Category Archives: Uncategorized

Gold Country Plein Air ‘07 – Next Week

I’m all set for “Gold Country Plein Air” next week. The paintings below will be in the “pre-show” from Tuesday to Saturday next week. Monday, I’m going to start by painting at Yosemite National Park. In events like these, I like to get some good paintings done early, so I can relax during the week 🙂 Yosemite is incredible, but sometimes too much. I painted this of Half Dome a few years ago, this one on the road in, this river scene and one of the many waterfalls the following year.

I plan to blog daily during the week, and post paintings in progress. The only other blogger that I’m aware of in the group that may do the same is William Wray, so check his site as well. One artist I’m excited to see is Elio Camacho. We both studied with Jim Smyth, great guy. He’s really involving into an incredible painter, although my take is he hasn’t found his own style yet…as it’s too much like Ovanes Berberian, who we both study with.

Event Information

Frank Bette Plein Air Paintout

Frank Bette CenterJust recieved a phone call (yes, a real person called me, no form letters!) that I’ve been accepted by jury to participate in this year’s Frank Bette Center Plein Air paint-out! I was accepted last year as well, but had to withdraw due to a travel conflict. This event should be fun as many local plein air painters I know participate.  It’s probably the paint-out closest to home this year.  Forty artists have been selected to paint Alameda’s tree-lined streets, historic architecture, lagoons, estuary and San Francisco bay views from Tuesday July 17 through Friday July 20.

Event schedule

  • Artist’s paint in the area July 17 through July 20
  • Jewel by the Bay” Sunset Quick Draw,  Thursday, July 19.
  • Grand finale Saturday, July 21: The Frank Bette Plein Air Artists will showcase their artwork at an exciting all day outdoor exhibit at Jackson Park, a lovely historic residential park in downtown Alameda.  Judging and Awards Ceremony will take place in the morning.

More information

Fun Fact

Alameda’s “sister city” is Lidingo, a green island adjacent to Stockholm. Lindigo is an excellent spot for outdoor recreation and has scenic jogging and biking paths, numerous hiking trails and bridle paths, and an 18-hole golf course. Lindigo is also birthplace to Raoul Wallenberg, First Secretary of the Swedish legation in Budapest in 1944, who rescued thousands of Hungarian Jews.

Getting Ready for The Vault

I finally have all my work ready for my solo show at Robert Lewis Gallery! It opens Friday, April 13th. Hope to see you there (click here to view paintings that will be in the show).
My next show is a group event at The Vault Gallery in Sonora, “Gold Country Plein Air“. I need to have a couple of pieces ready for the “pre-show”, so painted this one.

“Golden Hour” – Oil on Linen – 8×6″

Telluride Acceptance Letter!

Found out today I got accepted to the prestigeous Telluride Plein Air Festival!  This is just a bit intimidating. A great group of artists participated last year, including many friends such as Keith Wicks, Kevin Courter, Clark Mitchell, Charlie Muench, Paul Kratter, Barry John Raybould, and Jeanette LeGrue. See here for a list of the artists accepted this year.

I was also invited back to Gold Country Plein Air again this year (May 3-5) at the Vault Gallery in Sonora. I did a series of posts from there last year, including the painting below.
Wow.  Should be great fun.  I plan to blog daily from all the events I paint in this year.  Better start learning to paint 🙂

Spring Morning, Sonora – 10″x8″ – Oil on Linen

Quickdraw at San Luis Obispo Plein Air 2006

SLO QuickdrawToday was the last painting day of the San Luis Obispo Plein Air competition, the “Quick Draw”.  We were given 2 hours to complete a painting, followed by a live auction.

Yesterday I scouted out a couple of compositions and ended up painting the History Museum, one of the many built by the Carnegie Foundation in 1904/5.

I had a great time painting this building.  I was facing North, with the direct morning light hitting the wall at a 90 degree angle from me.  The result was a wonderful warm glow from reflected light on the entrance of the building.  I was also feeling great after last night’s win, so the painting came together really well.  I even finished half an hour early.  The painting was bought by an artist in the show as well, pastelist Dottie Hawthorne.

After a few hours off (and a nice nap!), we had another reception tonight.  Fellow artist blogger William Wray won Artist’s Choice for a great painting of an old Southern Pacific engine train and I sold two more paintings–one more, and it will be a complete sell-out!

The show ends tomorrow, then I’m off to LAX to pick up Mike for a week’s stay in OC and Ventura to visit family.  A week off sounds great about now!

