Month: October 2016

Flying in History

This blog is mainly about my paintings and painting adventures. However, I am also an avid videographer and editor, which is certainly an art also. Over the years, I have done official video’s for my son’s marching band, my class reunions, and almost too many trips and cruises to count, but it’s over fifty!

Here is my latest video to take you back with me to 1928 as we take a “Flight in History”. Especially for all you aviation buffs, pilots, and well, everyone who likes airplanes. Enjoy and share this short video…

Painting the Rubicon, Lake Tahoe

Enjoy this short painting expedition video at Lake Tahoe, California. This is a time lapse video of an 8×10 oil painting from the Rubicon Trail in DL Bliss State Park by artist Donald Neff.

The time lapse was filmed by a GoPro camera, and other photos taken with an iPhone. 4113 separate photographs were used in making the time lapse portion.

Edited with Final Cut Pro on a MacPro cylinder.
Music courtesy of

You can find out more about painting Lake Tahoe that and other days in my last weblog here —

Across the Rubicon

From the introduction to my book “Plein Tahoe“…

A masterpiece of nature and the crown jewel of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, Lake Tahoe is one of the most spectacular in the world. From the Native American word meaning “big water”, Tahoe is the second deepest lake in North America, known for the clarity of its water. The pristine deep blue water against the panorama of the surrounding mountains is unequaled in the world.

I have been showing at the James-Harold Galleries in Tahoe City for around 15 years, and make regular trips to the area to paint and drop off new paintings. I have even driven my Harley-Davidson Road King there, painted for a number of days, and dropped the newly created works off at the gallery.

Hal Slear, the gallery owner, and I have been talking about a little show of miniatures for a number of months, but schedules hadn’t worked out, but finally I just had to do a fall color trip in the area, so here we go!

Took off in the morning to drive to the Lake and of course, the worst traffic was just getting out of Silicon Valley! After arriving at the Lake and driving around a bit to check out the fall color, I headed to DL Bliss State Park and one of my favorite places to paint on the lake, along the Rubicon Trail. My plan was to do a time-lapse video of the painting process. I have done these before, most notably “The Painting of TwentyFive: Where Redwoods Thrive” which you can see here. I used the same home made GoPro camera setup, so look for a video soon of the event.

Below are a few pictures of the afternoon. (Click on any thumbnail to see a larger picture.)

Much of painting plein air is deciding what to put in, but more importantly, what to leave out! At the time, I was undecided on including the larger tree on the right so didn’t put it in. Later on, I touched the painting up on Saturday while in the gallery, so put the tree in. Here is the final piece, which I finished a couple days later in the gallery —

Across the Rubicon, 8x10, oil on board, plein air
Across the Rubicon, 8×10, oil on board, plein air

Note this isn’t the greatest depiction of the painting as it was taken with my cellphone camera, but hopefully you get the impression.

After checking into my motel in South Lake Tahoe, I was so exhausted, it was a very early bedtime for me!

Friday we were expecting rain almost all day, and it did, so outdoor painting was not in the plan. I drove around the lake, enjoying the stormy weather and stopped by the gallery to drop off the batch of new miniature paintings for the show. I took a few pictures, and here is a panorama from the Sand Harbor Boat Launch

Stormy Tahoe
Stormy Tahoe

We advertised my presence from 12-5pm to paint in the gallery. There was a break in the storm on my hour drive there, so just had to stop and take pictures of the next storm front coming in—

Storms a comin'
Storms a comin’

I liked a little 5×7 nocturne I did of Lake Tahoe for the show, so decided to do another larger one for my demo in the gallery. I almost finished it between talking to customers and other passers by, and well, just taking my time!

Harvest Moon over Tahoe, 8x16, oil on board
Harvest Moon over Tahoe, 8×16, oil on board

Long time friends, Clark & Elaine Hockwald are full time RV-ers and they had been staying at Lake Tahoe for the last 6 months so we arranged to meet at the gallery, and then have an early dinner. I have known Clarke since I was about 11, and Elaine from college days. They have a wonderful weblog about their travels which you can find here.

It was their choice for the dinner location, so they picked an excellent nearby place, Christy Hill, which was right on the lake. It was a fabulous dinner and we sat for several hours just watching the stormy lake, dining, but mainly telling stories from old times, and a few recent happenings! The Moroccan Lamb I had was just delicious…and I will be looking for a similar recipe!

Dinner with Clarke and Elaine
Dinner with Clarke and Elaine

It was a long drive home at night through the pouring rain, but we all made it safely!

I was scheduled to be in the gallery from 12-3pm, so drove back through the rain around the lake. I finished yesterdays nocturne painting and had enough time to do another small one, so started a 5×7. Another stormy Tahoe scene was in my mind, so I used a picture I had taken just the day before as a study. With a palette of already mixed colors, everything ‘clicked’, and I knocked it out in no-time.

Storms a comin!, 7x5, oil on board
Storms a comin!, 7×5, oil on board

Around 3:30, I headed home in pouring rain, taking over an hour longer than normal.

So, if you are in Tahoe the next month or two, stop by and see some new Donald Neff miniatures! All the paintings depicted in this weblog entry are now on sale in the James Harold Gallery. I have priced these to sell over the holiday season, and a number are already gone, so it might be time to add one or two to your collection!

Painting Half Moon Bay

Pillar Point, 8x16, oil on board
Pillar Point, 8×16, oil on board

Has it really be a year since I have posted to this blog? Well…gulp…yes. I post most of my new paintings and other activities to Facebook these days, so this blog has been neglected, however, I just changed the blog to a new look, and I’ll resolve to post more here from now on!

Yesterday I took a trip to Half Moon Bay, California, to meet an old friend for lunch, and also spend the day painting. I got a late start, but after a little over an hour drive got to my painting location at Venice Beach (not the Los Angeles version, but the Half Moon Bay version) around 11:30 am. I only had about an hour to start a painting before my lunch engagement with Stephen, a friend I have known since college days.

I painted a view of Pillar Point across Half Moon Bay. This view is where Frenchman’s Creek empties into Half Moon Bay, on the Pacific Ocean. In the distance is Pillar Point where the Pillar Point Air Force Station is located. You can barely make out one of the radar domes on the bluff. The Pillar Point AFS is the northernmost instrumentation site of the Western Missile Range, which has multiple radar instruments for various tracking purposes.

The Mavericks surfing location is off the tip of the point where some of the biggest waves in the world are located and the site of the famous Mavericks surfing competition.

After lunch at MiraMar Beach Restaurant, I headed back to finish the painting. Since about the only way to get home through Silicon Valley would be in terrible traffic from about 4:00-7:00pm, I either had to leave at three or wait until 6:30. I finished the painting of Pillar Point around 3:30, so decided to stay until the sun went down around 6:40. So, I moseyed down the coast checking places to paint, napped a bit, and ended up close to the Ritz-Carlton hotel which sits on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. By then, there wasn’t enough time to do another painting, so watched the sun dip below the Pacific, then headed home…and there was still lots of traffic!

Here’s a few pictures from the day (Click on the thumbnails for larger pictures)…

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