Since I usually paint outdoors Plein Air several times a week , I find it difficult to keep updating my most recent paintings. Also my Painting Galleries are not up to date, there is a technical issue.

From now on I will showcase my favorites on the home page. Please contact me at if interested in a purchase.

“Capitola Ocean Fun” 9 x 12 oil on linen
From the 2 hr Quick Draw competition 11/4/19 Available


“View from Pleasure Point” 14 x 18 in Plein Air Oil 2019 Available
Carmel Beach 12 x 16 oil on line panel
Natural Bridges, Santa Cruz 12 x 16 in oil on linen panel


Recent Plein Air Techniques

When I first started this Blog I intended to include painting discussions and techniques. So here is a basic summary of my recent approach to Plein Air painting.

A) Support : I prefer to use 3/16 inch canvas panels for Plein air , they can be stored wet into a slotted carrier and can hold multiple panels. I use 9 x 12 and 12 x 16 inch panels and store them in the same carrier. (RayMar Art for panels and carriers). When I run out I use canvases of the same size.                                                                                                                       B) Toning Surface: reduce glare on the surface and add uniformity to the painitng by wiping on a thin layer of color and letting it dry , usually before the day of painting. This can be acrylic or oil . My favorites are a honey color, an orange,  or a rose.                            C) Sketch first: After selecting a subject, use a small view finder to help compose your painting. Then do a quick black and white sketch to show lights and darks. The light will change so you will use this as your guide.   Put your center of interest at an intersection of thirds to give a good composition.                                                                                                    D) Darks first: Using Gamsol to thin the paint, mix a dark black for your darkest darks. My favs are to mix Alizarin Crimson and Thalo Green.  Or,  to use a mix of Burnt Umber and Ultramarine Blue. Squint and paint in all your darkest darks.                                                   E) Lightest light: Now paint in your lightest lights ( Careful it may be, or may not be white) F) Shadows: Mix some colors into your dark mix to give shadow colors. This will be a grayish tone but could be in the purple family or blues, or ? Paint in you shadow shapes. G) Color and Light: I’ve been mixing A 50/50 mix of Linseed oil into my paint from this stage on. It gives a gloss and enables easier blending. Paint in the shapes, in medium values. Use a blending brush to smooth edges and also q tips to scratch out areas for new lighter paint to go into. Add the lighter paint colors and with a thicker texture.                   H) Evaluate and Refine: Step back and analyze your work. I often have to add darks back into the painting ( somehow they tend to disappear), then some highlights. Work on some details near center of interest. 

Next time I will show some examples of these points.


February 15th and 16th 2016 : Yosemite Plein Air

"Cathedral Spires 2016""Wind on the Falls"

Feb 2, 2016 San Francisco Fireboat

I painted this in a few hours in January in SF near the Bay Bridge.

” San Francisco Fireboat”  9 x 12 in .  Oil on panel, painted en Plein Air



Jan 6, 2016   “Silicon Valley Barn”

As you can imagine there aren’t very many Barns left in Silicon Valley. It was fun to document this one as a rather large 12 x16 Plein Air, completed on a cold December morning.

Shamble-Silicon Valley Barn

December 12, 2015    Recent Plein Air 2 to 3 hour studies

Painting en Plein Air has its challenges: wind, bugs, rain, fog, etc. However the reason we paint is to capture the light that even a camera can’t see, can’t feel. Usually a painting is completed in 2 to 3 hrs because the light and shadows can change so dramatically in that time. Before painting I do a quick black and white sketch to plan the lights and darks. Here are several paintings from November and early December.

Golden Gate Park, SF
Golden Gate Park, SF  9 x12 in     Oil on canvas panel


Foggy Morning, Morgan Hill
“Foggy Morning , Morgan Hill ” 11 x 14 Oil on canvas


Morning Light, Moss Landing
“Morning Light, Moss Landing” 12 x 16 in Oil on canvas panel


Mission San Juan Bautista
“Mission San Juan Bautista” 11 x 14 in. Oil on canvas

November 9 Capitola Plein Air  2nd place Award


October Plein Air painting at Lake Tahoe

A group of 5 friends and I met at Lake Tahoe for 3 days of painting this past week. This is my 9 x1 2 oil on panel from the first day.

Lake Tahoe October 2015Tahoe Plein Air GroupMGB-GT Plein Air

I’ve been thinking of doing a painting of my 1966 MGB-GT for some time now.

