Month: March 2008

Use Big Brushes

I have long been an advocate of the bigger the brush you use the better. For most of my paintings, even the smaller ones, I use a #10 bright, which is about 3/4 of an inch wide. To quote John Cogan, “get the largest brush you can possibly use for the job, then use the next size higher”. (John is one of my favorite artists, and definitely my favorite acrylic artist.)

The last few weeks I have been working on a large commission, using primarily a #12 bright. Yesterday, I took a break and continued working on a series of Yosemite paintings. I used the same #12 bright, which is about an inch wide, and painted an entire 16×20 using only the one brush. (I did use a #12 round for just the sky in order to have softer edges.) Although it is painted in a fairly loose style, I had no problem painting to the level of detail wanted. Although I might touch it up a bit, below is the resulting painting.

glacier point, yosemite, california

Morning Light on Glacier Point * 20×16

Artists Deduction Bill

For all of you who are looking for fairer treatment with art auctions and tax write-offs, you might want to go online and sign this petition:

Artists’ Deduction Bill:

This artist deduction bill (S.548) would give artists the right to deduct the fair market value of their work when donating it to a charity. We artists are always asked to donate work to charitable causes for fundraising purposes but when our work is auctioned, the buyer gets the benefit of being allowed to deduct their contribution above the market value, whereas the contributing artists and artisans can only deduct the amount of the material costs of creating their work (the cost of paint, canvas, clay, paper…).

This bill is non-partisan and fair. Please click on the link above and type in your zip code; a letter of support will be sent to your senators and congressmen.

Please forward this link to all of your artist and art loving friends.

“A Breath of Plein Air”

Just received word, I am juried into this plein air show sponsored by the History San Jose association. The paintings must be plein air works of San Jose, Santa Clara, or Silicon Valley and runs from May 4 – September 21, 2008.

I don’t do too many paintings of the immediate area, so several weeks ago, I did a painting from Quimby Road in anticipation of entering this show. Up to three paintings can be submitted, so I found a few of my favorites over the last year or so I did with the Los Gatos Plein Air group. All three paintings made it into the show, shown below.

san jose, quimby

Along Quimby Road * 12×16

almaden, san jose

New Almaden * 8×10

san jose, eastridge

Eastridge * 10×8

Tahoe Day 3

I headed out again to Sand Harbor. I had time to do one quick painting, and then head to James Harold Galleries in Tahoe City to drop off some new paintings.

It was another wonderful day! It was mostly sunny with a few wisps of clouds drifting by. I painted a smaller painting at about the same spot I was yesterday. Shelly Hocknell Zenter, Bonita Paulis, and Penny Shrawder soon arrived.

In about an hour, I just about finished a 8×10. In my rush, I forgot to take a photo of the painting on the easel, and I will post it later. Below is the scene.


Too soon, it was off to James Harold Galleries to drop off some new Yosemite paintings I have been developing the last month or so, and then the long trek home!

Here is one of the paintings now at James Harold Galleries–

yosemite, merced

Tahoe Day 2

Shelly Hocknell Zenter and Bonita Paulis were going to join me painting around Sand Harbor. It was a wonderful day, a few clouds but plenty of sunshine.

I decided to do a 16×20, which is about as large as I paint plein air. If it turned out, could be one of my entries into the Nomadas Del Arte show. Below are a few shots of the day.

The scene I decided to paint–


My easel by a convenient park bench–


Your’s truly painting–


Bonita and Shelly enjoying the day–


My painting on the easel–


Tahoe Day 1

The Village Art Gallery at Lake Tahoe’s south shore closed down unexpectedly. The owner was having health problems, and decided to move to a more favorable climate. I made a quick trip up to the lake to get my paintings, and to do a few plein air studies.

Shelly Hocknell Zenter, another artist showing in the gallery had stored my paintings. After retrieving them, I dropped some off at another gallery which is considering showing my work. I will find out soon if they decide to represent me.

Below is one of the paintings showing at the old gallery.

Cave Rock

Homer, Church, and Moran


I visited Cantor Arts Center on the Stanford University campus today. They had a special exhibit called “Frederic Church, Winslow Homer, and Thomas Moran: Tourism and the American Landscape”. Quite a mouthful, but the emphasis was how artists in the 1800’s were instrumental in opening up the American west to tourism.

I met my good friend, Scott Loftesness for lunch at the museum cafe. Before retiring from the computer software industry, I worked both for and with Scott in various capacities. Towards the end, he was on the board of directors of a company I started and eventually sold. He now runs a successful consulting company concentrating on the electronic payments industry, and also an avid photographer.

After lunch, we hurried to catch a docent tour of the exhibit. Most of the works were preliminary field sketches by the three artists. Although maybe not as dramatic as finished paintings, it was interesting to see the development and methodology they used. Most were oils on paper, and to my eye could possibly represent finished paintings!


As the docent explained how the artists did their sketches and later translated them into larger paintings, I felt like I was on familiar territory. Much of the terminology and methodology hasn’t really changed much in 150 years, at least for us traditional painters.


Although we have much better and more stable materials than they had back then, the motives and goals remain the same. Artists still want to grab the viewers eyes, pull them in, and move them around the painting in a predetermined but pleasing manner. We still want to capture a sense of place and time.

In the final of three galleries, was a wall size painting of Church’s famous painting of Niagara Falls, shown above. Unfortunately, it was not the original, but an enlarged print probably 15 feet tall and 30 feet wide! It was still quite impressive as it certainly made you feel like you were standing on the precipice of Niagara! The only thing missing was the roar!

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