MarinMOCA Summer National

| 25 May, 2013 15:04

I am so excited to participate in this year's Summer National Exhibition at the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art with my recent painting, Connecting the Dots in My Life.

 Connecting the Dots in My Life

This image sprang to mind a long time ago, though I was so busy with my small paintings that the idea percolated in my head for many months. Recently I knew it was time to push it to the top of Priority's ladder. The piece is inspired by Steve Jobs' commencement address at Stanford, at which he said that the experiences of one's life connect when you look back, but that you cannot see the connection loooking forward. The challenge, then, is to move forward in the present moment and trust that at a later time you will be able to see how your life fits together.

The show is up at the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art from June 1—July 14.

Spring is Here!

| 01 April, 2013 21:16

This Friday evening, April 5, the Breath of Spring exhibit opens at the Pacific Art League. For my entry I did something different this time: three paintings on MDF panels which I affixed via a thin "spacer" to a painted background board. I think the result is really nice.

Season of Renewal
I call this piece Season of Renewal. It shows three of the things I like best about spring: blooming violets showing their faces to the world, the promise of new life that a nest of eggs portrays, and a winged creature enjoying the breezes atop a favorite flower.

Friday's reception is from 5:30 - 8:00 pm. Note that the Breath of Spring exhibit is at 227 Forest Avenue, which is next door to the Pacific Art League's 668 Ramona Street location (closed for renovation). The show is up through April 25.

Happy New Year of Prosperity

| 26 February, 2013 13:42

This week I begin with the street fair held last weekend in conjunction with San Francisco's Chinese New Year's Day Parade. While wandering amongst the crowd I was struck by the banners wishing "New Beginning for All," "Business Prosperity," and "Speedy Success." I wish this too, for everyone.

Chinatown Fair

In keeping with this topic, I share some good news. To my surprise and delight I recently learned I'd been selected to receive a 2013 grant from the Capelli d'Angeli Foundation. This organization offers grants of up to $500 to women artists working in several disciplines who have or have had cancer.

Didn't know I had cancer? Well, it isn't exactly something I advertised near and far, though it isn't a secret. No need to worry, however, as the hard part is well behind me and I'm doing fine. Who knows? I may even follow in my great uncle's footsteps (he's over 100). If you'd like to read a little about my experience and how it influenced my art, you can do so by checking out my profile on the Art Guild of Pacifica's blog.

If you know anyone who might be eligible for this grant, please mention the Capelli d'Angeli Foundation. Application details are on the organization's web site and you can learn more there. Let's face it: in this economy who can't use a little extra money? Especially artists. Creative people are low on the priority list when it comes to shrinking budgets.


My heartfelt thanks go to the Capelli d'Angeli Foundation for this award, which will go toward art supplies needed to create new paintings.

Reaching for the Stars

| 12 February, 2013 12:01

Nope, this isn't a post about astronomy, nor the starry vista overhead in the clear evening sky. It's about reaching for the figurative stars in our dreams. We all have dreams: goals and other wishes that we hope to achieve or experience. Often, we stumble and miss in our efforts. Sometimes we get discouraged and give up. Hopefully, we pick ourselves up and try once more. Seldom is the path ahead straight, or if so, not for very long. Thus, when we reach a milestone it feels incredible.


It's a Haul


The painting above, It's a Haul, represents a milestone for me, as it just received a Best in Show in the Richeson 75 Small Works 2013 exhibition (see the 8th row down, right side). Yes, it feels great!

Once before I had such an award, and that was in high school. Without revealing my age - who wants to do that, right? - I can tell you it was a very long time ago. So, what happened during all the years in-between? Though one cannot expect any given outcome (award-wise, that is), here is something of an explanation: in science illustration, the field in which most of my career has been focused, ribbons and awards are seldom given. The "award" is simply getting into the show. Now that I am entering traditional fine art competitions more regularly, there is more potential.

Changing the subjects, here is an update about my new, larger brick painting: it is nearly finished, though the bottom strip (shown as white in my previous posting), is a bit of a bugaboo and not quite coming along as I wish. But I'll get it! I'm putting it aside temporarily and will return to finish the piece when the creative light bulb, i.e. "solution," goes off in my head.

Painting Larger

| 02 February, 2013 16:04

I have decided to paint at a larger size: 36" x 24". Also, I thought it would be fun to post work-in-progress, showing some of the steps as I go from a blank canvas to finished art. Here are the first two stages of what I call "P11" for short: which simply means it is #11 of my Praesentia Series. I'll give the painting a proper title when it is finished.

P11, Step 1 Step 1: I designated two sections in the wall. The first is to the left of the line that will become a crack and the second is the area to the right - and filled each in with a base color. These are not meant to indicate sun and shade; but rather value/color differences in the bricks themselves and the mortar. Having different shades to start with may help compositionally to break up what could become a monotonous wall - as long as a subtle color and/or value difference remains when the painting is finished.


