Saturday, December 22, 2012

Happy Holidays! We just got snow!

2 hours plein air
Finished at home weeks later!

Just to let you know that some of us have been trying to get together to paint, but because of iffy weather, it was very last minute and I was not able to post the event.  Another reason was that I was in Phoenix for a week (I did plein air paint there too).  A few weeks ago, two Lake Tahoe oil painters and I met at Sand Harbor State Park for a paint out.  It was the last nice day for a while before the holiday rush.

Now, as of today, there is snow on the ground.  Maybe after Christmas, the storm will have blown over and a paint-out can be planned for the meadow at Mt. Rose or somewhere for a "snow painting"!

A reminder to those who would like to paint with us - you can use any medium you want.  While I was in Phoenix I found it easier to wear a backpack with small watercolor kit, because I combined hiking into the day.  Here are my simple watercolor sketches - one unfinished - just to show you that we are NOT heavy-duty professionals who will intimidate you!
P.S.  I would like to apologize for the little calendar wiget at the top of the page.  Someone hacked in and attached offensive ads to it.  I have removed it.  Sorry!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Report on last two paint-outs - Mt. Rose and Rancho San Rafael

Meadow on Mt. Rose:  With the holidays, no one else could make it but me.  What a difference a week makes.  More snow up on the meadow.  Today had very high winds, but the roads were dry.  I made changes in my painting plan:  I packed a small watercolor kit that I could paint while in my vehicle.  Good thing too - I took pictures outside and felt the wind almost blow me off balance.  But that didn't phase the snowshoers and the kids off school sliding down the hill in saucers.  I was in good company up there, but warm, out of the wind and a great view from my windshield!

Here is my set up:  a box lid serves as a desk for my lap.

The consul serves as a holder for my water container, and the driver's seat as an extension of my "desk".

And here is my painting:

Rancho San Rafael Park:  Carol Grigus joined me for a lovely day of painting.  I don't have a picture of her painting - she got a later start than I did.

My painting was down by the bridge over the creek where the trees are almost crawling across the ground.  I am still "learning" this medium - trying to do alla prima (done all at once without making mud!).

9 x 12 oil

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Nov. 20, 2012 (Tuesday) Meadows on Mt. Rose

Mt. Rose Hwy looking east
Date:  November 20, 2012
Time:  11:30 am (note time is later!)
Place:  Mt. Rose Hwy at the Meadow on the top
Parking:  roadside
Meeting place:  I will probably be where this sign says "stairs"
Amenities:  bathrooms are at the Mt. Rose trailhead parking area east of the above photo.  I don't know if they are closed for the season!  Sorry - I forgot to check.

What to bring:

  • camera
  • hiking boots or snow boots at least!
  • snow shoes if you have them will get you farther
  • drinking water
  • sunscreen, hat and sunglasses if sunny (snow reflection on sunny day is bright!)
  • painting gear
  • outerwear clothing - check forecast and throw a coat in the car!
  • your lunch if you need it!
  • your gear in a backpack if you wish to walk into the snow, hmmm, sled might work too!
  • carry chains, or, be prepared with snow tires and/or all-wheel-drive if you can
  • cell phone
Hazards:  some areas have snow covering little streams, some ice, potential hazardous driving up the Mt. Rose Hwy if icy after a storm.  

Directions:  from Reno, drive up the Mt. Rose Hwy to the top meadow before it goes downhill into Incline Village.

I visited this location today - it was gorgeous - there is a lot of color right now - red stick dogwood, willows, snow patches, evergreens, muted gold grasses.

There is supposed to be snow over the weekend into Monday in the upper elevations.  We are now getting into the "WEATHER PERMITTING" type of planning paint-outs.  

