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/

Primary Swell

A new painting from the Neff Studio.

“Primary Swell, Marina”, 22×28, oil on canvas

We can normally hear the surf faintly in the distance two miles inland at our home inn Marina, CA, especially at night. But this was different. It sounded like distant crackling thunder as if a huge squall was hovering over Monterey Bay. The sound seemed to reverberate through the neighborhood.

Last January, Monterey Bay was experiencing unusually high surf and tides due to confluence of the moon, storms, etc. Some call it a primary swell. I went out early morning and did a little droning and video, eventually producing a short video, shown below.

This new painting is a drones eye view of the Monterey Bay coastline in Marina, CA. I extracted a still shot from the video I took that morning as my study for this piece. I was taken with this view as it shows the back of the wave and not your normal seascape. The sun is just starting to peek over the dunes and cliffs of Marina Dunes Beach illuminating the crest of the waves.

In case you missed it, here is the original video I produced back in January .

Marina Dunes Pathway

“Marina Dunes Pathway”, 16×20, oil on panel

Huge sand dunes line the southeastern side of Monterey Bay, some, I am guessing, over 60 feet high.   Created by the constant ocean and winds, the dunes form a barrier between the bay and inland areas such as the towns of Marina and Seaside, plus the fertile Salinas Valley.  The dunes are a patchwork of sand, ice-plant, grasses, and other vegetation.  Wildlife is also found here with shorebirds, raccoons, coyotes, squirrels, and a unique legless lizard.

At one time, when this was part of Fort Ord, the dunes were populated with rifle ranges, munition depots, and other military installations.  There was even an immense officers club and recreational facility overlooking the bay, which eventually fell into disrepair as the coast eroded beneath.

We frequently take walks along the coastal dunes of Monterey Bay near our new home in Marina.  This painting is a pathway to Marina Dunes Beach and Preserve.  What drew me to this scene is the late afternoon sun filtering through the trees and lighting up the colorful ice-plant.  The ocean was not visible from this viewpoint but I wanted to orient the viewer to where you are. So, I did use a little artists license, and removed some of the dunes so you could see the bay and surf.  I did this piece several months ago, but was not entirely satisfied, so dabbled on it a bit off and on.   I might dabble a bit more, but call it finished…for now.

Big Sur Cove

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.

“Big Sur Cove”, 24×18, oil on canvas

June 29,2020  Saturday I posted a short video of a motorcycle ride along the Big Sur coast. I have taken several rides along this spectacular coast during the virus craziness just to get out of the house. Haven’t heard of anyone catching anything just breezing along on a motorcycle! We always drive by this Rocky Creek Bridge scene, today’s offering from the “Studio Clink”.

China Cove Panorama

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.

“China Cove Panorama”, 12×36, oil on canvas

“The greatest meeting of land and water in the world.”
–landscape artist Francis McComas.

Not too far from my new home in Marina, is Point Lobos, the crown jewel of California’s coastal state parks. The views are endless and I could spend a lifetime painting just there. Today’s offering from the “Studio Impoundment” is a view of China Cove, which according to legend inspired Robert Lewis Stephenson to write the book Treasure Island. 

Asilomar Splash

“Asilomar Splash”, 8×16, oil on panel, plein air

The sea was wonderful.

The air was wonderful.

The sounds of crashing waves and seagulls drifting in the air was wonderful. The wonderful sky gradually went from morning overcast to nice and sunny.

The sun was wonderful.

Half the reason I paint is to just go out, sit, and ponder wonderful nature for a time. And I always bring back a remembrance of that moment.

Monterey Bay Plein Air Painters Association is a local group who, among other activities, holds a group paintout once a week, usually on Wednesdays. An art buddy, Al Shamble, picks the locations, and conducts the events. They met on Thursday this week at Asilomar State Beach in Pacific Grove, so I went and spent time with them.

Unusually, only about 5 or 6 of us showed up. I sat in my camping chair and for a couple wondrous hours did a little painting. Here’s a few pictures of the day.

Garappata Vista

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.

“Garappata Vista”, 30×40, oil on canvas

During this lockdown, I have ridden my Harley down the Big Sur Coastline a couple times for a break to get out of the house. Today’s offering from the “Studio Clink” is a view I drive by along this spectacular coastline in Garappata State Park. 

Fort Ord Dunes

“Fort Ord Dunes”, 12×24, oil on canvas

With sweeping views of Monterey Bay and 4 miles of beaches, Fort Ord Dunes is one of the newer California state parks.   The afternoon sun turns the foaming waves a bright silvery color, and illuminates the red, orange, yellow and green ice plant fields along the dunes. 