SLO History Museum – Oil on Linen – 11×14″

First Place, SLO Plein Air 2006!

Tonight….was one of the best, ever. I won First Place at the San Luis Obispo Plein Air 2006!


The SLO Art Center held a special reception tonight for collectors, a preview before the show officially opens tomorrow. Awards were announced. There are so many great artists at this show that I admire, like Terri Ford, Brent Jensen, Jeanette LeGrue, Elizabeth Tolley and William Wray. I never expected to hear my name–I was honored to even be there!

Two awards were announced. As they were, musuem staff brought the winning paintings off the wall to the anouncing judge so he could talk about it. I wasn’t paying too much attention until the judge said he didn’t have far to walk for the next award. He was standing in front of my paintings! Then they announced my name. Yikes! I thought I won third place–again, I wasn’t really paying attention. When I got the envelop (with a check, yah!) the envelop said 1st Place. I’ve never won first…Director’s Purchase Prize at the last show, but not first.

The judge was a local collector and new the area well. He’d said how well I’d captured the area and the weather of the week (intermittent rain/sun). I believe he said he like the clouds…I don’t know…I was in a daze.

My friend from Estes Park, Scott Lloyd Andersen, won “Best of Show”. A great painting of Conner’s Cove. We actually had dinner Tuesday night, to share what we’d done so far and offer critiques/advice. Ever painting he showed was perfect–there was little I could add. For his winning painting, I did suggest softening one edge, but that’s it. He’s trying to get into galleries in California through these local events and after his win, I’m sure he’s on his way.

Thanks again to my regular blog readers for your help in selecting the top paintings for the show! I received 11 comments the first day of the post!

Tomorrow is the “QuickDraw”, a 2 hour painting competition in the area around the San Luis Obispo Mission. This morning, I walked around, did some sketches and took photos at the same time as the competition (9:30AM). I think I’m going to paint one of the two scenes below. Wish me luck!

SLO History Museum….Look at the tree reflected in the window! I thin I’ll paint this one.

SLO White House & Fire Hydrant

San Luis Obispo Plein Air 2006 – Coming Up

I’m leaving Saturday morning for a week of painting as part of the San Luis Obispo Plein Air 2006 show.  I’m really looking forward to this.  It’s a much smaller group than Estes Park Plein Air, and I have several friends in the show.  We’ve decided to get together for regular critiques during the week (it is a competition), but I’ll also be using this blog to get feedback, so check in the week of Oct 1st, especially towards the end of the week when I have to choose my three best paintings.

San Luis Obispo Plein Air Festival 2006 schedule of events:

  • October 2-7. Watch plein air painters paint the area landscape, downtown SLO
  • October 7, 9:30-11:30am. Quick Draw competition at the Mission Plaza grounds
  • October 7, 11:30-1:00pm. QuickDraw live auction
  • October 7, 6pm. Reception at the San Luis Obispo Art Center.

Buelton Farm House (SOLD) – Oil on Linen – 9×12

The Wisdom of “My Crowd”

When I wrote a recent post, “Why Artists Should Blog“, I left out a very important point: the value of the community’s collective knowledge and feedback. Perhaps this was obvious, but it struck home with me tonight as I was honored with the “Director’s Choice Award Purchase Prize” for my painting Moraine Park Sunset, after dozens of artists during the week helped me select the best of my work for the Estes Park Plein Air Competition. Thank you! I know that your feedback, encouragement and tips helped make it possible.

The value of community feedback–which as artists we realize in the form of group critiques–reminded me of a recent presentation I attended at a blogging conference, in which the speaker spoke about the value of blogs as a means to achieve goals. The “Wisdom of Crowds” idea is so prominent, it has it’s own Wikipedia entry. I find the idea interesting, especially since my take on the wisdom of crowds is the opposite (sorry, but it lead to the election of US President George W. Bush…which I guess means the “wisdom of crowds” is not consistent). The idea was written about by Sir Francis Galton (co-incidentally, a half-cousin of Charles Darwin and inventor of the silent dog whistle!). According to Wikipedia,

“The opening anecdote [to the book, The Wisdom of Crowds] relates Francis Galton‘s surprise that the crowd at a county fair accurately guessed the weight of an ox when their individual guesses were averaged (the average was closer to the ox’s true weight than the estimates of most crowd members, and also closer than any of the separate estimates made by cattle experts).”

