December 27, 2015

Bolinas Boats

Acrylic on Panel - 9 x 12 inches

I updated this one I found in the back hallway. It was so stark and edgy I decided to loosen it up a bit. You can compare to the original one if you like, but I wouldn't bother.

November 3, 2015

Yosemite Bridge

Acrylic on Panel - 8 x 10 inches

The Merced again. You can barely make out the old stone bridge crossing it. I had to hurry, because I sensed the mountain lion that had been spotted earlier was zeroing in on me.

November 1, 2015

Yosemite Morning

Acrylic on Panel - 8 x 10 inches

This was the view from the dining room at the Awanee. It seemed so simple and obvious to me as I was drinking my coffee, but somehow, it became really difficult to capture that simplicity.

October 28, 2015

Half Dome At Sunset

Acrylic on Panel - 8 x 10 inches

Last night we watched the fading sun as it played across the mountain tops in Yosemite. The colors changed every minute. It was captivating. Tonight I tried to paint Half Dome from the meadow. Setting the composition was easy enough, and thankfully the light in the valley and shadow areas remained relatively the same.

However the peak itself went from gold to pink to silver and then a shocking pink/red as it finally faded. I reworked that area throughout and finally had to stop when the light vanished. I really could have done about 20 different paintings. It would be hard to pick the winner.

September 11, 2015


Acrylic on Panel - 6 x 6 inches

This is from a Facebook photo posted by one of my friends, of their daughter reading. It was another one of those "it's almost a painting already" images, but that's probably because he's a very skilled photographer.

It wound up not looking quite like her, but I really enjoyed doing this one because so many of the things I've been taught started flowing naturally. I could almost hear some of my teachers commenting on what my next brush stroke should be. I even laid out a range of tones on the palette before I started, and followed all sorts of sage advice. It's rare when it all comes together, but hopefully it will start happening more frequently.

September 10, 2015

Falling Light

Acrylic on Panel - 5 x 7 inches

I love walking about town as the sun begins to set. It's special because it's most nights it's just foggy, but now and again, the streets and buildings are bathed in golden light.

What initially grabbed me about this scene was light and color, but as I did a thumbnail sketch, I was fascinated by the shadows of the trees and poles radiating out. I would have never imagined them doing that. Learn something every day.

September 3, 2015

Stow Lake - Art Rage

Acrylic on Panel - digital image - NFS

I was at a life drawing event recently and met artist David Newman, who does iPad Portraits. You can see his work at http://ipadportraits.blogspot.com I asked him about his tools and he showed me the Wacom stylus he used and his app of choice, Art Rage. I decided to give that combo a go.

Here's my first piece. you can see it does an interesting job of simulating the textures of thick brush strokes (most noticeable in the light areas).
There are a lot of tools and settings for this app, so I'm going to have to experiment more.

August 24, 2015

Anime Girls

Acrylic on Panel - 6 x 6 inches

This is a group of young ladies enjoying themselves at the Cherry Blossom Festival earlier this year. Brightly colored wigs were everywhere. This is my entry for the Crowd of People Challenge at Daily Paintworks.

August 20, 2015

Salvation Lake

Acrylic on Panel - 8 x 10 inches

This was getting bogged down with too much tiny detail, so I scraped it off a bit and started attacking it with the palette knife. Then I switched to a bigger brush and kept it loose.

August 19, 2015


Acrylic on Panel - 6 x 6 inches

I don't usually rearrange many elements if a composition, but the photos I had of the cows in the field were not so great, so I took a scene and simplified it and moved them about. This is my entry for this weeks Daily Paintworks challenge, where you can see some other great cow paintings.

August 17, 2015

Country House

Acrylic on Panel - 8 x 10 inches

I was painting with my dad and we picked this spot because it was shaded from the Summer sun and had some interesting views. This little house wasn't terribly interesting, but I liked the shadows along the road, so I decided to make that a bigger part of the composition. I knew I had to work quickly because of the shifting light, but since it was close to the middle of the day, it didn't really shift all that much. I guess one of the benefits for painting outside of the golden hour.

August 15, 2015

Hydrangea Shade

Acrylic on Panel - 6 x 6 inches

The tops of the flowers where picking up the last light as the sun went behind the house and really asked to be painted.

August 12, 2015

Sonoma Coast

Acrylic on Panel - 5 x 7 inches

In the original version of this, I included the foreground because it had colorful flowers and coastal plants and grasses. In the knife version I did, that area just looked messy and didn't add much, I thought. So I did another cropped in a bit closer.

