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.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Telluride Plein Air 2013: An Introduction To Mountain Paradise, Pt. 2

Thanks for following me along to the 2nd part of my trip to Telluride. If for whatever reason you missed the first part, click here: Link

Day 5

Today was the day of the infamous "Quick Draw." The morning was spent framing everything so I didn't have to worry about it in the evening. There's nothing like being free of responsibility for at least a little while when it comes to these events, if even for a short while.

We had 1.5 hours to execute our quick-draw for the event. I actually shaved off even more time for this one because after I set up in the desired spot, I realized I had the wrong sized panel in my box for my frame! So I had to race back to my car, grab an 8x10" panel and run back to my set-up, losing about 20 minutes in the process. So technically I executed this one in a little more than an hour. Pretty successful of a painting of this complexity for the time spent. I packed up as quick as I could to run back to the park where we were supposed to set up our painting for display and sale.
"Coffee Cowboy" 8x10 oil on linen mounted on board. Sold.
Congratulations to Erich Neubert who won the best quick-draw award. His was a sweet little painting of alleyway near the Opera House. Ok. NOW the responsibilities were over.

The event of the evening was the Artist Choice Award Gala and Sale. Another success for me! Not only did I win Second Place for Artist Choice(and a half-page ad in Southwest Art Magazine to go with that ribbon) but a sale too! Although it retailed for $550, the bidders drove it up to $900! Quite a shot to the arm wouldn't you say??
After this, we went to Brown Dog Pizza to celebrate. I hung around and talked to Josh Been about art and business. Very interesting person to talk to about these things! Not only is he a really good painter, but he has some very unique, dare I say revolutionary ideas on how to market and sell work successfully as an independent landscape painter. He's doing very very well and I hope someday he writes about what he knows, because I think he may have the potential to help a lot of artists with what he knows.

Day 6

The first day of the sale was a good test to see whether or not my strategy of painting a lot of small "affordable" works to show as many as possible. I would say it worked out well for me. After doing so many events where so few paintings sold, it was nice to see some come off the walls. On this day I sold "Coffee Cowboy," "Swift Silhouettes," and "Poppy-Art."

Day 7

The next day was the 4th of July holiday, which brought many more people to downtown and the event with it. This meant many more sales to make up for yesterday's thinner sales for the other artists. I sold "Lyrical Liquid" and "The Final Capture" early in the morning, but I think I was too engrossed in the painting I did to try and sell a whole lot to the passer-by's. This painting took me all day to do, but I was happy enough with the results.
"Purple Petunias" 14x18 in. oil on linen mounted on board. $1500 Inquire here.

The show was now over and the artists were reasonably happy with the event and the sales. We said many goodbyes and got a little group together to go to Jill Carver's place in Rico, which is about a half hour away. I just met her the day before, but she was super-nice to me and so I was excited to head over to her home and have a final pow-wow with other artists. She has some killer views being nestled in the Rockies, and her walls are very impressive! Not only did she have a good collection, but she had some of her great paintings up for display as well. It was so cool! I was so glad to spend the evening with her.
The view from Jill Carver's house.

The Journey Home

Rather than re-trace my trip back through Salt Lake City and northern Nevada, I went south instead through northern Arizona. This meant that I could see parts of some areas that I had really wanted to see for a while.
On the outskirts of Monument Valley.
I got a chance to see the Grand Canyon for the first time! This was a very worthy detour, as you would expect it to be. It was weird, just as soon as I got near the canyon, it got very stormy with major rolling downpours passing through the area. It made for some very dramatic eye-candy.
Best believe I took plenty of photos!
Such a beautiful area, and fun to paint for someone who loves depicting atmospheric distance as much as I do! I met Bill Cramer in the Telluride event, and his Grand Canyon paintings are among some of my favorites. So his were fresh in my mind as I did my humble study. It would be a dream to come back and spend a week painting here. As luck would have it, there is a plein air event in the area. I will have to apply next year once I create some paintings of the Grand Canyon to put in my portfolio.
I got tired of getting sometimes-rained-on at the Grand Canyon so I went down to Flagstaff to check it out. I was pleasantly suprised at how much I enjoyed the area. I was not expecting an alpine community with mountains, ponderosa pines and aspen trees. Totally not what you think when you consider Arizona. I really ought  to come back and paint in this area. Very picturesque and possibly underrated due to its proximity to the Grand Canyon and Sedona. A thorough exploration of Arizona is definitely on the list of things to do in the future.
Mt. Elden and a farm in a pretty meadow near Flagstaff.
I stayed in Kingman along Route 66. The nostalgia of that number is the only thing they had going for themselves.
Desert Rain.
Once I made it back to California there wasn't a whole else to excite me. Apologies to the fans of Barstow, Bakersfield, Fresno, and Modesto.

