Sergio Lopez - North SF Bay Area Fine Artist

Upcoming Shows and Events

•Spoke Art: April 7, 2016. "The 5th Annual Moleskine Show." San Francisco, CA.

•Bakersfield Museum of Art: April 9th, 2016. "Kern County Plein Air." Bakersfield, CA.

•Christopher Queen Gallery: May 1st, 2016. "The Golden Hour." Duncans Mills, CA.

•Abend Gallery: May 13th, 2016. "Contemporary Figuration." Denver, CO.

•Paso Arts Fest: May 26th, 2016. "Signature Exhibition." Paso Robles, CA.

•Los Gatos: June 18th, 2016. "Los Gatos Plein Air." Los Gatos, CA.

Sonoma Plein Air: September 10th, 2016 "Sonoma Plein Air." Sonoma, CA.

•Modern Eden Gallery: September 17th, 2016. Beautiful Bizzare Invitational Show. San Francisco, CA.

•Christopher Queen Gallery: October 2nd, 2016. "A Splendid Journey: 40th Anniversary Show." Duncans Mills, CA.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Good Models vs Bad Models • Q&A • New Oil Paintings

It's obvious that a good model will inspire you to create better work and vice versa, but what are some of the things that separate models in terms of quality?

Good model: Dynamism in the pose, puts emphasis into key areas of interest to an artist (muscle, bone structure, gesture, weight distribution), variety in the poses.

Bad Model:  Just stands there, no dynamism whatsoever, no real effort. Note: This has nothing to do with the weight of the model, I've had plenty of heavier models who can pose well.

Good Model: Action, theatricality, an attempt at story-telling without being too ham-handed.

Bad Model: None of that stuff.

Good Model: Simply put, can hold a pose!

Bad Model: WONT STAY STILL ARRRRRRRRHHHHHHHHH (Notice that lack of imagination in the poses again?) You do the best you can, I guess.

I've gotten some questions about what I'm planning on doing, plus a few other things that I'd figure I'd answer here.

Q: Are you planning on doing any more pieces for the "Painted Roses" series? What's nest?

I'm not sure. I am definitely not continuing the same exact series as I have done it before. I've completely exhausted the possibilities of that session that produced the paintings from that series. I've yet to determine whether or not it would be interesting to do the same formula of  "tattooed girl against patterned backdrop." The idea of that one was relatively spontaneous, and also very personalized to the model's figure and personality.

I have an idea of what my next major series will be (One of three) that involve a female figure, patterns, and different elements merging together, yet completely different than the "Painted Roses" series.  I'd love to use Julia again for another series, but I've yet to come up with a new idea for it, plus she's in NYC right now anyways.

Q: How do you get the models to pose for you? It seems like you have to be very personable and skilled to talk someone into taking their clothes off for you.

I am very particular about who I choose to work with. First and foremost, the person has to be enthusiastic about working with me. That usually means they are familiar with my work and want to be part of what I plan on creating with them. I get to know the person before I decide on what I want to use them for, and for the most part it's something based on their unique characteristics. So by the time it gets to the posing, there's no "talking them into it." If they're not comfortable, I'm not working with them. As anyone who knows me in person could tell you, I'm pretty shy and quiet in person, so I have no special gifts of gab, but I like to think I'm a pretty nice person. I also take the sessions seriously and do my best to make sure the person is as comfortable as possible.

These are 2 new oil paintings that I finished a couple of days ago.  These are the first new significant pieces that I have done since the "Painted Roses" series. The reference I worked from is actually over a year old, and I've sat on them for a while. I've just now gotten around to coming up with something interesting to paint from.

Through the magic of Photoshop and some know-how, you can manipulate your reference to whatever you want. You can change the time of day, even. Takes a lot more work than it looks like, but it's worth getting exactly what you're after.  There's no reason or benefit to half-assing anything you do.

"Sea of Tears" 12x18" Oils on Canvas Board, 2011.

"Fata Morgana" 16x20 in. Oils on Canvas Board, 2011.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Plein Air with Mr. Luff

Fellow artist and podcast-enthusiast Rod Luff came by and stayed in Santa Rosa for a few days with me.  It gave me an opportunity to show off some of the lovely areas of Sonoma and Marin counties that I enjoy painting landscapes from.