Friday, November 2, 2012

November 14, 2012 (Wed.) Rancho San Rafael Park Paint-Out

Date:     Nov. 14, 2012 (Wednesday)
Time:     9:30 am
Place:     Rancho San Rafael Park, Reno, NV
Parking:  Park at the Arboretum parking lot
Amenities:  drinking water, bathrooms, paved walkways through the arboretum, picnic tables

What to bring:
  • camera
  • painting gear
  • walking shoes
  • appropriate clothing for weather
  • A backpack or cart (if you have one) to tote your art gear down the path to the creek
What you will see from this location to paint:  the arboretum is in fall colors now, and the flower gardens may be done for the year.  Most of us like to take the walkway that leads down the hill to the wild areas at the creek - willows, rushes and tall grasses, cottonwoods.  

Directions - entrance is on Sierra Street, not far from the intersection of McCarran Blvd.


Recent Paint-Outs - a little report

Below are highlights of recent paint-outs.  I always ask artists first if I can take a picture of their painting, and post it.  It is meant to share-and-tell, and to encourage others to join us...that we don't do everything perfectly ourselves, and that we are still learning each and every day, and we can learn from each other as well.

On Oct. 31, 2012, three of us (Carol Grigus, Ida and myself)  met in Genoa to paint.  What a difference a day makes!  The day before was gorgeous, and the day we were there, there was no sun shining on those gorgeous golden cottonwood trees.  Overcast days are not a favorite lighting condition for plein air artists because there are no shadows which help create form, contrast, and good compositions.  When there are no darks in the landscape, we need to emphasize what darks we can, for instance, the hills behind golden foliage.  The dark against the yellow really makes them pop.  If we painted them against a pale blue sky, the yellow would just blend in to the sky.  Another trick is to add a little purple into the darks next to a gold/yellow - since the complimentary color of yellow is purple, it makes the gold brighter appearing.  You can see where Ida did that in her painting below.

We did our best, and at least got our paintings blocked in before lunch.  Carol got a great start massing in her shapes with a great composition, and she will work on it at home.  I can't wait to see it when it is done.  Ida, working in pastel, says her painting is still a work in progress and also wants to do more at home.  My painting, in oil, was a learning experience!  I found that in certain lighting situations, glare from a grey day can make it hard for me to see my painting - especially when it has a glossy reflective surface like oil!  Next time, I'll turn my easel in such a way that I can see better. Thanks Ida, for reminding me to mass in my darks first!  Next time, I'll do that and maybe I won't struggle so much.

Mine (Carolyn)
On Oct. 24, 2012, Carol and I went to Thomas Creek (last minute - so it was not scheduled here).  We were having a cold front move in, and although it was sunny, there were snowflakes coming down now and then from the wind.  Bundled up for cold, I worked for 2 hours.  Carol drove up the road, so I never saw her or her painting, but here is mine:
oil on panel

On October 9, 2012, Carol and I went to Taylor Creek, Lake Tahoe, to paint during the Kokanee Salmon Run.  It was a GORGEOUS day, but also a day where lots of people come to see the salmon run, including busloads of school kids.  Since this is such a unique event, we both painted the fish in the stream.  I stuck it out near the visitor center and was visited by lots of school kids!  It made it impossible to finish my painting.  Carol went upstream to avoid the crowds, but was on the lookout for she did not finish either.  I hope to see her finished painting someday.  I can only post mine at this time:
9 x 12 pastel over watercolor

Sunday, October 28, 2012

October 31, 2012 (Wed.) Genoa, Nevada Paint-Out

Date:  October 31, 2012
Time:  9:30-9:45 meet - then people can split up and paint whereever they want
Meeting Place:  Genoa Country Store, 2299 Main Street, Genoa, NV
Parking:  Street Parking
Amenities:  Shops, Restaurants, Restrooms
Painting Place:  there in the town, or drive short distances to where you want to pull over and paint

What to Bring:
  • camera
  • painting gear
  • drinking water
  • appropriate clothing for weather
What you will see from this location to paint:

  • Victorian buildings - shops and homes
  • Old barns
  • Cottonwood trees
  • cattle pastures
  • views of snow-capped Sierra Mts.
  • views of Carson Valley
Directions:  From Reno, take 395 south.  Either turn right at Jacks Valley Road and follow it out to Genoa (for a scenic route), or, continue on 395 and turn right on 206 (Genoa Lane).  The intersection of Jacks Valley Road and 206 is where the Genoa Country Store is.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October 9, 2012 (Tues.) Taylor Creek Visitor's Center, South Lake Tahoe

