Donald Neff, Artist


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The Creeks and Rivers of Silicon Valley

A Yearlong Quest

Watch this short documentary about the yearlong quest:

The Creeks and Rivers of Silicon Valley from Donald Neff on Vimeo.

About the Quest

There is a wonderful variety of topography and scenery right in my hometown of San Jose, and I am often amazed at the many streams and rivers which flow through both the suburban and urban landscapes of Silicon Valley. Below freeways, around back alleys, behind fences are wonderful little scenes we hardly notice in the rush of modern life. After all, the area used to be called "The Valley of Hearts Delight" before becoming "Silicon Valley".

For many years, I have wanted to spend a year painting a different stream each week throughout the seasons, Well, at least what mild seasons we have here! The quest commenced on November 2013 and over the next year sixty paintings of 43 different creeks in Santa Clara Valley and the South San Francisco Bay area were produced

Come follow along as I often included interesting history and background of each painting location. Here are the main links --

For exhibition opportunities, please: eMail: or call: 408.202.7890

Introductory Info

The weblog entry introducing the project which started it all--

The Plein Air Magazine article --

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NBC Bay Area broadcast a segment on "The Creeks and Rivers of Silicon Valley" on their 6 o'clock news January 9, 2018. Enjoy the segment here, along with an accompanying article.

November 13 marks the aniversary of starting the year long quest. You can read my thoughts at the time in my weblog here.

The Book

Click here on where to buy --


Ongoing posts on my weblog about each painting, the painting location including interesting history, little known facts, etc. can be found here. Be sure to subscribe to my blog via email or an RSS reader so you won't miss anything--

To see just the relevant posts in my weblog, click here--

I also posted each painting to Pinterest here. Follow my pins on Pinterest which also gives a link to the weblog entry for each painting--
A map of each painting location can be found here, along with a popup of each painting. I think this is one of the coolest can take a tour of the waterways of Silicon Valley by clicking on each pin.
(Click on this link for a larger view)--
Throught 2015, I am doing a series of studio paintings derived from the plein air pieces from the quest. You can see the collection on Pinterest.

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Click on each picture to view the video--

The Creeks Collection Video Slideshow

Here is a short video slideshow of the entire collection. Enjoy it along with a little Celtic music!

The Painting of TwentyFive: Where Redwoods Thrive

Time-lapse video plein air painting of the redwoods. The specific weblog entry about this painting can be found here. 5627 individual photos were taken at one per second for a total duration of 94 minutes. The photos were then sped up to 10 per second to produce the video. The camera was never stopped the entire time, even when I was talking with passersby.

60 Paintings, 29 Feet of Wallspace

How do you fit sixty plein air paintings of 43 different Silicon Valley creeks on a 29 foot granite wall? Here is a fun 90 second time-lapse video putting up "The Creeks and Rivers of Silicon Valley" exhibit at the Santa Clara County Government center public lobby. The exhibit will be up the entire month of May.

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Creeks List

Below are listed all the creeks and rivers of Santa Clara Valley I have identified. There are quite a few other, small and short tributaries not included. Some creeks are also listed twice as they may flow through several different watershed districts. The ones I painted are in bold followed by the number of the painting.

Baylands Watershed

Berryessa Creek
Swelgert Creek
Crosley Creek
Sierra Creek
Penintencia Creek 4/5
Miguelita Creek 17
Coyote Creek 11/12/36/48/50
Silver Creek Upper 1
Lower 30

Calabazas/San Tomas Watershed

Calabazas Creek 31/40
Rodeo Creek
Saratoga Creek 28

Coyote Watershed

South Babb Creek 52
Flint Creek
Ruby Creek
Norwood Creek 13
Quimby Creek 38
Fowler Creek 16
Evergreen Creek 56
Yerba Buena Creek
Thompson Creek 3/23
Cribari Creek
Metcalf Creek 59
Miser Creek
Hawk Creek
Silver Creek Upper 1 Lower 30
Coyote Creek 11/12/36/48/50

Uvas Creek 53


Guadalupe Watershed

Los Gatos Creek 14/20/39
Guadalupe River 2/6/24/33/39/51
Ross Creek
Guadalupe Creek 57
Golf Creek
McAbee Creek
Golf Creek
Greystone Creek
Randol Creek 58
Alamitos Creek 15/18
Arroyo Calero 19
Canoas Creek (Santa Teresa Springs) 42

Japanese Friendship Garden 27


Lower Penintencia/Baylands Watershed

San Fransiquito Creek 22/54
Matadero Creek 21
Arastradero Creek (tributary to Matadero)
Barron Creek 55
Stevens Creek 26/29
Adobe Creek 25
Hale Creek
Swiss Creek 60
Loyola Creek
Permanente Creek
Los Trancos Creek 8
Alambique Gulch Creek 7

Redwood Creek 49


West Valley Watershed

Mistletoe Creek 41
Sunyvale East Channel 43
Sunnyvale West
San Tomas Aquino Creek 41
Saratoga Creek 28/45
Wildcat Creek


Northeast Valley Watershed (Alameda County)

Alameda Creek 9/10
Laguna Creek 34

Tularcitso Creek 35
Mission Creek 37

Sanjon de los Alisos Creek 46
Newark Slough 47

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