Carmel Art Festival

The Carmel Art Festival is considered to be one of the top plein air events on the west coast. I have been honored to join about 60 other artists juried into the show this year, which takes place May 17-20. The artists will paint “en plein air” for two days, and the resulting works will be auctioned off on Saturday, May 19. More details can be found by clicking on Carmel Art Festival.

Last year, my first time in the show, I was honored with the “Best in Oils” award, the painting shown below.


“Garrapata Colors” * 12×16 * Oil on canvas board

Last year, family and other commitments limited my participation in plein air events, although they are one of my favorite art venues. This year I am similarly busy, but hopefully can participate in more. Stay tuned.

Demo at the Los Gatos Art Association Monthly Meeting

I have just been invited to do a demonstration painting at the Los Gatos Art Association monthly meeting on March 10, 2007. The scheduled guest artist had a medical emergency, so they asked me to fill in. Prospective members and guests are welcome to this meeting which takes place from 1:00-3:00 pm. For more information click here.

I will probably demonstrate my ‘wet-into-wet’ oil painting technique I use while painting ‘en plein air’, and most of my studio work. Below is a sample seascape painted entirely on location using the technique.


San Juan Bautista Revisited

I am writing this several days after the fact…something I will explain later.

The Los Gatos Plein Air was painting at Mission San Juan Bautista again, as it is becoming a favorite spot for many. Coming down from San Jose, the sky varied from clear, to cloudy, to heavy fog, so wasn’t sure what to expect. I arrived a little before 9:00am, and the entire town was enveloped in heavy fog. It was burning off quickly though, so we scouted around and started to paint.

I decided on an unusual angle lookup up from El Camino Real at the old mission. Below is the painting. I added a little pathway leading up from the foreground just to add some interest to the work. I also omitted a picket fence which ran right in front of the mission. I am not sure if I should put it in or not. It would add interest, but detract from the mission behind it. Anybody have an opinion about that?


Below are a few more picts of the group painting.


After finishing the first painting, I had about an hour before lunch, so did a little study of the clouds. The skies had broken into a beautiful cloudy day. I did the below painting in a little over 30 minutes. I like the quick roughness of it.


Around lunchtime the group retired to a local mexican restaurant. We had a great time talking about art and a lot of other subjects. On the way home, the lunch was feeling a little heavy on my stomach, but I didn’t think much about it. Around 6:00 that night, I started feeling ill, and had a few ‘dry heaves’. Now it is 3 days later, and I am finally feeling normal. Although my wife thinks it may have been the flu, I don’t think I will patronize that restaurant again!

Art School Confidential

I had always wanted to see last year’s movie, Art School Confidential, so finally rented it this weekend. It was critically acclaimed (although somewhat mixed reception at the box office), so was looking forward to sitting down to a good flick. The movie is about a young, very talented artist who enters a prestigious art school only to have his hopes dashed with the manic antics of the students and professors.

I never attended art school, and I thought it was a funny tongue in cheek, offbeat parody until I viewed the “making of” extra where the screen writer said it fairly well portrayed his experience in four years of art school in the late seventies.

I would recommend the movie to artists, especially younger artists. Be forwarned, though that it is very crude, raunchy, and explicit in some portions, and very much deserves the R rating.


Another Day With LGAA at Santa Teresa Park

Last January 15, I painted in Santa Teresa County Park with the Los Gatos Plein Air group. Since returning from Yosemite, I had not been out painting, and the LGAA was going to visit this park again, so I decided to join them.

It was a wonderful day, a little warmer, but not quite as clear as the last trip to Santa Teresa County Park. Since we were on a hill with valley’s on both sides, I decided to paint the Santa Teresa Valley side of the mountain which was the opposite side I painted last time. I did one 8×10 of the Santa Teresa neighborhood of San Jose, then a little 5×5 looking out the same way, but a little more southerly. Below are some photos of the day.


My easel while painting the overlook to San Jose’s Santa Teresa neighborhood


“Gateway to Silicon Valley” – 8×10 – Oil on panel


David at his easel.


“Santa Teresa Overlook” – 5×5 – Oil on panel

The photos of the paintings are straight from the easel and not very good quality. I will try to get some better photos in the next day or so.

Yosemite Day 3

Today was the last day of my short trip to Yosemite. I called Scott Burdick around 8:00 and he was already out photographing the morning light, and getting ready to paint. I went out to join him in a meadow fairly close to Yosemite Lodge. It was 27 degrees out.
By the time I got there, Scott was already painting. He was doing a study of Yosemite Falls and the surrounding cliffs. I decided to paint the morning sun as it hit the Washington Column, North Dome, and Royal Arches. The light was just wonderful. The granite cliffs were lit up as if generating their own luminescence. Below is a photo of me in the field along with the painting.


The painting took a couple of hours, and I had to get back to check out of my motel room. Scott then caught up with me and we had a quick lunch together. Then, it was back to the same field to do one last painting before time to head home.

