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 .

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. 

Devil’s Slide

We have had a pretty wet last couple of weeks, but during a break between storms, I headed out to Half Moon Bay to meet with an old college days friend for lunch.  Of course, I have to make it a day with some painting and droning along the way!

After waiting for rush hour traffic to die down, took off for the hours drive to Half Moon Bay.  By the time I arrived, it was only about an hour before lunch, so explored a bit, took pictures, and a couple drone flights.

After a long lunch, I headed up the coast to an area called Devil’s Slide.  Recently, Caltrans built a tunnel bypassing the slide area, but the last turnout allows walking access to the old road, so decided to do a painting right there.  By that time I only had a couple hours to paint before the parking lot closed.

I didn’t really get a finished painting as I was enjoying the scenery as much as working.  I am still trying to decide if I should finish the painting in the studio, or start a new one sometime in the future.

Below are a few pictures of the day.  Click on the thumbnail for a larger view.

 

There was no droning allowed right there, so I drove back down the coast and took some arial shots.  Enjoy this short video above the beautiful California Coast entitled “Coastal Soothe“…

 

If you saw my last post, FOAM, most of that was videoed during the visit.

Thanks for stopping by, and stay tuned for more developments!

A Year’s Drone Journey

WOW! What a year has it been!

I purchased a DJI Mavic Pro drone about a year ago and having a blast ever since!  The Mavic is a ‘prosumer’ level drone, that is, marketed to consumers but has many professional level features.

I originally hadn’t considered doing much painting from it, but can’t resist doing some.  First, enjoy the very best video segments of a year droning all over the beautiful California coast, painting with art groups, the high Sierras, deep blue Lake Tahoe, spectacular Big Sur, quaint Carmel, Horse Shoe Bend AZ, Springdale (Zion), and maybe a few biker shots!

Some of my first flights was to do “The World’s First Plein Air Drone Selfie” you can read about here.

First Drone Selfie, 12x16, oil on board

Later on, I couldn’t resist doing another painting which I took from a video frame captured above Davenport, CA.  titled “176′ Above Davenport” you can read about here.

176' Above Davenport, 24x36, oil on canvas
176′ Above Davenport, 24×36, oil on canvas

I am planning on doing more drone based paintings in 2019, so stay tuned!

Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

 

176′ Above Davenport

176' Above Davenport, 24x36, oil on canvas
176′ Above Davenport, 24×36, oil on canvas


As the summer morning fog clears along the California coast, many times the crashing waves, spray, wind, and lingering fog create an ethereal atmosphere of a misty soft landscape, or should I say seascape. I live within an hours drive of the coast, and visit often to paint, camp, and ride my Harley.

I was recently painting with the California Art Club along the coast near Davenport CA and produced a short video, you can see here–

and also a weblog entry you can see here.

Many of you know I purchased a drone earlier this year. I bought it mainly for fun and to give a different perspective to my painting, motorcycle, and other adventures. Although my main intent was not to do paintings from a drone’s perspective, I did do a plein air drone selfie you can read about here.

Reviewing the drone footage around Davenport, however, I couldn’t resist painting a scene far above the coast. The video frame I painted from is at about 0:47 on the above video. I wanted to create an atmosphere of morning mist still lingering around the coast and the sun starting to highlight parts of the coastal bluffs. I did sharpen and saturate the colors a bit from the video, and highlighted parts of the cliff more. Here is the frame I extracted and enhanced in Photoshop as my study:

Above Davenport study photo
Above Davenport study photo

As you can see, I painted it pretty much ‘as-is’. In the distance is the coastal hamlet of Davenport, about ten miles north of Santa Cruz. The drone was 176 feet above the bluff, so probably 250 feet above the ocean.

Perhaps I’ll look at my drone videos again, and maybe produce a drone painting series?!? Stay tuned!

More Paintin’ N Dronin’

First, enjoy this short video of spectacular aerial shots of the California coast–

Note: if the video doesn’t show up for email subscribers, click here.

The California Art Club was having a paintout near Davenport, CA, so I decided to join again with my drone. The last paintout I did a video you can find here.

It was a nice sunny day, and I set up my easel across Highway 1 from the coastal hamlet of Davenport. There were a few fellow artists scattered around the area. Later, I drove a few miles up the coast to Davenport Landing, and found most of the artists were painting there.

I wasn’t intent on painting a masterpiece, but more a quick value study in the morning light. I probably spent more time flying the drone than painting, just enjoying the day. Below is the painting on my easel, maybe an hours work…a poor picture as I was photographing into direct sunlight.

Davenport Beach, 8x16, oil on panel, plein air
Davenport Beach, 8×16, oil on panel, plein air