A Personal Journal of Art
This WebLog or "Blog" is a journal of my personal
experience with creating, observing, research, musing and other information
about art. Note that dates are in reverse order.
October - December 2004
Thursday, December 16, 2004
"Master of His Domain"
I received a pleasant and personal letter from Ambassador John
Campbell today. Two of my paintings are hanging in the Ambassador
residence in Abuja, Nigeria as part of the Art
in Embassies Program.. He remarked how well the paintings were
received, even among some of the local art community.
in Embassies Program was established by the United States Department
of State in 1964. The Art
in Embassies Program is a global museum that exhibits original
works of art by U.S. citizens in the public rooms of approximately
180 American diplomatic residences worldwide.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Pescadero creek dumping into the
My "mini-palm" box at
MOON BAY AGAIN
Half Moon Bay rests on the Pacific Coast between forested hills
and some of the most beautiful coastlines that California has to
offer. It is located approximately 25 miles south of San Francisco
and lies within San Mateo County.
I had been painting here about six weeks ago (see below) and talked
with the manager of the Erikson
Gallery. The gallery is the oldest in Half Moon Bay. One thing
led to another, and we made an appointment to show my paintings.
Today was the appointment with the Gallery.
They liked what they saw, and will place some of my works starting
around mid January.
I came prepared to do some plein air down the coast between Half
Moon Bay and Santa Cruz, so headeed south and eventually decided
to do a study at Pescadero Beach, right where Pescadero Creek enters
the ocean. It was a beautiful day with crashing surf, lots of ocean
spray and sun to go with it. The painting turned out fairly well.
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Magazine just published a short item on my first
place in the Los Gatos Art Fest. They reproduced the winning painting,
"Morning Light". For all you plein air painters, you should
look into subscribing to this excellent periodical. Thanks for the
Thursday, October 28, 2004
NPS Director Fran Mainella speaks
to the crowd of press and public.
Waiting and watching with telescopes
The holding pen from a third of
a mile away with a 14X zoom lens. The pen is 40 by 20 feet. The
little dot you see above the pen is a condor...about 4 feet high
and and wingspan of 10 feet.
A view of Pinnacles National Monument.
PINNACLES AND CONDORS
Monument, rising out of the chaparral-covered Gabilan Mountains,
east of central California's Salinas Valley, are the spectacular
remains of an ancient volcano. Massive monoliths, spires, sheer-walled
canyons and talus passages define millions of years of erosion,
faulting and tectonic plate movement.
Monument is also a site where the magnificent California
Condor is being re-introduced to the wild after almost complete
extinction. The public was invited to view a releasing of three
condor juveniles today, and I more than willingly came. During this
event, part of the park which is normally off limits because of
the condor habitat was opened. This is only the second time the
public has been able to witness this event.
I left at 7:00 am this morning, in the cold remains of the last
storm. It was about 40 outside, and a little chilly on the Harley,
as I made my way south through Gilroy and Hollister. It was a great
ride, watching the sun slowly poke it's orb over the Diablo Range
to the east, flooding the fields, hills, and valleys around Hollister
with a warm light. The full moon, just the evening before just an
eclipsed shell was setting to the west.
After arriving at Pinnacles, we hiked a moderate mile and a quarter
to the viewing area. The condors are kept in a pen on the side of
a hill, which was about a third of a mile from where we were viewing.
Although it looked just a speck across the valley, a good set of
binoculars brought it close enough to see the birds.
There were plenty of rangers on hand to answer almost any question.
After a brief program where Fran P. Mainella, National Park Service
Director, and others spoke, we watched and waited to see of one
of the condors would venture out to it's new environment. Although,
I won't go into details, the condors are let out in a passive system
& and it might be days before they would come out of the holding
Around one o'clock, a ranger announced one of the juveniles had
entered the exit pen, and a few minutes later was out. A huge cheer
emerged from the crowd of about 150 watching from below as the young
condor flew a few laps around the area, it's first flight in the
wild. It did quite well for it's first real flight, just as a chick
who first falls out of the nest gathers it's wings to first catch
More can be read about this
event here, about
condors here, and the Ventana
Wilderness Society here.
Monday, October 25, 2004
Several pictures of the group painting
on a golf cart bridge.
My Palm size Pochade box with an
almost finished painting.
I have occasionally been going out plein air painting with a group
from Los Gatos Art
Association. This group, organized by Nick White meets every
Monday at a location picked by Nick.
Today we met at Half Moon Bay, close to the new Ritz-Carlton
Hotel, built right on the bluffs above the ocean. We painted
on a bridge in the middle of the golf course. Every few minutes
a golf cart would rush by, and an occasional mowing machine.
The view and area was spectacular. We painted the cyprus trees
overlooking an inlet on the coast.
After we finished, it was time to retreat to the little coastal
town of Half Moon Bay for some refreshments and stroll the local
About mid afternoon, I headed for home, down the coast on my Harley.
At Pescadero Beach, I headed inland past the town of Pescadero,
up Pescadero Road. What an amazing place! I have often said a landscape
painter could spend a lifetime just painting the varied San Francisco
On the road, what began as ocean front quickly melted into farmlands
with fields nestled like fingers up the valleys and ravines. I soon
was in the cool, damp redwood forests along a rushing stream. After
winding up the side of the Santa Cruz mountains, I topped out on
Skyline Drive. I could see on both sides, on one side the urban
towns of the San Francisco Bay area, and on the other all the way
to the Pacific Ocean.
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Carson Pass on the way home.
EASTERN SIERRA TRIP DAY 3
The second storm was on it's way in over the Sierras and the weatherman
said it would worsen as the day went on.
