May Lake II

From April 2020, for a year, I posted on Facebook a painting each day as a brief diversion from the lockdowns and other bad news this year. Neglecting my weblog, I’ll post in the coming days some of my better posts. Some of these paintings are still available.

“May Lake II”, 9×12, oil on panel

Yesterday [sic] I posted a painting done at May Lake, in the Yosemite high country. If you missed that story, you can read it here — http://www.donaldneff.com/blog/yosemite-high-country/
Like I said, I originally wasn’t very pleased with these works, but they grew on me over the years, and especially now are reminiscent of my many visits to the area. From the “Studio Kwarantanna”, here is another rock study completed that same day.

San Juan Cemetery

From April 2020, for a year, I posted on Facebook a painting each day as a brief diversion from the lockdowns and other bad news this year. Neglecting my weblog, I’ll post in the coming days some of my better posts. Some of these paintings are still available.

“San Juan Cemetery”, 16×20, oil on board

And now for something totally different.

Mission San Juan Bautista is a Spanish mission in the small town of San Juan Bautista, California. Founded in 1797, the mission was the fifteenth of the Spanish missions established in present-day California. Named for Saint John the Baptist, the mission has served mass daily since 1797, and today functions as a parish church of the Diocese of Monterey.

I have painted the mission a number of times, usually with a group of fellow plein air painters. During one visit, I wandered back behind the mission and found an old graveyard adjacent to the structure. The cemetery holds the remains of over 4,000 Christian Native Americans and Europeans in thousands of unmarked graves who have died over the centuries. It’s not my usual subject matter, but the pattern of old weathered walls along with the eerie foggy mist had an intriguing abstract pattern, so I later did a studio painting of it.  
From the “Studio Ndebe Iche”.

Morning Drink

From April 2020, for a year, I posted on Facebook a painting each day as a brief diversion from the lockdowns and other bad news this year. Neglecting my weblog, I’ll post in the coming days some of my better posts. Some of these paintings are still available.

“Morning Drink”, 28×22, acrylic on canvas

For the 201st day of virus diversions [sic], from the “Studio Coraintin”, is another acrylic painted in the early 2000’s. One of my few paintings with wildlife, this painting hung in a US Embassy overseas for a number of years as part of the “Art in Embassies” program. You can see more about the program here —
https://art.state.gov/personnel/donald_neff/

The Accidental Environmentalist

From April 2020, for a year, I posted on Facebook a painting each day as a brief diversion from the lockdowns and other bad news this year. Neglecting my weblog, I’ll post in the coming days some of my better posts. Some of these paintings are still available.

Thunderbird Cove, 8×10, oil on panel, plein air

Yesterday [sic] I told two stories, one of a place and person, the other of my painting of it. Today I’ll also tell two stories, of the same place and person, but a different painting.

Yesterday my story of George Whittle Jr was not very complimentary, but that is just part of it. Whittell’s life was not all tawdry intrigue, ceaseless orgies and torrid love affairs. His enormous assets allowed him to purchase most of the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe where he built the Thunderbird Lodge in the 1930s. He resisted a formal education, traveling instead with the Barnum and Bailey Circus where he developed a lifelong love for wild animals. Whittell was made a Knight of the Order of Leopold by the King of Belgium for his distinguished service as an ambulance driver in World War I.

Increasingly reclusive, Whittell refused to develop his Lake Tahoe holdings. He donated land to the University of Nevada and Zephyr Cove, where a high school bears his name. When George Whittell died he left a legacy of pristine shoreline along with a large share of his fortune to the National Audubon Society, Defenders of Wildlife and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Much of the east shore of Lake Tahoe is still undeveloped and now enjoyed in it’s original natural condition because of George.

I hiked down that steep east shore embankment to paint this plein air. Although I thought there was a trail, I ended up scrambling over logs, rocks, and brush to reach the shoreline. Just around the corner of the painting is Thunderbird Lodge, but not visible here. If you look at yesterday’s painting, this is from the shore along the peninsula. I originally didn’t think it was that great a painting, as it was mainly meant to capture the colors and values. When I took it to the local gallery, they thought it was wonderful. I now think it is one of my best and most accurate captures of the colors of the Lake Tahoe shoreline, and used it as the title page in my book “Plein Tahoe”.

You can read more about George Whittell here– https://tahoequarterly.com/best-of-tahoe-2016/george-whittell-jr-the-accidental-conservationist

Billboards

Hey everybody, can you help me out?  Fine Art America is having a contest where they will put a select number of paintings on billboards all over the country.  However, to be considered, you must get at least 100 votes from the public.  Can you do me a favor and vote for my paintings? Please click on each Image or URL below and vote for each one.  Also, please share this post with all your friends.  Thanks!!!

https://fineartamerica.com/contests/billboard-contest-2021.html?tab=vote&artworkid=5231

https://fineartamerica.com/contests/billboard-contest-2021.html?tab=vote&artworkid=5244

https://fineartamerica.com/contests/billboard-contest-2021.html?tab=vote&artworkid=39192723

Thunderbird Overlook

From April 2020, for a year, I posted on Facebook a painting each day as a brief diversion from the lockdowns and other bad news this year. Neglecting my weblog, I’ll post in the coming days some of my better posts. Some of these paintings are still available.

“Thunderbird Overlook”, 12×16, oil on panel, plein air

“When men stop boozing, womanizing and gambling, the bloom is off the rose.”

George Whittell Jr.

My have times changed! A little backstory….

The first art gallery that accepted my work after going full time as an artist was in Tahoe City. They have since closed down, but in the 2000’s sold a lot of my work. I used to visit Lake Tahoe every few months, do new paintings, and drop off both plein air and studio works. This is one of the plein air pieces I did on those trips.

This painting is an overlook of Thunderbird Lodge, which I have written about before in these posts. Built in 1939, it was designed to blend harmoniously with its surroundings. But, the guy who built it might have been more interesting. George Whittell Jr. was born in San Francisco in 1881, an heir to one of San Francisco’s wealthiest families. His father was the founder of PG&E, the Northern California utility corporation, and Jr eventually became one of California’s richest people then at age 49. He built the lodge in 1935 to escape California’s higher income taxes. Yes, even back then, people left California to escape taxes!

There is a lot more to the story, and you can read more about it here… https://en.wikipedia.org/…/Thunderbird_Lodge_(Lake…
From the Studio Karanten”

Christmas Day, Coyote Creek

From April 2020, for a year, I posted on Facebook a painting each day as a brief diversion from the lockdowns and other bad news this year. Neglecting my weblog, I’ll post in the coming days some of my better posts. Some of these paintings are still available.

.”Christmas Day, Coyote Creek”, 22×28, oil on canvas.

I spent a year researching, scouting, planning, and painting the “Creeks and Rivers of Silicon Valley”. Many times I would spend a couple days researching a long forgotten niche in Silicon Valley, and then spend just a couple hours painting it on location.

I painted 60 paintings of 43 different creeks near where modern technology paved over and bypassed. After the year long quest, I wanted to keep going, but also wanted the quest to have a definite beginning and end. I thought, what’s next? Well, how about some studio versions of my favorite pieces from that year?


Today’s painting is a studio version of yesterday ‘s post of Coyote Creek Christmas Day. From the “Studio Karantena”.