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.

Tahoe Snow

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.

[Posted November 11, 2020]

As the Sierra Nevada mountain range starts to settle in for winter, let’s visit Lake Tahoe, at least virtually! As the snow settles on the large boulders which line the lake, interesting abstract patterns start to form which are fun to paint. The lake is too deep to freeze, so the myriad blues and greens of the water contrast against the whiteness of the snow and the dark evergreens. Soon the winter wonderland attracts skiers, snowboarders, and winter enthusiasts from around the world visiting the many ski resorts.

Showing in a gallery (now closed) in Tahoe City for many years, the lake is probably my most often painted subject. Visiting frequently in my car, motorcycle and RV, I painted it in all seasons, both plein air and studio versions. From the “quarantena dello studio”, today’s brief virus diversion is a studio painting of the east shore of the lake deeply blanketed in snow.

Endicott Arm

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.

“Endicott Arm”, 24×12, oil on canvas

The towering cliffs surrounded us effused with waterfalls tumbling down to the glacial carved inlet. Advances and declines of the massive Ice Age glaciers had scoured this area dozens of times. Waterfalls plunged from astonishing heights down steep fjord walls and into the azure water. The fresh air, enhanced by the fizzing and popping of the glacial ice in the salty sea as it slowly melts, was all around. Harbor seals eyed us as our cruise ship made it’s way up Endicott Arm.

We visited Endicott Arm on our 4th cruise to Alaska in 2017, hopping the boat in San Francisco for a 10 day round trip.

Today’s offering from the “Coraintín Stiúideo” is one of my “Vertical Water” series of the azure sea in Endicott Arm. 

Along Going to the Sun

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.

“Along Going to the Sun”, 28×22, oil over acrylic on canvas

[Nov 4, 2020]

While the nation impatiently waits for the results of the national election, how about a brief diversion from all the news! Let’s fly off to Montana…

One of the spectacular drives in the world is Going to the Sun road in Glacier Park Montana, It’s a spectacular 52-mile road that winds over passes, crosses the Continental Divide and travels through incredibly varied terrain—from glacial lakes to jagged cliffs. The views are spectacular at every turn, and for some, the steep terrain and hairpin turns can cause a bit of vertigo! From the “vinnustofu sóttkví” is a painting of one of the landmarks along this amazing road. Right at Logan Pass sits Reynolds Mountain. With an elevation of over 9000 feet, it towers over the pass like a citadel guarding the treasures of the high mountain terrain.

This painting of the iconic peak was actually an experiment. Most of the underpainting is in acrylic, and then finished off with oils. 

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”.

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”.

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/

Pigeon Point Lighthouse

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.

“Pigeon Point Lighthouse”, 24×12, oil on canvas

One of the prominent man made features on the San Mateo Coast of California, along the Pacific Ocean, is the Pigeon Point Lighthouse. Built in 1871, it is the tallest lighthouse on the western coast of the United States. It is still used for Coast Guard navigation, and a small overnight hostel is now housed in the old light keeper’s housing.

From the “Studio Bilangguan” is another ‘Vertical Water’ painting I did a couple years ago of the historic structure. You can read more about it here, and enjoy a short drone video of the area —
http://www.donaldneff.com/blog/pigeon-is-the-point/

Early Thaw

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.

“Early Thaw”, 30×40, oil on canvas

July 12,2020 

Ok. Seems like quite a few want to keep my daily virus diversion going, so I’ll keep posting paintings, perhaps not every day, though. 

Today’s painting from the “Studio Vault” is a larger painting in Yosemite Valley. Spring is one of the better times to go to the valley. As the snow pack melts, the waterfalls are at their peak. More falls are apparent as the summer dry creeks can turn into torrents as the sun melts the winter snow. As the Merced River rolls slowly by, Yosemite Falls is in the background during spring thaw