Friday, April 17, 2009

Winters "Paint the Town" - An unexpected joy!

At the beginning of April, I drove my RV (Artie) up to Winters, CA to take part in a plein air event that was sponsored by Briggs & Co. It was an unexpected joy to have seen this pristine historical farming area and to be welcomed so warmly by the kindhearted people.

The painting event was for seven days, with a reception on the following Saturday night. Since Winters is only an hour from my home, I decided to paint for the full week. This gave me a chance to settle in to the area and really explore a new region. 

The area sits just east of Lake Berryessa in Solano County. On the west were the rather large Vaca Mountains which lit up blue each night at dusk. Expansive plowed fields, all kinds of barns and farm equipment, as well as flowering orchards with prunes, almonds, walnuts, peaches, apricots and other varieties were everywhere. Putah Creek meanders through town and into the hills... it's a rather large creek in many areas with easy access. Solano Lake sits in the heart of the area and is not only gorgeous at dusk, but provides a sanctuary for birds, fish and kayakers. Steady Eddy's coffee house seemed to be the gathering point for everyone... Bicycle riders from Davis, townspeople and visitors alike. At some point each day during my stay I made a stop to check emails and have a brew.   

Shaunie Briggs was the energetic promoter of the event along with the aid of her wonderful family.  She provided us with some wonderful backyard meals and her gallery walls were cleared out for event so more than 100 paintings created by approximately 60 artists could be displayed. The show produced some extraordinary artwork and it was simply a pleasure to have taken part. Rick Purvis and Mary Kay Korn kindly provided a parking spot at their home and occasional showers. For sure next year "Paint the Town" will be on my calendar.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

MALT - an artist's journal


It was an honor to have been been selected this year as one of four new MALT artists.  At first my acceptance filled me with joy, but since then I have discovered that there are really a list of considerations that accompany the honor.  Here are my reflections thus far.

I have decided to paint anywhere from 10-12 paintings of which an appropriate number of the best will be chosen for the event. It is suggested that all paintings should be rendered in and of Marin County with subject matter that relates to the ranches and rolling hills of the area.  Special relevance is given to MALT properties. Taking this in to account, there is always an abundance of subject matter in West Marin.   Christin Coy and I have made many day trips in search of inspiration.  Now, with only a month left before the show, deadlines are approaching.  I have completed eight paintings.

Being a newcomer to the MALT artist family... I feel a responsibility to produce my very best work.  What type of subjects should I paint?...  barns, open fields, trees, water, animals or all of the above.  Clear choices sometimes present themselves, but often it is simply my desire that makes things work.  I usually don't plan where I am going, unless I need to make an appointment with a rancher to access their properties, but just driving west in the late day opens up the vistas.  

Painting mostly en Plein Air, another set of variables are put into play.  What should I wear if it's cold, did I pack all my supplies, do I have enough in the fridge for lunch preparations, gas in the car, does the weather permit outdoor painting, are the wildflowers blooming?  What an exhilarating experience it can be.

As the days pass and the events approach, I'm sure it will produce a new range of emotions for me.  I'll write about them soon.

Monday, April 13, 2009

MALT - Ranches & Rolling Hills Show Coming in May

Ranches & Rolling Hills, an annual sale of western Marin County landscape art to benefit Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT), will take place on Saturday, May 16, and Sunday, May 17, 2009, at the Druid’s Hall on the Village Square in Nicasio, California. 


The show features more than 250 images of natural and working landscapes, including many of the family farms that have been permanently protected by MALT. The work of 40 outstanding artists is included in this significant West Coast exhibit.  


Ranches & Rolling Hills art also depicts other private farmlands as well as historic landscapes located within Point Reyes National Seashore—all of them reflecting the human and natural history that make West Marin such a special and beloved place.  


Ranches & Rolling Hills was celebrated in a 2008 book of the same name which showcases the art and provides a historical record of protected farmland in Marin. The book can be purchased at Bay Area bookstores or at  


Curator Michael Whitt of Point Reyes Station co-founded Ranches & Rolling Hills in 1998, along with the late Ray Strong, dean of Santa Barbara's highly respected Oak Group of painters.   


Artists participating in the 2009 show include Marin painters Martha Borge, Christin Coy, Willard Dixon, Timothy Horn, Susan Hall, Richard Lindenberg, Wendy Schwartz, and Zee Zee Mott, along with Santa Barbara artists Arturo Tello, Sarah Vedder, Meredith Brooks Abbott, Whitney Brooks Abbott, Ward Walkup, and other members of the OakGroup. Marin County lithographs by Russell Chatham also will be available for purchase. 


Proceeds from art and book sales benefit MALT’s farmland preservation program, which provides a conservation alternative to the sale or subdivision of Marin farmland. Some of the Bay Area's most highly acclaimed dairy products and organic crops, including Cowgirl Creamery cheeses, Straus Family Creamery dairy products, and Point Reyes Original Blue Cheese are produced from farmland protected by MALT conservation easements.   


The Ranches & Rolling Hills Landscape Art Show and Sale is open to the public at no charge from 2–5 P.M. on Saturday, May 16, and from 10 A.M.–4 P.M. on Sunday, May 17. For information, visit or phone 415-663-1158.