Saturday, February 16, 2013

Paint Out at Effie Yeaw

Today I joined several other painters from the Sacramento Plein Air Painters group to enjoy the beautiful woods and wildlife at the Effie Yeaw Center.  This is a wonderful 77 acre preserve along the American River made possible by the efforts of a teacher and lover of the outdoors, Effie Yeaw.   Thanks to Effie,we had a great spot for painting today and for the future.

Watercolorist David Peterson did a demonstration painting to kick off the morning (I wish I had taken pictures!) and then we set off to find our individual painting spots.  The weather was perfect, reaching the high 60's by mid-morning.  The sky was filled with wishy traces of clouds and the sun dimmed then returned then dimmed again all day.  It's still winter in the preserve.  Only the grass shows any green.  It's a challenging landscape for me.  I much prefer to paint architecture...I am at home with the shapes and shadows and textures.  Trees, especially bare trees are a difficult subject for me.  Today I tried to focus, to eliminate and simplify.   I decided to make a particular tree the 'star' of the painting, following advice from recent workshops about finding and identifying a focus point in the very beginning of the painting.  (Thanks Terry Muira and Fongwei Liu!)

I'm very happy with this little study.  I think I created the focal point effectively.  I tried to stay away from attempting to render the tangle of the woods and instead settled for suggesting it.  This is a more subtly colored painting than I usually do, but I think it captures the winter landscape fairly well.

Effie Yeaw Trail   9" x 12"  Oil on canvas panel. 


  1. Bruce, I must say, I love the path and the winter look of the trees. You really took the scene to task. The painting is quite nice.

  2. Thanks Ruth! As you said on your blog, it was a beautiful day to be outside!

  3. What a gentle landscape--love the melding of pink and green. You get a good sense of the light that day.

  4. Thank you Stephanie. "Gentle" is an interesting way to describe this painting. I was trying to capture the muted colors, but the real challenge - that I am only aware of in hindsight - was the limited range of values in the subject matter. I feel like this painting works because I managed to keep the values close...although it was mostly by accident! But it is a good lesson for next time. Thanks again for commenting.