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.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Calling The Heron - Corey Helford Gallery

Super excited to announce my participation in a group show at Corey Helford Gallery! The show is called "Beneath The Waves" and every artist had an "underwater" theme to work with. 

"Calling The Heron" 24x18 inches. Oil on linen mounted on board. $2400

This painting is a bit of two series of mine coming together, "Natural Patterns" and "Proud Birds." Instead of being a straight-forward depiction of the figure in an environment, I thought it would be interesting to have a new vantage point to show within the painting. This way, the underwater part of the painting becomes almost a 4th dimension. I added the pattern to it because I felt it needed an extra decorative element for extra visual pop to counter the overall grayish green of the rest of the painting.

It was a total ordeal to paint the figure so small. In the future, I'm going to make sure I either make the figure a larger part of the picture, or paint a larger painting.

If you are in LA, you can check out the show this weekend!

December 17th 2016 
Saturday at 7 PM - 11 PM 
Corey Helford Gallery
571 S Anderson St, Los Angeles, California 90033

Drawings For Sale
Prints For Sale

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

As an art student, I learned about from fellow students who were on a quest to learn all about the world of representational art. They were the best site and one of the only sites at the time to find high-resolution files from artists like Bouguereau, Gèrome, Sargent, Chase, Sorolla, etc. I made studies from work I found on the site and it helped my studies greatly.
A few years ago, I started to submit my work for the yearly ARC salon. This is one of my favorite art competitions to see what is going on in the contemporary representational art world. I have been fortunate to place as an award finalist every year i have submitted.
This year I have won the distinction of receiving a gallery show award. This means that I will be part of a group show in New York City at Rehs Contemporary. I will be showing alongside Marc Scheff who was a classmate of mine, Vanessa Lemen, fantastic artists Timothy ReesDaniel Gerhartz and others. I will be making new work for this show which will take place about a year from now! This is a big deal to me and will be milestone in my career. I can't wait to start to get to work!

"Grace Darlings" 36x64 inches. Oil on linen. 2015. Available at Just Looking Gallery in San Luis Obispo.

Drawings For Sale
Prints For Sale

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Open Studio 2016

My open studio is this weekend! In fact, it's a building-wide open studio for both Studio Santa Rosa and 33Arts here on the southwest side of Santa Rosa. If you have wanted to come visit me, this is a great opportunity to do so, as I will have everything out to see, and will have new paintings to show. I will also have prints and other goodies for sale, so it's worth a visit if you can swing by. I'm in room #215, but as long as you make it here, it should be easy to find.

Use this link to find me on Google Maps: CLICK ON ME

Saturday & Sunday
November 5th & 6th,
10-5 PM

Drawings For Sale
Prints For Sale

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Paso Arts Fest 2016 Recap

Hi there! I'm a week late on writing this recap. I was busy last week finishing up some paintings for Christopher Queen's 40th anniversary show.

This is the 3rd year I have participated in this event. The support for this event seems to get better and better as the years go on. They usually cycle out most of the roster of artists, which keeps it from being an "old boys club" as many other events seem to turn into. I do get to see and meet new artists from around the country that I only ever get to see at this event.

Paso Robles isn't the most inspiring town to paint overall (nor is Santa Rosa, to be fair) but it is surrounded by some of my favorite scenery in California. It has its own unique character even for California that combines the feel of rugged coastline a la NorCal, with the sunshine and pleasant weather of SoCal. I find any reason to come back and paint the area, so a plein air event is the perfect reason.

We also were told to bring a studio painting with us for the show, This was a piece that I started in Easton from life but finished it in my studio. Even though it's an east coast scene, it has the sunset and boats that remind folks of Morro Bay.

"Sunset On St. Michaels" 16x24 in. oil on canvas mounted on board. 2016

I drove down to the area on Monday. It was a record-breaking heat wave that came through the area. I had no motivation to paint that day because I didn't want to drive around any more after driving for 5 hours in 100-degree heat. I spent the rest of the evening relaxing and mentally preparing for the next day.

I pushed myself to find some new places to paint this year. I found a little spot on Santa Rosa Creek Road. To the right was Santa Rosa Creek, which could have made for a beautiful scene except the amount of flies made painting the scene impossible. I still was happy enough with the scene in front of me on the turnout. This one was meant to be a warm-up, essentially. I was still pretty happy with it.

"Morning Glitter" 10x8 in. oil on board. Available.

This painting was near Moonstone Beach. I really liked the scene, and I think I captured the feeling of being there fairly well. I just wish that the scene itself had more appealing shapes.

12x10. Available

I did a quick painting of a scene on Morro Bay. I loved the way the sun hit the water. I don't know if I was 100% successful. I also painted on a shellacked panel. Was experimenting with this surface that I've never painted on. I like that it's easy to prepare and comes pre-toned just because you're painting on the color of the wood. I have some more panels that I'm looking forward to painting on.
"Harbor Haven" 6x8 in. oil on board. Available.

