Lobos Crash!!

My last weblog, “Stupendous!!” was about painting at Pt Lobos State Natural Reserve in January with the Monterey Bay Plein Air Painters.  It was a great day and the painting turned out pretty well.  Recent storms had been battering the California Coast for much of January, and I have never experienced surf that high while at the preserve.  Waves were pounding and crashing the rocky coast, sometimes splashing, as a guess, over 30 feet high.  You could feel the thundering surf on your chest!! 

It’s been awhile since I have completed a studio painting, so did a painting of one of the crashing waves from that day.    The scene is from near the China Cove parking lot looking back towards Hidden Beach.   The lower cliffs behind the wave are 10-15 feet high, so I am guessing this splash was at least 30 feet high!

I might touch it up a bit more, but doesn’t need much!

Lobos Crash!!, 18×24, oil on canvas


The greatest meeting of land and water in the world.

–Landscape artist Francis McComas
Carmel Highlands, 8×16, oil on board

Point Lobos is not too far from my new home in Marina.  Considered the crown jewel of California’s coastal state parks, the views are endless and I could spend a lifetime painting just there.  Although I have painted there more times than I can count, it had been awhile!

The Monterey Bay Plein Air Painters were meeting there, so joined in.  Usually these paint-outs are as much a social event as creating great paintings.  Today, I wanted to do a good piece for possible upcoming shows, so went early, prior to the 10 o’clock meeting time, arriving before 9 am.   I was astounded being the first car in the parking lot!  Usually it’s full and congested all day long.  Although the artists were scattered over a wide area, my guess is about a dozen showed up for the paint-out.

The surf was still high from recent storms, and the biggest I have seen in the preserve.  WOW!!  Waves were pounding and crashing the rocky coast, sometimes splashing, as a guess, over 30 feet high.  You could feel the thundering surf on your chest!!  Stupendous!!

I took a little hand trolley to haul my equipment, hiked around to the south part of the preserve and painted a scene looking south.  The coast along this area is called Carmel Highlands, with a number of mansions clinging over the rocky cliffs.  The famous photographer Ansel Adams lived there in his later years, and Clint Eastwood and other Hollywood luminaries  own quite a bit of property there.  His production company, Malpaso Productions is named after a creek there.  The Eastwood movie “Play Misty for Me” was mostly filmed there, among many, many, others.

Spending a little over two hours, got a ‘keeper’.  Although I was painting from Point Lobos State Preserve, actually, none of the preserve is in the painting!  As usual, I might touch it up a bit. Simplifying the surf a bit, and add a few more strategically placed rocks, might help, but doesn’t really need much.

The Sea Otters Realm

It has been raining seemingly nonstop since Christmas and with my son in town for the holidays, there has been no time to paint. Today was the first day out painting since the new year. I joined the Monterey Bay Plein Air Painters at Lover’s Point in Pacific Grove, CA.

The surf was still high from the recent storms, so we had quite a bit of wave action on the rocks. Here’s a few photos of the day—

I painted a little over an hour of the rocks at Lover’s point, it turned out OK. With a little touchup, it’s probably a keeper!

It was a sunny and glorious day. As we painted, I could see a few sea otters just offshore enjoying the sunshine and their fresh caught seafood.

Kathleen Dunphy

Considered one of the top traditional artists in California, Kathleen Dunphy has always been on my list of favorite artists.  The California Art Club was sponsoring a demo by Kathleen in Pacific Grove, and I was anxious to attend.  At first it was a little iffy if it would happen as quite a few rainy weather fronts had been coming through the area.  The location of the demo in Pacific Grove is a familiar place for artists in the area.  About every artist I know, including me, has painted there many times.

The weather was very misty on arrival, but cleared up enough for Kathleen to do her demo.  Due to the weather, rather than painting something larger, she chose a small 6×8 canvas size.  Frankly, I was surprised there wasn’t a large crowd.  With Kathleen’s reputation, I expected a large group, but only about 8 showed up.  I also expected a lot of anxious newby artists, but just about everyone there was an A-List professional.  Perhaps it was the inclement weather.  

Kathleen painted and talked for about two hours and the painting turned out great. Like she said, her demos are how to start a painting!

It was an enjoyable, intimate morning, and glad I attended.  A few techniques Kathleen used, I plan on trying soon in my never ending endeavors in the art world.

