FiftySeven: Sycamore Haven


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

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Sycamore Haven, <a href=
sickness 8×10, buy oil on board” width=”500″ height=”398″ class=”size-full wp-image-3451″ /> Sycamore Haven, medicine 8×10, oil on board

 

Platanus racemosa, commonly called the California Sycamore is native to California and ranges from Baja northwards to the Sacramento Valley and up into the Sierra Nevada foothills. It grows in riparian areas, canyons, floodplains, at springs and seeps, and along streams and rivers. The trunk generally divides into two or more large trunks splitting into many branches.

Like the Eucalyptus tree, featured in ThirtySeven: Missions, Creeks, Trees, Bubbles, and Painting artists love to paint it because the white bark reflects much of the local color.

The stream is Guadalupe Creek. Originating just east of the peak of Mount Umunhum in the California coastal range, and flows through Cañada de los Capitancillos before joining Los Alamitos Creek (painted in Fifteen: The Hard Drive Machine and Eighteen, Nineteen: Mercury Sheen). This confluence forms the Guadalupe River, painted in #2, 6 , 24, 33, 39, and 51, through downtown San Jose and enters the bay at Alviso Slough. Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) have spawned historically in Guadalupe Creek.

This painting of a California Sycamore along Guadalupe Creek was close to the corner of Coleman Rd and Meridian Ave in San Jose along the Guadalupe Creek Trail. The creek was flowing just a ways upstream, but dry here, so I indicated just a little water in the creek bed.

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FiftySix: “But I Go On Forever”


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

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"But I Go On Forever", 8x10, oil on board
“But I Go On Forever”, 8×10, oil on board

 

The Babbling Brook
Lord Alfred Tennyson

I come from haunts of coot and hern,
I make a sudden sally,
And sparkle out among the fern,
To bicker down a valley.

By thirty hills I hurry down,
Or slip between the ridges,
By twenty thorps, a little town,
And half a hundred bridges.

Till last by Philip’s farm I flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

I chatter over stony ways,
In little sharps and trebles,
I bubble into eddying bays,
I babble on the pebbles.

With many a curve my banks I fret
By many a field and fallow,
And many a fairy foreland set
With willow-weed and mallow.

I chatter, chatter, as I flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

I wind about, and in and out,
With here a blossom sailing,
And here and there a lusty trout,
And here and there a grayling,

And here and there a foamy flake
Upon me, as I travel
With many a silvery waterbreak
Above the golden gravel,

And draw them all along, and flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

I steal by lawns and grassy plots,
I slide by hazel covers;
I move the sweet forget-me-nots
That grow for happy lovers.

I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance,
Among my skimming swallows;
I make the netted sunbeam dance
Against my sandy shallows.

I murmur under moon and stars
In brambly wildernesses;
I linger by my shingly bars;
I loiter round my cresses;

And out again I curve and flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

 


 

Evergreen Creek.

 


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FiftyFive: The Shrek Donkey, Live


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

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The Shrek Donkey, Live, 8x10, oil on board
The Shrek Donkey, Live, 8×10, oil on board

 

OK, so there is no donkey in the painting, but here is the story…

When Dreamworks Animation was looking for a real life model for the irrepressible and quirky donkey in their upcoming animated movie Shrek, they did not have to go far. A miniature donkey named Pericles, better known as Perry, was in the nearby Palo Alto neighborhood of Barron Park. The Dreamworks animators fell in love with him.

The donkeys at Barron Park.
The donkeys at Barron Park.

Barron Park has been home to donkeys since the 1930s, when this pasture was part of the Bol farm. Generations of donkeys have been visited here by their friends for nearly 80 years. The tradition has been continued through the generosity of local landowners James Witt and John Klimp, over 25 volunteers who oversee their feeding and welfare, and gifts from the donkeys’ many supporters. There are currently two donkeys, Perry, and Miner 49er. They are taken to Bol Park each Sunday morning, where they can be visited by children while they graze on the lawn. You can watch a video of them here.

Just a few blocks away is Barron Creek which originates in the lower foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains in Los Altos Hills, and courses northerly through the cities of Los Altos Hills, Los Altos, and Palo Alto, before joining Adobe Creek (painted in TwentyFive: Where Redwoods Thrive). It is the most modified creek in the Lower Peninsula Watershed, with 67% of its course classified as “hardened”, meaning that most of it is a concrete channel or underground culvert.

There is a stretch where it emerges from underground just east of Gunn High School in a little more natural, earthen channel. It provides a nice little setting and here I painted #55, about 3 miles from Stanford University. The creek had water in it, but I don’t think was really running much.

Just a couple pictures of the day–
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A panorama of the area–

Gunn HS is on the left, my easel in the middle, and car on the right.
Gunn HS is on the left, my easel in the middle, and car on the right.

 

You can volunteer or donate to the donkeys welfare with more information on their website here.
 


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FiftyFour: Pope/Chaucer


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

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Pope/Chaucer, <a href=
seek 8×10, oil on board” width=”500″ height=”402″ class=”size-full wp-image-3379″ /> Pope/Chaucer, 8×10, oil on board

 

San Francisquito Creek (Spanish for “Little San Francisco”) was previously painted in Twentytwo: The Tall Stick. The creek is quite historic, and in that blog post concentrated more on the history of the area, and wanted to paint it again.

The creek courses through the towns of Portola Valley and Woodside, as well as the cities of Menlo Park, Palo Alto, and East Palo Alto. The “Little San Francisco” and its Los Trancos Creek tributary (painted in Eight: Venture Capital State) define the boundary between San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, plus much of it forms the boundary between Palo Alto and Menlo Park. It is one of the few creeks in Silicon Valley which has remained largely in it’s original state with few channels and other man made structures.

in 1948, the wooden Pope-Chaucer bridge was replaced by the present concrete bridge. A number of similar bridges have also been built across the creek. The bridge itself is a choke point along the creek. During periods of heavy rains, the water level easily reaches to the top of the tunnel. In addition, with heavy water flow in the creek, debris tends to collect in front of the bridge, effectively creating a dam, which can result in flooding. In the 1998 El Niño storms, the creek burst its banks; resulting in an estimated $28 million flood damage in the cities of Palo Alto, Menlo Park and East Palo Alto. You can watch a video of the flood here. It also flooded in December 2012.

San Francisquito Creek near flood stage.
San Francisquito Creek near flood stage.

Early on in this project I was contacted by volunteer citizens working to conserve the areas around the creek. There are plans to demolish the bridge and replace it with something more modern, and ugly. Several citizen groups such as Save the Oaks, and Actera are lobbying to replace the bridge with something that maintains the beauty of the arch such as an arch bridge in the shape and size of the original pre-1948 bridge.

This is the second bridge I have painted before it is potentially torn down. The first was the Willow Glen Trestle (Twenty: The Trestle Charity) which has now been, at least for the time being saved!

The creek was pretty dry when I painted it, but used a little artistic license to add a puddle.

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Here is a panorama shot in the middle of the underpass. I did not realize until I was there the tunnel makes a slight turn under the bridge.

A panorama from in the middle of the bridge.
A panorama from in the middle of the bridge.

 


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.


***Email subscribers may not see all pictures. Just click on the title for a link to the online version.