Plein Air Today... The Mill Valley Paint Off

Saturday, July 19, 2008
"Bikes at the Depot", Lytton Square, Mill Valley, CA 2008
14" x 18", plein air, o/c.
This was my first year entering the Mill Valley Paint Off, in Mill Valley, CA. I chose to paint from a location on Lytton Square, behind the Depot Bookstore & Cafe. It was a gorgeous day, and I fortunately chose this sunny spot with good protection from the wind. I overheard other painters saying they were cold. We painted from 10:30am to 2:30pm. I took one break, but was painting most of the time. The spectators were very friendly and it was a great event. I was wondering why Mill Valley is the only town in Marin that does this, as it is really fun and the artist's entry fees pretty much pay for the winners awards. I did not win anything this year, but I had some nice people come and tell me they voted for me, which was really nice. There will be a show in September, of all 35 artists in the Mill Valley City Hall Council Chambers as part of the First Tuesday Artwalk, September 2, 2008.

I truly enjoyed the day and it gave me an excuse to pick up some amazing flatbreads from Small Shed Flatbreads, on Madrona in Mill Valley. I have been wanting to eat there for a while now, as I have heard fantastic things about this little spot, where everything is organic and hand-crafted. It was a colorful place, with red chairs outside, a large, but friendly, white bull-dog, and a contrasting black dog tied in front. I was wondering if they were part of the design there, as the interior is also painted dark red, and the red, white and black worked nicely together. It was a pleasure to see that Helen Steele's paintings were on the walls. I met Helen and her daughter this year when volunteering for the Marin Open Studios. I really enjoyed Helen's work, which is a combination of abstract figurative shapes, broad and inviting brushwork and built up, 3d "encaustic" numbers protruding from the canvas. Encaustic technique is something I would like to try someday. It involves mixing beeswax with the paint. Once the paint is mixed with the wax, and is molten and ready to use, it is applied to the painting surface. Heated tools may be used to sculpt the wax once it has cooled. Before leaving Small Shed, I ordered 3 flatbreads half-baked to take home, including one called "Mad River (VT)" made with sweet-maple fennel sausage and carmelized onions... superb. I'll be back soon.

I forgot my camera today, but I will post some photos of the Depot from earlier in the week.

2 comments:

Charley said...

Molly Greenberg, my 95-yr old mom-in-law, chose your piece today
as her favorite. Ten to twenty
years ago, she painted scenes of
Fashion Island and Rogers Garden
in Newport, of which she was reminded
by your nice painting today.
Yours captured the whole scene:
the blue sky, awnings and 'brellas,
and all that green of Mill Valley.
Definitely worth the trip over from
Berkeley to see your work among a
fine group.
Thanks for your good work - Charley Paff

Colleen Proppé said...

Hi Charley and Molly,

Thank you for your wonderful comment. I remember Molly, and she was just lovely. Thank you both for coming to this nice event. Glad you both had a nice day. -Colleen