Spring Break-Grandma’s House


18X24 oil on canvas

To Grandmothers house we go.  I have my posts out of order.  We went to my parents place before my sisters, we stayed in Ukiah at my parents house for 5 days and took day trips from there.  Just like my sister who lives in a vineyard, my parents live in one of the most beautiful places you can imagine, although not in a vineyard.  They are on the other side of the valley from my sister.

I grew up here on this property in Ukiah.  I like to call it a “farmette.” When I was little one of my summer jobs was to scape the paint off this fence around the pasture and repaint.  I was a gymnast and usually ended up walking along the top edge of the fence from one end to the other.  I can image that I was not terribly effective at scraping.  I could paint a picture of this place in any direction and there would be some memory connected to it for me.   There’s this lovely pasture where my parents raise cows, an organic garden and orchard, a hillside, a creek full of salamanders and natural clay, a barn with chickens, turkeys, pigs, etc., beehives, berry bushes, wild turkeys, what looks like a rainforest complete with hanging vines that Tarzan could swing through), and lots of space to run around.  My kids love to come here.

I actually painted this painting last spring after spring break.  (I’m working on this years spring break at grandmas house painting).  I have another painting of my parents place that I painted last year that I will post tomorrow.   It’s of the other end of the pasture down in what feels like the jungle.

I have in mind that someday I will paint a picture of my kids flying through the air down the driveway to my parents house.  Sort of like Faith Ringgold’s flying children.


Here are my spring break paintings so far.


As I said I did this painting almost exactly one year ago.  It’s interesting for me to see how my style and subjects have evolved.  No matter who you are or what you paint or make, there is always a wonderful evolution that comes through simply creating things, one idea evolving in to a new idea.

Keep creating!













Spring Break-Ukiah/Redwood Valley


8X8 oil on canvas

Remember that I’m painting about my spring break?  This is stop #2.  After Spending a couple of days in Tahoe at Squaw Valley we went on to Ukiah to visit my family.  I was born and raised in Ukiah (Northern California) and my parents and youngest sister still live there.  Ukiah and the area surrounding from the Napa Valley to the coast is truly breathtaking.

For the first few days we were in Ukiah it rained a lot.  On Monday we went over to my sisters house.  She lives in a local vineyard.  While I was there the rain let up and the sun shone down on the bright green grass around the grapevines and I went out and took some pictures of the area around her house.  This is her view from her kitchen window.  The grapevines are still lifeless looking but everything surrounding them in every direction is bright green.

Spring Break- First Stop


8X8 oil on canvas

Over the next week or so I am going to paint pictures of all the places we went over Spring Break.

Can you guess where we went first ?

On our way to CA to visit family we usually stop and stay the night in Tahoe just to break up the driving.  This year we stayed 2 nights and skied.  We thought it was about time our non Skiing Idaho kids (we have a ski resort just up the hill, they should ski) learned to ski.

I love Squaw Valley.  I have skied there since I was about 5 years old.  Ever since I can remember I skied with my sister Jeni who is one year older than me.  The two of us would go out alone and ski everywhere.  We loved to ski through all the powder under the lifts and through the trees.  I remember getting stuck many times at the top of this face I’ve painted.  We would go up KT-22 or Headwall or Cornice and somehow make our way down.  I don’t think those lifts are there anymore.  Are they?  Squaw Valley was so different back then (in the 70’s) and we felt like we owned the mountain.

After a day of teaching my kids how to ski up at High Camp, they all took the tram down and I skied down the mountain run.  On my way I skied under the Gondola and stopped and took a picture.  This is what I have painted.   It was a day of perfect spring skiing, sunny and about 50 degrees.  And my kids learned to ski!

The colors in the photo of this painting are not quite right, but pretty close.  The sky is brighter.

I have so many memories of this place.


Karly and Cade & Spring Break

12X9 oil on canvas

I can tell I’m tired because I can’t remember if I posted the FINAL picture of these two paintings!  I recently got Cade back from being scanned at the art print shop.  Last month I took in a big bunch of paintings to have photographed so I could have some high quality images for my blog with colors that are accurate and also so I can make prints of a few paintings.  My photographs are always a little blurry and I can’t seem to get the colors very well.

Karly and Cade were a commission piece of a brother and sister.  They were a lot of fun for me to paint.  It’s easy to paint beautiful young people.  I should say that painting is never “easy” and is always a struggle and a big leap of faith at the front end, so maybe I should say that it’s a pleasure to paint beautiful young people and see their faces, features, personalities, and especially their eyes come to life.  These two have especially beautiful eyes.   Being a guy, Cade has a few features I’ve never painted before, like whiskers, an adams apple, and a big thick sweatshirt.  And he’s tall.  About a foot taller than me.  So I went over to his house and stood on a chair so I could get a picture of him straight on with no distortion.  I used the very first picture I took.

On a side note, I just got back from our Spring Break to California.  We went to all our favorite spots and even did some new stuff.  I took a lot of photos and over the next few weeks plan to paint a picture to represent each place we went.  I think I’ll post them in order.  It might take me a while, but I plan to paint them small.  I wish I could have set up my easel and painted on location everywhere we went but I don’t think my family would have been happy with waiting around for 2 or 3 hours everywhere we went.  Maybe in 10 years I can do that… but I’m really not looking forward to that (my kids being grown and gone that is).



Mendocino Headlands



30X40″ oil on canvas

Yesterday I started this Mendocino California beach landscape.  I sketched out the initial scene quickly and will wait for it to dry to work on values and create more depth.  There are 2 parts of this painting that I love and won’t change. The sky and that one tree sticking up in the middle.






Here’s another huge still life I painted for my sister.  It’s a bowl of lemons.  Last time I was in Ukiah I only had time to sketch out the underpainting in acrylics.  She took it and hung it in her house alongside the huge pears.  Now that I see it hung, I like the wait it looks and most likely will leave it alone.


Little Cuties

imageI painted this still life of mandarin oranges this morning.  I love the loose, fast, carefree feel to this one.  I was going to paint strawberries but we didn’t have any, so I grabbed a bunch of mandarins and set them up in the early morning light.  Their shadows were getting shorter as the sun got higher so I had to work fast.