Below are a few pictures of the event…

2022 Magnificent Miniatures Holiday Sale

Looking for a totally unique custom gift for the holiday season which will last a lifetime? These little paintings make great holiday gifts. This year I am also including notecards and books on sale. This is the biggest discount I ever sell my paintings, up to 70% off. Most prices are for unframed originals, however if the frame is shown, it is included. Shipping is free in the continental US. If you are interested, just email me at donald@donaldneff.com.

Just click on the link to see what’s available…

Let’s Do It Again!

The California Art Club was having a paint out at Garrapata State Park on Saturday, November 5. This was the same group, and same location as last January when I painted a piece which eventually got a first place in a MBPAPA show. So, why not join in again!

It’s only about half an hour drive from my home, and I took off a little early as parking can get full. Besides being a scenic place, it is the jumping off place for a number of trails going into the Big Sur Wilderness.

A good sized group showed up, maybe not quite as many as last January. I painted for a couple hours, and quit a little before I was completely satisfied with the piece as the wind was starting to kick up, and I had other items on the agenda that afternoon,…

Below are a few pictures of the day…

After a little touchup in the studio, the finished piece is shown below. I think it’s a keeper.

Garrapata Cliffs, 9×12, oil on panel, plein air

We Love Minis!!!

I have been working on a number of new miniatures to show in various venues over the holidays including my annual Magnificent Miniatures Holiday sale.

I love mini’s because I can experiment with small pieces which I might want to do a larger painting and also do smaller and affordable versions of larger paintings. After this crop (seen below), I definitely want to do a few larger pieces of several.

Although, not quite sure which painting I will place in which show, here is a preview of five 6×6 inch squared I have done over the last couple weeks. Click on each painting to see a larger version. On a web browser, the paintings should show actual size of 6×6 inches.

Stay tuned for more!!

The 7th Hole, Pebble Beach

7th Hole, Pebble Beach

The 7th hole on the famous Pebble Beach Golf Course is one of the most iconic in the world.  The par 3 hole probably shouldn’t exist, is the shortest on the PGA TOUR at just 106 yards, and considered one of the most beautiful spots on the planet. 

The Knights of the Vine chapter in Monterey for the past 30 years have had a party on the Sheltered Cove pier by the Beach & Tennis Club in Pebble Beach, CA.  I was invited to sit and paint during the party after a long time collector, Sue, recommended me to the current chapter Command, Richard Kehoe. 

After several false starts on the best place to set up on the pier, I started the painting around 11.  The event was to begin at 12, and I had until about 2 to finish.  I decided to paint Arrowhead Point overlooking Sheltered Cove.  Partway through the painting, some of the golfers told me it was the famous 7th hole, hence the title. 

It’s totally unpredictable how a plein air painting might turn out, and in this case, thankfully, even though it was overcast all day, it turned out pretty good.   So well, in fact, there was a bit of a bidding war among the attendees, and sold fresh off the easel.

Here are few pictures of the day.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a great picture of the painting, which I also framed for the collector.


We recently did a tour through southern Germany, with a bit of France and Austria, the prime objective to see the Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany. It’s the first major trip we have taken since the pandemic. The tour was non-stop with LOTS of walking, so much so, I was taking pain killers and putting relief patches on my aching back the last week of the trip just to make it through.

I always bring a paint kit on my trips, but we had no spare time to do anything but tour, eat, and sleep! Perhaps I will do a few studio paintings of some of the locations we visited.

Enjoy this trailer/preview of the video I will be working on the next couple months. (Be sure to turn the volume up!)

Carmel’s Scenic Drive

Carmel Scenic Drive winds around the beach and bluffs in Carmel, CA with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, Carmel Beach, Pebble Beach Golf Course, Point Lobos, and other sights.  It’s actually a pretty busy place with locals and non residents alike walking and jogging along the adjoining pathway.  Dogs are ever-present since Carmel Beach has been designated a ‘dogs off leash friendly’ beach.  Along the drive prominently stands the Clinton Walker House designed by Frank Loyd Wright.  I have painted here a number of times over the years, especially while participating in the Carmel Art Festival.  

The Monterey Bay Plein Air Painters had a paint out along the drive today, and I joined in.  It was a nice sunny day, and at least a dozen showed up painting the beach, Monterey Cypress, and other sights.  Every turn in the drive is a different perspective and potential painting, and right by my car was as good a view as any.

I worked on it for a little over 90 minutes, taking a little artistic license to add more early morning shadows on the beach. I also didn’t finish the foreground, but added a few color notes for later. I might add the Clinton Walker House on the point, but didn’t really have time to paint it at the time.

I think it may be a keeper after I finish it in the studio.

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