Since what little sunshine was rapidly fleeting, I decided it best
to head home. I had to drive about 3 hours further north to find
an open pass over the Sierras. Highway 88 was open, but chains or
four wheel drive required. This is a time when I really appreciate
my 4WD Ford Explorer. Through the blizzard I went, over the pass,
and eventually home.
Although the weather prevented me from finishing many paintings,
I accomplished my goal. I now have some color studies, plus over
100 photo studies to keep me happily painting the fall colors of
the Eastern Sierras for some time to come.
Monday, October 18, 2004
More Lundy Canyon, along Lundy Lake.
Painting in Lundy Canyon.
EASTERN SIERRA TRIP DAY 2
There was a lull between the two winter storms today, and although
it was partly cloudy with occasional drizzle, still the sun was
Since I didn't know how long the sun would last until the next
storm, I decided to mainly drive around and take as many photos
as I could of the area.
I drove down to the June Lake area and the colors were great around
Silver Lake. Like fire in the ground, the aspens were aglow all
over the valley and hillsides. Snow clouds danced around the peaks
giving the glow in the valley even more brilliance as the gold below
contrasted with the gray above.
Next stop was Lee Vining Canyon. The colors were not quite as good
here, so I decided to head back up to Lundy Canyon.
The sun seemed to want to stay out for awhile, so once again, I
set up where I had gotten rained out the day before. I managed to
get enough of the color and scene in before the drizzle started.
Sunday, October 17, 2004
I started a painting just off the
highway, south of Lee Vining.
Along June Lake loop road.
The river between Silver and Grant
Lakes on the June Lake loop road.
Color along Silver Lake.
EASTERN SIERRA TRIP DAY 1
One of my traditional yearly trips is over Tioga Pass in Yosemite
National Park right after it opens for the season. This last summer,
too many other activities prevented me from that journey, so I decided
to wait, and do it later in the year to try to catch the fall colors
in the Eastern Sierras.
An excellent website which posts information on how the fall colors
are developing is http://www.calphoto.com/fall.htm
. I referred to this web site almost daily so as to time my trip
during the peak of the color.
Two back to back winter storms were coming in right during my planned
trip. I could put it off till the end of the week, but more than
likely, the storms will kill most of the color. So, I decided to
go in spite of the inclement weather. I might end up doing snow
scenes, but it was better than staying home!
I rose early, around 5 AM, and discovered Tioga Pass had just closed
due to snow. So as an alternate route, I came over Highway 108 and
Sonora Pass. It was drizzly, sleeting, and snowing as I made my
way over the windy trail they call a road. Imagine my surprise when
out of the fog and mist of the storm came several dozen brave souls
on motorcycles! There were sport riders as well as big Harley Touring
bikes. I didn't feel sorry for them, as they must really love riding
to brave this weather!
Once on the eastern slope of the Sierras, I set up to do a painting
in Lundy Canyon, but as soon as I was set up, it began to pour and
the wind gusted through. Oh well...I'll just go on and check into
my motel, and come back later.
After checking in the motel at Lee Vining, I wandered around some
of the canyons, and ended up starting a painting just south of town
up a utility road close to the highway. The weather got me again,
but I managed to at least get the color of the trees down before
I had to pack in to escape the rain.
Friday, October 2, 2004
"Morning Light", First
Place winner, painted in Vasona Park.
GATOS ART FEST DAY 3 and RECEPTION
The silent auction for the paintings opened today at 11 AM. My
wife and I arrived around 3:30 for the reception and awards ceremony.
The quality of the work in the show was very good. It astounds me
sometimes how much an artist can accomplish in just a few days.
There were varied interpretations of the surrounding area from downtown
scenes to vistas overlooking San Jose.
I was pleasantly surprised to find all three of my paintings had
already had silent bids, so I knew they all would go to a different
The awards ceremony started with some words from Elke Groves, the
chairperson of the show, and then the mayor of Los Gatos spoke.
When the awards started, I was honored with first place, and an
honorable mention. "Morning Light", the smallest and the
quickest I did won first place. I had a few brief words with the
juror, Bob Gerbracht, a well known instructor and artist. His comment
was he liked the impressionistic look of the piece and it reminded
him of the old impressionist masters.
Friday, October 1, 2004
Other artists out painting in Vasona
Park, Los Gatos.
GATOS ART FEST DAY 2
It was a little overcast today, but I knew it would clear up by
mid morning. My smallest painting would be a group of trees behind
Los Gatos Creek in Vasona Park. I had seen this area before, and
it had a beautiful backlit quality. I spent about 2 1/2 to three
hours on this painting, and it turned out quite well.
It was then back to the Eucalyptus by the lake to finish off the
painting I had started the day before. All paintings had to be turned
in by 8 o'clock that evening to qualify for the show. I actually
finished around 5. It had been a tiring two days, and I felt if
I worked on the paintings anymore, could start overworking and possibly
ruining them. I ended up turning in 3 paintings for the show.
Thursday, September 30, 2004
A couple shots along Kennedy Road
where I did my first painting.
My easel by the Eucalyptus tree.
GATOS ART FEST DAY 1
Today was the first day of painting for the Los Gatos Art Fest.
32 artists converged on the town to paint for two days. The paintings
will be displayed on Saturday for jurying and auction. I had been
scouting around Los Gatos for the last week or so, and had my two
days well planned for what I wanted to paint.
After checking in and having my canvas and panels stamped, I headed
up Kennedy Road to a hairpin turn which also had a beautiful tree
growing by the side of the road. It is quite dark along the road
here, but in the late morning, the sun streaks down like a spotlight
on the beautiful branches of the tree.
After spending about 3 hours, I determined it was complete enough
for just a little touch up later in the studio.
I then headed to Vasona Park, where I had spotted a beautiful Eucalyptus
tree beside the lake. It captured the afternoon and evening sun
beautifully, and I spent the rest of the afternoon working on that