I drove through I-280 between San Jose and Millbrae almost every weekend. At first it was just small hills one after another, but when I reach around the intersection with Highway 92, the mountains open up and from the highway you can see to the distant costal mountains (in their misty blue colour) as well as the reservoir between the valleys. The scenery gets even better when the morning fog moves through the valley in the sun (but I haven't got a chance to paint that yet)
I did my extensive research on Google Maps the night before and had my eyes set on this parking lot right off 280. It was very spacious and a few people were already there enjoying the scenery from inside their cars. You can see the highways in the distant. Because of the clouds, the sun disappears and reappears frequently, but long enough for me to remember where the shadows were~ When I was drawing, an elderly Asian gentleman walked up to me, asking if I'm Chinese. To which I replied sure, yes I am. Then he told me he is Japanese. So I started talking to him in Japanese, telling him that I've worked there before. Quickly both of us realized that his Japanese is nowhere close to my proficiency (since he said he moved here when he was 6, I'm guessing he didn't have much chance to use it afterwards) Since he had to use a lot of English words to complement his Japanese, I then switched to entirely English, thinking that will make it easier for him. However, he looked surprised that I suddenly switched to English...then I found out that his English was broken too...The conversation was getting difficult and he was also starting to get to some personal questions, so I just packed up as I was finishing up my first piece and moved to different spot. America sure is a strange place :P
The way the sunlight breaks through the mist and lights up the fresh grass in the front really caught my eye. As I was working on this piece, an Indian family came up and all took a look at my drawing (the dad even took a picture of it~) And then a little girl and her mom walked by, and the little girl told me excitedly that she found a cat in the bushes on the right.