We have been walking the trails along this beautiful Marina coastline near our new home in Marina, CA recently and I just had to put it to canvas. 

Comin’ at Ya

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.

Coming’ at Ya, 24×12, oil on canvas

The waves come crashing in, pounding the narrow walls, rushing in and out creating thunderous sound. With sea spray in your face, there is nothing like standing on a bluff over the thrashing waves…especially in Big Sur, California!

Today’s offering from the studio hoosegow is another vertical water painting. This piece is a cove in Garrapata State Park, now not too far from our new home we just moved to. Be sure to click on the picture to see the entire painting.

You can read more about the location and also pictures of the development of this piece here…

Wild Hokkaido

Shimadomarigyo Harbor
Shimadomarigyo Harbor. 8×10, acrylic on canvas

Hokkaido is the northernmost, second largest, and least developed of Japan’s four main islands. The winters are harsh with lots of snowfall, below zero temperatures and frozen seas, while in summer it does not get as hot and humid as in the other parts of Japan.  With unspoiled nature, Hokkaido attracts many outdoor lovers, including skiers and snowboarders in the colder seasons. Hikers, cyclists, and campers come during summer and fall.  It is considered to have some of the best snow powder in the world.

I just returned from a couple weeks in Japan visiting my son, who recently moved to Sapporo, the capital and largest city in Hokkaido.  After 5 years living in SW rural Japan, he wanted a change of scenery so moved to northern Japan and one of the snowiest metropolis’s in the world. Sapporo hosted the first ever Olympics in Asia, the 1972 Winter games.  

Sapporo
Sapporo


I won’t turn this weblog entry into a travelogue (More photos can be found on my Facebook Page,) but I did have a chance to do some painting.  We spent a lot of time doing the normal tourist things, and it was a little rainy and cloudy off and on our entire visit.  I normally paint in oils while at home, but as usual, I brought my acrylic travel kit which is much easier to handle on international trips.  BTW, in case you missed it, some time ago, Plein Air Magazine published an article about my traveling with acrylic paints, you can see here.

Soon after we arrived, we realized it would be raining in a few days, so we took advantage of the sunshine, rented a car, and drove around the Hokkaido countryside for a couple days.  Our first daytrip was south of Sapporo where we enjoyed rural Hokkaido and visited a couple lakes.  The lakes in this area are all caldera lakes, that is, they are ancient volcanos. 

The first was Lake Shikotsu-ku  We spent some time at the visitors center (we were in a national park), and I did a quick 90 minute study, plus a drone flight.  The lake is very reminiscent of Lake Tahoe, except without all the boulders along the shore.  

We then went on to Lake Toya, which was just as pretty, but it was getting late in the day, so flew the drone, and then headed home.


The next day, Justin and I headed to the Shakotan coastal area.  What a spectacular coastline!   It is much like the coastal areas of California, but with little Japanese fishing villages scattered throughout.  We drove to the fishing village of Shakotan, had lunch, and then backtracked to a place I had spotted on our drive there to paint. 

Shimadomarigyo Harbor is a small fishing harbor along the coast with a view of Candle Rock, an unusual natural monolith.  It was a beautiful view, but the winds were around 20mph with gusts up to 40.  Even my tubes of paint were being blown away.  I moved to a boat shed to get out of the wind, but it was still too much to handle, so I made a quick study to finish the painting later.

The final painting is at the top of this weblog entry.  Here are a few shots of the area…

I was disappointed the strong winds prevented me from flying my drone and capturing this amazing place from above, so this area is definitely on my list for the next visit!


There doesn’t seem to be as many temples and shrines in Hokkaido as in other parts of Japan.  My assumption is this is because Hokkaido was the last area where the Japanese people populated.  Prior to that, the Ainu indigenous people inhabited the area. 

However, there was a little Buddhist shrine a few blocks from Justin’s apartment, called Nantoku Shrine, so I spent a few hours painting it.

The shrine in the painting looks a little askew, so will correct that when I have time.


One of the largest parks in Sapporo, Nakajima Park, is within walking distance of Justin’s apartment, and it was still Sakura (cherry blossom time), so I painted there twice.

The next day was still nice, so I went back to the same place and did another painting facing a different way.

 


Overall it was a wonderful journey and we saw new parts of Japan.  I was a little disappointed I wasn’t able to fly my drone more, but when we were at places where it is allowed, the weather didn’t cooperate. 

More photos can be found on my Facebook Page, and I’ll be making a short video in the next week or two, so stay tuned.

Up next week is the Carmel Art Festival, so stay double tuned!!