Donald Neff, Artist


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Donald Neff, Artist

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WebLog History:

Oct-Dec 2005

Jul-Sep 2006

Apr-Jun 2006

Jan-Mar 2006

Oct-Dec 2005

Jul-Sep 2005

Apr-Jun 2005

Jan-Mar 2005

Oct-Dec 2004

Jul-Sep 2004

Apr-Jun 2004

Jan-Mar 2004

Oct-Dec 2003

Jul-Sep 2003

Apr-Jun 2003

Jan-Mar 2003





A Personal Journal of Art

This WebLog or "Blog" is a journal of my personal experience with creating, observing, research, musing and other information about art. Note that dates are in reverse order.

April-June 2004

Saturday, May 22, 2004




After a lazy morning brunch, a little art gallery scouting, and buying a few souvenirs for the family, I returned home to San Jose. It had been a great week, painting with 20 other great artists for a week in Grand Teton National Park.

Friday, May 21, 2004

The group watching Jim give a demo.

Jim Wilcox giving a painting demonstration.

My easel with a work in progress of Teewinot Peak.


This morning was another gloomy day. Not quite as bad as yesterday, but enough to wonder if we would get out to paint.

After doing a few critiques in the studio, it cleared off and Jim said "lets go do some painting while the weather is good". So, off we went to Taggart Lake Trail head. Jim did a demo, and then we all commenced to start painting. I only had time to finish one painting of Teewinot Peak as we had to return early for a final critique and to end the workshop.

Since we ended a little early, and I had been living on fast food all week, I treated myself to a nice restaurant. The elk steak at Burkes Chop House was excellent. It was the first square meal I had had since last Sunday!

Thursday, May 20, 2004

The group painting in Jim Wilcox's studio on a rainy day.

Another studio shot.

Having a great Mexican dinner in Jim's home.


I woke up this morning to a gloomy, rainy, sleety day. Not great for outdoor painting! We had expected at least one day like this, so Jim had backup plans. After doing some morning critiques of the prior day's work, we headed off to the National Museum of Wildlife Art , which is practically next door to Jim's studio. If you are ever in Jackson, be sure to visit the museum, which is a couple miles north of town. The museum holds about 2,300 pieces of art from some of the most well known wild life artists in the world.

After the museum, we retreated to Jim's studio to set up and paint indoors. I started on a small painting of Firehole Falls in Yellowstone National Park. I used an old photograph taken over 20 years ago as a study. The weather began to clear, and some went out to various spots to paint, but I decided to stay and finish the painting indoors.

That evening, Jim and his wife were gracious enough to invite the entire workshop to dinner at their home. It was a grand fest with enchiladas, and good mexican fare.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

The group watching Jim Wilcox giving a painting demonstration.

Jim Wilcox giving a painting demonstration.

My painting in progress of the Grand Teton .


Our painting destination today is Willow Flats Overlook. Willow Flats are freshwater marshes stretching between Jackson Lake Dam and Colter Bay. Mornings and evenings, Willow Flats become the preferred feeding area for elk and moose. Streams that flow throughout the flats are home to beavers, muskrats and waterfowl. The Tetons form a perfect backdrop for painting.

It was a great sunny day, and even started to turn hot. After a demo by Jim, we all set to work on our own paintings. After several false starts, I managed to finish 2 paintings. The first was of Mount Moran, and then later in the day, I finished one of the Grand Teton as the sun was setting behind it.

It was a long day. I didn't get back to the room until after 9:00. Just in time for a quick bite to eat, a session in the motel hot tub, and then to bed.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

The group painting along String Lakes.

One of the artists painting along String Lakes.

One of my works in progress along String Lakes.

Another painting from along String Lakes.


We started at 8:00 today. We began by each artist giving a critique of another artists painting from the day before. Although not the most enjoyable experience, I think I learned more being critiqued and giving a critique than any other activity during the week. Most of the points people made in the critiques were well known principles of painting, however, the experience of actually have to give and receive was well worth it.

That afternoon we headed out to String Lakes for more painting. As the afternoon wore on, rain and snow clouds came and went. We started to get some rain, a little snow or sleet and other inclement weather. Everyone was sticking it out, however, until it started to downpour. After almost packing it in for the day, all of a sudden the precipitation cleared, and we were good to go for the rest of the day. I finished 2 paintings, primarily of the water around the lakes.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Painting Mt. Moran. This photo was taken by a fellow artist. That's me in the lower left hand corner.

Jim Wilcox giving some pointers to one of the artists in the workshop.

My easel along Schwabacher Landing.

One of the workshop artists painting by Schwabacher Landing.



The class was to meet at the Wilcox Gallery at 9:00 AM. There were 20 artists in the class, many of whom were long time professionals, and as I found out later, some showed in art galleries in the area. Virtually all were top notch artists.

After instructions and some orientation by Jim, we headed out to Schwabacher Landing in Grand Teton National Park. Schwabacher Landing is on a dirt road off Highway 89 and is well known as a great place to view wildlife. We set up close to some beaver ponds and our assignment was to do 3 "quick-draws". A "quick-draw" is a painting done in about an hour or so. The object is to capture the scene in as short a time as possible. By doing so, you generally find out you can capture the essence of a place quicker than toiling away in the studio.

Towards the end of day, my back was starting to get sore. I had been somewhat inactive the last month or so due to lower back problems, and didn't want to push it. I had finished two paintings, and not sure if I could do another. After relaxing it bit in the car, I was able to do another quick painting of the Grand Teton.

We ended up painting untill around 8:00 and I got all three quick-draws done. While painting my second, a beaver slowly winded it's way past me down the river. Probably the last painting I did was the best.

By the time I grabbed a fast food dinner, got back to the hotel room, and relaxed in the motel spa, I was exhausted and ready for bed.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

A shot of the Tetons along String Lakes.

Your's Truly posing at Jenny Lake.

Long time friends, Larry and Mary Hayworth enjoying a dinner of wild game.

Larry and Mary Hayworth and Your's Truly posing at the restaurant.


I spent Sunday running errands, getting supplies and stuff I needed for the week. Little did I realize, it was a good thing I did this before the workshop. I would find out later, we had practically no time except to paint all week!
After a late brunch, and shopping I decided to drive out to String Lakes, one of my favorite spots in the Teton National Park. We would also be painting out at the lakes during the workshop.

Evening was spent at dinner with two old friends, Larry and Mary Hayworth. The Hayworths have lived in Jackson for over 8 years. Some of Jackson's restaurants serve wild game. I couldn't wait to try the Buffalo Prime Rib again! It was as good as I remembered it.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

A few shots of the Tetons.

The Grand Teton.


Jim Wilcox and the Wilcox Gallery has been a fixture in Jackson Wyoming for over 35 years. Jim is considered one of the top landscape artists in the West, if not the entire United States. He has won some of the top honors in western art including the Prix de West Award. His paintings are generally fairly loose with a masterly interpretation of light and color. He also is a much sought after instructor, and his workshops fill up quickly.

Several months ago, I applied for his Master's Plein Air Workshop. This was the first time he would conduct an advanced workshop, and attendees had to go through a screening process in order to attend. We would be painting primarily in Grand Teton National Park, just north of Jackson and Jim's Gallery. I was accepted into the workshop, and today was off to Jackson for the workshop which starts on Monday.

Some of you know I have been fighting a bad back for the last several months, and have not been very active. In spite of that, I loaded up my paints, pain killers and flew into Jackson today.


Next :Jan-Feb 2004

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