P11, Step 2 Step 2: I begin laying in the individual bricks, paying attention to the multiple colors and shades: gray, cream, rust, pink, tan, dark umber. Also I start fleshing out the main crack in the wall, add the black interior space, and work darker colors into the window area. Though the two "halves" I started with now are less obvious, I still think about them as I paint, reminding myself not to obscure them completely.




Nice Things Come in Small Sizes

| 28 November, 2012 16:53

If you haven't yet checked out the tiny exhibit at STUDIO Gallery in San Francisco, a terrific opportunity comes up this Sunday, December 2. The anniversary party is from 2—6pm. As an appetizer, here's a look at the opening reception:


"tiny" Exhibit, STUDIO Gallery

There's something for everyone. And with most work under $400 it's perfect for holiday gifts. Sizes are small too. . . er, tiny, in fact. Most of it is less than 7" x 7". I have several paintings there: the Golden Gate Bridge, the famous Doggie Diner head, an historic San Francisco trolley, and more. Ask to see my work if you don't find it, as some pieces may be hiding, waiting for an empty spot on the wall. Buyers can take their purchases home right away, so the exhibit changes from day to day. What fun! For more information, check out STUDIO's web site.

"tiny" Exhibit, STUDIO Gallery


| 13 November, 2012 06:00

Interior spaces, with their mysterious light and shadows, compel me. Historical structures lead me to wonder what happened to the people who once were there. What were their dreams, their challenges? In my mind I can walk along with them, or use the opportunity to reflect on my own life.


Recently I completed a commission along these lines. Titled Inside Passage, it is 11" x 14", acrylic on canvas.


Inside Passage

George Rivera: A Journey of Faith and Hope

| 18 September, 2012 15:30


George Rivera Exhibition Image Posted with permission of the Artist.
© George Rivera

One year ago I met George Rivera, Executive Director & Senior Curator at the Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara, CA (one of several positions). He generously gave of his time to review my paintings and provide constructive feedback. Since then I have become familiar with his own artwork, most recently via his exhibit at the Los Gatos Art Museum, which is featured there through October 11, 2012.


This exhibition, George Rivera: A Journey of Faith and Hope, is a 30-year retrospective that includes earlier pieces as well as more recent and personal paintings. The newer canvases capture the depth of human emotion and experience; I find it impossible to be unmoved by them. While the prominent use of black, with strong light and shadow, initially may seem off-putting to some viewers, the message he sends is one of hope: that even in the darkest of times there is reason to believe in a positive outcome. In the artist's own words, "No matter how dark, no matter how hopeless, belief, faith and hope are always a path and choice, there are no guarantees, but believe and fight on the best you can."


A Journey of Faith and Hope

If you can make a trip to the Art Museum this coming Sunday, September 23, you are in for a real treat. It is Family Art Day from 1-3pm, and children of all ages are invited to paint with the acrylics and the artist. George Rivera also will offer a demonstration (and conversation as well) from 4-6pm that afternoon.

Ready to learn more about the artist's work and symbolism - or can't make it to Los Gatos? You're in luck! A book published in connection with the exhibit is available online at, in hardback and softcover. Click here to learn more.

Exhibits in the Pipeline

| 06 September, 2012 12:48

With the 50-50 IV installed and open to complimentary visitors, I am turning my attention to other shows. Can't let the grass grow under my feet! This Saturday, September 8, University Art's OPEN exhibit begins in the San Jose store. My painting Stopped in Time will be displayed.


Stopped in Time

Yesterday I learned that Creamy Agapantha has been accepted into orangeland's botanical exhibit called Drawing on Nature. Come on by! The show opens next Thursday, September 13, from 5-7pm. This tiny storefront gallery is steps downhill from the Fairmont Hotel, the Mark Hopkins and Grace Cathedral, and a  neighbor to the Cable Car Barn.


Drawing on Nature

In addition to these, and especially nice for my eastern US fans: six of my botanicals will be exhibited at Rich Timmons Studio & Gallery in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Dates for this First Annual “Small” Painting Exhibit are September 15 - December 24.

50-50 IV Opens to Large Crowds

| 31 August, 2012 14:13

Opening night of the 50-50 IV exhibit was lots of fun, with music, food, drink, and a big crowd of people! Weaving around enthusiastic viewers from one end of each hall to reach the other was a challenge all by itself, and well worth it.

50-50 IV Opening Night A


Here are two people looking closely at the detail in my artwork:

50-50 IV Opening Night C

So much to see! This next image shows a corner of the big room off the west wing. Isn't it lovely to see the grids of 49 pieces on the wall, almost looking like patchwork quilts?


50-50 IV Opening Night B

Paintings, drawings, black and white, color, abstract, realism, sculpture, ceramics. . . with 3500 artworks all in one exhibition, it's a cornucopia of media, styles, and artistic vision. The show runs through September 30 and is a fundraiser for the Sanchez Art Center. Purchase a piece and take it home with you on the spot!

