Calf Squeeze Chute at Tormey (updated)

Thanks to Betsy who asked a local man what this is. Its a device to hold calves while they are tagged, inoculated and turned into steer-calves. It was in the middle of the turn-around at the end of the road at Tormey. There was some other farm equipment there too and a goofy statue and sign that went along with the other quirky things in town like the mannequin buried upside-down and the cardboard man in the window.

Larry Hatfield

10x14" watercolor

Monday, Aug 30

We will return to Tormey.  From 80 East take the Cummings Skyway extit (26). Go left on Cummings Skyway and left on San Pablo and you will see a row of houses on the left on Old County Road. We will meet at the end of the block.  

I found some interesting material about Tormey

The Rise and Fall of Tormey, California

by Michael Tormey, May 7, 2006
(Note: Readers may find it helpful to first read the narrative, A History of Rodeo, California and the Role Patrick Tormey Played in its Early Development.)

Lost to the annals of history is the small town of Tormey that once existed in the upper northwest corner of Contra Costa County, California, near both San Pablo Bay and the Carquinez Strait, barely two miles from the town of Rodeo and 28 miles from downtown San Francisco. While the name Tormey still appears on maps of the San Francisco Bay Area, today it is for the most part long abandoned, vacant land. It was at one time, however, a cozy company town that was home to hundreds of families over the course of nearly a century. Read More


Crockett Barn overlooking the Carquinez Strait

On a very hot day, I decided to stay in the shade and paint this barn that I tried painting last year from a slightly different angle. I was relatively cool until the last 45 min. I was next to a tree that had an ant nest and I had to straddle their trails so I wouldn't disturb them. I was surprised at how dark brown the distant hill was. But it worked well to contrast the roof. I am still not totally happy with the trees on the right. I might want to put some shadows to connect the barn and the foreground. The shadow on the left of the bard is a little too straight since the roof line is bowed and not straight.

Larry Hatfield
10 x 14 Watercolor

2nd & Page, Berkeley

Fran, Tani and I met to once again paint industrial Berkeley that seems to have endless possibilities. I think it was the color that captured my attention for this painting. Again I added my own graffiti or calligraphy to this Painting after it was painted. Went back to a smaller size for this since time was limited.

Marilyn Hill
14 X 11


A wonderful end-of-road painting spot. A tattery little house with out buildings and animals and a tattery faded American flag. There was cardboard man standing in the left window and some plastic flowers in the right. I've started looking for insignificant details that say a lot about the place being painted, like barbed wire or the aerial on top of the house, the lettering on the fence post etc.

Marilyn Hill
14 X 11"

Carquinez Regional Shoreline

I couldn't find any shade to paint in but set up anyway. Larry had an painting umbrella he offered to me but I couldn't get it attached to my easel. I was also using a large canvas 24 by 36 inches. So I worked until I couldn't stand any more sun.  Karen

John Hubert Davis Park, San Pablo

Karen and I parked on Brookside, the street narrowly flanked by Wildcat and San Pablo creeks, then walked to J. H. Davis using a pedestrian passageway between two houses. Wildcat was almost dry, while the previous week we had seen the still flowing waters of San Pablo. As we walked into the higher ground next to an impossibly green baseball field, I saw a group of boys ages 6-13 playing soccer, which I decided I would paint. I set my easel far enough to hope I would stay unnoticed, bu it wasn't the case. They stopped their game minutes later and walked over. They had great manners! Later, I found out none attended the public elementary school by the park. Some went as far as Berkekey to get their parochial education. They had very good questions ("If you're painting a car and it drives away, how do you deal with that?") and even helped Karen when the wind blew her whole setup. I decided to continue painting the empty field, as lately I am into "emptiness."

Painting on Monday, Aug 23

We will meet at Carquinez Regional shoreline. We have been there once before.  It is very close to the other destination we had in mind, Crockett Hills and we will probably go there the following week.  To get to the park from 80 east take the Pomona Street exit. Folow Pomona Atreet through Crockett. It will become Carquinez Scenic Drive and wind around for awhile.  You will see the Bull Valley Staging area on your left and we will meet in the parking lot.

Saturday, August 21

We return to San Pablo. We'll meet at the parking lot of Grocery Outlet, at the end of 23rd St (with San Pablo). Directions: On 80, take the El Portal exit, make a left at the light, go under the freeway towards San Pablo. The road curves south. Continue on this frontage road until you hit another light. Pass Fordham and Rollingwood streets to your right, and pass the Contra Costa Community College. When you get to San Pablo Ave, make a left. You will soon see Brookside Ave to your right. Pass Brookside, you will see the Grocery Outlet across Brookside. Bring your own water and a cell phone.

San Pablo Ave at Brookside

The brook was a creek, and in it there was an egret, fishing, and an old plastic chair that had been tossed over the bridge that was San Pablo Avenue. In this location we met numerous Latino and African American families, all very friendly and interested in art. There were other characters as well, all disarmed by the sight of middle-aged women painting what seemed so ordinary.

Cement Plant on Virginia St, Berkeley

Fran, Marilyn, Karen and I converged on a cold and overcast Thursday morning to paint around this block flanked by the train tracks. I had bought a new color, the obscenely expensive cadmium red light, and decided I was going to use it. Several people in various deteriorating mental states stopped to offer their ideas about art, which was refreshing.


It turns out we were not in Selby but in Tormey.  Across San Pablo it is Selby but the row of  houses where we were painting is historically a town called Tormey.  It is all considered part of Crockett now I was told by some of the residents on the block.  It is a wonderful painting location with hills and houses, goats and horses and many varied views.  I am still working on this painting but wanted to post it because I gave out my card with our blog address on it to some of the people that lived in the houses I was painting.  We plan on going back next week. It is 24 by 36 and large to finish in one session. Karen

Wash and Dry in San Pablo

This was our most urban landscape location. We were just off of San Pablo Ave in San Pablo and able to set up in a dentist office parking lot that was closed on Saturday. We were also at an edge of a little creek where a lone egret was taking a bath.  I did a view of the laundromat.  There were many people that came by to take a look and they were all very kind.  It was fun.  Rebeca said a few told her they couldn't figure out why we were painting there.   My canvas is 18 by 24.  Karen

Painting for Monday, Aug16

We will return to Selby on Monday. I wasn't there last week so let me know if there is any problem with the following direction.

From 80 east take the Cummings Skyway exit (exit 26) and turn  left on Cummings skyway . Turn left on San Pablo and left on Selby Rd. You will see a row of small houses and we will meet at the end of the block.   On mapquest it says to go right on San Pablo.  But we are trying to get to Selby Rd and the row of small houses.  Bring your cell phone and the list in case.  Hope to see you there.


Saturday, August 14

We will be painting in San Pablo. We'll meet at the parking lot of Grocery Outlet, at the end of 23rd St (with San Pablo). Directions: On 80, take the El Portal exit, make a left at the light, go under the freeway towards San Pablo. The road curves south. Continue on this frontage road until you hit another light. Pass Fordham and Rollingwood streets to your right, and pass the Contra Costa Community College. When you get to San Pablo Ave, make a left. You will soon see Brookside Ave to your right. Pass Brookside, you will see the Grocery Outlet across Brookside. Bring your own water and a cell phone.

2nd street, Berkeley,

Two paintings of the concrete plant at 2nd and Virginia/Cedar.

The first was from Thursday morning when the marine layer was thick and the whole atmosphere a little eerie and quiet. Quite a bit of touching up in the studio afterwards. The second from a hot Saturday afternoon. In the second painting I found a place out of the wind and with a different view of the concrete plant. After struggling with the composition, I decided to forget about the ubiquitous chain link fence and slap the color on with joy and abandon. Really enjoyed painting on this Saturday and the peace and quiet in this part of Berkeley.

Both are:
Oil on canvas
16 x 20 inches

Selby Farm Building

Selby Farm Building doorway. There was a mysterious look to the darkened doorway. You could see something in there but you were not sure what. After I scanned this, I scraped out some white in the naked ladies flowers in the foreground. This is the first time that I have used Payne's Gray in a painting. I just couldn't figure out what to mix for the very dark roof, so the base is Payne's. I was really not happy near the end of this one, so I added more Payne's Gray, and some Perinone Orange in the shadows and the posts. Then I darkened the edge of the roof.

