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Spring Radiance

  Spring Radiance 12 x 12 watercolor on paper  Newest painting of the bright colors of a sunny Southern California spring day.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Nominated by Katherine Tyrrell for the year end best artwork on the Making a Mark blog

Katherine Tyrrell is an artist and art writer whose blog I read and enjoy often.
She let's readers vote for the best art on the blog each year.
One of the categories is places.
My Point Lobos Paintings have been nominated by Katherine.
It is a great honor.
You can use the link below to see all the categories and paintings and vote for your favorites.


Here is "Pacific Passage 14 x 14"

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

" Flag Hill Sunol " accepted into Statewide Painting Exhibition and Competition at the Triton Museum of Art ,Santa Clara.

Flag Hill Sunol 14 x 21 Plein Air Watercolor

 "Flag Hill Sunol" has been accepted into the Triton Museum of Art Statewide Painting Exhibition and Competition.
There were over 900 entries and 80 paintings were selected for the exhibition.
Flag Hill Sunol was painted with the San Francisco Chapter of the California Art Club during the July 2011 Paintout.
It will be on exhibit December 10, 2011 to Feb. 12, 2012 and the reception is Friday, December 9, 2011 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. I am anxious to see this all media all subject exhibit. The Triton Museum of Art is a beautiful space to see art .It is especially satisfying with the convergence of two of my favorite California Art Institutions

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Plein Air Watercolor "Golden Oak"

Golden Oak 14 x 14
You've probably noticed I am pulling back from my usual bright colors as I am learning about what makes a good tree portrait. The nature of depicting trees is that what you choose to paint and what you choose to leave in really makes or breaks a painting. The leaves make it very busy if you don't figure out how to simplify them.One idea that has helped me is to think of the trees in terms of the gesture they make with the trunks and branches. What is it doing? This was sort of implied in my last post where I titled the painting " Tree Pose".

This oak was leaning over the hill and I liked how the branches to the right were reaching down. This was also less than five miles from my house, I am painting very locally this fall.

Update :Katherine Tyrrell did a nice write up about this painting on her blog Art of the Landscape". She's writing a series on Autumn Paintings that is a great primer on how to paint trees. I've been following it and enjoying it very much. http://art-landscape.blogspot.com/2011/11/golden-oak-autumn-landscape-7.html

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Plein Air Watercolor "Tree Pose"

Tree Pose 12 x 16
One of my goals is to get more skilled at painting oak trees both for my panoramic paintings and because this fall I have been studying the way the different oaks change in the fall. So I've started a series of tree portraits to get to know them.
There are valley oaks, coastal oaks, hillside oaks  golden oaks and blue oaks, I don't know much about botany, but this is how I think of them. This oak is isolated on a patch of ranchland near where I live and reminded me of the yoga pose because of it's balanced masses and outstretched branches.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Plein Air Watercolor, "October Light"

October Light  12 x 16 was painted along the back roads in the valley between Danville and just north of Livermore, I was supposed to go paint in the vineyards, but these backlit oaks were too exciting to pass by. A return to almost pure plein air, the early morning light made this a joy to paint in lavender and burnt orange.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Two Small Works, California Eucalyptus 6 x 6

 The Elder 6 x 6

Golden Afternoon 6 x 6

Eucalyptus trees have so much color  especially the  blues, teals and purples in the shadows and golds in the highlights, I like to see how little green I can use and still have them read as trees.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Randy Higbee Gallery ,Three 6 x 6 "s Accepted

                                                      Windbreak at Dusk 6 x 6

                                                            Above the Bay 6 x 6

                                                               October Hill 6 x 6

Trying my hand at some smaller pieces again. I find that very simple two or three value compositions simplify things for me when working  this small. My favorite is Windbreak at Dusk because of the way the silhouettes of the trees work and the limited color palette for the late day light. 
These three were all accepted by the Randy Higbee Gallery 6x 6 Exhibit and will be on display  December3rd to December 22nd with a reception on December 3rd From 5:00 to 9:00pm
The Randy Higbee Gallery is in Costa Mesa . Here is a link to the gallery for details. Randy Higbee Gallery Web Site

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Close to Home: Plein Air Painting "Gold Field"

                                           Gold Field 14 x 21

 Painted Plein Air about five miles from where I live. The view is from Old School Road off of Finley Rd.
 I am lucky to be able to get out to open space so near to where I live.
Finley Rd is the entrance to Morgan Territory Open Space, an East Bay park that is a wonderful area to hike in. . There were some hawks hunting over the field as this was painted.
Ideal painting conditions with summer color and cooler temperatures.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

California Vine and Hill Exhibit

Autumn Glow 9 x 12

Mount Diablo Northern View 14 x 14

Flag Hill, Sunol 14 x 21

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

California Landscapes 2012 Calendar

Link to California Landscapes 2012 Calendar

A little early this year! You can see the 12 paintings in the Calender by clicking the link above. Some are so new they haven't been published anywhere else yet and some have found new homes and I want to live with them again next year.

