Sergio Lopez - North SF Bay Area Fine Artist

Upcoming Shows and Events

-April: Braving The Elements - Landscape Group Show, Robert Lange Studios, Charleston, SC.
•Indelible - Group Show, Alexi Era Gallery, St. Louis, MO.
-May: "California Light" - Landscapes. Christopher Queen Gallery, Duncans Mills, CA.
•May 15-18: Carmel Art Festival
•May 21-24: Paso Robles Art Festival
-June 29-July 5th: Telluride Plein Air.
-September 2014: Sergio Lopez/Mia Bergeron - Robert Lange Studios, Charleston, SC.
-October 2014: "The Traveling Painters," 3-Person Show - Christopher Queen Gallery, Duncans Mills, CA.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

North Tahoe Plein Air 2010

Hey everyone, I just came back from the North Tahoe Plein Air Festival which I was a participating artist. This will be the last plein air event where I have to travel to. It's a very picturesque area; with the tall pines, green water, cobalt blue skies, cotton white clouds and clean white light, it's very distinct. I had a good time painting, but the very apparent lack of sales was a bit of a bummer. It was still a good time, and I feel like with a bit more polish, I can take these to the gallery where they will be matched with a happy collector.


The first day I went to Dollar Point. It was a relatively cold and windy afternoon and the clouds were moving fast. It was a challenge not only to paint the clouds accurately but to make them interesting as well. My friend Jason said they look 3-D when viewed in person. They are quite impasto, a lot more than my usual painting. I'm trying to learn to paint thicker. The Russian artists tend to sacrifice clarity for more interesting surface quality. I would love to have more of that in my own work.

The clouds gathered more and more ominously as the day went on, but I still braved going to the Truckee River with the rain coming down more and more.  It wasn't raining when I started, but I got a bit damp by the time I was done with this one.  The clamp-on umbrella actually worked ok for this one.


The next day was spent around Donner Lake.  This area has been painted plenty of times but it's such a draw, I can't help but throw my hat in the ring...  I love vistas...  You can actually Google Street View the exact location of the area I painted from:

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=39.319728,-120.312978&spn=0.001488,0.003484&z=19

At the shore of Donner Lake looking westward:

This painting actually took 2 days to complete, and it's not even finished all the way.  I definitely want to work on it some more...  It was done in the preserve in Martis Creek Lake.  I learned it was a very sacred ground for the natives who used to live here.

Downtown Truckee is a fun place to paint.  It is so "Western," with it's frontier-sy look to its downtown area, and trains constantly going through...  Nice place to grab a bite to eat. 
Squaw Valley.  Very beautiful area, very tempting area to set up and just paint what you see.  It's laid out perfectly for you.
On Sunday, the last day I was there, Al Tofanelli and I went back to Downtown Truckee to paint the river from the bridge.  I focused on the tree, while Al did a nice intimate study of a few of the rocks below.  I tried to paint a higher-key painting than I usually do.  It's not easy for me.  I tend to push my darks deep and flat, and I want to expand my tool-set...
A couple of us set up to paint a couple of models that we were able to wrangle up.  This was the daughter of a woman who works at a sandwich shop with a wine bar that we helped ourselves to a ton of tastings.  It was a way to pay her back.  Al was a sweetheart who donated his piece to the family.
The wife of artist Robert Gantt Steele, who has a profile which begs to be painted.
Even though sales were less than stellar, I had a great time hanging out with friends old and new.  Randall Stauss did a dynamite piece of a rainy scene in Truckee which won him Best of Show.  He made a lot of new artist fans in Tahoe.

Doing all of these events taught me a lot of things about what works and what doesnt, how to win awards, get sales, etc.  It's always great to hear what the other artists say as well...  I will come out with a post soon about the plein air events I have attended with all of the pros and cons about them.


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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Hood River Plein Air Event/Travelogue

August 24th, 2010

I turn 27 and hit the road! Took the 101 up Crescent City, it gets extremely scenic from Eureka to Crescent City. I highly recommend the drive if you haven't done it. It's about 6 hours from here to there, but it's nice.

A turnout just south of Crescent City:


I then head up 199 to Grant's Pass to get to Oregon.  Beautiful area I had never seen before.  I really want to go back to Six Rivers(the forest) someday.


August 25th, 2010

A straight shot up to Portland from Grant's Pass on the 1-5. Gotta say, I'm pretty impressed with the amount of overpasses, hehe. Really neat looking city with all the bridges. I went to the Portland Art Museum. It was decent, had some good landscapes. I was bummed about the ban on all photography (what gives??) but I was able to sneak in a few without them saying anything.

Some 17th Century Painter:


A close-up of a Frank Vincent Dumond:



After visiting the museum I headed east down the 84 aka the Columbia Gorge.  For an interstate highway, my god is it gorgeous.  One of the best drives I think you can do in the US.  I didn't get many pictures of it though, and the ones I did don't do it justice, but here's one for the hell of it:


I make it to the town of Hood River. It is in the ideal spot as far as the scenery goes. A 20-mile radius in any direction will take you to incredible vistas and anything outdoorsy you can want to do. They put us painters up in a couple of townhouses for the event, 5 to a house. It worked out comfortably. I meet the other painters in my house: (Greg Caudell, Mike Kowalski, Mike Orwick, and Mark Larsen. Mark got there at the same time I did. We got to talking, then he tells me of a cool vista point to paint from. "Wanna paint??" Sure!!


This piece was actually done over 2 days.  The first day was laying it down.  I spent about an hour and a half a day on it.

August 26th, 2010

Opening day!  We meet at the Gorge White House, just a few miles south of town.  Everyone seems to know each other already, but everyone is super nice.  I thought I'd be the one out-of-towner for some reason, but there are a few people all the way from Alaska, and even Texas.  I did a mediocre painting of Mt. Hood, but I don't like it enough to put it up on the web.