Thank you Carol Grigus for telling us about this painting site!  This is a special time to visit this place because the salmon run for about 2 weeks in October.  They are running now, and she says it is spectacular.  During the week there will not be as many visitors, but there still may be some.  I have never been here, so I had to pull pictures off the websites.  Carol says she has painted along the creek.  She says the creek walk can be rugged, so wear long pants and hiking boots if you venture up stream or downstream from the visitors center.  There are wheelchair accessible nature walks for a more groomed trail.

Date:  October 9, 2012
Time:  Between 9:30 and 10:00 am
Place:  Visitor's Center of Taylor Creek, South Lake Tahoe
Parking:  At the Visitor's Center there is parking for 100 cars
Meeting Place:  At the Visitor's Center or in front of it
Amenities:  Toilets, drinking water, picnic tables

What to bring:
  • camera
  • painting gear
  • water bottle
  • long pants and hiking shoes

What you will see and what you can paint:
  • the salmon are running - it is quite spectacular I have heard
  • fall foliage and forest and creeks full of salmon jumping
  • black bears eating salmon - do keep your distance if you see one.
Directions:  From Reno, take 50 to South Lake Tahoe.  At the "Y" turn right on 89 (Emerald Bay Road).  Go about 3 miles, pass Tallac Historical Site and Fallen Leaf Lake Road.  Turn RIGHT on Taylor Creek Visitor Center Road.  Here is the website for Taylor Creek Visitor Center.  And here is a link to the Salmon Run information page

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Recent Paint-Outs - what you missed!

Galena Creek Park - South entrance -
Kathy forgot her pastel paper!!!  She decided to sketch in her sketchbook, so I don't have a picture of her work.  Below is my study of the creek.

Private paint-out at Ida's Cattle Ranch (not on the public calendar):

Kathy could not make it, but I went.  Ida and went up the hill where the creek runs and painted the creek.  Here is Ida and her work:
Here is my beginnings of a painting:

Washoe Lake South Entrance:

Kathy was sick and could not make it.  It was just me and the waterfowl.  I went earlier than planned - arrived at 8am.  It was BEAUTIFUL and PEACEFUL!  Some geese came in to land on the lake which was glass smooth.

Cottonwoods are turning

The view I chose

Sunday, September 23, 2012

October 2, 2012 (Tues.) Washoe Lake South Entrance

Date:  October 2, 2012
Time:  8:30 am
Place:  Washoe Lake State Park, South Entrance 
Parking:  Picnic Area - upon entering the park, turn left and drive to the end (the south end) where the picnic area is (not group picnic).

What to bring:
  • painting gear
  • camera
  • appropriate clothing for whatever the forcast says
  • hat for sun
  • drinking water
  • $7.00 for entrance fee (use envelopes at the entrance)
What you will see from this spot:  the lake, rabbit brush in bloom, cottonwood trees beginning to change color, Slide Mountain, and if you look the other direction - desert flora and hillside.  Here is a link to the Washoe Lake (Nev. State Parks) website.  Click on the slideshow for many lovely pictures of this location:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sept. 25, 2012 (Tues) Galena Creek Regional Park - South Entrance

Our next paint-out is scheduled for:

Place:  Galena Creek Regional Park - the South Entrance
Date:  Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Time:  8:30 am.
Meeting at the location


From Reno, take the Mt. Rose Hwy up the hill - a little ways past the housing area called Montreaux.  We will be at the second entrance (the South Entrance), once inside, the first parking lot on the right which is right next to the creek.  Here is a link:

Note:  They did a lot of upgrades and changes to this park in the last two years.  The first entrance (a new entrance called the North Entrance) has a wonderful Visitor's Center with lots of maps and stuff and gift shop.  The old first entrance has been closed off.

Things to bring:
The normal list, plus:
Drinking water

There are plenty of picnic benches, plenty of parking, plenty of restrooms, and hiking trails.