Larry Hatfield
10.5 x 14.5" Watercolor

Second and Cedar St. #2, Berkeley

Down from the first Graffiti wall I painted, was this image. Again I experimented with adding my own graffiti to the painting of graffiti; there is a lot of texture as well. Brushwork alone did not seem to capture the seediness and the "less than virginal -done upon look" of the site.

At the paint-out I heard someone comment about a painting being decorative or not decorative (decorative implying a bad thing). It stuck in my mind as an odd comment, because isn't all art an embellishment on a vision of reality?? After all we are just using paint and canvas. Don't we need to think how art is used most often—to adorn or honor a space? In fact, I have decorated this painting and it does seem appropriate to the subject.

Marilyn Hill
20 X 15

Painting for Monday, Aug 10

We will go to a site on Cummings Skyway this Monday.  Marilyn will coordinate this session.  And Betsy will be there to show you some place to paint .   From 80 east take the Cummings Skyway exit and we will meet at the truck turnout right after the exit.  Please bring your cell phone list in case you miss each other.

Below San Pablo in Berkeley

I was not far from the railroad tracks and near a cement plant(?) and had to wait occasionally for the train to go by so I could see my subject.  A man stopped to talk to both me and Marylyn and said he was astonished to see us painting down there. My painting was easier to read about an hour before I stopped but I wanted to keep going and see where it went.  Karen

Painting for Saturday, Aug 7

We are returning to the area below San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley this Saturday. It is an interesting mix of industrial and residential. Rebeca and Karen are not able to be there this Saturday. Fran will coordinate. Meet her at Virginia and Second Street in Berkeley and she can show you some painting sites.

2nd & Cedar, Berkeley

A continuation of my graffiti project, this painting was determined to come out a rough version. Something about the spot said don't make your brushwork to precious. So I didn't. All my painting does seem to veering toward abstraction, and what I'd like to find is a comfortable edge. I've also decided to turn to a larger format for a while.

Marilyn Hill
20 X 15

Two Views of the Same Block in Berkeley

I went for consecutive Saturdays and ended up painting at the same location. I like the big (18 x 24") cement plant oil, done mostly with a palette knife on canvas. But I don't like the truck oil as much, done with brush on masonite. Still, the important thing is to get out there and paint, even if you hate the results. At least you are doing something you love and not sitting at home wishing you were painting.

Belated Crest Ave View

The top of this hill at the end of Crest Ave in Point Richmond offered a 360 degree view, but I chose this water treatment plant. Karen and I were besieged by a helicopter that circled about ten times before it decided our easels were not weapons of mass destruction. I am having a lot of fun moving oil paint around and scratching the canvas. I might not sell this  14 x 11" painting because I love the palette and resulting color harmony.

Albany Hill

It was a rare day at the Albany Bulb with little wind. I wanted to do a view back at Albany from the Bulb and their are some great views without going to far from the parking lot.  I worked this quickly and strangely used little water. The canvas seemed miniscule after working on the larger size in my last painting. It is 18 by 24.  I was glad the sun was not out because I loved the grey of the sky. It started to come out just as I finished.  Karen

Cement Plant Berkeley

I thought I was the only one painting Saturday, but I see Karen was somewhere in the neighborhood. I just sat where Rebeca was the week before and decided to do this cement plant tower thing. It was kind of fun trying to simplify it. And I gave it some more intense color, its pretty dull as is.

Larry Hatfield
10.3 x 14.25 Watercolor

Below San Pablo

There is a lot of possibilities for paintings below San Pablo Ave.  On some of the side streets on Saturday it is pretty quiet. I worked on a large canvas- the largest I have done outdoors and although not finished I like the rough quality it has so I am worried about working on it again and loosing that  and may start another instead next week. This painting was done on Cedar at 2nd Street. It is 24 by 36.

Monday, Aug 2

We will meet at the Albany Bulb.

Directions: On highway 80, take the Buchanan exit if coming from Berkeley, Emeryville or Oakland. Go toward the water and under the freeway. Continue west.  Take the Albany exit if you're coming from El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Martinez or Richmond. Proceed along the frontage road, go under the freeway and make a left on any of the streets leading to Albany, then a right at the first opportunity. Turn right on Buchanan and go under the freeway. You will see the racetrack parking lot to your left and some marsh to your right. park at the end of the road, by the trailhead if possible so we can see each other.