Los Gatos Art Festival 2013

Last week I participated in the Los Gatos Art Festival as an ‘invited artist’. I always enjoy this show as it is close, don’t have to travel, and familiar with the area. But mainly, the sponsors always treat us artists well!

I won’t go into many details of each day, but just a few notes and pictures on the activities…

We stamped our canvases in the morning, and I took off for Stevens Creek Park, and did a painting of the stream, mainly for a ‘warmup’. There was a mandatory artists reception/meeting that evening, so I didn’t want to stray far. I forgot to take a picture of the painting in progress, but a few scenes below for the day. (Click on any photo to see a larger version).

This was my big ‘travel day’. I literally painted from the mountains behind my house, to the ocean. In the morning I went up Quimby Road behind the house and did a morning view of the Santa Clara Valley and downtown San Jose. Early afternoon I was in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park painting the redwoods and late afternoon at Sharktooth Beach near Davenport painting the ocean.

An artists luncheon was scheduled in Los Gatos, so I stayed around the San Jose area, McKean Road to be exact, and did a painting of a red barn right by the road. Little did I know, but the day before, a group of artists in the show painted the same red barn. I think there were about 8 paintings of that barn on exhibit!

The luncheon was at a Los Gatos residence, catered by Togo’s Sandwiches. After eating, I headed for the bathroom, and found a painting I sold last year at this event hanging on the living room wall!

My afternoon painting was a quiet spot on Coyote Creek right by Metcalf and Monterey Roads.

I went out early on San Felipe Road close to my house and did a painting of a Eucalyptus. The afternoon was spent in touch-up and framing.

That evening was a gala at a mansion in Los Gatos. It was a wonderful setting, and quite a crowd. The pictures below are before the crowds showed up.

I delivered and hung all my paintings for the show…

Below are the paintings in the show (I didn’t show the first painting from Steven Creek, as I feel it still needs more work)…

It was a good show with many strong works, however sales were quite disappointing, at least for me. It’s always fun, though, to paint, meet old friends and other artists!

2013 Carmel Art Festival

I was honored for the eighth time to participate in the Carmel Art Festival. The show works like this: the artists have two days to paint at least two paintings to offer up for auction. You must have the back of your canvas (or whatever you are painting on) certified before the contest. They usually stamp it with a date, and put a little sticker on it. This is to ensure no one walks in with a painting they didn’t really paint on location during the time allotted.

Although Carmel is only about 90 minutes from my home, I always stay somewhere in the Carmel area to avoid spending 3 hours on the road each day, rather devoting all my focus to the work at hand. Early mornings and late afternoons are the best time to paint, which makes all the more reason to stay in town.

I drove down to Carmel around noon Wednesday, meandering a little bit in the area to look for new places to paint. After checking into my motel, I headed over to the reception area to get my canvases stamped, then out to a place on Scenic Drive overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Carmel River State Beach to start painting. A lot of the artists head to this area first as it is fairly close and there are only a few hours after the canvas stamping to paint until dark. For this reason, I had avoided it in past years, but decided to try it this year.

I spent several hours painting, waiting until almost sundown to finish the sky. In this instance, you can paint much of the scene in shadow as it will not change much. However, when the sunset lights up the sky, I quickly tried to catch the colors. I stayed until it was almost too dark to see. Below is the scene, and my painting on the easel. You can click on any picture to see a larger version.

The painting wasn’t quite finished, but some of the details could be done the next evening.

In the morning, I drove up to Elkhorn Slough to do another painting. I had been painting this area the last couple shows, and enjoy the vistas. Parking along Elkhorn Road, with a great view of the slough, I opened the rear of SUV up and turned on the car radio to keep me company, as I frequently do. After painting several hours, the radio suddenly went off. Upon checking the ignition, the battery was almost dead and then I realized I had also left my headlights on! I raised the hood, as the universal sign of distress, but no one seemed to want to stop, so it was time to call AAA, the American Automobile Association. An AAA truck was not too far away, so he stopped by and gave me a jump start. It was time for a lunch break, so I drove into Moss Landing and had Sand Dabs at Phils Fish Market. (Actually half the reason I like to paint the slough is it is close to this great restaurant! The restaurant was just listed as the #1 world’s best beach restaurant by the BBC.)

