Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays to all of my blogging friends and a peaceful and prosperous 2012.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Watercolor Artist Magazine Article

A feature on my work is in the most recent issue of Watercolor Artist magazine. The February 2011 issue has arrived for subscribers. The magazine will be available on the newsstands after December 27th. Thanks to Kelly Kane and Sarah Sarah Strickley for a wonderful article.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Randy Higbee Gallery 6 x 6 Exhibit

The two paintings flanking the waterfall are my two pieces juried into the Randy Higbee Gallery 6 x 6 Exhibit in Costa Mesa. All of the paintings (there are at least 200) must be 6" x 6". I've never painted in a square format before, not to mention so small. But it was fun nonetheless.
The one on the left are two barns in Lakeville, one of my favorite locations in the Sonoma area. The truck belongs to some friends in Occidental. It's almost fifty years old.
Randy also runs a frame shop. All of the framing is done by his shop. This type of framing is new to me. The painting is "floated" behind the frame and glass without a mat. The glass is museum glass so it has little reflection. Some people have suggested that I frame this way, so it isn't obviously watercolor. I'm not sure because I think watercolors often show better with a mat.
The show is up through December 22.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holiday Watercolor Sale

I will be having my first ever sale of my watercolor sketches on December 11th. Going through my box that contained over twenty years worth of watercolors, I decided that some of them need to see the light of day. These were always done for myself and not to be sold. However enough time has passed that I'm ready to let some of them go. There are approximately sixty or so that will be available.
The subjects range from scenes of San Francisco to Italy and Thailand.
If you are in the area, come by my studio at 5457 Kales Avenue in Oakland on the 11th. I'll be there from noon to 5.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Roman Holiday

My wife and I got back a couple of weeks ago from a 2 1/1 week trip to Rome and Ravenna. I'd like to share some of the watercolors I did while there.
I wasn't as prolific as I would have liked. Jet lag, Roman congestion, and a very bad cold conspired to slow me down.
Nonetheless, here they are.

Ponte Sant'Angelo

We stayed in an apartment near the Ponte Sant'Angelo. So the first couple of mornings I just sauntered over. I find the angels on the bridge irresistible, and also not too complicated for a jet lagged brain.

Another Angel

Fontana dei Quattro Fiume

On the third morning I decided to try something a bit more complex. On a 1993 trip to Rome, I painted this view of Bernini''s Fontana dei Quattro Fiume in the Piazza Navona. So I decided to try it again.
It's a nice composition. It was in complete shadow when I started at around 8:30. But when I started to paint after doing my line work the sun was beginning to hit it.
I work from top to bottom. By the time I reached the bottom, I was craning my neck to see around all of the tour groups who had arrived by 10:00. That, coupled with my waning concentration, left the water at the bottom somewhat unresolved.

San Giovanni Evangelista

After a week in Rome, we took the train to Ravenna. We love the town. Not only does it have great Byzantine mosaics, but it is a very livable city. Everyone rides bikes, and it is very calm and enjoyable.
However I was in the depths of my cold, so the first morning I chose this church entrance near our hotel. I painted this same view in 2006, so I felt I could handle it.

Santa Maria in Porto

By the second day in Ravenna, I was feeling better. The city provides free bikes for tourists so we rode out to Classe to see one of the Byzantine churches. When riding back, we passed through a park. As we passed this church, I decided I had to paint it. The backlit lighting pattern was irresistible.

Santa Maria del Suffragio

This church is on the main square the Piazza del Popolo. We walked by it many times, and it always caught my eye. So I found a nice shady spot one afternoon and painted it. I usually try to avoid fully architectural subjects (my inner architect gets in the way). But I had fun, especially with the background building.

Santa Cecilia

Back in Rome, Jill had visited this church the previous week while I was bedridden. She gave it five stars as a painting site, so I went over to Trastevere. There is a nice fountain in the courtyard, but it was completely in shade. So I sat in the parking area in front (as cars arrived they gave me quizzical looks but still parked around me). But I loved these flying puti. So Baroque.


