WINDY, FROTHY, BLUSTERY, SUNNY, and GLORIOUS!!

I haven’t seen Garrapata coastline this frothy in a long time. I went out with the Monterey Bay Plein Air Painters Wednesday to the coastline. It was such a beautiful day with the unusual pounding surf. Only a few artists showed up this time, and some quit because of the wind.

Generally the paintings I do on these paintout events are just for fun, and not to keep. However this one I might keep and touch up in the studio. About two hours of work.

Enjoy this short video of the pounding surf by Soberanes Point along the beautiful California coastline.

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.

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

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”

Hakone Pals

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.

“Hakone Pals”, 24×12, oil on canvas, plein air 

Over 100 years old, Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, CA, is one of the oldest Japanese estate, retreat and gardens in the Western Hemisphere. In 1915, two San Francisco arts patrons, Oliver and Isabel Stine, intending to build a summer retreat, purchased the 18-acre site on which Hakone now stands. Inspired by her trips to Japan, Isabel Stine modeled the gardens upon (and named them after) Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. 

Having visited Hakone in Japan, I especially appreciate the namesake, and the countryside there is beautiful views of Lake Ashi and Mt Fuji.

From the “Studio Keimusho”, another “Vertical Water” painting completed for the Los Gatos Art Festival of Hakone Garden. Look at the painting and can you guess why it was named “Hakone Pals”??

You can read more about this painting here–
http://www.donaldneff.com/blog/hot-hot-hot/

Merced Reflections

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.

“Merced Reflections”, 16×8, oil on panel, plein air

Several years ago I started a series called “Vertical Water”. I add to the series occasionally with both studio and plein air works. This one was painted en plein air on Swinging Bridge in Yosemite Valley, Feb 2017. It was quite cold, so I touched it up and finished it in the studio. That year was a great trip as I visited my painting on display in the Yosemite Museum, saw the firefall, and executed some good paintings.
From the “Studio Börtön”, you can see more vertical water paintings here:
https://www.pinterest.com/next…/the-vertical-water-series/
You can read about the trip and enjoy a short video here:
http://www.donaldneff.com/blog/fire-water-and-ice/

Tenaya

Since April 2020 I have 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.

“Tenaya”, 9×12, oil on panel, plein air

What a magnificent scene! I still remember as a kid first visiting Tenaya Lake and over the decades regularly return to it both physically, and in my art doing plein air and studio paintings of the area.

One of the easily accessible alpine lakes in the high Sierra, Tenaya Lake is also one of the most spectacular. Named after Yosemite Ahwahneechee Chief Tenaya, it is nestled in a granite basin surrounded by soaring granite domes, peaks, and lodgepole forests. Along Hwy 120 (Tioga Pass Road), it is also a sports destination with hiking, swimming, and boating.

Yesterday I posted a plein air piece painted during a trip to Yosemite. From the “Studio Malliberejo” is another one from the same trip.

Yosemite Morning

Since April 2020 I have 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.

“Yosemite Morning”, 12×24, oil on canvas, plein air

September 13,2020  · Today a picture popped up on my Facebook memories page of the most liked photo of 2017. I’ll post it again in my ongoing daily painting as a virus diversion. This is a plein air piece I did during a trip to Yosemite in 2012. I think I still have the painting, but since most my works are still in boxes waiting for their new studio, can’t check for sure. You can read more about that trip and other paintings here–
http://www.donaldneff.com/blog/yosemite-high-country/

From the “Studio Zigorra”, 
“Yosemite Morning”, 12×24, oil on canvas, plein air

Asilomar Splash

“Asilomar Splash”, 8×16, oil on panel, plein air

The sea was wonderful.

The air was wonderful.

The sounds of crashing waves and seagulls drifting in the air was wonderful. The wonderful sky gradually went from morning overcast to nice and sunny.

The sun was wonderful.

Half the reason I paint is to just go out, sit, and ponder wonderful nature for a time. And I always bring back a remembrance of that moment.

Monterey Bay Plein Air Painters Association is a local group who, among other activities, holds a group paintout once a week, usually on Wednesdays. An art buddy, Al Shamble, picks the locations, and conducts the events. They met on Thursday this week at Asilomar State Beach in Pacific Grove, so I went and spent time with them.

Unusually, only about 5 or 6 of us showed up. I sat in my camping chair and for a couple wondrous hours did a little painting. Here’s a few pictures of the day.

Tee Time

Since April 2020 I have 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.

“Tee Time”, 15×30, oil on canvas

Today’s offering from the “Studio Up the River”, is for all the golfers. Some years ago I participated in a plein air festival at La Rinconada Golf Course in Los Gatos, CA. I did three paintings, two of which sold, but still have this one of the first fairway looking east towards the rising sun…just about time to tee off.