Hot! Hot! Hot!

AKA Painting the Los Gatos Plein Air Festival

My panel at the show
My panel at the show

I was honored to once again participate in the Los Gatos Plein Air Art Festival which is sponsored by the Los Gatos Morning Rotary. It’s a plein air event where we have about 4 days to produce paintings which are then sold off Friday night and Saturday. It is also a charitable event as proceeds help local schools and art programs. This show is a little easier as it is local, and I don’t have to travel, plus have the advantage of my home studio for touch-up and framing, etc.

 


Tuesday

Cowell, 16x8, oil on panel, plein air
Cowell, 16×8, oil on panel, plein air

After getting my canvases stamped, I headed to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I had done a redwood scene for the recent Carmel Show, and it turned out well, so I thought I would do one for this show. I love the backlit giant redwoods with light filtering and spotlighting the colorful trunks. I ended up painting in the exact same spot I had many years ago, however did an entirely different scene and canvas orientation. (click on a thumbnail to see a larger picture)—

After finishing up, I still had time to make Hakone Gardens in Saratoga before it closes at 5. I had been doing a Japan studio series, so wanted to put in a Japanese like painting in the show. I also wanted to make it a continuation of my recent vertical water series. Another painter buddy in the show, Mark Monsarrat was there. (click on a thumbnail to see a larger picture)—

Hakone Pals, 24x12,oil on canvas
Hakone Pals, 24×12,oil on canvas

 


Wednesday

The Old Swing, 8x10, oil on panel
The Old Swing, 8×10, oil on panel

Wednesday morning I touched up the prior days paintings, then headed out to Penitencia Creek to a spot I had painted for The Creeks and Rivers of Silicon Valley year long quest a few years ago. The place had totally changed in the last three years! Besides felling some trees, the creek was different, probably because of the record wet winter we just had. The scene I had painted was no longer there! The creek was still there, of course, and flowing well after our wet winter. I did find another spot just up the creek which satisfied my tastes. There was also an old swing, somewhat of a trapeze, which made for a good story. (click on a thumbnail to see a larger picture)—

 


Silicon Valley View, 12x16, oil on panel
Silicon Valley View, 12×16, oil on panel

That evening I went up the hill behind the house and did a nocturne of downtown San Jose and Silicon Valley. I had painted a sunset at this location not too long ago, and it is just high enough to see all the way across the Santa Clara Valley. (click on a thumbnail to see a larger picture)—

 


Thursday

Vasona, 11x14, oil on panel
Vasona, 11×14, oil on panel

Thursday morning I touched up the prior days paintings and then headed back to Los Gatos for a luncheon the Rotary was putting on for the artists. The Rotary always treats us artists well, with receptions, lunches, and plenty of wine! Later in the afternoon, I went to Vasona Park to do the final painting for the show. (click on a thumbnail to see a larger picture)—

 


Friday

Friday morning was touchup and framing time. The empty spot in the lower left of the Hakone painting bugged me a bit, and there were a lot of turtles in the pond, and I wanted more koi…then the thought struck to combine them and re-title the painting. I put the turtle and koi eyeing each other as pals in the pond. Their shadow on the bottom of the pond also gave the water a look of more depth.

My wife also suggested I add some ducks to the Vasona painting, so I put in a Canada Goose, and some goslings, which were all over the place while I was painting.

Ready to hang!
Ready to hang!

Friday evening was a VIP Gala in Los Gatos, so I headed over about mid afternoon to try to beat the Friday rush hour(s). We had to put up our one ‘best’ painting for the event, so I chose the Hakone piece. The gala was at the Los Gatos Hotel. It was outside, and hot, but still had a great time relaxing and chatting with the other artists and collectors. They had a delicious buffet and Hors d’oeuvre, plus plenty of wine! (click on a thumbnail to see a larger picture)—

 


Saturday

Today was the main event where all paintings are put up for sale to the public in downtown Los Gatos at the Town Plaza Park. Crowds seemed a little lighter than past years, probably due to the heat wave. Besides discouraging people to come outside to the park, many in our valley head to the coast clogging up traffic going through Los Gatos. I did sell two paintings, however, so I was pleased about that! (click on a thumbnail to see a larger picture)—

 


All-in-all, the Rotary once again put on a wonderful show, and a great big thanks to them for their work!

Some photos courtesy Ron Lykins.

FortyFive: Santa Clara


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

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Mission Santa Clara around 1910
Mission Santa Clara around 1910

Much of the early history of Santa Clara Valley, AKA Silicon Valley, centers around the mission town of Santa Clara. Mission Santa Clara de Asís, the eighth Spanish mission built in California, was founded on January 12, 1777 and the town incorporated in 1852. Santa Clara University, the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of California was built around the mission. Called the “Georgetown of the West”, my son graduated cum laude from Santa Clara University in 2011.