One late afternoon we had returned to the apartment after a day of exploring old churches. I'm a morning person and usually the temperature and humidity in the morning helps me in my wet-in-wet ways. But I made an exception and went over to my favorite bridge to paint just as the sun was getting lower in the sky. The lighting was fantastic, but the paint didn't really flow. But looking back on it, it isn't so bad.

Ponte Sant'Angelo

By this time I was feeling much better, so took on the bridge from underneath, a tricky perspective. I also had to try to deal with the Castel Sant'Angelo in the background. I decided to put it in shadow. A couple of Romans walked by and asked why the Castel was blue (it is a brick red brown).

Fontana di Nettuno

On our last day I decided to venture over to the Piazza Navona again. This time I went very early and chose one of the less popular Bernini fountains, the Fontana de Nettuno. I had many admiring tourists nonetheless (why do they have to stand in front of you and talk to you :)).
There was a very nice Spanish 8 year old who watched me quietly for 45 minutes. Sweet.
This painting flowed very nicely. The weather had cooled and it was threatening rain. The cool humidity helped the washes flow and intermingle the way I like to paint.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Palette

I just got back from vacation to find my palette featured in the 25th anniversary edition of Watercolor magazine.
My palette is one of nine featured in the article. I find it fascinating to see the colors others use.
In fact they cropped out the other half of my palette. Below what you see here is a large mixing area. It closes and seals the paint in, keeping it moist. I did discover the disadvantage of this while on vacation. If you store it upside down, the moist paints make a real mess. I'm sure you can still see the permanent orange and cobalt blue that I scraped out along the Tiber in Rome.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

National Watercolor Society Exhibition

I was pleased to find out that my painting, Lamayuru Chorten, was selected to be part of the 2011 National Watercolor Society Exhibition. The show will open October 22nd at the NWS gallery in San Pedro.
The NWS annual exhibition features some of the best water media artists in the country. It should be a very good show, and I'm flattered to be included.
This particular painting features a chorten, a Buddhist shrine, that my wife and I visited in 2004 as part of a trip to Ladakh in northern India. Lamayuru Monastery, one of the most revered Buddhist monasteries, was the starting point of our week long trek. It was an incredible trip, and I tried to capture some of the beauty of the area in this watercolor.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

New Website Store

I've just added a store to my website,
It has many of paintings available as archival prints. Please check it out and tell me what you think.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Sonoma Plein Air-Days 4-6

I woke Thursday early to a beautiful morning. I went over to one of my favorite views at Bartholomew Park. I had a fifteen year old frame in the long vertical format. I decided in advance that I would use it if I had the chance. Hence this long vertical view, perfect for a eucalyptus tree.
I headed back to the Plaza to find one more view. I made an effort not to drive around a lot, so the Plaza was always my place to go when I needed to find another view. So I tried another view of the fountain. Fountains have been on my mind recently, but I think I have now gotten over it for a while.
After this I went to our final lunch get together at the new Vadasz barn. It was quite good. I thought about trying another painting since the skies were so dramatic, but I was totally drained. So I headed back home, scanned the paintings, and slept very well. On Friday I framed the twelve paintings, and then got back on the road for the Gala on Friday night. It was a pleasant evening, as usual. My tall eucalyptus painting sold in the silent auction, which I thought was auspicious for Saturday's big show.
Although Saturday started very well with large crowds and many sales, the plein air gods weren't with us in the afternoon. The rain started around 1:30 and artists began to depart. I still did the watercolor demonstration at 2. But I finished pretty quickly and rescued the volunteer who was trying to protect my watercolors from the elements.
It was a tough way to end the week, but such is plein air. I did feel sorry for the event organizers and the artists who had traveled a long way to get there. Almost all of the funding for art programs in Sonoma come from the Plein Air Foundation. Losing an afternoon of sales might put a bit of a dent in their programs. Rumor has it that next year it will return to the fall, when the weather might be more auspicious.