August 11, 2015

Sonoma Coast Knife

Acrylic on Panel - 5x 7 inches

Donny Hahn is a California landscape painter I admire greatly, and I'm lucky enough to see him and his work at shows in Golden Gate Park.  From a distance I saw his paintings and immediately recognized them as his, but as I got closer, something was different. They were abstracts! He said he returns to abstract expressionism from time to time, but rarely exhibits the work. They were just as colorful as his landscape work, and seemed to be reworkings from the very same palette.

This inspired me to try something similar and I decided to try and create an alternate take of a painting I did a few weeks back. By using the knife only, I pre-mixed some of the major color areas and quickly slathered it on the panel. Much thicker than I usually paint.

If less is more, I think I have a ways to go. This seems too busy and overworked, so I may try again.

August 8, 2015


Acrylic on Panel - 5 x 7 inches

The seasons here are still unfamiliar at times. It's all burnt out and dry this time of year. But come the spring everything will be wet and green. And then the wildflowers appear. The first to arrive are the mustard flowers which blanket most of wine country. It's one of my favorite times of the year and the hot dry season we're in now had me thinking about Spring.

August 7, 2015

West on Grove IV

Acrylic on Panel - 30 x 30 inches

I've taken a lot of time to ponder the good and bad points of the  previous versions I've painted of this scene, and decided to emphasize the foggy San Francisco quality of light, and to keep it quite loose. When I got to the cars I was finding it hard to not put detail in, but for the rest of it I managed to keep it vague. I used only two brushes, both of them one inch wide.

August 4, 2015

Barn Diva

Acrylic on Panel - 8 x 10 inches

This is Barn Diva, a place in town with great food, but you can never get in because they seem to be booked for wedding related events all the time. But you can stand out in the street and paint it.

August 2, 2015

Rusty Pool

Acrylic on Panel - 8 x 10 inches

Another attempt at THAT tree has produced "different" results. The highlights are special. The rest is not.

July 31, 2015

Rusty Tree

Acrylic on Panel - 8 x 10 inches

Still having trouble with trees. Hmm. There's a few of these red ones in the back and they are striking. I sat watching one for a while and every time I thought I knew what color it was, I would then change my mind. It's almost black, but deep burgundy, and where the light hits it almost white. Impossible.

Still I decided I had to paint it. And the same thing happened while painting it. I tried to simplify, but in trying to get all those colors, I made a bit of a busy mess. I might have to try this again.

July 29, 2015

Sonoma Coast Study

Acrylic on Panel - 8 x 7 inches

In the version of this I did on the coast, en plein air, I felt like I spent too much time on unnecessary brushwork, and not enough time on creating the impression I wanted to create. I was mixing colors that were just wrong and become too easily satisfied with them.

So I decided to redo it using the original painting and some photos I had taken. My goal was to try to stay true to my initial impression and leave everything else out. To simplify. And while I was at it, I was also going to try to use a lot more paint.

This redo was inspired by the Daily Paintworks Challenge for the week - tasking us with tackling one of your current hurdles, and this is certainly one of mine. A painter I met in the park and I were chatting about my difficulty of simplifying trees in the landscape. He said "remember your initial impression, what inspired you about the scene, and stay true to that." Great and simple advice. Really hard to do.

July 28, 2015

Sonoma Coast

Acrylic on Panel - 8 x 10 inches (not available) §

We took a break from the hot inland climate to visit the coast where it was not only cooler but very windy. My tripod easel was knocked to the ground before I even started. I weighed it down with my backpack attached to the rock-bag hook, but it was so gusty I had to hold onto the pochade box with my left hand the whole time. This turned out a lot darker than I thought, and something about the brushstrokes seems to distract from the relative flatness of the water and beach. Hmmmm.

July 26, 2015


Acrylic on Panel - 6 x 6 inches

This is a redo of a painting I did ages ago, but never got around to finishing. Now it is done. I think.

July 24, 2015

Pool Chairs

Acrylic on Panel - 6 x 6 inches

When I think of Summer, I think of sitting by the pool, every pool I've ever sat by. The light dancing off the surface, the faint smell of chlorine, the hot paving around it, the smell of fresh towels. Heaven. I just finished this one, and have submitted it to the Daily Paintworks "Summer" Challenge. Have a look and see all the great Summer images.

July 22, 2015

Barn Diva

Acrylic on Panel - 8 x 10 inches

I just happened by an alleyway and saw the Barn Diva truck parked out back. I've painted it when it was parked out front before, but this was like finding a jewel. As I painted cars and trucks got in my way but only briefly. It's to be expected. What was totally unexpected is that when I was close to finishing, someone came out and close a giant gate blocking the entire alley. So I quickly put in the remaining details I wanted to add, with a little help from phone pic I had shot of the scene.

July 6, 2015

Alley Study 2

Acrylic on Panel - 6 x 6 inches

I turned my panel almost 180 degrees from the previous view and quickly sketched in the Eastward scene. The most brightly lit facades were easy enough, but the shadowy ones in front were very difficult, and are only OK, not great.