Finally on Tuesday morning I stood on the front lawn and gave it a try.

1966 MGB-GT Plein Air

August 17, 2015   Plein Air = On site Outdoor paintings

I have been painting with the Los Gatos Art Association’s Plein Air Monday group most weeks that that I have been in town, and typically have posted on my main blog page..

Here are a few recent paintings from this summer when I was out of town: La Jolla Ca. and Mendocino CA.






Agate Cove, Mendocino 11 x 14 in , Oil on canvas panel, Plein Air

March 24, 2015 Daily paintings

I have been going out a few times a week painting  Plein Air. Some are experiments in technique, others use slightly different color palettes.

Pichetti Winery , Cupertino CA. Plein Air 9 x 12 in, Oil on canvas panel




Mustard Fields, Camden Ave ,San Jose CA.  Plein Air 9 x 12 in . Oil on canvas panel

Mustard Fields, CamdenRoad


Palm Court Hills, Morgan Hill   Plein Air 11 x 14 in , Oil on canvas panel

Palm Court hills, Morgan Hill


Februry 22, 2015

This was a busy and fun painting week.

On Monday 2/16 I painted with the LGAA Plein Air group in Los Gatos on GlenRidge Road.Then on Thursday I went north of Santa Cruz and painted 2 Plein Air paintings. The first at Bonny Doon beach in about 3 hours, it was  very windy. The second in less than 2 hrs at the new California State Park Coast Dairies beach . Then Friday I painted at the Palo Alto Baylands.

Palo Alto Baylands


Wilder Dairy beach


Bonny Doon Beach


Glen Ridge Dr. Los Gatos


January 17, 2015

Here are the 5 Plein Air paintings I did this week for the challenge of 5 in 5 days.. Newest at the top. All are oils 9 x 12 in on archival canvas panel, except the watercolor on Arches paper 12 x 16.  untitled-0718





DSC_0607 IMG_1939

January 7, 2015

I have accepted the challenge to paint 5 Plein Air’s in 5 days. Will update here next week.

Also, I posted 4 Plein Airs on the Home page.     Here is a repeat of Sausalito Harbor. I tried to get heavy on the brushstrokes to give a Monet feeling to the hills and sky. Main color scheme was Cobalt and Ultramarine Blues, Alizarin Crimson, and Gold Ochre. The black boat was really that big, dwarfing the sailboats.

Sausalito Harbor, Plein Air 9 x 12 oil
Sausalito Harbor, Plein Air 9 x 12 oil


December 12, 2014

This Monday I painted 2 Plein Air paintings at the Santa Cruz yacht harbor with the LGAA group. Between paintings I enjoyed a nice lunch at Aldos where we had interesting Art conversations. On Sunday I painted with a new group in Castro Valley. Although the recent rains prevented us from walking in the hills , we painted from the rooftop of Tracy’s beautiful home. Thank you Mark Monsarat for inviting me , and to Tracy Vinzant for offering your home on short notice. See paintings below.

Santa Cruz Harbor Lighthouse, Plein Air
Santa Cruz harbor lighthouse , 9 x 12 oil on archival panel


30 minutes into the painting. Total time 90 minutes.



Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor, Plein Air
Sant Cruz yacht harbor 9 x 12 oil on archival canvas panel



Rooftop PleinAir in Castro Valley,Ca.
Plein Air Painting from a Rooftop in Castro Valley


December 3, 2014

I’ve been going out and painting at least one Plein Air each week. I am finding that I like to start by doing an underpainting to tone the canvas. Choosing a color on site, then while wet, I wipe in the light values with a rag. This provides a nice guide for working in the lights and darks of color.

Here (below) are 2 recent 9×12 paintings.

But first a photo of me setting up my old French easel at EchoLake in the Sierras at 7,300 ft. Our yellow lab Rollie is a great companion, especially with water and a swim nearby.


Plein Air in Sierra Nevada

Almaden Creek Plein Air ( Monday mornings with theLos Gatos Art Association group)

Almaden Creek Plein Air

Upper Truckee River 

Upper Truckee River Plein Air



November 2, 2014

Here are 2 recent Monday morning Plein Air paintings , both 9 x12  in.

Almaden Sycamores
Almaden Sycamores


La Jolla SeaCliffs 2014
La Jolla SeaCliffs 2014


September 25, 2014  Plein Air from La Jolla and Bay Area 

Here are 3 recent paintings. I used the same  color palette for all 3: Ultramarine Blue, Manganese Blue, Cad Yellow, Cad Orange, Naples Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Alizaron Crimson, Cad Red, Blue black and Titanium white.

