Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Blustery Day at Santa Cruz Mission

Santa Cruz Mission in the afternoon (postcard)

Ah, the many challenges of plein air painting! Mission Plaza park in Santa Cruz is a small pretty square in front of the Santa Cruz Mission and the Holy Cross Catholic Church. It was very busy this particular morning, with crowds of school children wandering about and a large funeral taking place at the church. The capricious weather gave us an extra frisson of excitement as great gusts of wind periodically had us hanging on to all our equipment while we were buffeted by falling leaves. At one point I became aware of a large spider crawling under the brim of my hat. It must have blown onto my head in the wind. I transported it to safety on a nearby rock. As the morning progressed a crazy homeless woman wandered about the square shouting, and in the afternoon another homeless person was sleeping under the trees. All this and we had to think about painting too!
Santa Cruz Mission in the morning

It took me a while to get into painting (surprise!) and my first sketch was a bit sad. Next I sketched the beautiful Holy Cross Church.
Holy Cross Church

Then I decided to try out some watercolor canvas. This is a very strange surface to use. The paint just sits there and looks at you as if to say "I was expecting paper, what's this stuff?" Then you have to mush the paint around a bit and suddenly it looks a bit like watercolor. Its hard to do details, so I guess you just have to be broad and colorful with it. The great thing about it is you can remove the paint easily and really push your painting around. If fact if you were cheap you could probably use the same bit of canvas for years - just photograph your painting, then wash it off! I'm going to experiment some more with it.

Victorian House (Watercolor Canvas)

Our group got together for a pot luck lunch. Soo many yummie treats to enjoy! Lovely.
My final painting was a little postcard (top of page)- and again it was the best thing I did all day. There's something about painting on such a tiny piece of paper that works for me...!

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