Do Wine Drinkers Vote More Often?

“Tell me what you drink, I’ll tell you how you vote.” This interesting topic was illustrated with a chart in the Wine Spectator Magazine and has been going around Facebook lately. The chart shows that Republicans were surveyed to be more likely to drink Robert Mondavi and that Democrats were more likely to prefer Smoking Loon. It seems risky to divide wine drinkers into red and blue states, rather than red or white wine enthusiasts. At my artist reception held earlier this month at Wente Vineyards Estate Tasting Room in Livermore, I did not survey the wine choice of Morning Fog (white) or Southern Hills (red) and the political preferences of my guests. I enjoyed visiting with friends and discussing my seventeen pastel paintings that are on display for the month of March in the tasting room on Tesla Road.
Here are some of the paintings that are included in the exhibit:

"Wente Vineyards - Cresta Blanca", pastel 11x17

“Wente Vineyards – Cresta Blanca”, pastel

Vineyard Symphony, pastel, 11x17

Vineyard Symphony, pastel, 11×17

"Between the Vines", pastel, 18x24

“Between the Vines”, pastel, 18×24

Wente Vineyards founded in 1883 has a strong tradition of wine making and is a beautiful venue for my 17 paintings on exhibit for the month of March. The winery also includes handcrafted small lot wines that compliment the tradition of realism in landscape painting. And now, do you prefer red or white wine with your art?

Plein Air Week

It was quite a week painting in the Frank Bette Arts Center Plein Air Paint Out from July 29 – August 3, 2013. Forty artists were invited to paint on location in Alameda, CA and show their art work at the show and sale on Saturday at the South Shore Shopping Center.
Monday: I arrived at the Arts Center to have my blank pastel boards to be stamped to show that no work was started before the appointed time. After searching for parking, I set up my easel for painting Park St. Antiques in the commercial hub of Alameda.

On location - Park Street, Alameda

On location – Park Street, Alameda

Here is the completed painting of the Park St. Antique store which sponsored a page in next year’s calendar.
Park Street Antiques

Park Street Antiques

Tuesday: A windy and cool day to paint a sailboat by the Encinal Yacht Club. I was happy with my color and soft focus of the distant hills and fog. The challenge was to simplify the busy scene and to model the hull of the white sailboat. In the end, I think I need to show more contrast in the shadow to have this read correctly. I got lost in time and enjoyed the scene, but need to work on SPEED PAINTING! Each night there were social events planned which is great for exchanging ideas with like minded plein air painters. It was great fun and hors d’oeuvres at Dragon Rouge Thai on deck beside the estuary one night and a member’s backyard another evening. The forty artists came from CO, NC, Northern and Southern CA.
Wednesday: Quick Draw check in required an additional stamp before heading out to paint the Victorians around Grand St. I painted an Eastlake cottage on Paru Street. The contrast of the soft landscaping against the moss green clapboards caught my attention. But, what a challenge to paint the off white gingerbread trim by 1 pm! It was a mad dash to frame the piece in the back of my car and return for the hanging and show by 2pm. Note to self: Smaller size paintings next time – 9×12 or so.
Quick Draw - Schwalm Home

Quick Draw – Schwalm Home

Thursday: Enough working on fussy architecture! It was time to savor the landscape by the San Francisco Bay. So, I set up the easel in the sand dunes along Alameda Beach with the beautiful softness of wildflowers called “Sea Rocket” and “Coastal Buckwheat”.
Easel set up at Alameda Beach

Easel set up at Alameda Beach

Alameda Beach

Alameda Beach

Friday: The day was dedicated to tweaking the three paintings this week, photographing, and framing them for the show and sale.
Saturday: The big reveal! Check-in and hang paintings on panels with fishing line attached by nails in the top edge. The South Shore Shopping Center in Alameda hosted the Show from 10 to 5. I was competing and exhibitng with many talented artists. The juror was Kay Carlson. Although I did not earn a top prize, I did win the Calendar Award and $100 prize for my painting “Park Street Antiques”. The Frank Bette Calendar for 2014 will have a month with my painting featured. Then I checked in the Beach and Antique Store paintings to be exhibited at the Art Center from August 9th through September 28th. What a week. It is getting time for a vacation!img_1638

In Southwest Art Magazine!

Southwest Art Magazine, Aug. 2013 Southwest Art Magazine, Aug. 2013

The August issue of Southwest Art Magazine is on the newstands. On pages 16 & 17 there is an ad for the upcoming Frank Bette Plein Air Paint Out which features 40 artists who are invited to paint outdoors in Alameda, CA. My pastel painting, “On Golden Hill” is included along with my website. I am excited to be in this beautiful art journal that has a national audience.

The Paint Out is next week beginning on July 29th when we get our substrates (paper, board, or canvas) stamped and paint on location on the island of Alameda in preparation for the Exhibit and Sale on Sat., Aug. 3 from 10 to 5 at the South Shore Shopping Center at Otis and Park Street. It is a challenge to produce 3 paintings worthy of exhibition by Saturday. We will be hitting the tree-lined streets, historic Victorian architecture, lagoons, Estuary, and beaches with views of the San Francisco Bay in search of the perfect scene that inspires and may capture the heart of a collector.

And on the subject of collectors… My painting, “On Golden Hill” of the Eckersly barn outside of Crockett, CA painted during the Valona Paint Out has been sold to a painting friend and collector in Livermore. As much as I get attached to painting, it is always rewarding to have others support my work.