Cupertino Foothills toward Los Gatos

Cupertino Foothills toward Los Gatos, 9x 12″ oil on canvas panel

Torrey Pines State Park, La Jolla CA.

Torrey Pines State Park, La Jolla Ca.   11 x 14″oil on panel

Atascadero Open Space near Stanford

Arastradero Open Space Preserve near Stanford. 11 x 14″ oil on panel

9/10 North Tahoe PleinAir Arts Open (9/2- 9/7)


I was very busy painting 2 per day, made good friends, made a few good connections and garnered a wealth of information. I met 2 gallery owners and several potential customers. My donated 6×6 painting was purchased at the benefit auction. 5 of my new contacts were award winners and 3 are local enough to Santa Clara that we will meet to paint together. The other 2 live at Tahoe and interested in meeting at Echo Lake next year. A very rewarding week. Thanks to Helen, Scott and Kathe ; Eva, Bill, Mike and Amanda for stopping by at Northstar to cheer me on !

Here are my 3 Gallery exhibits at Tahoe City, on display through September: La Jolla Cliffs, Flagpole Peak at Echo Lake, Natural Bridges at Santa Cruz.



All of these are 9 x12 painting on canvas archival panel, the unfinished Squaw Valley is an 11 x 14. The gallery owner at Art Obsession in Truckee stopped by and is interested in large paintings 2 x 3 ft , all the way to 7 feet  

.untitled-9352         untitled-9356

untitled-9314                untitled-9304                    untitled-9307

untitled-9289 untitled-9322




9/6 North Star Art and Wine

We set up 5 of my paintings that I made this week, for exhibit at Northstar for the North Tahoe Plein Air exhibit and sale. I had many favorable comments about my work during the 2 days.

9/3 Day 2: North Tahoe PleinAir

Today we met at Squaw Valley and then were free to go off and paint. I thought the light was better as I arrived at 9am , but there was a gathering to attend first. I painted from 10 to 1pm. Then I drove to the mouth of the Truckee where it comes out of Lake Tahoe. Sadly there is very low flow, but I thought it looked like it would make a good painting. Note: I’ve been working on touch ups of paintings all evening and its now past midnite and there seems to be a computer/ program problem with uploading photos, I will summarize at the end of the week..

9/2 North Tahoe Gallery 

Here are the 3 paintings I have submitted (for sale) for a month long display at the Gallery. The large Natural Bridges 16 x 20 is not PleinAir, the other 2 are PleinAir.

Then a few photos from today: The Gallery, 1st location ( I will take a painting photo tomorrow), painting at 2nd location, sunset on the Lake. A beautiful day.

DSC_9221 DSC_9225


Todays 9/2 Plein Air event Activity:

DSC_9240 DSC_9247 DSC_9276

Sunset on Lake Tahoe 9/2/14

New Pochade box 9/2

I just built this over the weekend . Mostly cherry and mahogany with a black walnut back. It fits into my backpack 11 x 14, and mounts onto my photography tripod with a quick disconnect plate. I will squeeze out about 8 paints into the top edge and then use the rest of the surface as a palette. I am at North Tahoe and will try it out.




I have created this separate page for my Plein Air paintings. Since they are created within a few hours, and often in changing and  adverse conditions, I want to give them there own space .      Sometimes standing as a completed paintings, these studies capture the atmosphere, impressionistic energy and subtle color and values of the scene.

Here is a small sample from 15 years of painting Plein Air paintings. The small 8×10 of Flagpole Peak, Echo Lake was from 1999. The newest is High Sierra 4th of July 2014, Echo Lake.    (Double click to see enlarged version)

Flagpole Peak-9140High Sierra 4th of July-9137


La Jolla -9131      Goldfish Pt 9107

Lighthouse Santa Cruz-9117      Seacliff Beach-9120   Sycamores Cupertino-9123      San Mateo Coastline-9110

Monterey Wharf-9144                 Goldfish Pt 9107

La Jolla pathway-9118    Santa Cruz low tide-9121

La Jolla Shores-9128                La Jolla Eucalyptus-9151

Carmel trees-9114    La Jolla Cove-9126

Beach at Carmel       Ocean Cove, South La Jolla





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  1. Beautiful paintings! I would buy them all – haha!
    Your pochade box looks great! You could probably sell those, too!