Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Plateau Reconnaissance

June, Vicki and I were at the Santa Rosa Plateau by 7:30 a.m. with cameras and sketchbooks.  My goal was to check out various vantage points at that time of day.  The sun was well up and the light was beautiful with lots of color.  The plateau needs that color because, at this time of year, the grass has weathered to browns and grays. 

We checked out four locations.  Stop One was the two trailheads from the main entrance at the Visitors Center.  The trails were too "in the trees" to offer a vantage point.  We could see only tree trunks, not entire trees.  Along the path the vegetation was waist high and prevented a view from any direction.  It has shade and possibilities for an intimate, close-up landscape.  (Visitor Center, henceforth.)

Stop Two was at the south Sylvan Meadows parking lot.  A half a mile hike, uphill, revealed a vista of large hills, dotted with California oaks and long views of the distant mountain ranges.  Great for the iconic California landscape.  The light, however, was either looking into the sun or with your back to the sun.  The scene was flat. This might be a good location in the late afternoon.  (Sylvan South)


The view from the south Sylvan Meadows lot, looking across the street to the north Sylvan Meadow parking lot was more interesting.  The shadows were falling from left to right across the scene.  No distant hills, though.  It is a mid-distance view of oak trees. This is a short, level hike from the parking lot.  (Sylvan North)

Stop Three was from the Vernal Pools parking lot, on the Los Santos trail.  A short, level hike of about a quarter of a mile ended in a close range view of very rolling hills, studded with oak trees in the close to mid distance.  The drama of the sweep of the hills would make a dynamic painting.  (Vernal/Los Santos)

Stop Four was at the end of Tenaja where June, Tim and I painted earlier in the year.  This is a view of a meadow and rock-studded hills in the foreground, with oaks in the middle distance and a far view of the San Jacinto mountains.  (Tenaja Meadow)

By 9:00 a.m. the shadows were shortening and the color from the light was almost gone.  When we finished at 10:30, the light was flat.  If we want the morning light, we need to be set-up by 7:00 or 7:30 a.m. and finished by 9:30 a.m.  June and I are going to return to all of these locations to assess them in the late afternoon light.

So, for morning color spots we will need to start early on the first day of the Plateau workshop. We will schedule a late afternoon color spot session, too.  I will be taking photos in both the morning and late afternoon, for you to work from in the studio part of the workshop.

I am going to create a Flickr account for plein air photos from our locations, so you can access them all.  I believe I can set up a group that will allow all of us to download photos, so we can share them. 

When we went on hiatus in June, all of you had reached the point where the next step was to work the process of making a painting.  We have the difficulty of being without a classroom, but the potential to move to the next level with the plein air and studio work is huge.  In the coming months, we will return to our several locations (MIssion, Plateau, Fallbrook, Temecula wine country) in the different seasons and build a body of work that really comes out of what you know.

The attached photos may not show the best light, but you can get a feel for each location.

No comments:

Post a Comment