I always use standard size canvas panels, but the last time I had painted Yosemite, I wished I had brought some wider, more panorama canvas. I brought a couple this time, so it was time to try it. My last painting of the trip was, again Cathedral Rocks, but this time from a different vantage point and a wider view. The panorama of the scene gives you a little better idea of the magnificent of Yosemite Valley.


The panoramic painting turned out well, I think and I will try the different sizes in other paintings where it warrants it in the future. Besides, it is refreshing to try something a little different!
Here is a photo of Scott. He was painting Sentinel Rock as it loomed over the meadow.


I finished the painting a little after 2:00 and it was time to head home. After packing up and saying goodbye to Scott, I wound my way out of the valley and the Sierras back to San Jose.

Yosemite Day 2

Since I had only gotten about 3 hours of sleep prior to coming to Yosemite, I decided to sleep in today. During the winter, the sun doesn’t really start hitting the valley in a consistent way until mid morning anyway.

After a late breakfast, I decided to paint a famous turnout called Valley View. With the granite face of El Capitan on the left, Bridalveil Falls on the right, and the Merced flowing at your feet, this is probably one of the most photographed scenes in Yosemite. Although a painting of it may be considered a cliche by some, I wanted to paint it anyway. This time of year, Valley View is always in the shade, so there was a lot of ice and snow still around.

I started in on my 16×20 panel and painted everything down to about the valley floor. By then, my hands a feet were so cold, I decided to finish the painting later. I probably didn’t come as well prepared for the cold as I should, and Scott Burdick later gave me some good tips on keeping warm. Below is my easel at Valley View. I will post the final painting at a later date as soon as I touch it up.

Driving back towards Yosemite Lodge, I saw Scott’s car along the side of the road. He wasn’t around, so I left a note to call me. I proceeded on to another location to do a small 6×8 study of the cliffs below Glacier Point. Below are some pictures of the scene and the painting.
Towards late afternoon, Scott called, and we decided to have dinner together. We originally wanted to eat at the Awahnee Lodge Dining Room, as Scott had not been there, but they had a dress code, so we ate at the Mountain Room in Yosemite Lodge, which is still a great place for dining. After dinner, we agreed to meet in the morning and paint together.

Yosemite Day 1

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am off to Yosemite today. I decided to post to my blog after the trip, so am writing this several days later.

I had a fitful nights sleep, but managed to get on the road around 6:00 am. By the time I was going over Pacheco Pass into the San Juaquin Valley, the sun was an orange orb just rising over the distant Sierras. After a stop to buy some longjohns (thermal underwear) since it was going be quite cold, and a brief nap on the road, I finally wound my way into Yosemite Valley.

As I was just coming into the valley, an artist was painting right by the road. He was all bundled up and braving the cold of the morning to paint. It was probably in the 20’s. Well, I had to stop and meet this hardy artist! I pulled over, we exchanged hellos, and found out it was Scott Burdick. Scott is a internationally well known artist who primarily paints people and far off places, but he is also a well regarded plein air painter. Below is a picture of Scott along the roadside.


Scott was spending two weeks in Yosemite by himself. We promised to meet up sometime later, so I moved on to find a place to paint before checking into Yosemite Lodge. I settled on a field close to Cathedral Rocks. The light was great, just glancing blows off the massive granite structures. A few shots are below of the site and the painting.



The painting was finished about 2:00 so I decided to head over to the Yosemite Lodge to see if an early check-in was possible. It was, so I got settled, and went back out to paint and explore. I ran into Scott again, out taking pictures. We decided to maybe get together later to paint but he had to switch motels, so after leaving my cell phone number, we went our separate ways. By that time the light wasn’t great for painting, so I headed to the room for some relaxation. I had only about 3 hours sleep the night before, so a nice dinner and little rest was in store.

Off to Yosemite

I am off to Yosemite Park tomorrow for two nights and three days of plein air painting. Most every year I get a special coupon where I get one night free for every night paid. It is too much to pass up, so here we go! The weather is supposed to be clear, but cold. I will try to update my blog while there, but am not sure about Internet access, so will play it as we go.

Below is a plein air painting I did on a trip last year around the same time.

Valley View * 16×20 * Oil on board

Painting Santa Teresa Park with LGAA

Coyote Peak stands like a sentinel guarding the southern gate to the Silicon Valley in South San Jose. It dominates the ridge of the Santa Teresa Hills and greets visitors approaching the Bay Area from the south. The peak is part of the mostly wild and undeveloped lands protected by Santa Teresa County Park. The Los Gatos Plein Air group was painting there today, so I decided to join them.

It was quite cold, and I was recovering from a cold, so I waited until it was a little warmer to head out to the park. Although it is only about 15 minutes from my home, I had actually never gone there. What a great little park! It sits on top of the hill where you can see all around the Silicon Valley area.

Quite a few of the LGAA group was already there. I decided to paint the little valley leading down to Almaden Valley, which is close to the world famous IBM Almaden Research facility (although I could not see it from my vantage point). The painting turned out pretty, good, probably a ‘keeper’. Below are a few pictures from the morning.

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Above is my work for the morning…”Almaden Valley Overlook” * 9×12 * Oil on canvas board.