Acrylic Painting Bay Area Parks Landscape Oil Painting Outdoors/Landscape Painting Places Plein Air Walnut Creek

Borges Ranch Painted 3 Times in 3 Years: Seeing Progress

Borges Ranch View, Acrylic on canvas panel, 10"x12"
Borges Ranch View, Open Acrylics on canvas panel, 10x12" (studio painting)

It’s springtime in California and those famous “golden rolling hills” are actually a million shades of green right now, thanks to all the rain (which we probably won’t see again until next winter).  When my plein air group went to Borges Ranch in Walnut Creek last month for our paint out, I used the time to hike, sketch and take photos. Then I made the painting above in the studio from my photos memories of the day.

You can see my recent sketches of Borges here. The two Borges paintings below from 2009 and 2008 help me see that I am making progress.

March 2009; Plein air, Oil, 9x12"
Borges Ranch Plein Air, March 2008
March 2008, Plein Air, Oil (Ick!)

I really like going out sketching with the group and experiencing everything about the day without the frustration of trying to make a 2-hour painting as the light and scene changes completely. I’m better suited to doing sketches in the field and paintings in the studio.

Last Sunday I tried again to paint on site. I thoroughly enjoyed the sounds of birds, crickets and frogs in the meadow where I painted in the sun along the bay in Benicia. The painting was a 50-50 flop that might be salvageable but I took some photos which I altered in Photoshop to match my memories, from which I will make a painting

7 replies on “Borges Ranch Painted 3 Times in 3 Years: Seeing Progress”

Love the new painting, and the older ones, too. What a generous thing, to post two pictures to document progress. Although I’d be thrilled to do either of your two earlier paintings!


Not only is there HOPE for YOU (which we always knew)! There’s hope for me!

Is the issue here one of medium? Does it take a while to get the hang of ‘what you can and can’t do’ with a new medium? Because I know you can do these paintings in watercolor… and I see the progress at Borges Ranch!

I love the most recent painting! Wow!


Oh Jana, how satisfying it must be for you to see such progress! Your most recent effort is beautiful. I especially like the composition, with the hills enfolding the building.


I actually like all three paintings, for different reasons. I think the 2009 one is the most painterly, and I like the looseness. And I like the naivete of the 2008 one. You definitely have honed your skills, but don’t lose the looseness!

Beautiful work.


This is a lovely painting Jana – the shapes, colours, variety, and it’s more interesting than the earlier ones. Painting outdoors is a brave thing, easier in the studio I reckon. Enjoy the sounds of nature, the walking, a bit of sketching and photos, then take more care in a studio situation. Spontaniety is fine too and can produce some good pictures but not always. I’m too messy with paint to take the gear outdoors, and bone-lazy at present, so mainly take photos to manipulate into a variety of digital images.


It really looks like a spring view in CA. It’s so peaceful and fresh and calming. I can’t imagine being able to concentrate on painting when also noticing the sounds, smells and feel of being in a beautiful place. I’ve never tried it but think it would be hard to drink in and ‘draw out’ at the same time.


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