Immediately after our Open Studio event in Benicia, five of our daGroup group (Sue W, Sue C, Joanne U, JoAnn M, and Micaela) traveled past Reno to Virginia City where we rented an AirBnB house for four days. We were in the highlands just outside Reno with a spectacular view of the snow caped Sierra mountains. We spent our days painting in Virginia City. It is a funky restored mining town famous for the Comstock lode of silver and gold. Remains of the mine tailings surround the town and the main street is lively with old saloons, hotels, gift shops and the unique stately 4th Ward School, all tied together with a covered wooden boardwalk that keeps you cool in the dessert heat. Once a thriving town of 25,000, it sponsored the Civil War with its riches mined from the surrounding hills – a true gem of the “wild west”. While painting my first day I was entertained by deer jogging down the street behind me, quail darting from bush to bush in front of me and a herd of wild mustangs galloping across the open field between me and the houses beyond. The Plein Air painting experience is so much more than just the painting.
Point Reyes Workshop with Bill Cone
The weekend of September 30 I was booked into the Point Reyes Lifeboat Station bunkhouse for a 3 day Bill Cone pastel workshop. I planned to work more with my oil pastels in this beautiful plein air setting. Bill gave daily demos of his exquisite pastel technique and several nightly lectures. I gained a much deeper understanding and appreciation for light and its effect on colors. Meeting and sharing meals with the other attending artists was extremely stimulating and always a boost for me.
Plein Air in the Sierras
For several days towards the end of September two of my plein air friends and I stayed at the Sierra Club’s Clair Tappan Lodge near Donner Pass and Donner Lake. The lodge supplied us with rooms and all our meals, so the time was spent painting in the golden fall landscapes. We painted twice along the Lake Van Norden Road in a meadow that had been Lake Van Norden. And one day we were high above Donner Lake.