Friday, October 30, 2009


The challenges of creating artworks are too numerous to list, and, to make matters worse, they seem to multiply as time goes on.  (Shouldn't that be the other way around?  But that's a suhject to be explored in another post.)  On the other hand, the awards are few and far between, at least for me.  (Awards is not to be confused with REWARDS, which are actually nearly as plentiful as the challenges.)  I've entered two small, local art shows over the last two years and have received two awards. 
At the Howard Rees Art Students Show, 2007  I won a blue ribbon (and $40!) for best oil in the show.  My entry was the Bodega Bay "Schoolhouse Beach" painting already shown in another post.  My friend Bob Engle from Thousand Oaks, CA won the best in show with his oil sketch of "Flakey the Clown" (Bob, himself, in clown makeup and garb.)  Here's the schoolhouse beach painting once again.  It's 10" x 20" oil on canvas panel, plein air.

Early this year (2009) I joined the Northern California Arts group and entered their all member show.  I won a merit award for "After the Show" a 16" x 20" Acrylic on canvas.  By coincidence, the painting was of my friend Bob Engle, mentioned above, as he posed at Howard Ree's studio in Amador City as Flakey the Clown.  Here's Bob as Flakey, with a little dramatic lighting of my own invention thrown in.

I've decided enter more shows over the next year, particularly juried shows.  I think it's valuable to 'test' yourself, not so much as in testing against competition, but more to stretching to produce works that are the best you can produce at a given time.  Sort of competition against your previous successes and personal bests.  After I have more experience with it, perhaps I'll write more on the experience and whether it did in fact encourage progress in my work.

January 9, 2010:  Sacramento Fine Arts Center Members Show, Award of Merit for "Evening Walk", oil, 18" x 24".

Monday, October 26, 2009

Howard Rees Workshop in Bodega Bay

In September I joined Howard Rees in Bodega Bay, California to participate in another of his painting workshops.  Howard is a professional artist currently living in Jackson, a gold country town in Northern California.  Howard gave me my first real exposure to oil painting in 2004, and since that time I've taken about 5 workshops from him.  I always enjoy the experience immensely; his gentle approach is good for the beginning painter's psyche...and he can paint too! 

On this trip, we spent four days painting in Bodega Bay and surrrounding areas.  The location is fairly remote with lots of opportunities for painting.  I did this plein air landscape at the edge of a cliff above Schoolhouse Beach just outside of Bodega Bay.  I had been to this same location about two years previously on another of Howard's workshops, and the weather had been cold, gray and windy, but this time it was spectacular.  This painting is oil on canvas 16 x 20 and was done entirely on location. 

Here's the painting done the first time I visited Schoolhouse beach.  (Also as a student in a Howard Rees workshop.)  As you can see, it wasn't quite as nice a day as my most recent visit!  For this painting, I hiked down to the beach proper.  My location for the painting done more recently was on the cliff directly above the artists huddled out of the wind in the background!  It was very cold, and much of the time, I was holding my easel upright with one hand and painting with the other!  Ahhh.....the joy of plein air painting. 
10 x 20 oil on canvas panel.