Donald Neff, Artist


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Donald Neff, Artist

Paintings of Donald Neff

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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.

January-March 2006


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Painting from the hills above San Jose.

"Evergreen II" plein air.



I previously wrote about painting the skies around San Jose in the February 19 entry, so won't repeat some of those musings here. I haven't done too many cloudscapes, so have been anxious to work on them some more.

We have had a series of storms the last couple of weeks, seeming to come in about every other day. I had been waiting for just the right skies between the storms, and today looked like a good day.

It started out raining, but by late morning was starting to clear, and the big cumulus clouds started forming. Once again, I dropped everything and headed up the hills behind my house to the same spot I had painted about 3 weeks ago.

The skies where spectacular. I commenced working on a 12x16 canvas, but after about 15 minutes, it started to sprinkle. I was under the last wet remnants of this storm front. Although I don't mind the rain, I have had paintings ruined by a little too much rain, so headed to the car to wait out the anticipated short cloudburst. After about 10 minutes, the rain passed on and I was able to complete the painting.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Subject of the first plein air along the Big Sur coast.

My easel. The light has changed substantially since I started.

Finished painting.



It's always great, as the saying goes, to "kill two birds with one stone". The Amgen Tour of California, a bicycle race patterned after the Tour de France is passing through town. The world's top professional teams are competing over an eight-day, 700-mile race on a route that includes the California redwoods, wine country and the Pacific Coast.

The tour was in San Jose yesterday, and today is racing from Monterey down Hwy 1 through the spectacular Big Sur coastline to San Luis Obispo.

What an excuse to go paint Big Sur! I can spend the day painting, and then watch the race as it goes by.

I left early this morning on the Harley, and arrived at Garrapata State Park, just south of Carmel around 8:30. The coastline was wonderful in the morning light! I was well into the first painting of the day, when around 10:30, took a break and waited for the race to go by. They arrived about 10:45. As I had heard...they pass quickly! Only took about 15 seconds for the race pack to go by. I was snapping pictures as quick as I could, but only got about 5 shots!

I finished the painting, which turned out quite well, took a lunch break, and did another painting from almost the same spot, but looking in a different direction.

My back was starting to get tired, so by mid-afternoon it was time to pack the Harley up and head home.

The bike race approaching...

...and passing by.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

"Evergreen" plein air.



Having spent my adolescent years in East Texas, I am always enchanted by the beautiful skies and clouds when I go back to visit. Huge thunderheads, magnificent in their awesome power would bring refreshing, but short bursts of moisture during the summer months. Huge puffy cumulus clouds would fill the sky rolling slowly past in no hurry to get anywhere.

Here in the San Francisco Bay area, we rarely see such wonder in the skies. Although the skies here have their special charm, being close to the Pacific, the 'air' is usually a non-event. The exception to this is just after a winter storm. Such a day was today. The skies were so beautiful, I dropped everything, and rushed about a mile up the hill behind my house, and did the painting on the left.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Lower Yosemite Falls

El Capitan shrouded in winter weather.

Looking through the front windshield of my car during the snow storm.


The morning was looking pretty dreary. The forecast was for partly cloudy, with a slight chance of precipitation. During breakfast, it started to lightly snow. Huh-oh...there goes my painting day. I had hopes of clearing skies and a little sun.

A new trail had been built to Lower Yosemite Falls, so it was time to do a little exploring while waiting for the sun to come out. After the morning hike, it was time to check out of my room. As soon as I checked out, lo and behold...out comes the sun...and then disappears just as quickly! I don't mind painting in inclement weather, but the snow gradually started to get heavier & heavier, until it was almost a blizzard.

Still having hopes of clearing, I drove around, but mainly waited in the car watching a winter wonderland form in the valley as the snow kept falling and piling up. At about mid-afternoon, I decided to call it a day and head for home.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Tunnel View.

Painting at Tunnel View.


It seems whenever I paint Yosemite "en plein air", I like to do more intimate scenes. Today, it was time to break that habit and do a vista. The perfect vista here, and perhaps one of the most famous vista's in the world is at "Tunnel View". From here, you can see most of the valley with El Capitan on the left, Half Dome in the background, and Bridalveil Falls on the right.

The scene was too immense to capture on one least it was too wide for any blank canvas I had brought. So, I decided to concentrate on the south wall and Bridalveil Falls. I worked till mid afternoon, and then called it a day. It was getting to late to start another painting, so time for relaxation.

Note To Self: Next time I want to do a Yosemite panoramic vista...bring an extra wide canvas!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Merced River at Cathedral Picnic area.

My easel along the river.

Yosemite late afternoon glow.


I recently received a coupon for one free nights stay at Yosemite Lodge if at least one other night was paid. What a good excuse for a trip to Yosemite! Yosemite is wonderful this time of year as the huge crowds of the summer are gone with few people around, and the valley has a hush you don't hear other times of the year.

I left early this morning, and made the usual trek across the San Juaquin Valley and to the park. The weather outlook was good for my three day trip. This has been a rather dry year for snow, so I was not expecting much snow, if any on the valley floor.

As soon as I entered the valley, I stopped at Cathedral picnic area. This little picnic area is right on the Merced River and has beautiful views of El Capitan and other valley features. The sun was perfect to do a painting of the upstream bend of the Merced as it winds it's way past a sand bar. I worked on the painting until early afternoon, then decided it was time to check into the lodge.

After settling in the was time to drive around and look for another painting site as the sun started dipping lower. A perfect spot was found along the road by Curry Village. The afternoon winter sun was streaming straight down the valley floor illuminating the north wall with an incredible glow. I didn't have much time, but started to paint anyway. After about 45 minutes, I realized the light was changing too rapidly to finish the painting and would soon be gone. I will have to finish this one another day.

Tuesday, January 30, 2006



One of the paintings I sold at Eriksen in the last year.



Sadly, I had to travel to Half Moon Bay today to pick up all my works on display at Eriksen Gallery. After about 30 years, they were closing their doors. The gallery had originally been started by Mrs. Eriksen, who passed away several years ago. It was taken over by her daughter, Teresa, and they were doing well until the landlord tripled their rent. Since it was not a full time endeavor for Teresa, and her husband Gene, they decided to close their doors.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

My easel at the ranch.

My easel at the ranch.

Cathy working on a masterpiece.



Rancho San Antonio County Park is one of Santa Clara County's most popular parks. This 165 acre County Park, combined with the adjacent 2,135 Midpeninsula Regional Open Space Preserve (MROSD), provides 2,300 acres of trails and other recreational features.

I decided to join the Peninsula Outdoor Painters group today. It was a beautiful day, and I heard they were expecting a lot of painters. I wasn't disappointed. Over 25 artists showed up! After we painted for several hours, it was time for a lunch break. Everyone gathered as we reviewed everybody's work.

Lunchtime art viewing.

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Harley in the parking lot.

My easel at the preserve.


It had been awhile since I have been out with the Los Gatos Art Association plein air painters, so joined them today at the Arastrader Preserve. Arastradero Preserve is a 609-acre open space preserve in the Palo Alto foothills. It was also a great day for a Harley ride, so I met Nick White and some of the others for a morning of painting.

I did one painting, basically across the street from the parking lot. The morning sun was illuminating an eucalyptus tree against the cool shadows of the hills, which made for a great composition.

Painting of the Eucalyptis.


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