I've been painting on location for The City of Walnut Creek's Fourth of July Celebration and Valley Art Exhibit. The show is Friday the 4th, 4 - 7:30 PM at Civic Park at N. Broadway and Civic Drive in downtown Walnut Creek. After that it will be at Valley Art Gallery from July 8 to July 26, 1661 Botelho Drive, Suite 110, Walnut Creek...for those that are interested.
The part of the experience I wanted to share was being on location. I have difficulty finding areas that I enjoy painting in Walnut Creek - or at least that's what I felt until I went for out painting for this plein air exhibit. To begin, I'm usually trying to capture a vista, but if you know Walnut Creek, you know that it sits down in a tree covered valley. I usually find myself looking at lots of trees, short vistas and distant mountains. This time instead, I went for the less obvious locations - and that made all the difference in the world.
I started painting at Shadelands, you know, the big piece of land that is supposed to be a Safeway development by this time next year. I drive by this big, beautiful open parkland every Monday morning on my way to teach class. Last Monday I was searching for a spot to paint where I could still get to class on time, and there it was!! I had been driving by for years and never stopped to paint. I am so happy that I did. This is a wonderful spot to paint and I would encourage anyone to get out in paint in this spot before it's gone...or a spot like it in your own town or city. There is probably more to see than you're noticing and the time to do it is now, before it is changed forever.The second spot I chose to paint had me encountering that age old problem of painting in Walnut Creek. All far off vistas and close mountains. But I love to hike so I took on the sunny morning (okay, HOT morning), searching for a spot with shade. I found it by the open space for Lime Ridge entrance near Boundary Oaks Golf Course. As most everyone parking there is headed for golf, the foot traffic on the hillside was light, friendly and fun. Again, I didn't have to travel far and enjoyed the morning, escaping the searing heat at noon.
Ultimately, the last two days were the best!! I was still looking for that "vista" that wasn't far off, but also not so close that there was nothing in the distance. I started hiking Lime Ridge and found the quarry. It was beautiful. I began painting but had to return to finish it. The second time to took my bicycle.
Plein Air Painting
So, in truth, I've found a beautiful new place, not just to paint, but to hike and bike, filled with lots of vistas, quiet reflection, local wildlife (and ants - more "annoying" than "wild")... and it's all in my "backyard"! This, seems to me, to be the best reason to get out and paint!!