NEW: Now through October 23rd, 50% off this calendar with the promo code top3holiday at checkout.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Wine Country Invitational, The Fairmont Gallery in Sonoma, Reception September 17th

Across The Valley 11 x 14

Intoxicating Reds  10 1/2 x 15 1/2

At The Corner of Hill and Vine 11 x 14

Here are three of the paintings I just finished for the Fairmont Gallery's event later this month, it was fun going back to Sonoma to paint with the rich colors of the harvest season.
I am very excited to see what all the artists have done,including Carolyn Lord, Kim Lordier and Manette Fairmont . Here's a link to the gallery web site for details and directions.
I hope you can make it for the reception or exhibit ( which runs to October 17th.)

The Wine Country Invitaitional /Fairmont Gallery/ Sonoma
Reception: 9/17/2011 6-9pm
Location: Fairmont Gallery in Sonoma CA
707 996-2667

447 First Street West
Sonoma CA 95476

"With You in Mind"... you are invited by The Fairmont Gallery
To this prestigious event:

The Wine Country Plein Air
Invitational Gallery Exhibition 2011
Artist Reception: Saturday September 17th, 2011
6:00 - 9:00pm
Exhibition continues until October 17th

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Flag Hill,Sunol, finished

Flag Hill Sunol,14 x 21
If you scroll down, you can see I made a change to the sky to reflect more accurately the way the vividness of the blue related to the creamy gold of the hill. Once I changed the sky, I found I needed to adjust some of the values of the blue and violets in the hill.  I am pleased that this feels like the summer day when it was painted..

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Flag Hill, Sunol Regional Wilderness Paintout with the CAC

 Flag Hill Summer ( Sunol RW) 14 x 21 watercolor

In July I spent a great Saturday with artists from the California Art Club at the Sunol Regional Wilderness. A nice breeze in the morning and a warm afternoon.  Flag Hill caught my eye. It had interesting rocks exposing the ridge structure underneath.
I thought a lot about the sky value in this one, the convention is to make the sky pale at the horizon, but when looking up at a ridge against the middle of the sky you do get the sense that the blue in the sky is a darker value than the gold on the hills. I pushed this as dark as I dared, I've ruined paintings in the past using french ultramarine to push the sky too dark.
I have a new favorite blue, which I purchased only because regular cobalt blue was out of stock, cobalt blue deep, which has a lot more strength as a mixer than regular cobalt.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

International perspective on watercolor

I have been enjoying a blog dedicated to watercolor in French thanks to Google translate. It has a wide perspective on watercolor. The author has kindly included a link to my blog under the heading  " mes coups de coeur" or his favorites. Which given the quality of the art posted is pretty amazing,
I feel like this is one of those connections that would never happen without the internet .
Here is a link to the blog:


Visit and enjoy!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Century of Landscapes: Selections from the California Art Club at the California Historical Society, on Exhibit in San Francisco until October 15th

Twisting Mountain 14 x 21 watercolor on paper
Twisting Mountain is one of my favorite interpretations of Mt Diablo. It fits the theme of historical interpretation because I purposely left out the summit building and roads and painted as it appeared to the first settlers in the East Bay.

                  California Historical Society
                 678 Mission St San Francisco CA

Here is the write up reprinted with permission from the California Historical Society web site :

From July 14th through October 15th, the California Historical Society will host the California Art Club’s centennial exhibition, A Century of Landscapes: Selections from the California Art Club.
At the dawn of the twentieth century, California became home to a legion of artists who came to paint the state’s awe inspiring natural landscapes “en plein air,” an Impressionistic style in which painters worked outdoors in order to capture the ephemeral moment of natural lighting across a landscape.
The California Art Club was established in 1909, by artists, patrons, and visionaries for the sole purpose of capturing the beauty of California’s landscapes in their paintings.
The California Historical Society is the only Bay Area venue for this exhibition celebrating the one hundred year legacy of the California Art Club.
The juried exhibition of works from current members will be supplemented by historical materials from the California Art Club and pieces of art and other materials on the Club from the rich collections of the California Historical Society.

Here is link to the contemporary paintings in this exhibit:


I am very happy to see there is a nice selection of landscape paintings in watercolor here.
Larry Cannon, Dick Cole, John Deckert,  Carolyn Lord and Robin Purcell(me) are all represented and illustrate my thesis that watercolor is so varied in technique , it allows you to create a distinctive style that is original and immediately recognizable, something I find very satisfying as an artist.

The exhibit is over now  and the painting "Twisting Mountain"  SOLD at the Fairmont Gallery in Sonoma.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Point Lobos Series

 Point Lobos Walk 14 x 14

 Pacific Passage 14 x 14( view from the path by China Cove)

Point Lobos Arche 14 x 18

Living in California, not as close to the coast as I would like, I've wanted to paint the Pacific Ocean for a while. The challenge of painting a new, moving subject  from life has proved to be too much. So I have been painting in my studio from photographs and memory..

The hardest thing for me in painting from photographs is to avoid rendering and to try to remember what the colors actually looked like, since the camera distorts them in ways I wouldn't.
The subject that works for me is to use wintertime scenes when there is so much foam in the water that the light value creates a contrast with the darker colors of the land.
They are posted in the order they were painted. ( And look a little dark on my computer)

Monday, June 6, 2011

In case you missed it:The Artists Magazine Online

The Artists Magazine June Issue was previewed online. It can still be ordered online.
 Here is a link to the extra paintings from the article on watermedia landscapes.