I went into town to find some cool spots by the river.  I found an awesome viewpoint to paint from in Ruthton Park.  Extremely windy though.


It was not nearly as dark and moody as I depicted it.  I punched up the contrast a lot by bringing the values in the middle ground way down.  I was very much inspired by the old French masters who really pushed the drama with storm clouds and muted palettes.  Another piece I returned to on multiple days.

Before returning to the Gorge White House, I did some sightseeing at Panorama Point.  A lot of people painted here at sunrise, which must have been amazing.  Even with Mt. Hood obscured by clouds, it's still amazing.


I went back to the farm to paint the garden.  There are a lot of interesting varieties of flowers to paint.  I'm not much of a painter of flowers, I have to admit, but I think I made a decent composition out of this one.


Once the day was done, the painters all got together at the taqueria to eat tacos and discuss places to paint  & Triangle brand oil paints....

August 27th, 2010

The itinerary stated that the Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood was going to be our destination, but we learned that the place was going to be overrun with marathoners or something.  So it ended up being a free day to explore the area.

I crossed the bridge into White Salmon and Bingen.  Cute towns, very much a classic logging town.  I painted this view pretty much as just a warm up.  I didn't drop this piece, the dirt on it is actually wood shavings that got blown onto it from like a half-kilometer away.



I went up to Trout Lake, about 20 miles north of Hood River.  There is an iconic view of Mt. Adams from the school ground I painted from.


My painting of the mountain:


There was still plenty of painting time so I went back to the bridge and painted this one from Washington looking east.


Another view of Mt. Hood:


August 28th, 2010

We were supposed to go to Springhouse Cellar's vineyards in Mosier, but it was impossible to find for most of us.  But again, the 20-mile theory pans out and I end up at the Rowena Overlook.  It's a marvelous view of the Gorge and eastward to the Dalles.



My two paintings of the area. The weather was perfect for the 2.5 hrs I spent on the first one. The wind started to kick up on #2, so it's not nearly as finished, but I feel like the sense of immediacy comes across better on the 2nd one. It's a toss up as to which one is better to the viewer.



A beautiful sunset on Mt. Hood to end the day:


August 29th, 2010

Again the itinerary sends everyone to a place where it doesn't quite work out.... I go to the Maryhill Museum in the town of Maryhill Washinton, east of The Dalles.  It's amazing how the scenery totally changes about 30 miles east.  It turns into like Nevada or something, it's weird.  The museum is pretty cool.  It doesn't have a ton of work, but it does have some interesting work that you might not expect in a place like this.  It has a nice Lord Leighton opposite a giant William McGregor Paxton.  It also has a room dedicated to Richard Lack and this piece by R.H. Ives Gammell, former teacher of Stapleton Kearns as well as a ton of other well-respected artists.


It also has a room full of Rodin sculptures which are incredible to see in one place like this. There's a glass case full of little studies, as well as sculptures diagramming his process.


Not only is it a quality museum, but it is surrounded by gorgeous views, so gorgeous that I had to set up and paint.


After painting there, I went westward to Horse Thief Lake. Instead of painting the lake (which is quite picturesque) I instead painted a few of the petroglyphs.  Being that they were rocks, I had a fun time painting in a chunkier thicker style that showed more brushwork.  It was fun to paint a picture that was so low-key with just a bit of rim light and the light background.  I think it was one of my favorite paintings of the week.


A bit of the scenery that I did not paint:


August 30th, 2010

Other than touching up paintings I did during the week, no real painting done this week. I really just took it easy and recharged the ol' batteries for the rest of the week.

August 31th, 2010

I went out to Lost Lake. I picked the absolute worst day to do it though. As soon as I got there it started to drizzle. It's a nice hike around the lake, and I took a gamble on the rain. There was a 50/50 shot of it either clearing out or raining harder. Guess what happened? Trying to paint in the rain really sucks. I toughed it out for an hour before I got fed up. I feel like I did an alright job considering the circumstance. No photos, there was no way I was risking the camera on this trek.


September 1st, 2010

I went to Sauvie Island, a farm and nature preserve northwest of Portland. It's a beautiful area. It reminds me of the back road farms of Marin, except with more variation in the foliage.


There were some nice clouds in the beginning of the first painting, but the sky traded nice clouds for nice lighting.


This was the last painting that I did in Oregon, and it's my favorite one.  It was done in the evening light.  I painted it thicker than usual, and the shadows made a design I like.  I felt like the color combination was good, the trees are convincing and the composition was pleasing enough.  I felt good about it when I finished it.  I can pick out things about it now, but overall I think it's a good piece.


September 2nd, 2010

I'm in total tourist mode today!  I went out to Beacon Rock to hike up to the summit and check out the 360 views of the gorge.  It was well-worth it though quite tiring.  I will definitely do some paintings of the views I snapped.


I then went out to the Eagle Creek Trail.  It's an incredibly beautiful hike.  Has to be one of the most beautiful trails I have ever been on.  Had I more time and stamina I would have went further than Punch Bowl Falls but it was getting late and I needed to get to the preview party for the showwwww.... 
 


Some crazy kids trying to muster up courage to jump into the falls:




I sold the dark stormy painting of the gorge at Ruthton Park. I knew I could find somebody who would buy that one, but I didn't expect it to fly off the wall the way it did... Overall I was very happy with the way my work was received. Had they more money, I believe I would have sold more. From what I've heard, my muted, value-oriented palette seems to stand out amongst a lot of the painters there in Oregon, who are more colorful and tends to go towards a chunkier application. There are a lot of fine painters here, and overall probably one of the best plein air shows I've been in, at least in terms of quality. Check out my facebook page album for a sample of the paintings which I liked.



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