Seven: Nuclear Heaven, Eight: Venture Capital State

Portola Valley seems like a sleepy little valley town with it’s equestrian centers, trails, redwood groves, quaint small shops, old wooden bridges, rural roads, and wonderful little creeks. In reality, it is an affluent bedroom community for the bucks and brains of Silicon Valley. You would never know just a couple miles over the hill is the brain trust and money bags of Silicon Valley. It was recently rated one of the top Elite Zips in the US which you can find here. The valley is situated just west of Interstate 280 (Locally known as the Juniper Serra, “The worlds most beautiful freeway”), close to Stanford University, and Sand Hill Road, where many of the big venture capital firms reside. The Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLAC for short), is right next door where they smash nuclear particles to determine the origin of the universe. It’s also right on top of the San Andreas Fault Line, the main earthquake generator in California!

I did two paintings in the area, the first of a little creek, which I didn’t know the name of, but was close to the west end of the two mile long SLAC.

In Portola Valley close to the Stanford Linear Accelerator
In Portola Valley close to the Stanford Linear Accelerator
My easel along Portola Road.
My easel along Portola Road.

I couldn’t set up right by the scene I was painting which was from the bridge you see on the left, so had to set up across the road and occasionally walk over to get details on what I was painting.

Lunch was at the Alpine Inn, best described as a biker bar, where they serve deliciously greasy hamburgers and other fare.

Alpine Inn on Alpine Road, Portola Valley
Alpine Inn on Alpine Road, Portola Valley

My second painting was of Los Trancos Creek where I happened upon an old, little used, but in seemingly good repair, footbridge. A local stopped by and told me the name of the creek, otherwise I would have never known!

Los Trancos Creek, Portola Valley
Los Trancos Creek, Portola Valley
My almost finished painting along Los Trancos Creek.
My almost finished painting along Los Trancos Creek.

Below are the two paintings of the day. There is still a lot of fall colors around, especially on the ground now in the form of decaying vegetation.

Nuclear Heaven, 8x10, oil on panel
Nuclear Heaven, 8×10, oil on panel
Venture Capital State, 8x10, oil on panel
Venture Capital State, 8×10, oil on panel

I will probably return here before the project is complete, and paint down San Francisquito Creek which runs easterly through Palo Alto, by Stanford University and into the San Francisco Bay. Like I said in the beginning, the least of my problems in this project is finding places to paint! This is also as far north up the San Francisco Peninsula I will paint, at least for the time being.

I just returned from a week in Denver, attending an art workshop by Jay Moore, and visiting my brother and family. I am still a couple paintings ahead of schedule, though. During some of these outings which are a bit of a drive (like today), I will probably do a couple paintings.

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