Donald Neff

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

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.


I was honored last night with First Place in the Monterey Bay Plein Air Painters Member show, “Coastal Passions” at the Pacific Grove Art Center, Pacific Grove, CA. The show was quite strong, with a lot of great paintings, and it was the first time I have shown with this group. I painted the piece during the California Art Club paint out last January. You can read about it here, plus a video with some great drone shots of the California Coastline.

The show runs until October 27. Please stop by!


Asilomar, 8×10, oil on panel

Asilomar is a derivation of the Spanish phrase asilo al mar, meaning asylum or refuge by the sea.

I hadn’t been out painting in awhile, so went out with the Monterey Bay Plein Air Painters yesterday to Asilomar State Beach.  It was a foggy, very misty morning.  I used to always chase the light when looking for painting locations, but over the years have come to embrace the moody foggy landscape and seascape.  I even started a ‘Misty’ series you can see here.  Looking back, I think collectors like them also, as most of these have gone to a permanent home!

This morning, however, the air was thick enough that everything was getting wet.  Although oil paints won’t absorb water, the water can muck up your paints, and lift them off the canvas.  After about an hour of this, it did clear up enough and the sun broke out occasionally.

I did a simple scene of just the water and rocks.  It turned out pretty good for a 90 minute color study, so might keep it.  Below are a few pictures of the day.

Coastal Passions

Honored that two of my paintings will be part of the upcoming “Coastal Passions”, conducted by the Monterey Bay Plein Air Painters. The show will run 9/2/2022 – 10/27/2022 with a 
Reception: 9/2/2022 7-9pm at the 
Pacific Grove Art Center – Gill Gallery
568 Lighthouse Ave
Pacific Grove, California 

More info can be found here–


The Dunes of Monterey, 12×48, oil on canvas

In days past, I often drove by this wondrous area of the south eastern dunes of Monterey Bay, but now find the area enchanting. Recently working on a new painting, I chronicled my efforts on Facebook as it progressed.

My weblog readers might be interested in the development and processes as things went along. Below are my posts from Facebook…

June 20, 2022. So, I have had this 12×48 inch canvas sitting in my studio for 10-15 years. It’s a bit of an odd size, and over the years contemplated on a good composition to fit it. So, this week, let’s try something…

June 21, 2022. An old adage is “paint what you know”. It is a good point, but artists should occasionally push themselves out of their comfort level. In the case of the odd size 12×48 inch canvas mentioned yesterday, I am going to paint what I know. We walk by this view at least several times a week near Marina, CA. Here is just a rough block in of the scene.

June 22 2022. Seems to be interest in the development of this odd sized 12×48 inch canvas, so here is today’s progress …

May not have a lot of time the rest this week to work on it, but stay tuned…

July 6, 2022. Back to the odd size painting (12×48 in) which has been on hiatus for a bit. Working all over the canvas now. Still working on the shape of the trees on the left. I actually scraped part of it off as it was overpowering the painting. Still a ways to go…

July 12, 2022. I did a little revamp on the 12×48 inch painting the last several days. I painted the large trees on the left several times, scraping and painting over. I still didn’t like it as they overpowered the rest of the painting, and didn’t give it the expansive view I wanted. So, I revamped for several days, painting them entirely out, repainting the background, and then a smaller tree. Here is the progression…the original trees, repainting the background, and then the result. I hope everyone agrees the effort was worth it!

July 18, 2022.The 12×48 painting still continues. Normally, I would have a painting like this done in about a week or two, if not sooner, however I have had a lot of distractions with houseguests and other things. You may not notice a lot of difference, but I put in a ‘separation layer’ of liquin, and then glazed some sunshine and atmosphere over the background areas. Also, similar to redoing the large trees on the left, I reduced the bushes on the right middle ground as they were too big and overpowering the view. Hopefully I’ll get this finished by the end of the week!

July 6, 2022.  Coming down the home stretch on this one. Just a little touchup here and there, and will consider it done…for now…

It helps living close to things you paint.  You can see things frequently, and then adjust your work accordingly.  We did a walk in the area a few days ago by the scene, and I noticed the prominent green plants have a bit of dead underbrush.  The green really contrasts with the reds and oranges of the ice plant, and a little underbrush modifies the effect.

In this painting, although true to the scene, I have moved a few elements around such as trees, bushes, etc. for a more pleasing composition.  Cardinal rule of any good landscape painting moves your eye around the piece without going off the edge.  Hopefully I accomplished that.  

For those familiar with the area, the general view is in Ft Ord Dunes State Park from the hillside near the Divarty underpass.    Monterey Bay is shown, and the distant shore is the Santa Cruz area.

For many years, going to my gallery representation in Carmel, participating in the Carmel Art Festival, etc., I drove right by this area to paint the rocky coastlines of Big Sur, the ice plant of Pacific Grove, and other more familiar attractions.  Now that I live in the area, the dunes of Marina and the south eastern shoreline of Monterey Bay beg to be painted.

I’ll consider this done for now. Final painting is shown here and above.

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