I wanted to work on the painting another hour or two, so drove back to the spot and finished the painting.

About mid afternoon, it was time to head back to Scenic Drive and finish the prior evenings piece. By now I had two good pieces for the show, so the pressure was lessened from now on.

Point Lobos State Preserve was my destination Friday, which is a favorite of about everyone in the show. I first stopped and painted Whaler’s Cove.

Whalers Cove, Point Lobos
Whalers Cove, Point Lobos

The afternoon I painted a quiet little spot in the preserve called Hidden Beach.

After framing the two pieces for the auction, I drove back into Carmel and dropped them off. Below are the four pieces I did, the first two were entered in the auction. The second two, I want to touch up a little bit before they were displayed anywhere. Click on any picture to see the entire painting.

After a leisurely morning, I headed over to the show. The show was quite strong. We had artists from all over the United States, plus Australia and the Netherlands. You can see all the paintings on their website here. Below are a few pictures of me and the show.

Sunday was somewhat of a repeat of Saturday. After a leisurely morning, I checked out of the motel, grabbed a deli sandwich and headed down the coast. I found a spot along Garrapata State Park for lunch and enjoyed the view…

Upon returning to the show, I met the lady who purchased my first painting, “The Last Five Minutes of Glory“. She was born and raised in Carmel (lucky lady!), had seen that scene countless times, and it reminded her of the Carmel of her youth. She purchased the piece as a wedding present for her daughter. It’s always nice to meet a collector who falls in love with your work! It’s a big moral booster!

Later that afternoon it was time to head home and start thinking about next month’s plein air festival in Los Gatos!

Los Gatos Art Festival

Once again, I participated in the Los Gatos Art Festival this year. It was five days of non-stop activity! Below is a summary of each day.

Tuesday morning was time to stamp the back of the canvas to ensure all paintings were done during the festival. I arrived at about noon, got my canvas stamped, and then headed to Stevens Canyon Road to paint along Stevens Creek. It was also very shady, which was nice as the week was forecast to be very hot. I ended up doing one painting, using a little artistic license for the lighting as the canyon area was quite dark.

I then went several miles away to another part of the creek and started another painting of a pool with a family looking for tadpoles and fish..

I only got it about half done before having to leave for an artists reception and meeting back in Los Gatos. Below are a couple shots of the artists meeting–

There were plenty of hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer. The Rotary Club of Los Gatos, who put on the event, really treat the artists very well!!

The forecast was to be clear all day, so I departed at 5:30am to try and catch the morning light in the New Almaden and Hicks Road area in the southern part of Los Gatos and San Jose. It was foggy! I proceeded up around Almaden Reservoir, and found a great spot at the end of the lake with a lot of vegetation and color. It was also looking towards the sun peeking through the fog. Around 9 the sky had mostly cleared.

You can see my easel set up right behind my car. Its kinda nice painting right by the car as I can listen to the radio, and not have to hike and carry my painting setup very far!

After painting for about three hours, I drove on up Hicks Rd to the Mt Umunhum Road, and up it. Lo and behold were several artists painting the view! Carole Gray-Weihman was teaching a student apprentice the ins-and-outs of plain air painting!

Below is a view of downtown San Jose from Mt. Umunhum road.

Late morning I proceeded into New Almaden, and found the Carson House, built in 1854. I liked the way the light was illuminating the large cactus and the plants along the fence. I pencil sketched in the painting, then went off to have lunch with my motorcycle riding buddy, Pete Kemling.

After lunch, it was back to Carson House to continue work on that painting.