California Gold

It was the discovery of gold in the hills of California that brought the 49’ers to seek their fortunes. There is still gold to be found at the Ironstone Vineyards in Murphys, CA .  The 44 lb. specimen of Crystalline Gold Leaf displayed at the Museum at Ironstone Vineyards in Murphys, CA  is the world’s largest of its kind. That is one reason to visit the area in addition to tasting some great wines paired with great food and viewing the art at the 16th Spring Obsession Art Show and Sale.  The Avocado, Tomato, and Marcarpone Stuffed Shells paired with the 2011 Obsession Symphony wine was my favorite pairing at the artists reception on March 2nd.  It was also fun to spend the evening with fellow East Bay Area artist Robin Leimer.

44 lb Crystalline Gold

44 lb Crystalline Gold

My painting “Daffodil Hill” was selected to be shown in the Theme Division and is on exhibit in the Alhambra Music Room through May 12th. While the vintners wait for the growth on the grape vines, the daffodils were beginning to show their own golden hues. I set up my easel by the miner’s shack where gold panning was offered. Instead of panning for flakes of gold, I shuffled through my assorted sticks of pale yellows, golden yellows, and bright orange yellows to suggest the colorful array of daffodils on the verdant hillside.

"Daffodil Hill"

“Daffodil Hill” on display – Ironstone Vineyards

On location at Ironstone

On location at Ironstone

It was great to have our friends the Nelsons stop by while I was painting before they went to the winery tasting room and the art show.  Here is my interpretation of the scene.  It was a beautiful spring day for painting at Ironstone Vineyards.

"California Gold",

“California Gold”, pastel, 11×14

“Say It With Flowers”

The Blackhawk Gallery of Danville, CA show Vision 2013 is exhibiting four of my pastel paintings. “Say It With Flowers” is one of the paintings on display Feb.1 – April 14. It is a studio painting based on a photo reference from Salinas, CA where a patchwork of flowers caught my attention. The perspective of the flower field leads the viewer down the planted rows to the distant hills.  After blocking in the sky and background, I drew guidelines for the flowers.  Some artistic license was used when I rearranged some of the masses of color. Also, I felt that the rooftops of suburban houses against the hills in the photo could be eliminated since they weren’t necessary elements in the painting.

The pastel is 12×24 on Wallis sanded board. I first applied an underpainting of peach dry pastel to give it a warm cast. Pictured here are some of the stages of the painting, “Say It With Flowers” before it was framed.

"Say It With Flowers"

“Say It With Flowers”

"Say It With Flowers"

“Say It With Flowers”

"Say It With Flowers"

“Say It With Flowers”

Blackhawk Gallery is located at 3416 Blackhawk Plaza, Danville, CA and is open Mon – Sat 10-8 and Sun 11-6.

Bankhead Theater

The Firehouse Art Studios Artists exhibit at the Bankhead Theater is showing now through early January 2013.  Several of my pastels of local California scenes are on display in the entrance of the theater.  Also showing is work by fellow Firehouse artists Lynne Shephard, Claudia Willis, and Martha Eddleman.  A reception will be held on Tuesday evening, November 27th from  6:00 to 7:30 pm.

“Late Harvest’, pastel, 11 x 17

Summer: Water, Salt, Shells With the Beach

At Work – Nature’s Sketchbook

Nature’s Sketchbook Favorites

It was a busy two weeks of art classes this summer in Livermore.  My group of students had fun with salt and  plastic wrap and how they create different effects in Wild Watercolor.

The Nature’s  Sketchbook group showed the natural beauty of birds, seashells, and flowers. Nature’s subtle colors and textures became part of their drawings.  They were great students of Mother Nature in the class held at the Livermore Area Recreation and Park District summer classes at the Community Center.

After ten days of teaching, it was time to return to my art.  The following weekend in July it was the Art Under the Oaks show at Alden Lane Nursery. It is always a fun show and I enjoy visiting with friends and sharing my work with those who stop by.

Beginning to work at Alden Lane

Then in August it was time to head back home to Massachusetts and spend some time painting by the beaches off 6A on Cape Cod.  Check back again to see what the area inspires.

Art Under the Oaks is Coming!


Art Under the Oaks is coming to Alden Lane Nursery on July 21 & 22, 2012.  I will be one of the juried artists showing my work surrounded by the colorful gardens and large oak trees.  There will be art, music, wine and fruit tastings each day from 11 to 4.  Alden Lane Nursery is located at 981 Alden Lane, Livermore, CA.  Artists are getting their brushes, paints, pastel sticks, etc. for those in the area to enjoy.  (Thanks to my artist friend Kathi Shapiro for the photo).

Blackhawk Gallery

Blackhawk Gallery.

The Scenic Journey

Edgar Payne at the Crocker Museum

The Edgar Payne exhibit “The Scenic Journey” at the Crocker Art Museum is outstanding! I made the drive to Sacramento today (unfortunately it is not a scenic journey) to see the work of the poet-painter of the California Sierra.  I had been familiar with some of his work since relocating to California, but I wasn’t prepared to be totally impressed by Payne’s vision, balance of values,  and complete mastery of composition. What did I expect from the author of “Composition of Outdoor Painting“!? 

 It was Payne who is quoted as saying, “Mix Brains with Paint”. And he did just that.  I naturally loved the dramatic light and composition of  the signature piece, “Sunset, Canyon de Chelly” (1916).  But, I was equally in awe of his mastery of composition in the  arrangement of the sails in his work done on the coast of Brittany in Concarneau.  In addition to the impressive American and European landscapes in oil by Payne, the exhibit also included photographs, sketches, ship models, furniture, film, and the Model T that he used to get to the backcountry of the Sierra.  I look forward to studying the exhibition catalog, so that I can glean more from this gifted artist, Edgar Payne (1883-1947).

Exhibition Catalog