We went out to Point Reyes, where we had perfectly clear skies that day. I could not ask for a better day.  We painted at the northern peninsula past Inverness.

There was a view from Pierce Point Road close the entrance to Tomales Bay State Park.  I chose this composition to utilize the large dark mass that takes up most of the canvas. It started off strong, but I think I lost a bit of the strength by breaking up the dark mass with the light tree tops. I'm not terribly happy with the foreground also. I might use it as a study for a large piece.  I think those trees could be impressive when you make them 3 feet tall on a canvas :-)

This is a great view looking out towards Tomales Bay, close to the entrance of Tomales Bay State Park. I liked the atmospheric depth of the foreground and middle ground.  I think I can push it further by lightening the background hills some more and darkening up the foreground around the tree.  One of my new challenges in landscape painting is to tighten up the values further within the major shapes.  There is a lot of skill and beauty to be had in learning to put detail and variety within very narrow value steps.

The next day we went out to Sugarloaf Ridge State Park just east of Santa Rosa. This is a great area with a lot of variety. The headwaters of Sonoma Creek originate from here. I spent about 2 hours on this creek.  I enjoy painting creeks a lot.  I definitely want to make this a larger painting. I can do a whole series on creeks. It's something I am considering doing.  For this piece, I like that i was able to keep a lot of the rocks simplified. I think the foreground can stand to get darkened up a bit more, especially in the water.  Also, it would be cool to "spot-light" the middle ground a bit as well.

Rod did a lovely study of this area as well. I hope he decides to post it up.

Heading up the Godspeed Trail takes you up to this view. I looked backwards to paint this view.  This painting started off very abstract.  I tried to simplify it as much as I could in the beginning. I think the middle ground and background needs more clarity in separation on the left side of the painting. Maybe if I darkened and silhouetted that whole side of the painting....

The next day we went to check out the Carmel Art Festival (someone remind me to apply next year!!) to check out the works of some of my friends and view the winners. I also checked out some of the top galleries in Carmel to see what they had in stock. John Burton's paintings were excellent, and Kevin Courter's paintings were great as usual.

Contrary to the forecast, the weather was incredible.  We headed out to Point Lobos, which is a magical area just south of Carmel on the way to Big Sur.  It's one of those picture-perfect areas that you can't help but want to paint, but it's way harder than you think.  You have to find an area that you can tackle in a couple of hours or else it's too overwhelming.

This is a view looking eastward at Carmel Valley. There was a small beach you can see beyond the park. Believe it or not, this little scene took a lot of designing. There was a lot of stretching and squeezing the horizontal "band"/planes that go across the paintings.  I like to block these 6x8" pieces in very quickly, I'm talking 15 to 20 minutes. I use a stiff Rosemary&Co. Ivory brush that will move the paint around easily.  In my progression I like to go from harder to softer as I go along. When I am finishing the painting, I come back in with a small stiff brush and reinforce the hard edges that I may have lost in the middle of painting.

This was a tough little painting to get through. I was thinking it was going to be easier than it turned out to be.  It took some extreme simplification.  The values arent quite what I want them to be, but I got some of the color in the shadows that I wanted. The water needs some work too.  I think it's a good color study in case I want to make a large painting out of it. I need to draw more cypress trees. They are so hard to get their specific shape if you're not used to drawing them.

Once again I will be showing a piece at the Randy Higbee Gallery this weekend.  They are hosting the Laguna Plein Air Association's "Less Is More" show.

I painted this piece from life on the way to Putah Creek just east of Lake Berryessa. I got lucky with the cows  walking by that I was able to put in there. They weren't staying put for long.

"On The Way To The Canyon" 6x9 Oil on Canvas.

For more info about the show click here:

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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Painted Roses: Opening Reception (Photos)

Here are photos from the opening reception of the show.  For all of you who didn't get to go, check out the pictures!


Red dots!

The piece, "Lamarque," is 48x42" which is the largest piece I've done yet.

Here are some shots of some of the guest artists who also showed a piece or two.


The gallery's cool logo:

Opening night!

Attendance in full force:

Myself in front of "Bourgeon De Rose"

With the talented young whippersnapper Rodrigo Luff:

Even though "Bourgeon De Rose" and "Chromatella" have sold, you can still get prints of them along with some of the other pieces at Inprnt. Click on the pieces.


Bourgeon De Rose

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