Painting for Monday Sept 27

We will meet at Lake Anza and try to stay cool.  You can find directions here


Angel of Tires, Port Costa

I attended the Port Costa Art Show this last weekend where Larry and I had some paintings. This was about a week after I painted the "Angel of Tires". I hung the paintings I had done of Port Costa. It was a charming small town event hosted by people who have lived in Port Costa for years and knew everyone in town. I found out the "ATE Theatre" painting I sold was actually of a sign from the State Theatre brought over from Benicia by a Bill Rich.

The Story of the Angel
Over ten years ago a man and his wife lived on the third floor along with their daughter. The baby had some kind of abnormality and she died while they lived here. The father asked Bill Rich if he could paint a tribute to the baby.

The inscription above the Angel, appears to be:

Rayla Marie
9/14/93. 1/21/95

Marilyn Hill
15 X 11"

Waggs & Whiskers, Appian Way & Santa Rita Rd

I was painting in a very active Saturday afternoon parking space in front of Waggs & Whiskers - people delivering and picking up dogs to be groomed. I like this little shopping area on Appian Way. The local residents are very loyal to the Central Market and Waggs & Whiskers. I think they have worked hard to keep a local market in that location. And the taco truck is always busy.

Especial Lunch, San Pablo & Andrade

What I liked about this site is the way the stop sign leaned into the TAQU, the hand lettered street numbers and the way the flags invited you in. The Stop sign really was leaning; I didn't just paint it that way. Also the side walk and the road had a lot to say--it's own story to tell.

Monday, September 20

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.

Yellow Car Corner of Santa Rita and Appian Way

Today we painted in El Sobrante. It was a busy little shopping center just at the end of lunch hour.  There were a few groups of men hanging out drinking near the church and at first it seemed like not a good place to set up. But after awhile the crowd left and I put up my easel at the corner with a view of the church and a closed auto repair shop.  This large yellow car sped by.  It is an 18 by 24 acrylic. Karen

Saturday, September 18

We will meet Marilyn at her dog groomer's business: 4344 Appian Way, "Waggs and Whiskers," a tiny shopping area on the corner of Santa Rita Rd. She says it is interesting.

Directions: from 80 take the San Pablo Dam Exit. Proceed through the town of El Sobrante. Turn left on Appian Way at stop light. Go 2 long blocks to Santa Rita Rd. Parking may be tight and it may be busier than today (so more cars and people)????? So better park on the street to leave parking for patrons. I've talked to Waggs and Whiskers about painting there. Restroom at El Sobrante library on corner of Appian Way and San Pablo Dam Rd.---maybe across street

Glad to be here

Here I am with Rebeca. At the Berkeley Peets, learning to post!

Painting for Monday September 13

We will meet at the Carquinez Regional Shorline Park and decide whether to go into Port Costa or above. From 80 E take the Pomona Street Exit and follow it through Crockett and as it winds above town and becomes Carquinez Scenic Drive. The park is on top on the left.

Corner of Andrade and San Pablo Ave

Acrylic is a most convenient medium when you need to work in a large format (24 x 36) and fast enough to capture fleeting images, in this case, traffic. The day was still warm enough to cause my paints to dry fast, but I just kept adding gel, which provided me more control over the opacity. I arrived early and spent 20 minutes scouting a good location. I finally went inside the fish and chips business across Andrade and asked Mr. James, the owner, permission to set up shop right by his entrance, to which he agreed. Many passersby stopped to comment. People think the process of making art is mysterious (since a lot of artists work in their studios), when the opposite is very often true. Conceptual art has always put together the solemn and mundane. Just the other day I read about NYC artist Dan Colen, who has assistants chewing wads of bubble gum he then attaches to  a canvas. Why should representational art be any different? One woman said, "I want to know what is it about this intersection that is so special, it's not like these buildings are historical." She was genuinely puzzled. To her I would say: there is nothing inherently special about this intersection. That's why it is so interesting to paint, because no one seems to think it's worth painting. Painting in the street is equal parts performance and visual art. The act of painting something no one feels is worth painting is a performance, and this performance is also art.

McBryde and Mclaughlin

It was so great to be back painting after all the work putting up our figurative show.  But the figure was on my mind an I managed to get one into my painting of this corner on McBryde just half a block up from San Pablo. It is an 18 by 24 acrylic.  Karen


This is from a couple of weeks ago in Tormey. It was a beautiful day.  I choose a view that showed the road curving above with the trucks near the roofs of the houses.  I found some shade to paint in.  It is such an unusual place and very peaceful for painting.   It is 18 by 24.


