Our Bounty at Pajaro Valley Arts

Michele Painting among the Dahlias
Happy painting in the flowers

During the month of July, a number of plein air artists were  invited to paint at several farms, vineyards, and ranches, to highlight the beauty of our productive lands in the Pajaro Valley.  The  month of painting will culminate in an exhibition at the Pajaro Valley Gallery, 37 Sudden Street in Watsonville. The exhibit Opens August 14 and runs through September 29. A reception , open to the public, will be held Sunday August 18 2:00pm-4pm.  What a great opportunity to see and paint these private lands. I created 8 new paintings in the course of this event, 4 of which will be hanging in the exhibit. All are invited to view the paintings there!

Windy Hill Vineyard, oil on panel, 12×16

The vineyard at Windy Oaks Winery embodies the verdant rolling hills of the Corralitos Valley. I didn’t have to go far to find a scene that attracted me to paint. The vines were in bright greens and yellows  as it was a sunny warm day.  Framing my work, I like to choose a frame that complements the colors and textures. This frame is from the Black Walnut I harvested in Massachusetts…long story!  The patterns in the wood pair with the patterns in the painting.

Hereford Ranch, oil on canvas, 16×20

Ranch Land
There are ranches among the golden hills of South Santa Cruz county. This location is home to a Hereford ranch. The lucky cows have many acres to roam and feed. I enjoyed an afternoon under an oak tree in the shade.  I countered all the down sloping lines with the large oak tree and shapes sloping in the opposite  direction, creating overlapping forms. The fog, which was dispersing, had a violet shade which was complemented by the yellow grasses.

My wet  painting on my easel in the foreground at Live Earth Farm

Painting at Live Earth Farm was the hottest day of the painting for me. Skip and I, who you see in the distance, had our umbrellas up and set up close to a row of trees so that we would have shade. The scene reminded me of Tuscany with the vines and stucco homes on the hillside. The row crops added a colorful array with the blue greens of kale, yellow mustard, and green potato vines.

Windswept Oaks at Elkhorn Ranch

The last location I chose was the Elkhorn Ranch,  a beautiful property that sits above Elkhorn Slough. This was the last week before turn in of finished work, so I decided to keep these for a later exhibit, as they still need some polishing and framing. I was fascinated with the old oaks that were abundant on the property and especially those near an old graveyard with markers from the 1800s.

The show at PVA will highlight some of our best paintings and wonderful farmlands that grow our food and wine. Stop in for a visual treat. Click here to see my paintings from this fascinating plein air event, four of which are hanging in the PVA exhibit.


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