This Oil Pastel on Brown Paper drawing is one of large series that I drew “en plein air” in San Jose, California during June and July 2017. I was very fortunate to be staying with family in a beautiful hillside community on the outskirts of San Jose. The Silver Creek Valley community is spread across a few hills and valleys and offers some spectacular views over the city from certain viewpoints. I had found this spot on a previous visit and I hiked up to it just before sunset to enjoy and try to capture the changing colours and huge open Californian sky. I really enjoyed drawing these pictures as the sun set and the sky changed from day to night. I was very fortunate to witness many different varieties of sunset each night and see how the different weather and temperatures differently affected the landscape. It was an enjoyable challenge to try to capture the changing lights and sights of the dusky landscape. The distant mountains and city lights would be changing as I drew and I always wanted to continue drawing longer but had to stop due to the darkness making it impossible to see my equipment (even though I tried to use my phone to see colours, but it was still too dark) This was very enjoyable and kept me wanting to hike back up to this spot any time I could, although it did include some special details that reminded me I was in the wild! As I set up my easel I had to first remember to check for snakes or other things in the area. As I drew I would try to sing to make noise in case any of these visitors were in the area, and each night, by the time I had finished drawing it was pitch black around me and I had to use my easel as a walking stick to make noise and watch out for snakes, coyotes, mountain lions and other local wild inhabitants! Luckily I didn’t come across any of them in the dark, although I did see a few coyotes in the early morning. It was a truly great and very enjoyable experience!
This Ink on Brown Paper drawing was done “en plein air” over three sessions in San Jose, California. It was drawn whilst I was staying with relatives in San Jose and it is in their garden. I was interested in the shapes of the branches on this tree and how the early evening light cast shadows across it. I drew it over three sessions because the light would change as the sun set. I built up the detail of this drawing by overlaying Ink and hatching to define shapes and shadows.