Good examples of how this principle is applied in blogging include a) the blogging network 43Things, a really wonderful site where you submit your life’s goals and share ideas and progress with others with like goals; and b) Yahoo! Answers, an increasingly popular site where you can submit a question, get answers and have the “wisdom of crowds” vote on the best answer.

For example, in Yahoo! Answers, someone asks “Who is USA’s best fine art painter?” and with 12 answers (to date) the crowd votes on the following, paraphrasing, “This is not a question to which there can be any answer. There are only opinions.” Decent answer, don’t you think? In 43Things, 117 people to date are subscribed to the goal “become a better artist“. Audrey Farber is one, and she wrote recently, “Enough with the snobbishness about community colleges. Art classes are all what you put into it. I just completed a semester of Life Drawing & feel like I’m on my way…“.

So, in the end, having won the highest award tonight yet in my art career, I’m indebted to you and await the opportunity to return the favor! Just ask!

Estes Park Plein Air, Day 8, AM

Quickdraw Setup

This morning about 60 artists gathered downtown for the “Quickdraw”. For those of you not familiar with this, it is a timed plein air competition. We had 90 minutes to create a painting, 15 minutes to frame, awards are given and a live auction of the paintings closes the event. I was surprisingly calm…joked around with artists before the event and selected my composition and painting spot about 20 minutes before the start.
I was happy with the result and the sale price at auction ($500, half of which is donated to the local art organization). So many great paintings didn’t meet their minimum bid…lucky day!
Click the photo of my set up to the right to see the finished painting.

Help me choose the top 5!

I need to select paintings to frame tomorrow and Friday for the show. This is my current take on ranking them. The first 3 (in red text) will be jurried as part of the competition, the top 5 (green text) will be left with the gallery and the remainder come home. What do you think? Is there one missing from the top 3?

I do plan on paitnting sunsets Thursday night, and if good there is time to get into the show, but I’m assuming this is the final group. I’m also painting downtown Estes Park tomorrow, but that’s a “media event”, so I’m basically a circus animal promoting the show for the day 😉

I really appreciate feedback from you. Don’t be afraid to be critical–I need that too. Thanks!

Moraine Park Stream
Moraine Park Stream – Oil on Linen – 11×14
Moraine Park, Sunset
Moraine Park Sunset – Oil on Linen – 8×10
Bear Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO
Bear Lake, Morning – Oil on Linen – 14×11
Moraine Valley, Estes Park CO
Moraine Valley, Oil on Linen, 8×10
Lily Lake Study

Lily Lake Plein Air Study – Oil on Linen – 8×10
Riverbed, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO
Riverbed – Oil on Linen – 11×14
Falls at Alluvial Fan, Estes Park, CO
Falls at the Alluvial Fan – Oil on Linen – 14×11
Alluvial Fan Falls, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO
Falls at Alluvial Fan – Oil on Linen – 20×16″
Old Gultch Road, Estes Park, CO
Old Gultch Road, Estes Park – Oil on Linen – 8×10
Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO
Peak (Rocky Mountain Nat’l Park) – Oil on Linen – 10×8

Estes Park Plein Air, Day 4 PM

Ah, another nice nap today before going out in the afternoon to paint until sunset–what a life!  I ended up at Moraine Park, one of my favorite spots so far at the park.  I met another group of artists to paint a spectacular sunset. To make things even more interesting, our usually quite stream was overun with a herd of Elk!  That drew lots of tourists, which was great, because for once the artists were not the entertainment.

Moraine Park, Sunset

 Moraine Park Sunset – Oil on Linen – 8×10

Here are the Elk, beautiful animals. These kept the tourists busy while the artists worked in peace…

Moraine Park, Sunset

The Colorado Rockies are Calling!

I’m off the Estes Park, Colorado for their invitational plein air event, Thursday.  The park is part of the larger Rocky Mountain National Park. Ten days of painting in the rockies sounds sooo good right now.  As per a previous post, my experience at the recent Vahona Plein Air Invitational was not so optimal.  I only had a single weekend, and just didn’t feel inspired.  The scenery was not much different from home, so I’m looking forward to Colorado because it will be much, much different.  Based on the photographs I’ve seen of the area, this promises to be a fun and productive trip.

I’m brining my MacBook, so plan on blogging often, but don’t hold me to daily… We’ll see. These trips can be really exhausting!  I hope to have lots of great images on this blog, beginning this Saturday, my first full day of painting.