On this particular plein air painting day I decided to run into town to make haste with our one day of sunshine between storms and my pick was the Empire Mine Historical Park in Grass Valley. The mine originally opened in 1850 and closed in 1956 and produced 5.8 million ounces of gold. Amazing!
I have only been on the grounds once and that was over 33 years ago. Empire Mine State Historic Park is the site of one of the oldest, largest, deepest, longest and richest gold mines in California. So with that history and beauty, let’s roll! This is the cottage that was built around 1900 with waste rock from the mine. Those shadows in the photo was as black as you see here. I was a bit nervous because I don’t frequently paint anything other than nature and figures or portraits. Initially I was intrigued and excited by those silhouettes of those statuary if that is the term.
This is on Wallis paper with hard and soft pastels. I always work on establishing the darks first and then the mid tones and lastly focusing on the lighting and where it is hitting. The theme for me during this painting session was forgetting my anxieties and focusing on the job of painting. I didn’t have that right side brain painting experience, it never really took off but some days are like that. Interesting how our location, mood, fears and even the weather affects the painting experience and outcome. Aw the fun of plein air painting!
This is the view of the cottage closer up and the grounds are so beautiful. My daughter, Amanda and her dog accompanied me on this painting adventure and what is exciting and fun is that this park allows dogs. In the visitor center and museum they have a water bowl for the dog visitors. You can literally bring your dog, tour the museum, walk the grounds and have a picnic. The cottage itself is off limits to dogs but the rest of the park they are allowed. The 850 acre park has trails upon trails to hike and I am in love with this place. I hike the trails at least three times a month and I haven’t tired of it yet.