Things you will see and can paint close to this particular parking lot:

 If you want a pond - just keep driving up the hill to another parking lot where "Marilyn's Pond" is:

Paintings for this week's outings

Kathy and I just finished our 2nd day in a row paint-outs!  The weather was great both days and we had a super time!  Here's how it went:

Twaddle Ranch -

We had to take the detour from Old 395 to Parker Ranch Road, then went under the new freeway (580) and turned left on "something ranch road?" and then followed directions to Bowers Mansion...and then beyond to the Twaddle Ranch.

There is no sign that says it is Twaddle Ranch, but there is a little park just before it.  Just look for the old ranch buildings, climb over the old falling down wood fence, and enjoy the scene.  Here are some pictures:
Carolyn's painting in progress
Kathy's painting

Thomas Creek Trailhead -

We parked by Thomas Creek and found great views to paint very close to the car.  Now that kids are back in school, the parking area was empty.  Eventually a bicyclist drove in, and later a couple of people to walk dogs.  I seem to attract dogs!  Big, lovable, goofy dogs!  After he was let out of the car he gallumped over to me at full throttle and I had to quickly pick up my art stuff on the ground where he might tread on the way for a splash in the creek.  (Why me????)

Here's some pictures:

Carolyn's painting

Kathy's painting

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sept. 18, 2012 (Tues) Paint-Out at Twaddle Ranch

General Location:  South of Reno in the Franktown area of Washoe Valley

The Twaddle-Pedroli Ranch is a lovely, old property in Washoe Valley, just south of Bowers Mansion.  The ranch was purchased in 1869 for $5000 by John Twaddle.  A few of the original buildings still stand, including a large horse  barn, chicken house, and a beautiful stone dairy house.  The property was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000. 

Date:  Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Meet:  Starbucks Coffee, Wedge Parkway/Mt. Rose Hwy
Time:  8:30 am
Leaving Starbucks - 8:45 am
Or - just go there and look for us (Kathy and Carolyn)


Take the Bowers Mansion exit off of  U.S. 395.  Continue along Bowers Mansion Road and pass the entrance to Bowers Mansion.  Turn left (about a mile beyond Bowers Mansion) on to William Brent Rd.  Take the first left on to Susan Lee Circle Road.  The property is on the right, next to  Wilson Commons Park. 

What to bring - 

Your art gear
Water to drink
Hat (it is still sunny and hot!)
toilet paper?  You never know!
bug spray - there might be flies
folding chair if you get tired
petty cash - I don't know if they have park entrance fees

PS:  I don't think the exits are open off of the brand-new I-580.  Best to use the Old 395 to get there.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Call to Artists! New Plein Air Painting Group

Are you an artist and do you live in the Reno, Nevada or Lake Tahoe region?

Do you want to paint outdoors but you...

  • don't want to go alone
  • don't know where to go
  • don't know what to bring
  • are afraid of wildlife
  • find lots of excuses not to go?
I am one of those people!  And it turns out there are many like me.  When I google plein air groups, THERE ARE NONE IN THIS AREA!  So, I thought I'd start one.  A little voice in my ear said:  if you start a blog, they will come...

This is the birthing day of Reno Tahoe Plein Air Painters (aka RTPAP).

Give me a little time to get this blog might take a few days.  Follow, subscribe, write comments, and tell me who you are and your email or how to contact you if you want to be contacted.

Right now there are two of us, but we know some local artists we'll notify and this group should begin to form.

We live in a beautiful area and it seems crazy that many of us don't go outside to paint from life!  We have high deserts, fantastic cloud formations, alpine meadows, gorgeous Lake Tahoe and other lakes, the Truckee River and other rivers, Nevada rural ranch scenery, old barns, aging machinery, ghost towns, mining towns, a city for the cityscape painters, pine trees, boulders and rock formations, small towns, cabins in the snow, old victorian houses.....and many more things to paint - all in a relatively short distance away!

So, if you are visiting this new blog, WELCOME!  We hope you join us!  

Check back from time to time to see where we are going and we will post about the outing if you didn't make it.