Painting Jackson Ranch

Today I was reminded of why I am still in California. In spite of the high taxes, traffic, and other problems, it is still a great place to be, and a painter’s paradise. I had not been out with the Los Gatos Plein Air group for some time, as it seemed there were always other priorities, but today was a good day to join them.

The painting location was close to Morgan Hill, about 20 miles south from San Jose, and then a few miles into the Eastern foothills. After arriving, I looked around and realized I could spend a week painting within 100 yards of this spot. Between the valley below, the old barns, the foothill oaks, it was a great place to be. A storm front was on it’s way, which helped dramatize the landscape.

After walking around and visiting with some familiar painting buddies, I decided to paint the same scene many of the others were doing. Below are some photos–

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After looking at the above photos, no matter how much I brighten up my greens, I still have not matched the emerald quality of the California hills during the winter rainy season!!

Winter in Yosemite

I usually take a painting trip to Yosemite around this time of year. There are no crowds, lodging costs less than half of normal, the air is crisp, and maybe cold & snow around. This year my wife wanted to go, so we booked two nights at the Ahwahnee Hotel. As the date approached, the weather didn’t look too promising, but we decided to go anyway.

We arrived Monday and it was still sunny, so after checking in, I rushed out and did a quick painting down the road. The sun was starting to dip behind the towering cliffs by the time I spent an hour or so on the painting…

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The next day we awoke to a slight drizzle. I don’t mind painting in the rain, but it usually ruins the painting. So after a leisurly lunch, we drove around and I took lots of pictures. The one below was particularly striking to me as the sun almost peeked through the storm clouds.

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That afternoon, it was still slightly drizzling, so I found a spot under the eaves of the Ahwahnee and did a painting of the grand hotel herself. I usually don’t do buildings or architecture, so considered it good practice. Below you can see my easel and the scene I painted–

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Below is a snapshot of the final painting–

Ahwahnee Hotel

As we left Wednesday, snow flurries were starting to waffle down and I really hated to go. The 4 hour drive home was in constant rain, but the California countryside was wonderful glowing with a bright green from the recent rains.