FiftyTwo: Valley View

Continuing the ”Creeks and Rivers of Silicon Valley” year long quest.

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I thought it might be appropriate to do an expansive painting of Santa Clara Valley for painting #52. Although I have reached the total count of one painting a week for a year, I am not finished, but more about that later.

Yesterday, a small storm front arrived late in the day, and the first clouds arriving in the bay area produced a nice sunset shown above. The camera really distorts the color as the bare sky was not nearly as yellow as depicted. Once again, as in most the sunsets I have done for this quest, I painted in several sessions. During and after the sunset, I made color notes, then went out the next day and finished the painting.

The view is from Mt Hamilton Road. Mt Hamilton Road, was built in 1875 in anticipation of carrying materials to build Lick Observatory which I wrote about in ThirtyEight: Late. The road offers stunning vistas of the entire Santa Clara Valley, AKA Silicon Valley. You can see all the way from San Francisco down to Gilroy…the extent of all the paintings in this quest. It was just wonderful sitting there watching the sun go down over the valley. Sounds of horses, cows, wild turkeys, and an occasional motorcycle wafted up from miles away. I am surprised I actually got any painting done!

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Here is a panorama of my painting location on Mt Hamilton Rd. The sunset was a little different than the evening before which I used in the painting. Click to open up the full picture.

A panorama of my painting location.
A panorama of my painting location.


The scene would be better treated with a larger, wider canvas, but kept with the 8×10 format for the quest. Perhaps I will do a large canvas at a later date. At least half of the painting locations done in this quest is in view, although I used a little artistic license in squeezing in some of geography on the small canvas. In the distance is the Santa Cruz Mountains. You can see downtown San Jose in the middle. On the left is Lake Cunningham where Painting Number One was done at the start of this quest. On the right is the southern tip of San Francisco Bay where I painted Alviso in ThirtyThree:Sin City.

The creek is North Branch South Babb Creek. Although it is dry, I indicated just a pool of water in the lower valley.


Valley View, 8x10, oil on board
Valley View, 8×10, oil on board



The original goal of this quest was to do one painting a week for a year. I am now at painting 52, but there are still several months on the calendar to complete the year. Some times when I had to drive a distance, I did two in the same area. Even with traveling and other commitments, have stayed about 8 paintings ahead for the last several months. I am going to continue for the full year as I want to bring it full circle to fall time. At the end, I will probably have around 56-60 paintings. So far I have painted 36 out of the 60 creeks listed on my website here. Due to the dry year, many creeks never actually ran. I might slow down a bit, and wait to see if we get any rain which might run some of the smaller creeks I have not yet painted.

I am now starting to seek venues in which to show the entire collection, preferably a local public venue, museum, or other major space. If anybody reading this has suggestions, please send me an email to: .

Click this link for a map of all painting locations along with each painting.
Click on this link for a Pinterest catalog of all paintings so far.

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