Saturday, June 25, 2016

Los Gatos Plein Air 2016

Here is a recap of my recent week in Los Gatos at the 2016 Los Gatos Plein Air event.
This was a juried event with 35 artists selected from all over the U.S. to take part in a week of plein air painting. The event is hosted by the Los Gatos Morning Rotary Club and is known as one of the best. They go the extra mile to take care of the artists and make them as comfortable as possible. They even provide housing to those who need it.


After checking in on Tuesday morning, I made my way to Vasona Park. It is right in town and has a beautiful lake and many trees. I found this pier which had great lighting, and quickly set up my gear and started painting. I decided to go with a 9 x 12 for my first painting of the day. I was about half way into my painting when about 30 kids showed up with fishing poles and proceeded to cover the pier to fish. I soon discovered that they were part of a fishing camp! Fortunately my painting was pretty well blocked in and I was able to complete it. I have to say that I did enjoy the interest of the kids who came up close to see the painting and ask questions like, "How do you know what colors to mix?".
Vasona Pier 9 x 12 oil on linen panel
After lunch I went to Hakone Gardens. I looked around and found a quiet place where I would 
not  be blocking any pathway and a beautiful coral pink colored flowering plant caught my eye.
I situated myself right in front of a shaded gazebo and didn't even need my umbrella.
There were quite a bit of plants and trees surrounding my focal point and after one failed attempt at designing my composition, I realized that I needed to simplify in order to make my focal point "the star" I started again, this time beginning with my "star" and then building the rest of the painting around it. I liked the result as it retained a fresh loose quality.
Hakone Garden Path 11 x 14 oil on linen panel


Since this was the only day with no other commitments or obligations I decided to spend the whole day in the Santa Cruz area. It was a little cool and windy in the morning, but there was no fog and plenty of sunshine. I decided to check out Wilder Ranch State Park. I chose this historic Victorian house as my subject and was pretty sheltered from the wind. I think I struggled the most with this painting. I spent more time than I had planned just getting the house sketched in and then also stuggled with the color relationship between shadow and light. I had to rework some of the color a little later that day.
Wilder Ranch Victorian 
11 x 14 oil on linen panel

Later that afternoon I decided to try Davenport. Again, it was quite windy but the view that I liked best was also blocked from the wind and I was able to set up my umbrella. I decided to paint a 12 x 16 .
"Davenport View" 12 x 16 oil on linen panel

We all painted in town on Thursday morning. I set up on the street in front of the Beckwith building.
We had from 8 a.m. until 11:30 to paint. After that we were treated to a delicious lunch by the Rotary club in the home of one of the members. It was conveniently located within walking distance from downtown.
"Beckwith Block" 11 x 14 oil on linen panel

That afternoon I wanted to check out Cooper Garrod Winery and Stables. I was looking for a vista and found the owner who was nice enough to let me drive right up to a spot for an incredible view. The only problem was that he told me they locked the gates at 4:30 so I had about an hour and a half to paint Cooper Garrod Vista. 
"Cooper Garrod Vista" 8 x 16 oil on panel

DAY 4 

On Friday I drove out to Morgan Hill after talking to one of the other artists who had previously painted a barn in that area. I'm not sure if I found the same barn, but I was pleased with the one that I painted and especially when a group of black cows walked down the slope of the hill and posed in perfect formation for my painting. This was the favorite on Saturday sold to a collector who was looking for a piece representing the golden hills of California.
"Paradise Valley" 12 x 16 oil on linen panel. 

All in all it was a great experience. I hope to have the opportunity to participate again. The Rotary Club and the other artists were a pleasure to meet and interact with and there are so many great locations to paint in the Los Gatos area. There just wasn't enough time to visit all of them, but I was happy with the variety that was represented in my work for the week.

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