The light was a little different, but I painted the way I saw it before noon.

Later in the afternoon, it was time to head back up Hicks Road to find a late afternoon scene. It wasn’t very far, when I decided to paint the same cove in Almaden Reservoir from a different direction–

I was able to paint right out the back of my SUV, which also kept me and the painting in the shade and out of the late afternoon sun–

The lighting just kept on getting more dramatic–

I got the piece only about half done before it was getting too dark, so headed home.

Woke up early, but wasn’t planning to go out until the fog had cleared, and what do you know, a clear morning! It was around morning rush hour and I wanted to go back to the New Almaden area, so took the back roads, Hwy 101 down to Bailey, and up over a small ridge to McKean Road. It was foggy again in the area! As soon as I cleared the ridge, though, the fog was lifting and Mt Unumhum was lit up by the rising sun. A great view I had to paint. As soon as I pulled off the road, a local park ranger came by and said I could not park along the road and had to wait until 8a when the Calero Reservoir parking was open. So, I killed some time getting coffee, and came back to Calero and spent most of the morning doing the painting.

By the time I was done, the fog had completely disappeared…

Lunch was put on by the Rotary again, at a home in Los Gatos. Again, great food and drinks!

I went back in the afternoon, finished both the Carson House painting, and then the Almaden Reservoir painting…kind of a repeat of the afternoon before.

I had 5 good paintings for the show, and was pretty tired, so spent Friday around the studio doing touch ups, framing, and other preps for the show.

That evening was a ticketed gala at the California Cafe. The entire restaurant was reserved for the event, and it was packed! Once again, great food. Just a couple pictures of the event–

Today was the main show, which took place outside in the central Los Gatos Park. Below are a few pictures of the event, followed by my paintings in the show. It was a very hot day, reaching over 100, but that didn’t seem to stop the crowds from coming! Two of mine sold, Unumhum View, and Almaden Afternoon.

Me by my panel. By the time I got this picture taken, one painting was already gone, being sold at the “Buy it Now” price–

We had live music all day–

Below are the paintings I exhibited in the order I started them. You can click on each to get a slightly larger view of the piece.

Stevens Creek 16×12 Oil–

Almaden Morning 12×24 Oil–

Carson House 11×14 Oil–

Almaden Afternoon 16×20 Oil–

Umunhum View 12×24 Oil —

For artists wanting to enter plein air shows, I would highly recommend entering this one. The Rotary treats their artists the best of about any plein air competition I have participated in!

Los Gatos Plein Air Event, Part II

Today was the main event for the Los Gatos Plein Air Event. I submitted three paintings the evening before to be auctioned off today. Below are quick snapshots of the three works I completed in the last couple days–

“Just a Trickle” * 16×12 * Oil

Los Gatos Creek
“Los Gatos Creek” * 12×16 * Oil

Los Gatos California
“Hicks and Shannon” * 8×16 * Oil

After arriving at the event, I realized I had left my camera battery in the charger at home, so had to take pictures with my cellphone. Below are a few shots—

My three paintings hanging in the show–



Timothy Lundell, the emcee for the event handing out awardds–


All three paintings sold at silent auction.

Los Gatos Plein Air Event

Been painting for the last couple days in the Los Gatos Plein Air Event. As typical in these events, the artists have 2 days to paint two or three paintings, and then the works are auctioned off. The auction is tomorrow in Old Town Los Gatos.

Although I have been painting for many years, the first plein air event I ever entered was the first/last Los Gatos Plein Air in 2004. Since I won first place in that event, my painting is the poster for this years event.

A couple shot from the last couple days–

My first painting was along Los Gatos Creek, just by the main street bridge. You would never know you were steps away from a bustling Silicon Valley suburb!


I next drove up into the Santa Cruz Mountains and did a redwood scene. I had just been at this location with the Los Gatos Art Association, like the scene so much, decided to do a larger piece for the show.