Sonoma Plein Air-Day 3

Apres Mardi, le deluge! I woke up on Wednesday morning to the sound of rain on the roof. After spending many days painting in my car during the previous Plein Air events, I decided to find a nice cafe and check email. Finally around midday it let up a bit, so I headed over to two of my favorite barns in Lakeville. I stayed in the car, just to be safe and captured this misty view.
Last year I painted the barn at Vadasz vineyards. At that time the barn was barely standing, with lots of shrubs and trees inside and out. So I wanted to do it again. However, the barn was completely redone and the area re-landscaped. There was even an outbuilding blocking my previous view. A beautiful job, but it had lost the appeal of the previous version. So I walked down the hill to their pond, and did a small painting. The clearing skies were fantastic.

By this point on the third day, after ten paintings, my energy was flagging. So I headed over to the entrance to the Sebastiani mansion. There are a couple of Chinese lion statues that guard the entrance. I wasn't totally satisfied with last year's attempt (in the rain) so I decided to try again. I'm getting there. I should probably try it sooner in the week when I'm not so tired to see if I can do a better job. It was fun nonetheless.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sonoma Plein Air-Day 2

Tuesday dawned beautifully and I got going around 6:30. After driving around a while, I found this beautiful eucalyptus on a very quiet street. Many of the neighbors, including the owners of this tree, were very interested to see what I was up to. The only drawback was that the tree was completely lit by the sun. I do prefer backlit objects, but this couldn't be helped. It was a beautiful morning to paint.
We had lunch scheduled up Highway 12, so I headed over to the Pagani Barn, which was close to the lunch spot. The sun was now quite high overhead, so I had to use my umbrella for the first time. I was using pre-existing frame sizes this year, so I chose the largest of the group. This may have been a mistake. Due to the warmth and dryness the washes were drying very fast. Nonetheless I worked quickly and was fairly happy with the result.
I finished the barn with about an hour left before lunch. I overshot the driveway for lunch and turned around in the Kenwood Spa parking lot. I saw this wonderful vine covered building. After weighing the difficulty of painting in an hour, I decided to go for it. A nice little sketch.
After lunch I headed over to the Bartholomew Park winery, one of my favorite places. I scoped out the gazebo last year, so I headed over to it. The gazebo can be overwhelming, so I chose a piece of it, mostly featuring the beautiful trees and lawn around it. By this time, the fourth drawing of the day, I was getting a bit tired. At 5:30 the Quickdraw event started, so I headed home and shut my eyes for about fifteen minutes, before heading back to the Plaza for the Quickdraw.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sonoma Plein Air-Day 1

After hearing that rain was forecast for Wednesday, I registered first thing on Monday to get going early. I started with a painting of the Sonoma Plaza fountain, which has been my first painting each of the last two years. With everything backlit, it makes a nice composition, and the water from the fountain sparkles. This has made a nice series, seeing the slight landscape changes from each year.

After a quick lunch with a sandwich from the Boulangerie, I once again surveyed the Plaza and found the Bear Flag sculpture to be in the sun. I have wanted to do this painting before, but the statue is surrounded by trees and is rarely sunlit. Once again choosing a backlit vantage point, I went to work. I rearranged some of the trees to strengthen the composition. Everything went quite smoothly, and I was pleased with the result.

I decided this year not to drive around a lot, so I stayed in the Plaza and went over to see if I could find a way to do the Sebastiani Theatre. I had painted it in silhouette many times, but avoided painting it as the subject. Generally I try to avoid specific building "portraits". They rarely make strong paintings. I usually catch a piece or make them secondary to the overall composition. But this time I succumbed. I tried to direct the eye to the sign and the opening. The tower though is so strong an element it is hard for it not to be a major element. I'll have to try a different approach next year.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sonoma Plein Air 2011

