After gusts of wind blew dirt in my face, a couple of trains roared by, and a bunch of motorcyle guys on Harleys rode up to have a nice morning beer at the saloon (below), I decided to move from where I originally set up in the unpaved parking lot at the end of the road in Port Costa. One of the motorcycle guys was wearing a DayGlow orange T-shirt that proclaimed, “Can you see me now ASSHOLE?!”
Porta Costa is a tiny town (pop. 250) founded in 1879 as a port for merchant sailing ships, with warehouses, saloons and hotels on waterfront wharves. A few of those original buildings are still there and (except for the church) appear not to have been painted or maintained much since then. This is the hotel that I was originally going to paint, which was originally a bordello and is supposed to be haunted:
I headed up the tree-lined street a couple of blocks and set up behind a watercolor painter from my plein air group who was also painting the church. Halfway into the painting session, automatic sprinklers turned on beside us, spattering the watercolor painter’s full-sheet painting, creating interesting textural effects on her church. The occasional sprinkle was a welcome relief from the muggy heat for me, since water doesn’t affect oil paintings.
About the painting:
Oil on panel, 12×9″
I ran out of time before our group critique at 1:00 and didn’t get to paint in the beautiful tree that was in front of the church. I figured I could finish it from a photo at home, except that I forgot to take a picture of the church (duh!) I put in a few details from memory and skipped the tree. The painting was done between 11:00 a.m. and 12:45 with the sun straight overhead so there wasn’t much modeling or shadows except under things.