Painters in the park

Boz Verbrugghe, enrolled in a CCSF watercolor class, paints in Glen Canyon on June 19, 2013.  Photo by Murray Schneider.

Boz Verbrugghe, enrolled in a CCSF watercolor class, paints in Glen Canyon on June 19, 2013. Photo by Murray Schneider.

By Murray Schneider

It was one of those summer days in Glen Canyon when the temperatures tipped the low seventies and all was well with world. On scene to take in the canyon’s ambience, which neighbors can enjoy daily by simply crossing Elk Street or descending from Diamond Heights, were two visitors from the Outlands.

Boz Verbrugghe and Margaret McGee journeyed from way off in the Sunset District to sketch natural scenery that they could only imagine, shrouded as both are in blankets of fog typical of their neighborhood during the summer months.

“I love the rocks,” said Verbrugghe, who sat on a log on the west side of Alms Road.

A palette rested on her lap, and next to her right knee sat a bag overflowing with paint supplies. Verbrugghe, enrolled in a City College six-week watercolor class that will take her to other outdoor venues such as Stow Lake and Yerba Buena Island, put down her brush and marveled at the landscape, turned golden under the mid-June sun.

“The light changes so quickly,” she said, with a studied eye. “It’s beautiful.”

Perched on a log, she’d painted in one place since 9:30 A.M. and now it was mid- day.

“I haven’t seen a red tail hawk yet,” she said.

She sketched the chert rock outcroppings that partially hid Berkeley Way and a field of angelica wildflowers paralleling the street. Grasses, turning a palomino brown, hid thistle and radish, but one could still make out a yellow poppy or two sprinkled here and there on the slope.

Sitting behind Verbrugghe, Margaret McGee, almost swallowed by quilts of willow, bent her head over her drawing pad. Her green fleece, darker than the Arroyo willow that tickled her shoulders, stretched over a log. Like her classmate, she donned a baseball cap and continued dipping a brush across her confection of colors.

“I didn’t know this place existed,” McGee said. “Oh Gosh! It’s gorgeous.”

Between McGee and Verbrugghe, on the other side of Alms Road, a third classmate, his back to the two women, lowered his brush and worked fingers across his sketchbook.

Margaret McGee, nearly hidden by willow branches, sketches a scene in Glen Canyon on June 13, 2013. Photo by Murray Schneider.

Margaret McGee, nearly hidden by willow branches, sketches a scene in Glen Canyon on June 13, 2013. Photo by Murray Schneider.

“The hilliness is what attracts me,” said McGee, “You look up and see things that you can’t see anywhere else in the City.”

Seemingly oblivious to the Silver Tree day campers who skipped by them, the dog walkers who trailed behind their pets, and a Rec and Park truck that crawled by, the two women continued painting.

Eventually their instructor, who’d pushed his way down to Islais Creek, reemerged from behind knots of willow branches. Time to pack up and head back to the fog belt, the women gathered their belongings.

“This is only our second day here,” said Verbrugghe.

Like the red-tail hawk that circled above her, which she didn’t see, she’ll be back.

There’s a lot more to capture on canvas.

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