I loved my trip to Telluride. There was much to see along the way, there were a lot of good artists, the organizers were good, sales were good, and the location is beautiful. Does it live up to its reputation? I believe it does, although I do believe that as far as careers go, it's more of a destination than a launch pad to greater things. It's too early to say whether or not it will be a boost to my career, but the ad prize can be to my advantage if used smartly. Being an award winner I believe I will be asked to come back and I definitely would. I would urge serious plein air painters to keep applying to this event because I believe it does live up to its reputation as one of the top plein air events.

Drawings For Sale
Prints For Sale

Friday, July 12, 2013

Telluride Plein Air 2013: An Introduction To Mountain Paradise, Pt. 1

I have returned from Colorado after participating in the Telluride Plein Air event. There were ups and downs but I am happy to say there were a lot more ups than downs. This post will be done travelogue-style, and there is a lot to cover, so without further ado, let's jump in.


I decided to take my trusty dusty Honda Accord wagon out there with me. I went through Northern Nevada on the I-80 to get to Salt Lake City, then from there down Eastern Utah into Southwest Colorado.
Crossing into Nevada via North Lake Tahoe

Driving through the middle of the desert is tough on any car, but my poor car started pooping out on me in one of the worst places you can imagine on the road: Smack-dab in the middle of Northern Nevada. I notice my thermometer nearly in the red and I immediately try and find a place to pull over. I open my hood and see my radiator coolant bubbling over. Great, overheating. 
The middle of the desert near where I started overheating.
I let it cool down for a bit then coast down to Winnemucca to wait for a while to let it cool down. I thought I could wait for a few hours and then I would be good, but then I got about 30 more miles before it started overheating again. I have very minimal mechanic skills, so I got whatever advice I could over the phone from more handy friends before I put-put down the hill into Battle Mountain where I found the only room left in town. 

After stressing out all night and frantic Google searching on the worst wireless network ever, I concluded that the best thing to do was to go to a mechanic in town in the morning. I went to a shop where they did all sorts of tests on it. They didn't find anything wrong with the radiator, so they just filled my radiator with coolant and sent me on my way. Crossed my fingers and kept on my way. I concluded that I just over-worked my system by keeping the A/C on too long. I played it safe, rolled my windows down, and used the desert air blowing on me and bags of ice to keep cool the rest of the way.
Elko, NV. There is a Sierra-Like mountain range just outside of this town.
The Bonneville Salt Flats that signal your entrance into Utah.
I had never been south of Salt Lake City before, so I was pleasantly surprised at the beauty of some areas that I wasn't expecting to see.
A beautiful valley pass through the Wasatch Range between Provo and Price, UT.
A pretty sunset in Price, UT. Didn't have a whole lot else going for it.
Yelp really failed me as far as finding a good dinner in Price. After getting some OK Mexican food, I went forward in my journey. Continuing my streak of staying in terrible hotels, I found the last affordable room in Green River, UT. and clocked out quickly.

Day 1

I woke up to an already-hot day in the morning and continued on the rest of the way to Telluride. I was about 4 hours away now, and my car was still holding up, so I was cautiously optimistic. I had been looking forward to seeing Moab for a long time, and the beauty of the area did not dissapoint.
The canyons around Moab are amazing! No way to do them justice on my phone camera.
Finally made my way into Colorado!
I was struck immediately by the beauty of the valley that Telluride sits in. It is truly a mountain paradise.
I spent the day settling in to my new surrounding. I explored the town that is pretty in its own right. I tried to paint a small piece that turned out to be a wiper. After the orientation, we artists hung out for a while and got to know each other all better. Was nice to see some familiar faces as well as making fast friends with unfamiliar faces as well.
I don't paint a whole lot of nocturnes, so this was me stretching out a bit.
"Night Flowers" 6x8 in. oil on linen board. $475. Inquire here.

