

Leslie's pen & ink and Tombow sketch of topiaries

Lisa T's watercolor pencil painting has a strong and pleasing design element.

Lisha's painting of Felicia daisies

Lorraine's painting of Statice

Salinda's painting of one of the paths lined by a variety of interesting plants.

Tanvi's painting of the small tractor that nursery staff used to move, haul & push stuff around.

Tanvi's second painting
Marilyn's red poinsettia
Liz 's red poinsettia.  She had to buy it in order to paint it.

Liz's drawing of a garden sculpture.  She forgot her paints so she had 
to use her graphite aquarelle pencils by Faber-Castell.  It was a good
excuse to practice drawing.

Remember to sign-up for the January 13th Annual Party by January 9th!