Saturday, September 11

We return to the corner of McBryde and San Pablo Ave. From Berkeley take 80, then take the Solano Ave exit. Turn left on McBryde, cross over the freeway, and stop at San Pablo. Park at any free spot. We will meet in front of Kragen Auto Parts. Bring your own water and a cell phone.

McBryde & San Pablo, Richmond.

I had to play catch-up on this site, because I couldn't make it last week. I got the whole painting almost done and realized I spelled Taqueria wrong. The sign was not spelled wrong. Oh well. I think my interest was coming from the natural abstraction the signs, flags and buildings were making

Marilyn Hill
22 X 15"

Tormey Window

I'm late getting this up. I had to leave early so I painted this little detail of the building I painted earlier. The challenge was creating the layers of flowers + screen + window glass + shadow in watercolor. I'm not pleased with the composition but I like the painting.

Marilyn Hill
15 X 11"

Jana and Gerry Near Port Costa

I walked around for half an hour looking for a nice view of the twisty roads on this extremely hot day. We were on top of a hill and so I was already overheated when I sat down to paint Jana, who had a reflective umbrella and had brought water. Gerry was even smarter and hid behind a small tree. They weren't so close together. Just looking at Gerry required moving my whole setup about 15 yards up the hill, but I wanted to do something different. Towards the end the heat was too much and I had to leave. I was glad I brought oils and not acrylics, and I was happy with my new cadmium red light, which produced such great, glowing oranges.

Pupuseria on San Pablo Ave

This was one of those paintings I was convinced  I was ruining. I have always loved the brightly colored pupuserias, meat markets and taquerias of Richmond and San Pablo. To be specific, I love the irregular signage and of course, the colors. At first I struggled with the cadmium yellow of the building, then decided I could not capture it with the pigments I had. The other struggle was the Kragen Auto Parts sign, which I had at first done with a palette knife and then continued with a brush. My final challenge was the changing light. I edited out some details from this 18 x 18" oil when I revised it at home, not thinking they were necessary for the overall feel.
A pupuseria is a Salvadoran restaurant serving pupusas, a  handmade corn tortilla stuffed with cheese and eaten with pickled cabbage.

Above Port Costa

I was frustrated by the heat and fast drying time for the watercolor paint. I took it home and did some reworking on the trees in the middle and a few other places added shadows.

Above Port Costa
This is about 10x14 Watercolor

The second painting was of the hills above the Carquinez Scenic Drive. I was so frustrated with the first painting I tried a second one with a huge brush that I just bought. I did it in about 20 m in. But then did some more work on it at home.

10x14 Watercolor

Larry Hatfield

Painting above Port Costa for Monday, September 6

Meet at the entrance to Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline Park at  
the top near Carquinez Scenic Drive. To get there from Berkeley, take  
80, to the Pomona Exit into Crocket. Continue on Pomona which becomes  
Carquinez Scenic Drive. Go to the Park entrance at top. After we meet  
we will continue together from there past the turnoff to Port Costa  
which is Canyon Lake Dr. to another part of the park which overlooks  
the town of Port Costa and above the Carquinez bridge. There is also a  
view of the Ports of Martinez.

La Loma Market, San Pablo, CA

La Loma Market was a challenge to paint sitting in the median with cars whizzing past. Urban scenes are a challenge for me. They are not what I would naturally choose. So doing this one was a chance to push my comfort zone. I was going to crop it on the right, but I think I might just leave it. The light was actually behind the building, so it was a little confusing at times as to how to do shadows. I would like to see it in the morning light.

Larry Hatfield
10 x 14" Watercolor

Saturday, June 4

We will meet on San Pablo and McBryde. Many thanks to Marilyn who scouted this and other locations! She reports "there are several colorful produce stands, an Ace Hardware, and a colorful restaurant." Also she says there is a parking lot in back of La Loma the produce stand off of Wilson, and restrooms at a 76 gas station across San Pablo. To get there from Berkeley, take 80 north, get off at Solano, turn left on Amador, turn (next stop sign) left on McBryde, and cross over the freeway to one street past San Pablo Ave (Wilson). There is plenty of parking all around. We will meet in front of the La Loma produce stand.