July 4, 2015

Alley Study

Acrylic on Panel - 6 x 6 inches

It was a rare sunny Summer afternoon in SF and I just had to get outside. By the time I found a spot, clouds had obscured the sun. And then they left. And back and forth for the rest of the day.

This little section between a quaint victorian and a very modern slab building caught my eye, so I did a quick sketch to see if I could capture the play of shadows across the different surfaces.

July 2, 2015

Sonoma House

Acrylic on Panel - 5 x 7 inches

I've painted this place a dozen times, but I always put in way too much detail. This time I tried to simplify. I tried.

June 30, 2015

Across the Drive

Acrylic on Panel - 5 x 7 inches

I was staying at my folks' and was about to go out to look for a location, and saw this as I was looking out the front gate.

June 27, 2015

Favorite Accessories

Acrylic on Panel - 6 x 6 inches - SOLD

This is a commissioned piece of a cute toddler wearing her favorite heart-shaped glasses and a very colorful outfit.

June 25, 2015

Stow Lake

Acrylic on Panel - 5 x 7 inches

Two row boats on Stow Lake. The second boat is that tiny white blog in the upper left. I suppose it could be a giant swan, but they don't have any swans in the park. I wonder why.

June 23, 2015

Leaving Alcatraz

Acrylic on Panel - 5 x 7 inches

Last fall I got to go see the Ai Weiwei installation on Alcatraz. At night. I'd been there at night once before, and it's a great way to see the City and the Bay.

This is also my submission to the Daily Paintworks' Reflections Challenge. Go have a look at the other submissions.

June 20, 2015

Berkeley Garden

Digital Painting - Brushes Redux on Apple iPad

I agreed to go fruit picking on one condition – that I was going to pick no fruit and was going to draw instead. I brought my iPad and stylus and sat in the shade of an otherwise sunny back yard, and created this.

I was sure I could get that umbrella in one or two colors, but the more I looked at it, the more colors I saw. Still, I managed to keep it to a handful.

June 16, 2015

Fence Barn

Acrylic on Panel - 6 x 6 inches

This is a farm near here that has lots of brilliant white out buildings and matching fences. It is my submission to the Daily Paintworks "Picket Fence" Challenge. I tried Carol's method of painting the fencing as solid shapes and then carving out the negative spaces. Not as easy as I thought, but a good technique to try.

May 23, 2015


Acrylic on Panel - 8 x 10 inches

I used to like painting trees, but the more I try to simplify them, the less pleased I am with the results. I tried to do this tree with only two colors, but twenty minutes later I had about 50. I scraped and painted over, but it's still just not where I wanted it to be, or where I imagined it.

April 25, 2015

Kyoto Chef

Acrylic on Panel - 9 x 12 inches

He only paused for a brief moment before continuing his non-stop prepping of tapas for all the hungry guests. It was all so good I wanted to order one of everything.

April 21, 2015

Those Young Ladies

Acrylic on Panel - 9 x 12 inches

Well I know these gals, and have known them for some time. The reference photo for this is a few years old, because that's how long I've been wanting to paint this picture. Finally finished it this afternoon, just in time for their mama's birthday dinner.

April 8, 2015


Acrylic on Panel - 9 x 12 inches

Bartenders friend or child's plaything? My grandmother had a similar one and I loved to grind ice for my sodas. Now I prefer bigger solid ice cubes.

March 24, 2015

West On Grove III

Acrylic on Canvas - 30 x 30 inches

At a patron's suggestion, ahem, I tried another version of this scene, painting not from life or source photography, but rather, the previous painting. Bigger brushes, bigger swaths of paint, and in a rushed fashion. Interestingly enough, each version shows an increase in contrast. I'm not sure why that is. Yet.

March 22, 2015


Acrylic on Panel - 14 x 11 inches

This was a commission of sorts. I thought it would be compelling to paint the lighthouse as seen at midnight, but it turned out to be a very dark mass of blue/black, so I painted an early morning light on top of that and it was much more interesting.

March 17, 2015

Tiny Grocery

Acrylic on Panel - 5 x 7 inches

I have never been to San Chun Grocery, but now I can't wait! It's right here in SF on Hyde Street. 

March 7, 2015

Take Off

Acrylic on Cardstock - 6 x 4 inches

This is my entry for the Daily Paintworks Flying Spirit Challenge. I used a reference photo from the great collection of Eddie Bartley at He can tell you what specimen this is. I can only guess (but will not).

February 19, 2015


Acrylic on Panel - 6 x 6 inches

There's a great cafe at Stinson Beach that is such the perfect spot to have some french fries and look out at the sea that we should really keep it a secret.