Day 2

I spent the day exploring what type of scenes I could paint in the area. In the morning I painted this scene of the mountains to the north. I am quite impressed with the immediacy of nature in the area. It never feels that far away.
I next painted this scene of a Jeep in an alleyway. I found this one to be the most interesting painting of mine. So did a lot of the artists as well as a few collectors.
"Ready To Roll" 10x8 in. oil on linen board. Sold.
The thing about Colorado in the summer that I learned was that the weather changes rapidly. The clouds move ridiculously fast, and rain can come as soon as it leaves. A few days in a row, it predictably rained from 1:30 to 3:00 with some sprinkles here and there. I had less than two hours between rain and the upcoming obligation in the evening to dash this one off, but I think I pulled it off.
"Alley Shacks" 12x16 in. oil on linen board. $1200 Inquire here.
This was an interesting circumstance surrounding the creation of this painting. This so-called "wine paint-out" was sort of a quick-draw where we had a certain amount of time and a set place to paint our pieces in order to show right afterwards. The idea was to attract those people who were roaming around each station tasting wine and looking at plein air artists create. I didn't really like where I was set up, so I walked down the block to paint an interior scene of the Chophouse bar from the outside. People enjoy paintings of scenes they know and are created in front of them. So there was a couple from Alabama who watched me paint part of this that ended up buying it! Five other artists sold paintings, so the mini-event was a success.
"Come On In" 12x9 in. oil on linen board. Sold.
Riding the high of an early sale, I came back to a spot I liked from the night before and painted this nocturne of a couple of motorcycles. A bunch of people painted these bikes, but I think I was the only one who did it at night.
"Swift Silhouettes" 6x8 in. oil on linen board. Sold.

Day 3

I was planning on doing a full day of uninterrupted painting this day, and wasted no time in getting out there to paint. This was a quick painting I did in the morning. The pinkish early light gave a nice tone to the rocks.
"How It Brightens" 6x8 in. oil on linen board. $475. Inquire here.
There is a great hike you can make along the river that goes south along Telluride. I followed it out of town to find some great paint-worthy scenery.

"River Rain" 9.5x6.5 in. oil on linen board. $500. Available Through The Christopher Queen Gallery.

I hiked out quite a ways outside of town. I found a spot that I really wanted to paint, when all of the sudden the sky went gray and rain started falling. Then about 10 minutes later it started hailing for about a good 10 minutes before it went back to heavy rain for another 10 minutes before it went back to drizzling. My gear was soaked as well as my motivation. Wasn't prepared for this flash storm, so I hiked back into town and waited indoors for the rain to pass.
I finally ventured out of town to paint and found some meadows that were pretty enough to paint from. The weather was still very much in flux so I didn't want to set up a large canvas in a scene that would change on me. I did a study of the clouds on the mountain before it started pouring on me again. At least I had an umbrella with me this time.

"Holding Water 6x8 in. oil on linen board. $475 Inquire here.

I drove a bit further out to Last Dollar Road towards the airport. This road takes you up towards the mountains where you find incredible views of many of the peaks surrounding the town. I found this scene that  lent me a chance to depict atmospheric distance.

"Not Yet Forgotten" 11x14 in. oil on linen board. $1000

After marveling at the sunset for a while, I dashed off this quick study of Wilson Peak before the light finally left for the day.

"Final Capture" 6x6 in. oil on linen board. SOLD

Day 4 

This was a beautiful scene I scouted earlier in the week. The morning sun against the grass made a beautiful golden green, and the mountains reflected in the still water made for a great subject.
"Lyrical Liquid" 9.5x6.5 in. oil on linen mounted on board. Sold.
After breakfast I took the free gondola up the hill to Mountain Village which has amazing scenery and great hiking trails for the acclimated. There were an abundance of mountain peaks to choose to paint from. Wish I knew the name of this one, but there are so many around that I couldn't keep track of them. If anyone recognizes it, let me know.
"How High" 6x8 in. oil on linen board. $475 Inquire here.
I didn't really last too long at such an extreme altitude so I came back down to a slightly-less-extreme altitude back in town and painted this scene of poppies that captured my attention a few times during the week.
"Poppy-Art" 4.5x9.5 in. oil on linen board. Sold.
I was feeling a bit fatigued from all the painting I'd been doing already, so I wasn't sure if I was going to go out and paint anymore that day. I hung out with a couple of friends and then ate dinner with Jason Sacran. We got to talking about art and started trying to psyche ourselves up about painting a dusk scene. One of those nice things about hanging around other painters, which is the motivation. We drove out to the intersection of 145 and Society Drive. The light was almost non-existent but all of the sudden the top of Mt. Ajax lit up for a few short minutes! I had to dash off this 6x6" painting in about 25 minutes. It's not my most refined piece but I enjoyed creating a very simple graphic interpretation of these iconic mountains.

Coming up next: Part 2 - Awards, Sales, The Return Trip...

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