Benicia Plein Air

Oil on canvas panel, 9×12″ (Larger)
Painted plein air

Last weekend the two plein air groups I belong to combined and met at Matthew Turner Park in Benicia on San Pablo Bay. It was a gorgeous, sunny crisp day and a nice switch to be meeting in the afternoon instead of first thing in the morning.

There were a number of odd characters around entertaining us. A middle-aged woman sat in her car nearby us calling her dog (“Dog…dog…come here dog!”). Except there were no dogs anywhere in sight. There were lots of geese though, including one that seemed to be wearing a white, ruffled feather tu-tu.

She kept up her patter and eventually the geese wandered over to her car. For the next couple hours she barked commands at the geese, still calling them “Dog.” She lectured them about being too greedy, warned them they better start sharing nicely, and threatened to leave if they didn’t behave. It reminded me of when my parents used to threaten my sister and I when they were driving and we were misbehaving in the back seat, “If you don’t stop it I’ll pull over and give you both a spanking!”)

Then a man with a grey ponytail arrived and started talking to the geese and feeding them too. He claimed to know each of their names and their histories. The geese were apparently used to this treatment and were quite demanding, pecking at the feet of some of the artists when we first arrived before their benefactors got there.

I’d planned to finish and touch up this painting in the studio, but I’ve learned my lesson. After wasting the past few days trying to “finish” another plein air painting, I’ve decided to leave plein air sketches alone. I’ll make another post about that tomorrow with before and after pics.

Landscape, Oil Painting, Outdoors/Landscape, Painting, Plein Air

Join the conversation! 7 Comments

  1. This is gorgeous Jana! Can’t believe you were able to do something this peaceful with so many strange distractions…


  2. I didn’t comment much…took some time off, but I followed all your posts quickly glancing on EDM. I just loved that kiwi cat!
    This painting is beautiful Jana. You’re doing wonderful plein air work and I agree with you, working on something afterwards just takes away from the spontaneity. I love your gradation of colours from the foreground to where it meets the foot of the mountains and then again in the sky. It creates wonderful peace. So different from how it sounds it actually was, with all the buzz around. But maybe the buzz just helped the atmosphere on…when we enjoy something, we can convey what we feel and want to feel more. And I can hear from your story that is was actually fun and not irritating and distracting!


  3. Jana — I think you’ve got a writer in yourself as well as visual artist! I can just imagine the nuttiness around you, and yet, this painting is beautifully rendered with a feel of peace and quiet …. I love the foreground — all the subtle color changes especially ….!


  4. Beatifully done. The water is particulary good. Love the color variations and the soft ripples. That little hint of warm in the sky is just the touch. Really lovely.


  5. Hi Jana,

    I like the afternoon light that is evident in this piece. The banks are especially well modelled, with a nice variety of tones.

    The ‘dog/geese’ lady sounds pretty distracting…you did a good job despite her.


  6. Jana–

    Cute story about your “odd” people. Nice to know they are spread out all over and do not just reside in my development in Lincoln. Enjoy all of your art and posts. When we travel to Concord to visit our son, I drool at all of the neat places to draw and paint as we get nearer the bay area. Have a Happy New Year!!!! See you in 2008.


  7. I enjoyed it even before I realized it was supposed to be water…maybe a few tiny, tiny highlights? Love the palette!


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