Monday, June 18, 2012

Los Gatos Plein Air Festival

I’m just now beginning to feel fully recovered from a week spent in the Los Gatos Plein Air festival.  These events are truly exhausting.  Invited artists from around the country come into town to paint for 5 days (mixing in social events throughout the week).  On Friday we deliver one piece for auction at for evening gala, and then the next morning we deliver more work and a big show goes up in the town square.  All the work needs to be framed and gallery ready. 

"Evening Approaches", 9x12, Pastel (Sold)

People often just don't appreciate just how much work it is to paint and frame like a manaic for a whole week.  I'm up before dawn and painting until sunset every day.  On top of that, I'm often framing in the evening.

I'm getting smarter as I do more of these events, and I'm taking a siesta in the middle of the day to try to keep my energy level up.  I'm also trying to spend less time traveling and hunting for painting locations, and more time painting.  I spent the majority of the week painting in the Portola Pastures ranch in the Palo Alto hills.  This hidden treasure offers some of the last remaining grand vistas of the bay area rolling hills.   I’m really pleased to have captured some paintings of these classic California views.

"Tack Shed", 8x8, Pastel

The Los Gatos Rotary put together a terrific event.  They are really going the extra mile to make this event as good as it can be.  The only downside was completely out of their control – the weather.  The day of the outdoor show in the downtown square was close to 100 degrees.  It was unlike anything we’ve seen in some time.

Here are a few more of the paintings I did over the course of the week:

"Baby Eucalyptus", 8x8, Pastel (Sold)

"Receding Afternoon", 15x15, Pastel

"California Gold", 12x16, Pastel

This last painting, “Twisted”, is 18x18 – larger than I normally work plein air.  I went out to do a little 8x8, but as I was setting up my easel something possessed me and I decided to go big.  It was lots of fun and I’m very happy with the result.

"Twisted", 18x18, Pastel

All-in-all a great week.  Lots of fun and well worth the effort requried for events like these.  Here's a list of all the artists invited this year (from the event webstie):

Michael Bagdonas, Placerville,CA
Andrew Ballantyne, San Jose, CA
Maria Boisvert, San Jose, CA
Brenda Boylan, Beaverton, OR
Judith Cameron, Rancho Santa Margherita, CA
Larry Cannon, Sausalito, CA
Hiu Lai Chong, Rockville, MD
Ken Christensen, Los Osos, CA
Michael Clements, Kula HI
John Crawford, Soquel, CA
Mark Farina, Pacific Grove, CA
Robert Frank, Novato, CA
Scott Grabowski, San Francisco, CA
Carole Gray-Weihman, Penngrove, CA
Darrell Hil, Kamuela, HI
Sterling Hoffmann, Sebastopol , CA
Sibyl Johnson, Carmel, CA
Thomas Kitts, Portland, OR
Sheryl Knight, Santa Maria, CA
Paul Kratter, Moraga, CA
Gretha Lindwood, Portland, OR
Sergio Lopez, Santa Rosa, CA
Ed Lucey, Los Gatos, CA
Will Maller, Los Altos, CA
Linda Mutti, Santa Barbara, CA
Donald Neff, San Jose, CA,
Erich Neubert, Dana Point, CA
Anton Pavlenko, Happy Valley, OR
Dana Phillips, Granite Bay, CA
Charles Prentiss, La Selva Beach, CA
Lori Putnam, Franklin, TN
Carole Rafferty, Palo Alto, CA
David Savellano, Alameda,CA
Timon Sloane, Los Altos, CA
Mary Stahl, Palo Alto, CA
Robert Steele, Larkspur, CA
David Stonesifer, Los Gatos, CA
Linda Sutton, Martinez, CA
Timothy Tien, Alhambra, CA
Claire Verbiest, San Jose, CA
Sharon Weaver, Valley Village, CA
John White, Long Beach, CA


  1. Your paintings are beautiful - they really capture the area. I happened to be there at a workshop in Los Gatos at the same time and it was incredibly hot on Saturday. Too bad there wasn't time to see the plein air event. I don't know how you did it - so many paintings. Keep up the good work!

  2. Carolyn - thanks for the feedback.

    I bumped into Randy Sexton at the Friday reception, and he said he was in town teaching a workshop. I'm guessing you were at Randy's workshop? How was it?