Twentyfour: Roger, Let’s Soar

Continuing the ‘Creeks and Rivers of Silicon Valley’ year long project. (Click here for complete info.)

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Roger Let's Soar!, 8x10, oil on board
Roger Let’s Soar!, 8×10, oil on board

I had been planning this painting location for quite some time and this is the original lead in to this weblog entry which I was just about to publish…

What was once the 1800’s Rancho Potrero de Santa Clara and later onion fields, gradually became a landing strip for the budding aviation industry after World War I. In the late 1940’s the city of San Jose turned the private airfield into a municipal airport and in 1948 Southwest Airlines was the first to commercially fly passengers.

The Guadalupe River originates in the Santa Cruz Mountains, flows north right through downtown San Jose, continues by and forms the northeastern border of what is now called the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airportalso known as SJC. The river continues on north and empties into San Francisco Bay. It is the southernmost major U.S. river with a King salmon run.

After writing the above prelude, I googled “King Salmon Guadalupe” and the name Roger Castillo kept popping up. He is tirelessly dedicated to cleaning up the Guadalupe River to enable the King Salmon to spawn. My goal in this project is to make everyone, everywhere appreciate the little spots of nature around us whether in a big city, the suburbs or even the countryside. What better way to do that than dedicating this blog entry to Roger, the “Watchdog” of the Guadalupe, who appreciates this waterway for more than just the scenery. You can read about him here, and check their website out here. Incidently, Roger is the one who discovered mammoth bones along the river some years ago.

Anyway, about the painting–I wanted to paint the Guadalupe close to the airport, so walked across a field to the northeast corner of SJC. Click this link for a map of all painting locations. Since it was an airport, I also wanted to make this a sky painting as we have had some beautiful skies with the series of Pacific storms hitting the bay area. We had a wonderful sunset the evening before I did this painting, and I wasn’t sure what skies the next day would bring, so just in case made some color notes. Painting sunsets en plein air is tricky as right after the best part, it becomes too dark to paint! You usually have to make color notes, and then finish the painting another day. I ended up basically combining the prior day’s sunset with the location today.

Looking at the painting above, the overpass in the background is Highway 101 (AKA Bayshore Freeway), and the airport is immediately behind that. It was hard to see much of the airport from my vantage point so just indicated a few buildings, the one on the left being the parking garage for terminal A. I set up on the Guadalupe River Trail & right behind me was the office complex for some company called eBay. The airplanes were taking off toward the south, a little unusual for this airport, so I put one soaring in the distance.