50-50 IV Opening Night E

50-50 IV Opening Night D

50-50 Installed!

| 21 August, 2012 16:51

AT LAST! All 50 paintings are finished and installed! Here's a "quick and dirty" shot of my 50-50 IV display at the Sanchez Art Center.


50-50 IV Grid

Remember, opening night is this Friday. It begins with a ticketed preview at 6:00 pm, followed by the FREE, grand opening at 7:30 pm. Click here to learn more. I'm now busy uploading the remaining pieces into my 50-50 IV Gallery and will have them up soon. So check back!

Happy Hour

| 16 August, 2012 12:12

Reflecting on Wine

At an art opening few weeks ago I met Beth Lemke, Proprietor of A Grape in the Fog in Pacifica. Thinking it would be great fun to include a glass of wine in my 50-50 show art, and needing a respite from the intense weeks of painting, I strolled in with my camera and asked if I might take a few pictures for reference and inspiration. What could be better than a a few sips at a wine bar near the ocean, right? Beth enthusiastically agreed and I set about my work.


Pairing a tall, slender wine glass with a lovely cake and blueberry compote dessert on a 6" square board proved challenging, but I soon had a solution: to create TWO paintings! The first, Reflecting on Wine, features the glassware and reflections on the shiny counter.


Reflecting on Wine


I also loved the row of blue chairs and wooden tabletops along the north wall near the entrance. The colors beautifully complement the dessert, which I feature in the foreground. The title of this one is Your Table is Ready. Click on the title or image to go to the gallery, then hit the "+" in the upper right-hand corner of the painting to bring up the large view.


Your Table is Ready


If you're traveling down the coast and want to relax for a while, or if you're local and need a break from your busy day, stop by A Grape in the Fog. Beth will make you feel very welcome. This charming wine bar is located at 400 Old County Road, Suite 1, in Pacifica, CA, just one block from Rockaway Beach.


A Grape in the Fog

Interested in purchasing one of the 50-50 IV paintings? Click here for details.

China of a Different Kind

| 01 August, 2012 16:38

If you've been following my posts for a while, you know that I have been to China with my mother and have used several images from our trip there in my artwork. Today I post "china" of a different flavor. . . the kind from which one sips a warm, soothing beverage. A big "Thank you!" to my friend Pam, who supplied the reference for this painting, which I call Sunshine Tea. Normally one would expect to see such an elegant cup and saucer on a table with fine linens and a vase of flowers. I really like the contrast here with the ornate patio table, for I think it accentuates the delicate nature of the china.

Sunshine Tea

I chose to treat the upper portion of the table in a more graphic style, as it adds diversity and helps to draw the viewer's attention toward the focal point below.


Click on the title or image to go to the gallery, then hit the "+" in the upper right-hand corner of the painting to bring up the large view. Interested in purchasing one of the 50-50 IV paintings? Click here for details.

Downward Slope

| 24 July, 2012 13:33

I'm past the midpoint and am on the downhill slope. In other words, I have more than 25 of my 50 paintings done! In fact, I just posted several more, which you can select and view via the thumbnails page.


One of my recent pieces, Let's Tour, is handled a little differently. I shot the reference photo along San Francisco's Embarcadero, which was bustling with automobiles, streetcars, pedestrians, and cycling tourists, as you see below.

Let's Tour

So much was going on in the background that I decided to paint the figures, bike, and cart with my deatiled, realistic style and use a looser technique beyond. This helps the main part of the image to stand out and not get lost amongst all the busyness. Click on the title or image to go to the gallery, then hit the "+" in the upper right-hand corner of the painting to bring up the large view.


Interested in purchasing one of the 50-50 IV paintings?
Click here for details.

Yes, I Really Painted It!

| 17 July, 2012 02:11

Step 4, It's a Haul

I'm sometimes told that my artwork looks so realistic and has so much detail that it's hard to believe I really painted it. Guess what? I DID! Fellow 50-50 IV artist Mark Monsarrat suggested I scan one of my images at different stages to show the process (thank you, Mark!).


But first, before putting brush to ground, there is preliminary work to do. I apply three coats of gesso to my 6" MDF panel and sand after each coat. This prepares the surface for painting. After studying my reference photos I select my favorite and make any changes needed to the composition. I then make a pencil sketch, which I transfer onto my gessoed panel. At this point I'm ready to paint. In the case of It's a Haul, I first laid in the dark areas with black gesso.

Step 1, It's a Haul


Next I began painting in the flesh, orange, and gold tones of the cardboard, boxes, and building in the background.


Step 2, It's a Haul

Concentrating on the cart and market in back, I continued with the color, adding in greens, blues, and reds. My goal was to get the cart and background looking nearly finished.


Step 3, It's a Haul


In the last stages I completed the figure, added a shadow and some color to the street at the bottom, and signed the painting.

Step 4, It's a Haul

Click on the final image above to go to the gallery, then hit the "+" in the upper right-hand corner of the painting to bring up the enlargement.