Ahuge tree cast shade over Daniel Van as he completed the background of his oil painting, which will feature another tree on the fairway of Chevy Chase Country Club that has captivated him for years.
“I’ve always wanted to paint that tree, but it was too difficult because there are so many colors of green,” he said. “I usually paint something with a structure in it.”
The 44-year-old computer engineer took Monday off to join a handful of artists painting the grounds of the golf course. They were safe from errant golf balls because the course is closed on Mondays.
“It’s like therapy,” Van said about painting outdoors — or plein-air style. “But you don’t have to pay a doctor bill.”
The group of 20 painters, called Artists of the Canyon, has been meeting on Mondays since December painting the lush grounds and clubhouse. Their paintings will be featured in a show titled “Chevy Chase Landscapes” from March 14 to 30 on the walls of the ballroom, restaurant and lounge, said Dahl Delu, coordinator of the artists’ group.
Miguel Perez of Whites Art Framing & Restoration in Montrose will be curating the show; and Swain’s Art Supplies, of Glendale, will provide artist prizes.
“It’s interesting to see how each artist sees the same scene differently,” Delu said, adding that artists were painting in different media — watercolors, oils, pastels and acrylics.
The artists paint in the morning and then go to lunch at a local restaurant.
“There’s no ego,” Van said. “We appreciate each other’s talent.”
And there is no competition, Delu said. It’s an unofficial class where the artists can learn from each other, sharing techniques.
“With art, you get better, you don’t get worse,” he said.
Kathy Yaude, of Studio City, pointed to the tall, narrow trees in her painting, “Mulligan’s Run.” The sun’s rays were casting horizontal stripes in varying colors of green and yellow across the center of the canvas.
“Painting outdoors — plein air — is the study of light effects,” she said. “It’s a good learning exercise.”
The natural environment adds to the challenge, the weather is unpredictable, the sun changes location quickly, and the paint sometimes won’t cooperate, Van said.
Across the fairway, 80-year-old Jacques Valin, of Burbank, was finishing his oil painting of the huge tree Van was painting under, and the clubhouse in the distance.
“I’m trying to get the feel of the powerful clubhouse,” he said. “It looks like it’s standing firm, like the Rock of Gibraltar.
“Trees are beautiful. They have a lot of personal character. They have a soul of some kind. You see this tree? No other is a duplicate. Each one is individual.”
When painting, Valin said, he tries to apply the rules he learned from his Russian teacher, Sergei Bongart.
“The main thing is to bring out what impressed you most in the beginning and stay with it,” he said. “Exaggerate too. Say it loud and clear.”