The next day I was up bright and early. I did a painting at the corner of Hicks and Shannon. This was at the edge of the city limits of Los Gatos, but again looks like you are way out in the countryside. The fog was just beginning to clear the tops of the mountains, and it was a wonderful scene! There were a number of deer around, including 4 bucks all together!


That evening, there was a reception gala for the artists at the California Cafe in Old Town Los Gatos. Just a few shots of the event–



Tomorrow is the main event where they will hand out awards and auction off the paintings.

Carmel Art Festival Day 4

Today was the main event for the Carmel Art Festival. Judging was in the morning, a silent auction in the afternoon, awards ceremony at 5, and live auction at 6. After a leisurely brunch, I hung around the show while Josie went shopping in downtown Carmel. It was a good show. For the first time, you could bid for paintings online. All the paintings in the show can be found here.

Below is one of my paintings, followed by a few shots of my ‘panel’–

Soberanes, big sur, seascape, california

I ran into Eric Rhoads, publisher of Fine Art Connoisseur. Here is a photo of him taking a photo of Brian Blood, this years first place winner in the festival–


A live band played–


Live sculpting —


The awards ceremony–


All-in-all, it was a great show. I had been expecting slow sales, due to the economy, but paintings seemed to be selling at a brisk pace!

Carmel Art Festival Day 3

Today was the second full day of painting for the festival, and two paintings had to be completed, framed and delivered by 8 o’clock this evening. I had two paintings from the day before, both good enough to put in the show. Today, I was going to concentrate on Point Lobos in the morning and if I got another good painting, spend the afternoon touching up and framing.

After hiking the North Trail at Point Lobos, I found my spot painting Bluefish Cove. I had painted this several times before from different vantage points and light. It was fogged in, which is what I wanted as I wanted the far rocks of the cove to appear as ghosts in the distance.

Here is the scene and my easel set up–



The painting turned out fairly well, another possibility for the show. Hiking back to the car, I ran across several other Carmel Art Festival participants, including Alfredo Tofanelli shown below–


I spent the afternoon touching up the two paintings I would enter and framing them, in time to drop off at the show. The pressure was off, so time to relax!

Carmel Art Festival Day 2

Today was the first full day of painting for the Carmel Art Festival. During the competition, you have two days to paint and present two finished and framed paintings for auction. I headed out at the crack of dawn back to Point Soberanes, where I had been the evening before. It was a little foggy, but lifting and I was hoping to catch the light just right. Well, I did, and it was perfect! The fog was just breaking and the morning sun was spotlighting just where I wanted! Below are a couple shots of what I was painting.

I painted this spot for the first Carmel Art Festival–


This was the scene I wanted to paint this morning —



My easel set up on Point Soberanes —


After almost completing the panorama, it was time to head to a different spot. I drove around a little, and ran into Michael Bagdonas and Robert Sandidge painting the same scene by the side of the road–


My easel set up along the beautiful California coastline for another painting. The peninsula you see in the distance was where I had been painting earlier this morning–


I had completed two paintings today, with a little touchup, both keepers for the show.

Carmel Art Festival Day 1

We drove to Carmel this afternoon to participate in the Carmel Art Festival. I am writing this several days later as I did not have good internet access while at the hotel. My wife, Josie accompanied me for the entire festival this time and it was my fourth year participating. After checking into the Portola Plaza Hotel in downtown Monterey, I was off to get my canvas stamped, and maybe paint a little.

I ended up hiking out on Point Soberanes in Garrapata State Park to start a painting I had been planning for the afternoon of tomorrow, but wanted to get a head start. It was quite windy, and everything was blowing around, including my cap right into a clump of poison oak! It was impossible to paint in the high winds as my canvas board was jumping around like a jumping bean no matter which way I moved the easel. It was starting to get late, so just packed it in for the day. Below are a couple shots of my aborted attempt.