Dramatic Watermedia Landscapes

To read more about these artists creating landscapes in watermedia, see the June 2011 issue of The Artist’s Magazine. Here is some art that didn’t appear in the issue.

Magee Ranch Morning (watercolor, 14x21) by Robin Purcell
Magee Ranch Morning (watercolor, 14x21) by Robin Purcell

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fairmont Gallery Representation and Wine Country Invitational

 Hillside Vineyard 10 x 20 Available Fairmont Gallery

I have long enjoyed the work of Manette Fairmont who won the Gold Medal at the California Watercolor Association 2007 National Exhibition. This accomplished artist also has a gallery she curates  in the Square at Sonoma. I have visited over the years and always been impressed with the artists she represents so I am  very happy to be included.
Here is a link to the gallery web site:

The Gallery is located at 447 West First Street and I hope you can visit if you are in Northern California this Summer.
I am also participating in the wine country invitational here on September 17th.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Two Paintings Accepted at the 81st Annual Statewide Contemporary Landscape Exhibit: Earth Portraits at the Santa Cruz Art League on exhibit through June 26th

Pacific Passage 14 x 14

 The Curve of the Earth 21 x 14

81st Annual Statewide Exhibit       
Contemporary Landscape Painters of California

May 28 - June 26, 2011

Juror: Scott A. Shields, Ph.D.
Associate Director / Chief Curator Crocker Museum
Curator: Ed Penniman

The first Santa Cruz Art League Statewide Exhibition was
held in 1928. This year, as a celebration of the 81st Annual
Statewide Exhibition, this competition and exhibition will revisit
the high standards for acceptance, which made this annual Landscape show one of California’s premier art events.

I am thrilled to have two paintings accepted into this exhibition.
"The Curve of the Earth" was one of the few times I've painted from the summit of Mt Diablo and I thought it fit the theme of Earth Portrait .
I've been working on a series of  paintings of the Pacific Ocean and "Pacific Passage" is my favorite so far. I have found that in winter the waves are full of foam and a much lighter value than the rocks , so the compositions  work for me because there are clear value pattens, and it is a fun excuse to paint delicate watercolor washes in a high key.

Santa Cruz Art League
526 Broadway, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Phone: (831) 426-5787
Wed.- Sat., 12AM - 5PM,
Sun. Noon-4PM
Here is a statement about the exhibition by the curator Ed Penniman that I think sums up the intentions of contemporary landscape painters pretty well:

Statement by Exhibition Curator Ed Penniman
It is my belief that there is still considerable interest in stunning, inventive and inspirational landscape paintings of California by California artists. It is my hope that this exhibition will reinforce the idea that landscape painting still lives as a vital and expressive art form, particularly at a time of global environmental degradation. Perhaps the appreciation of natural beauty as expressed by these talented California painters will serve as a call-to-action and also heighten awareness that we all play an important part in the stewardship of nature.

Update 7/9
Ed Penniman was kind enough to send the link to the lecture by Scott A Shields that I wasn't able to attend.
I just watched it and it is very educational and entertaining. The topic is landscape painting through the Crocker Art Museum Collection. Here's the link:

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Artist's Subjectivity and the Landscape

 Tucson 1 14 x 21
Tucson 11 14 x 21

I thought this was an interesting juxtaposition that shows how much analysis and choosing is involved when creating a landscape painting. The two above were painted during the summer in Tucson of a ridge that caught my eye.

This same ridge was painted in pastel by Kim Lordier during the wet winter months.  The paintings could not be more different, even though they are the exact same landscape subject.
Notice how the ridge's lovely curving swoop caught both our eyes and how Kim has effectively used the panorama to create a painting of foreground middle and distance, where I was caught up in the textures but tried to used scale and value to create some distance.

Tucson Eve by Kim Lordier Pastel ~ 24 x 30

Tucson Eve, Kim Lordier Pastel on Archival Paper 24 x 30( used with permission)

Kim's web site is here. http://kimfancherlordier.com/workszoom/548554. And Tucson Eve is at the CAC 100th Gold Medal Exhibition at the Pasadena Museum of California Art through April 24th

Update: 5/19.
There is a great article now in Southwest Art Magazine about Kim and her work , it includes a portfolio of recent works that has beautiful new paintings. http://www.southwestart.com/featured/kim-lordier-windows-to-grandeur

Friday, April 1, 2011

Gold Medal Wine Club/ Featured Artist

Vineyard Patterns 14 x 14
The newsletter for the Gold Medal Wine Club wine club chose me for their featured artist. I've thought that this painting with it's abstraction and bright colors would make a distinctive wine label.
Here's a link to the newsletter and a thank you for featuring my art.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

California Art Club's 100th Annual Gold Medal Juried Exhibition April 3rd - 24th


Here is my miniature in the exhibit, I just found out it sold during the exhibition.Hill Side Oaks, 9 x 12

Bishop Peak Spring 14 x 14
The second painting in the exhibit.

Here is a link to the award winners: