Monday, May 31

No painting session. We will return to Mare Island next Monday. This Monday is Memorial Day and everyone will either be at a BBQ or getting ready for Open Studios.

Saturday, May 29

We will meet at the narrow park bordering Mission Creek, on 4th and Channel St, in San Francisco. Cross the Bay Bridge. Take the Fremont exit and turn left. Turn left at Howard. Turn left at 4th street. Pass King and Berry Streets, then cross the creek and you will see Channel. Make a right on Channel St and you will see the park to your right. Because this is not a huge park, park on any side of Channel St., bring your gear and start painting so the others can see you. Bring a cell phone.

Its website says: "The northern portion of Mission Creek Park runs parallel to Mission Creek between Fourth and Fifth Streets. Here you will find a tiled pathway leading to a viewing platform that overlooks Mission Creek. Benches are strategically placed along this esplanade so that one can rest and enjoy the many landscape and water features along with the abundance of waterfowl that visit the area." You can read more information here.

Rodeo Beach Rocks, Marin Headlands

This was from the end of April. I had a big problem with a rock that looked like a giant dead turtle. I didn't know how to fix it, so I just cut it off the bottom and made this a 9.75 x 20.5" horizontal. The bottom half of the painting wasn't finished because of the high winds that made it difficult to continue. The winds nearly took the board out of my hands. So, I tip-toed back through the poison oak. Then trudged back across the sand hoping the sand would remove the p.o. from my shoes. I wanted to paint the mustard colored tops of the cliff. I started out aiming to paint Bird Rock which is to the right, but decided on this.

Larry Hatfield

Mare Island, Vallejo

After we painted, I visited the Mare Island Museum and learned that the history dates back to mid 1800's. The cranes we were painting were mostly from World War II. Against the back drop of a grey day, the yellows, oranges and greens of the cranes seemed to pop out, so that's where I took the color. This day I experimented using the texture throughout the painting rather than just at the end—not confining it to specific shapes but giving it a little more leeway, like the red into the sky. I may try to deepen the water shadows just a little.....

Marilyn Hill
15 X 11"

Mare Island Ramp

This enormous ramp divided Waterfront street. I was distracted by my dog who got cold mid-painting, and by the wind. Later the sun came out, but by then I was nearly done with this 20 x 16" oil. I made the sky first and simplified the structure a little. At first I could not decide whether to give more space to the sky or the water, they were equally beautiful to me. I used a very cold, primary palette made of alizarin crimson, lemon yellow, ultramarine blue and of course, titanium white.

Mare Island Waterfront

Rebeca, Marilyn, and I painted the same thing at Mare Island today. It was cold to start, then warmed up. The paint wasn't drying so fast today, I had such a hard time on Saturday with that. Everything was leaning left so I fixed it in photoshop. I just rotated the image and cropped it. I juiced up the color just for fun. The colors were sort of drab and it was overcast too. I forgot my brushes, but Marilyn kindly lent me two. I also forgot a pencil, so I sketched with a light wash of ultramarine blue. Then I painted the sky. Then the buildings and cranes, then the water. I darkened the sea wall in the foreground. It kept drying too light, after about 3 tries, I really put down the pigment.

Larry Hatfield
10x14 watercolor

Monday, May 24

It will be overcast but not rainy at Mare Island. We'll see you there. You can find a map here.
Directions: Go north on I-80 until the I-780 exit. Don't take 780, but as you exit stay on the frontage road until the second exit. Go west onto Curtola Way. Take Curtola until you get to the water. The road bends to the right and becomes Mare Island Way. Stay on that until you see the Mare Island Causeway (the bridge). Once across the causeway, turn left onto Railroad Ave. The first turn is Nimitz, then Railroad near the end of the causeway. About a block and a half or two there is a street named "Pintado" with an empty parking area to your right. The small sign is blue. We don't know of any public bathrooms on the island. Bring your own water, and your cell phone in case we miss each other.

Saturday, May 22

This session has been cancelled because several of us are doing the Pro Arts East Bay Open Studios and we have an artists' reception on that very afternoon. Next Saturday we will be going to Mission Creek, San Francisco, on Fourth and Channel St. It has amazing views of downtown, and much more. A park user says: 
My favorite part is the less domesticated section on the south side by the cute houseboats. It's got lots of flowering plants and trees, and even an old sailboat with grass sprouting out of it. Walk a little further and there's a community garden.
Feel welcome to nominate new locations on our Google Group!

Monday, May 17

Session cancelled: we cannot paint in Mare island because of rain. If there are some of you who would like to stop checking the blog for updates: Become a follower! When you do, you get an e-mail notification in your inbox any time there is a new post, so you don't have to check manually. And if Karen or Rebeca forget to send e-mail updates, you'll be covered.

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Dimond Park - first visit

I only made it to the first Dimond Park outing and when I emerged from the bushes everyone had left, which was fine. I seemed to have chosen a very busy spot with lots of boys throwing stones into the creek and families trailing up and down behind me. Once I got used to that I began to really enjoy being there and one young man asked if he could join my painting business. It's only now that I realize what he meant – an apprentice would be very useful for carrying things around and I should have said Yes! These two are 10 x 8 and the tree had very minor touching up while the other one of the creek received a bit more reworking the other day.

Sausal Creek I and II

I started out two weeks ago, fascinated by the same green reflection Larry saw on the water. Unfortunately, this was one of the few times when I can say acrylic did not facilitate things. I should have used retarder, I know. But I didn't have any with me, and the hot day dried up my paints at a record rate. I also did not love the treatment I gave it. I did not want to tell a story so the woman and the children (they were sitting there the whole time), although tempting subjects on their own, become a distraction. As much as I worked on this first version at home, it seemed beyond repair, so I returned the following Saturday with oils, a spatula, and a 20 x 20" canvas. The result was more what I wanted. I felt ill after and hour and left, and it turns out that was precisely the moment when I should have stopped.

Monday, May 10

Rain has been forecast for Mare Island. We will postpone our trip until next Monday. Larry says "There are a lot of old Navy buildings and some cranes and equipment and waterfront warehouses & boatyard places. There are some historic houses and things that look like bomb shelters." Leslie Wilson adds: "The dry dock area is great - lots of cranes and old buildings next to the water. Also, just a few blocks away is the officer's quarters with mansions which is good too." You can find a map here.

Directions: Go north on I-80 until the I-780 exit. Don't take 780, but as you exit stay on the frontage road until the second exit. Go west onto Curtola Way. Take Curtola until you get to the water. The road bends to the right and becomes Mare Island Way. Stay on that until you see the Mare Island Causeway (the bridge). Once across the causeway, turn left onto Railroad Ave. The first turn is Nimitz, then Railroad near the end of the causeway. About a block and a half or two there is an empty parking area to your right, right before "C" Street, which is where we'll meet. We don't know of any public bathrooms on the island. Bring your own water, and your cell phone in case we miss each other.

Sausal Creek

This was a new location for me. I hiked along a path and crossed a road where I saw the name of the creek. I came back near the building where all the kids were playing at Dimond Park. Usually, when I try to paint water, I wet the paper first. However, this time I didn't. The green reflection was so bright that I didn' t want to loose that. I painted that first after the top third, then put in the darks, then the rocks.

Larry Hatfield
10x15" watercolor

Saturday, May 8

We return to Dimond Park, Oakland, home of vast green areas, conifer groves and a beautiful creek. There are bathrooms and water available. The city of Oakland does not publish directions to Dimond Park , but click on the name for a map. The address is 3860 Hanly Rd, Oakland, CA‎.
Directions: Berkeley residents can take Highway 13 to Park Blvd. (west), then make a left on Wellington. The rest of us are better off taking 580 to Park Blv (east), then making a right on Wellington. We will try to park on the parking lot at the end of Wellington. Bring your cell phone so you can locate us.

Belated Rodeo Beach, Marin Headlands

I started this 24 x 24" oil last week, but used the following week's session to go back up the hill and look again. There are elements I modifed in my effort to make the painting frame the beach. For example, I was judicious wih the tree branches and roadside bushes. I never took a photo the second time I went, because I am finding memory a better guide for colors and values. I went home and redid the main values. Now I am happier with the noontime light.

Pregnant Women at Rodeo Beach, Marin Headlands

I was painting this 16 x 20" acrylic in a big hurry because I was with my dog and there was no shade. I did the rocks, sky and water in an hour. I left the sand undone and ran to the car to get my dog in the shade and turned on the air conditioning. As I sat there, the women who had been at the beach crossed the parking lot and I snapped a few cell phone pictures of them and of two men. I went home and "fixed" an otherwise boring composition with these figures. I had to imagine the colors and many details as my camera is only 2 megapixels and the figures were tiny. I was thinking of Joaquin Sorolla, whom I greatly admire. My only frustration is that this picture does not show the colors as they look in the painting. Rebeca

Old Fort Barry Chapel

I have been wanting to paint this building for some time. Its the old Fort Barry Chapel, now the Visitor Center at the Marin Headlands National Seashore. It took me a long time to find a place to paint it. I tried several angles and always there was something in the way. Those big trees in front block most views. Finally I went above it and took some photos thinking I would have to do it at home. Then I saw a closed trail and some shade, so I parked there and painted.
Larry Hatfield
10x14" Watercolor

Monday, May 3

We return to the Marin Headlands. To make it easy to find each other, we will again meet at the Marin Headlands Visitor Center's parking lot, then depart to a location of our choosing. Please try to be on time so that we can all make the most of our painting time. Directions from the East Bay: Cross the San Rafael Bridge. Follow 101 south through the Waldo tunnel. Take the last “Sausalito” just before the Golden Gate bridge. Turn right at the end of the exit ramp. Pass under 101, at the stop sign go straight onto Alexander Avenue. Turn left on Bunker Road (a brown sign saying “Marin Headlands Visitor Center” marks the intersection). Go through the one-way tunnel and drive approximately 2 miles. Turn left onto Field Road. The visitor center will be on the right side of the road. It is located in the historic Fort Barry Chapel, at the intersection of Field and Bunker Roads. The Visitor Center is approximately 3 miles from the entrance to the Marin Headlands. Bring water, food, money, a hat and your cell phone, specially if you're going to be late. There are more directions here.

The Dog That Was Not a Cow

When I arrived at a good spot at Rodeo beach a black dog was playing gainst the white surf and I wanted to paint that but of course the dog left almost immediately. So I used the occassional other dog to help with the form. With animals I often have to invent because they have left or moved and I have to use memory of what that animal looks like. Some end up looking like something else-- a cow for instance. It is an 18 by 24 acrylic on canvas. Karen