Donald Neff, Artist


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Donald Neff, Artist

Paintings of Donald Neff

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Art Demonstrations in Oil and Acrylic, Plein Air

Harley Davidson

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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.

July-September 2004

Monday-Wednesday, September 27-29, 2004

Painting in Vasona Park.

My easel in Los Gatos town square.

Yours Truly in the town square.


The Los Gatos Art Fest is quickly approaching, and in order to prepare for the 2 day plein air event, I have been exploring the town of Los Gatos. One of the rules of the competition is the painting has to be done in the the town limits. The town is about half hour drive from my home, across Silicon Valley.

Today, I met with several other participants in the show, Nick and Karen , to paint around the town square. I ended up painting a group of redwoods in the square.

On Wednesday, I also went to Vasona Park, in Los Gatos to scout out good landscape locations. Although I was looking for water scenes, the trees in Vasona are so beautiful, I decided to concentrate on them for the festival paint-out.

Monday, September 6, 2004

My easel and Harley at one of the magnificent vantage points along the Big Sur coast.

A view of the coastline.

On of the Germans on Harleys was kind enough to take my picture.


After spending the night at Paso Robles, I left early and headed over Highway 46 toards Cambria along the California coast. Highway 46 winds over long smooth curves through the golden hillsides past wineries, farms, almond groves, and streams. The cool air of the early morning was refreshing as the Harley purred along. Coming over the tops of the hills, the ocean came into view in the distance and Morro Rock which rises almost 600 feet over the Pacific looked like a little stone far down the coast.

After breakfast in Cambria at Moonstone Beach Bar and Grill, I headed up Highway 1 and the Big Sur Coast. This stretch of Highway 1 is considered one of the most spectacular drives in America, if not the world. For a distance of over 90 miles, Highway 1 hangs off the side of the California coastal range as it plunges thousands of feet straight into the ocean. It was a perfect day for the ride. This is the first time I have ridden the Harley up this coast and the going was spectacular!

Early in the morning, the ocean is a much lighter color and darkens as the day progresses. This is because the light hits the water at an angle, and bounces off the reflective surface. As the sun reaches it's apex, the rays are more direct, and reach further into the depths of the ocean. The ocean then becomes much more turquoise, turning a beautiful blue green. I watched this morphousness with interest all day long during the ride.

Along the way, a group of Harley riders passed me, or rather, I was driving so slow, I pulled over enough to let them by. At the next major viewpoint, there they were taking in the breathtaking coastline. They were a group from Hamburg, Germany, and had just spent 11 days touring all over California. They acted like they had thoroughly enjoyed the trip. One of them volunteered to take my photo, which is at the left.

Although I ended up doing only one plein air painting, I took almost 60 snapshots for future painting references.

I stopped and had a chat with group of men from Germany on rented Harleys.

Sunday, September 5, 2004




Since purchasing my 2003 Harley, I had been trying to arrange a rendezvous with a friend from LA, Bruce, who also owned a Harley. Well, after a year, we finally got our schedules together and decided to meet at the California Mid State Rally in Paso Robles.. I had decided to spend the night, and then take my time the next day going up the coast to do some painting.

A local buddy of mine, Pete, decided to ride down with me for the day. We took the back roads, Highway 25 from Hollister to San Miguel. It was a little warm, but a beautiful day for riding! Highway 25 follows the valleys of the mid coastal range of California, or pretty much through the middle of nowhere! This forgotten road of Cailfonia winds past many farms, horse ranches, vineyards, rivers, and a ton of solitude. We could have counted on one hand the number of cars we encountered the entire way. It was a great ride with hardly any traffic on this beautiful byway.

We arrived in Paso Robles around noon, and my local buddy, Pete returned home. Bruce, from LA, as it turned out was having headlight and tail light problems with his Harley, so he returned home without getting together.

Monday, August 30, 2004



Lately, I had been noticing the Seascape Gallery on my web site was pretty sparse. So, I have been doing more seascapes lately. I just finished on of Garrapata State park, which turned out fairly well. I think it is one of my best seascapes to date. You can see it on the left or in the Seascape Gallery, along with some other new works.

I have a trip to Big Sur planned soon, which will probably help increase the number of available seascapes on hand.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Along Alpine Road.


I have long said you could spend a lifetime painting the scenery on the San Francisco Peninsula. You have everything from spectacular ocean views, cliffs, redwood forests, streams, rivers, and mountains.

About 25 years ago I was painting in the middle of the peninsula in a redwood grove along Alpine Road. I had picked a nice pool in the creek to paint. About half way through, a pickup stopped, out jumped a huge dog which proceeded to jump, splash, and play in the pool I was trying to paint. I was getting a little perturbed as this canine was messing up the pool I was trying to paint. The dog's owner came over and started a conversation. He said it was his dog's favorite pool, and oh, by the way, how much do you want for the painting?

Well, I sold him the painting, and dropped by his house for a glass of wine.

Now, 25 years later, I had never been back to that same spot. I also had not taken the Harley out for a painting trip since late March when I encountered back problems. So off I went to look for the pool. I am not sure if I found the exact place, as streams have a way of changing after 25 years. I ended up doing a painting, though, and thoroughly enjoying the ride.

Monday, August 16, 2004

A couple of Monet's paintings in the exhibit at the Bellagio.


We took a short trip to Las Vegas the last few days, primarily to visit one of my wife's best friends, and attend her daughter's eighteenth birthday celebration.

While there, I sneaked off for a couple hours to see the Monet exhibit at the Bellagio Hotel. Claude Monet was a leader among the group of 19th-century painters known as the Impressionists. It was his life’s singular mission to capture the essence of nature and light with nothing more than paint and canvas. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston had agreed to loan the majority of the paintings from its world-renowned collection of works by Monet.

I had seen a few Monets before, but never this many in one place. I once read Monet, in some ways was much a product of the technology of his time. Tubes for painting had recently been invented, which allowed artists to be more portable, thus allowing them to go out and paint in nature. Also, many of the bright pigments were new allowing more intense colors in art. Monet, however was a genius of his time paving the way for new interpretations of art.

It was interesting to see how thick he built up his layers of paints. Maybe not as thick as Van Gough, but the surface of the canvas was layered quite thick with the paints.

Friday, July 9, 2004

Yours truly beside my painting at the South Bay Art Momentum.


This evening was the reception for the South Bay Art Momentum project at the Le Petit Trianon Theater in downtown San Jose. I had originally not planned on entering this show. My perception was, it was oriented to more modern type art and not the traditional realism I paint. The producer of the show, however, encouraged me to enter, so I did. I entered the painting "Reflections in Ellery" which was also accepted into the prestigious National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society annual show last year.

The show was an outstanding success. Over 350 attended the reception, and it was packed wall to wall.


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