Landscape Oil Painting Outdoors/Landscape Painting Plein Air

Above Dead Fish Restaurant, Crockett

View from Dead Fish Restaurant

The Dead Fish Restaurant is on a hill in Crockett, California and just above it there is a wonderful new little park with amazing views of Mare Island (pictured above) a former military base and naval shipyard, Benicia, and the Carquinez Bridge.

I arrived at the site close to 4:00 p.m. and painted until around 6:00 when some persistent wasps (I think they’re wasps — they’re the yellow buzzing things attracted to meat at picnics) finally drove me away. One kept trying to crawl up my sleeve or into my rubber glove and bit me twice on the wrist.

To anyone watching from a distance I’m sure I appeared to be painting with great flourish as every stroke required swiping at the wasp to move him before I could put a bit of paint on the canvas. That combined with the sun glaring in my eyes and the heat and the fact that everyone else in the plein air group had already left, convinced me it was time to go home.

It’s too nice outside right now to be on the computer so I’m going to keep this short and go paint. I’ve made some changes and additions to my studio that I will post soon as well as some of the paintings and drawings done while I’ve been spending more time in the real world and less in the virtual one while my computer was in the shop. See you again soon!

About the painting: Oil on canvas on panel, 10″x12″, painted 75% on site and 25% in the studio.

14 replies on “Above Dead Fish Restaurant, Crockett”

Beautiful color and really nice sense of depth in this.

You’re more intrepid than I. I would pack up at the first sight of yellow jackets. I know they serve an important purpose in the ecological hierarchy but I hate those buggers.

Fortunately they didn’t join me until the last half hour. I wouldn’t have stuck around so long if they did. ~jana


This painting has some lovely colours – warm and inviting. Your weather is so different to ours – it is bleak, cold, and rainy over here in southern Australia.


Nice to have you and your computer back!

One of my primary criteria for a choice of a plein air site is as few bugs as possible (allergies etc). I’ve enormous admiration for you being able to cope with all of that – I’d have left very quickly!


You do seem to brave out some tough conditions, Jana, to produce your lovely paintings – I am a bit of a wimp in the face of heat, cold, wind and bugs.


Hooray! You’re back! And with a lovely little oil. I like your water, Jana (my water always looks flat or wiggly!)

Wasps! Not nice. So far, they have not come this far north, but seem to be gettiing a little further each year.Boo.


I’ve been lurking around your blog for quite some time now, but never responded. I’m in the same general area as you, so I really enjoy seeing how you see and interpret the same places. This painting so captures the kind of smoky haze we’ve been having this summer, I like it very much. You have a way of capturing California hills that I really like too. You seem to prefer oils for plein aire painting, rather than watercolors. Reason for that? If you do paint using watercolors, do you use a different smaller pallete? Just wondering.

Hi Christine, Thanks for taking the time to leave such a nice comment! I’d love to see your interpretations of this area too. Since I’m currently working on building some competence with oils, that’s my primary media right now but I’ve painted plein air with both. When I paint out with watercolors I do use a small travel palette and can carry all my supplies much more easily than what I bring for oil painting, which is definitely not traveling light! ~Jana


It appears the stress with the wasps (yellowjackets) materializes on the canvas as energy. This, to me, is more kinetic than previous examples. Isn’t that the point of plein air?
Otherwise why not just paint jello?

What an interesting comment! I love the idea of painting jello! And thanks for noting the energy and of course for visiting in the first place and taking the time to comment. ~Jana


I continue to really enjoy your oil paintings, and your plein aire work. I love the color contrast between the water and the foliage in the foreground and the subtle differences in texture that give the image a lot of depth. A wonderful little study!

I applaud your persistence – I would have left after the first wasp bite!


what a wonderful surprise to see this painting from the dead fish. i love the colors and light. the restaurant was i place i used to go a long time ago. wow!! m


I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!


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