Santa Clara is located in the center of Silicon Valley and is home to the headquarters of many high-tech companies. Affymetrix, Agilent Technologies, Applied Materials, Atheros, Extreme Networks, Intel,, McAfee, National Semiconductor, Nvidia, OmniVision Technologies, Palo Alto Networks, PMC-Sierra, Synaptics, Marvell Technology Group and Trident Microsystems are among the companies headquartered in Santa Clara. Great America, the go to amusement park of the bay area is also located in the town.

Beginning in the 2014 National Football League season, the San Francisco 49ers will play their home games at just built Levi’s Stadium, which opened on July 17, 2014. The stadium is scheduled to host Super Bowl 50 in 2016.

Saratoga Creek flows through the towns of Saratoga, Cupertino, San Jose, and Santa Clara where it joins San Tomas Aquino Creek (FortyOne: Afternoon Sun) shortly before joining the Guadalupe Slough and south San Francisco Bay by Alviso (ThirtyThree: Sin City).

Click on a thumbnail to open up a larger picture and slide show***

I have been out most of the week camping at Morro Bay and this was painted last week the same day as FortyThree: Fruit Tree.

Santa Clara, 8x10, oil on board
Santa Clara, 8×10, oil on board

I painted Saratoga Creek previously in TwentyEight: The Tollgate closer to the western Santa Cruz Mountain range and in more of a natural setting. This painting was done from Benton Street right in the middle of suburbia, not far from the university and mission. Although in this area the creek is more of an engineered channel (you can see some of the concrete curbing along the right side of the creek) it is still one of those wonderful little scenes all over Silicon Valley right below our noses!


Click this link for a map of all painting locations along with each painting.
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FortyOne: Afternoon Sun


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

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Afternoon Sun, <a href=
look 8×10, oil on board” width=”500″ height=”403″ class=”size-full wp-image-2978″ /> Afternoon Sun, 8×10, oil on board

Back to a simple stream painting!

This is San Thomas Aquino Creek which flows north through the cities of Saratoga, Monte Sereno, Los Gatos, Campbell, Santa Clara and San Jose before its confluence with the Guadalupe Slough in south San Francisco Bay (close by where ThirtyThree: Sin City was painted). Historically, San Tomas Aquino Creek formed the eastern boundary of the 1841 Rancho Quito and the western boundary of the 1840 Rancho Rinconada de Los Gatos land grants. It now forms the border between the towns of Saratoga and Los Gatos.

Click on a thumbnail to open up a larger picture***

It was painted right where Mistletoe Creek joins San Thomas Aquino, at the corner of Quito Road and Old Adobe Rd in Saratoga. I wrote about Saratoga in TwentyEight: Tollgate. Even though you are in the middle of upscale suburbia of Silicon Valley, Quito Road meanders through a wooded area along the creek. You would never know you are right by a large metropolitan area.

There was a slight flow to both creeks, and with the severe drought that is becoming harder to find as the summer wears on in the valley.


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.

TwentyEight: The Tollgate


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

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The Pacific Congress Springs Resort Hotel around 1900
The Pacific Congress Springs Resort Hotel around 1900

Starting in 1847, the little pioneer town nestled in the foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains of Santa Clara Valley had been called Arroyo Quito, Campbell Creek, Campbell’s Gap, Tollgate, McCartysville, and Bank Mills over the years. In the middle of the Civil War, the townspeople came together to decide a permanent name. Just upstream from their town was a spring which had almost the same chemical content as Congress Springs, of Saratoga Springs, New York, so they named their small town Saratoga, and it remains today.

Once an industrial town, producing lumber from the nearby hills, flour mills, paper, cardboard, furniture, tanneries, much of the power was derived from Saratoga Creek. A large resort was constructed at Pacific Congress Springs, , which burned down in 1903. More history can be found here.

Today, Saratoga is one of the upscale communities in Silicon Valley, with its small town feel of tony boutiques, little shops and high-end restaurants. In it’s short downtown of about 5 blocks it is, in my opinion, the highest concentration of the best rated restaurants in the San Francisco Bay area. The winding roads in the surrounding hills reveal estates with personal vineyards, horse stables, and other indications of affluence.

Riding through Saratoga on my Harley-Davidson Road King every few months into the Santa Cruz Mountains, I always love to see Saratoga Creek as it runs year round…even through all the recent droughts.

It would have been nice to paint the Congress Springs area, but it is now grown over, and access is limited. (Based on my observations from the road, with it’s chain link fence, it is probably used as a water source for Saratoga.) I painted Saratoga Creek downstream from there as it flows through Wildwood Park in the middle of town.

Below is the finished piece, an intimate scene of Saratoga Creek—

The Tollgate, 8x10, oil on board
The Tollgate, 8×10, oil on board

Click this link for a map of all painting locations.