Next week is the 2011 edition of Sonoma Plein Air. I'll be spending the week painting the sights of Sonoma County. The show of all of the work by over 35 artists is next Saturday, May 28th on the Sonoma Plaza from 10-5. As always, it should be a great show.
This year I'm also doing the watercolor demonstration at 12:30 on Saturday. I'm substituting for Dick Cole while he recovers from some recent surgery. Some big shoes to fill.
And the long term forecast, unlike the last two years, is for no rain!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Artist's Magazine

I'm pleased to see my work in the new issue of The Artist's Magazine. The article is entitled "Running Water" and explores the use of fluid acrylic and freeflowing watercolor. In addition to my work, three other painters are featured, my friend Robin Purcell (cover artist), Dale Laitinen, and Mark Workman.
The editor, Maureen Bloomfield, chose one of my paintings, Reflections, for use in the magazine's Close-Up feature. I go into detail about how I paint one section of this painting.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Au Revoir, Mes Amis

My six week run at the Thomas Reynolds Gallery ended over the past weekend. It was a great experience, meeting many people and introducing many of them to my work.
Thomas Reynolds was great to work with. Eleven paintings found new owners. Ten of those are shown here. It's sometimes hard to let go, but I trust the buyers will be pleased to look at them every day.
The gallery is going to continue to display several of my "California" paintings in one of the gallery rooms. I will be sharing with this month's showcase artist, Ken Auster, a master oil painter from Southern California. Please visit for more details.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Los Angeles Times and the California Art Club

Last Sunday the LA Times ran an article on the 100th anniversary of the California Art Club and the current exhibition at the Pasadena California Art Museum.
I'm quite flattered that they published my painting, Fountain, Sonoma Plaza, as part of the article. It's also nice that Brian Blood's moody cypress painting was also included.
I grew up with the LA Times always on the breakfast table. This is quite cool.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Two Openings-AWS and California Art Club

Two of my paintings will be included in two exhibits that open over the next few days.
My painting, Fountain, Sonoma Plaza, will be in the California Art Club's 100th Annual Gold Medal Exhibition. The show opens Sunday, April 3, and runs through April 24 at the Pasadena Museum of California Art.
Another painting, Leh Palace, is in the American Watercolor Society 144th Annual International Exhibition. The exhibit opens on Tuesday evening, April 5, at the Salmagundi Club in New York.
Both of these exhibits are considered very prestigious and I'm very honored to be included.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

American Artist Watercolor Article

I'm quite pleased with a nice feature article in the Spring 2011 American Artist Watercolor magazine. Bob Bahr wrote a very nice article about my work. Thanks to everyone who helped make it happen. It should be on the newsstands soon.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Fountains of Paris

The paintings are delivered and being hung this week. It was great to see the series of 28 together again.
The show opens Friday, March 11th at the Thomas Reynolds Gallery, 2291 Pine Street (at Fillmore) in San Francisco. The opening reception is from 6-8 PM. Please stop by if you can. It will be up until April 30th. Check out for details.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

New Exhibition and Publication

I'm doing the final framing for my upcoming show at the Thomas Reynolds Gallery in San Francisco. The show will feature most of my Paris fountain paintings. It opens Friday, March 11th. A lot of framing left to do. My recent book is serving as the catalogue for the show.

Friday, February 4, 2011


I just completed an 80-page self-published book on The book is called, Fontaines, and is a compilation of the research I did while in Paris in 2005 as part of the Gabriel Prize. The book contains over 30 watercolors I painted while there. You can check out the preview at the top of the page.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Watercolor Magazine Article Coming Soon

Here is an announcement of a feature article on my work that was printed on the back page of the Winter issue of American Artists' Watercolor magazine. The final copy has been written and approved. I'm looking forward to seeing the proof.
The funny thing is that I didn't know the article was happening until someone pointed out this announcement. I'm flattered nonetheless. The core of the article is a demonstration of my painting of the Blue Mosque.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

American Watercolor Society Exhibition

I'm very pleased to learn that my painting, Leh Palace, Ladakh, has been accepted into the 144th Annual International Exhibition of the American Watercolor Society. The exhibition will take place in April at the Salmagundi Club in New York.