art classes

Plein Air at Aquatic Park South, Berkeley

About Aquatic Park South
The south end of Aquatic Park is closest to Emeryville. It is delimited by Bolivar Dr,  highway 80, and the end of some Emeryville streets, not all of which lead to Aquatic Park. There is actually only one route to our meeting point. The vast expanse of this shallow lake becomes orange during the summer, as toxic algae blooms float on its surface. There is a porta-potty and plenty of shade but no running water. Parking becomes more limited after 1:00 pm, so arrive early if you need to park close to our painting spot.

Directions From San Francisco or Oakland
Take 80 north and get off on Ashby. Make a right on 7th Street, and another right on Folger Ave. Make a left on Hollis, and a right on 67th Street. Make a right on Shellmound St. In rapid succession, Shellmound turn into Bay St, which turns into  turns into Bolivar Dr. You may not see signs of this, but watch for a roundabout. That roundabout is known as Aquatic Park South lot. We will meet there.

Directions from Berkeley, El Cerrito or Albany
Take San Pablo Avenue and turn west on 67th Street. Go all the way until the end. Make a right on Shellmound St. In rapid succession, Shellmound turn into Bay St, which turns into  turns into Bolivar Dr. You may not see signs of this, but watch for a roundabout. That roundabout is known as Aquatic Park South lot. We will meet there.

Plein Air at Fleming Point, Albany

About Fleming Point
Unobstructed views of Albany Bulb and of Albany hill to the north, and of the Golden Gate Fields racetrack’s hill to the south. To the west you’ll be able to see San Francisco, Marin County and Tiburon. A great place to paint the beach, the bay, and sweeping views of Albany itself. There are no bathrooms and there is no shade at this beach, so be sure to bring something for shade that can withstand the wind at this location. If setting your easel at the beach itself, note that the ground is uneven. Wear closed, sturdy shoes to protect your feet from sharp objects. Fleming Point has an interesting history as the site of the garbage wars of the turn of the century.

Avoid the Buchanan Route
The map displayed on this page only shows the closest address, which is the racetrack address. It is best not to search on Google for Fleming Point because you will be directed to the Buchanan exit as if you were going to the Albany Bulb. The problem with that route is that parking is very limited on weekdays due to the large number of people who visit the Albany Bulb. Depending on which day it is, you might wait as much as 20 min for a parking spot. Even if you found a parking spot quickly, you will have to walk half a mile from the Albany Bulb to our painting location at Fleming Point, which is why it is best to get to it through the Gilman exit.

Directions Through Gilman
On highway 80, get off at the Gilman exit but head west towards the bay. You will see the Tom Bates sports complex to your left some of the racetrack barracks to your right. Make a right when Gilman ends and you see the bay right in front of you. You will now be driving with the barracks to your right and the bay to your left. You will see the hill and the racetrack ahead of you. Stay to the left side of the road as you go up the hill. There is a guard’s kiosk but no one should say anything to you on a weekday. Stay to the left and drive on the outer edge of the medium-sized parking  on top of the hill. You will see the very large parking lots at the bottom of the hill as you descend and the small sandy beach behind the racetrack, before Albany Bulb named Fleming Point. Park next to the beach and look for my truck.

Plein Air at Point Molate Beach Park

Selecting pigments for a Bay Area landscape. Limited palettes.

About Point Molate Beach Park
Beautiful Point Molate Beach Park features a closeup view of the San Rafael Bridge and the small islands closer to shore. The beach is serene, surrounded by Monterrey pines and bare hills of undeveloped Point Molate. It was recently restored by the City of Richmond. There is lots of shade and ample parking, but no bathrooms and no running water. If you really need to pee, there are secluded areas. BYO TP.

Directions to Point Molate Beach Park
Take 580 towards San Rafael but get off at the last exit before the bridge on Stenmark Dr. Proceed through Stenmark Dr being careful to stay left of a fork you will soon run into after the ramp. After that you will pass a large brick building to your left and later what looks like abandoned houses to your right. The brick building is Winehaven, a wine bottling plant from the turn of the 20th century. The abandoned houses belonged to the US Navy. Keep going. Continue on past Castro Point until you see the public beach’s small entrance to your right, with an easy to miss sign. I will place a sandwich sign on the road pointing to the entrance, to make the entrance easy to spot.

If using GPS, please enter “Point Molate Beach Park.”

Plein Air at Point Pinole Regional Shoreline Park

About Point Pinole Regional Shoreline Park
Probably “the most enjoyable” of all the East Bay Regional Parks, according to several hiking blogs. The area accessible via Giant Rd is quiet and less traversed by dog owners and cyclists. Bathrooms, shade spots and water fountains are plentiful. The trail to Cook’s Point (the beach) is shaded.

Please Read Carefully If You Have Been To Point Pinole Regional Shoreline Park
Point Pinole Regional Shoreline Park has two entrances. We are not going to the Giant Road entrance. We are going to the Atlas Rd entrance. On highway 80, take the Richmond Parkway exit west. Cross San Pablo Ave and make a right on Atlas Rd. Continue past the UPS headquarters and the entrance to the Point Pinole Business Park (with a fountain) all the way to the end of Atlas. You will cross a bridge, and see the Atlas Rd staging area. We will meet at this parking lot and decide whether people want to walk .5 of a mile to the beach with its orange grasses, or stay near the lot with views of eucalyptus groves and rolling yellow grass. There is plenty of parking and bathrooms.

If using GPS, enter “Atlas Road Bridge Extension,” which appears on Google Maps. You won’t get an address with a street number, but the GPS will lead you directly to the parking lot where we will meet.

Plein Air at Crest Avenue, Richmond

About Crest Ave
The Crest Avenue trailhead is located in Point Richmond, midway up a gorgeous hill that affords a 360 degree view of the industrial parts of Richmond, Miller Knox Park, Ferry Point, Albany, Berkeley and the bay. The trailhead curves as it goes up and there are paintable views all long. You will be able to park pretty close to the trailhead, but there is room for about ten cars. Please be mindful of this and park close to the others. It is a breezy to windy location. Please come dressed with this in mind and bring bungee cords and stakes if you have them. Alternatively, you may bring plastic bags to tie to your easel to hold it down.

Directions to Crest Ave
From Berkeley, take 580 towards Marin and get off at Gerrard. Get off on Castro St exit and make a left on Castro Street. Go under the freeway and you will end up on Tewksbury Ave. Make a left on Tewksbury and continue along the freeway until you hit Washington Ave. Make a right on Washington and go to the small plaza with a statue. The road forks. Stay on your right continue up the hill on Washington. Pass Scenic St. and make a left on Crest Ave. Park at a small lot near the end of Crest Ave, by the trailhead. Please park parallel and close to other cars to leave parking space for everyone.

From elsewhere, just take Richmond Parkway west all the way past the dump, and get off toward the end, on Castro St. North. Follow the same instructions as above to get to the end of Crest Ave.

If using GPS, please set it to 1 Crest Ave, the address closest to the trailhead.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 9