I painted this scene from a beautiful house with an amazing view near Adelaida Road. A handful of us artists were treated to a tour of their house and collection. Truthfully I was much more impressed with the house and the view than the art collection, but I respect anyone with the vision and means to curate their collection to fit their aesthetic. I was quite envious, in a good way.

"Ridings View" 8x12 in. oil on linen mounted on board. Sold.

The opening reception was nice. I enjoyed the brief talks that everyone gave about their experience with painting in the area. Some were entertaining, most were heartfelt. I wish I had recorded them with my phone, because they were inspiring; not only for the artists, but also for the collectors. We all saw a definite spike in sales after the talks. It just went to show the importance of having a good story that connects with the viewer. Words matter to the picture, like it or not. This was a good reminder of that.

Sales were pretty good. I sold 2 paintings at a decent amount. I think that on average, most artists did that well. It does feel like there is more and more support growing for our art in this area. I love that, because it means I will probably keep getting the opportunity to paint in this wonderful area.

Drawings For Sale
Prints For Sale

Friday, September 02, 2016

Pacific Northwest Plein Air 2016: A New Perspective

I had a great time in Oregon this year participating in this year's Pacific Northwest Plein Air event. I spent most of my time painting the arid high desert of north central Oregon/south central Washington. It is such a dramatic difference from one side of the Columbia Gorge to the other. For whatever reason, east of Hood River becomes a completely different climate than the pine-filled hills and lush waterfall-rich areas west of the river. I have always found that shift fascinating.

The Maryhill Museum is an interesting place, way out in the middle of seemingly nowhere, It has a lot of history and is a bit of a "niche" museum, but its patrons are dedicated. After the Columbia Center For The Arts changed administration and decided to nix it from their schedule, we were temporarily without an event this year. However, thanks to the people at Maryhill and some of the artist members of the Columbia Arts Center, they were able to host it at the new wing of the Museum this year! It is a gorgeous space, in a gorgeous spot of land, as I hope you will see from my painting.

I camped out there with a handful of fellow artists, including Anton Pavlenko, Za Vue and Michael Lindstrom, all great people and unique artists with highly recognizable styles. We stayed at a campground that had its issues, but the good outweighed the bad. More about that later; let's talk about the art!

The first day I spent checking in to the campsite and getting settled in. Although I wanted to paint that day, I just couldn't get it together. I was exhausted from the 12 hour drive the day before, and wasn't especially inspired by the Deschutes River that day. I have learned not to force a painting in these events. It's better to conserve energy to use where it counts. 

Day two had a much better start. We camped right under the Maryhill Museum, which has amazing views. This painting was from the grounds of the museum. I painted it over a couple of mornings. Even though, as the security guard remarked, I had it pretty well blocked-in on day one, having the extra day to finesse certain edges paid off, as I nabbed an award for this one.

"A Gorgeous View" 12x24 in. oil on canvas mounted on board. $1800

I wanted to go back and paint at Mt. Hood Meadows as I did a few years back. I still want to paint there, but I didn't want to waste too much time looking for that spot again, plus there was a spot that really caught my eye as drove down the 35. Had I followed my instincts I could have saved myself a little gas, but no matter. Sometimes you have to satisfy your curiosity. I have to feed that beast or else it will nag me. There is a balance between seizing the opportunity presented from that flash of inspiration versus really thinking and planning out your painting. I do a mix of both during events.

"Bountiful Land" 8x10 in. oil on linen mounted on board. $500

The end of day two was spent at the Griffin House, a popular wedding destination in Hood River. Claire, the house's owner, hosted us for a small event on her property. Many people painted the stunning vista looking west from the gorge, but I didn't really want to do the same view that everyone else did. In fact, it got so late that I didn't even end up painting there. Rather, I came back the next day to paint this little 6x8 that Claire actually ended up buying, so that was my only sale from the show. If there was an Artist Choice award for this show, this one actually would actually be a strong contender despite its size.

"The Love Tree" 6x8 in. oil on canvas mounted on board. Sold.

This was the last painting I did for the show. It's not bad, but I didn't quite capture what I was after. This was painted in the late evening light, but the values and colors are just not right for the situation. I have found that you really have to pump certain colors to capture that mood of fleeting evening light. The trees are my favorite part of this painting.

The Show

The show was well-attended and it looked great on the walls. Even though it was partly on panels it still looked good. Terry Miura was the judge, and I think his picks for awards were some of the most spot-on judging I can remember. Here are the picks as best as I can remember:

Carole Gray-Weihman, Gamblin Purchase Award.

Sergio Lopez, Maryhill Museum Award.

Cathleen Rehfeld, Scenic Area Award.

Bill Elston,  Best Mountain.

Aimee Erickson, Best Water.

Scott Gelatly, Best Sky.

Michael Lindstrom, Honorable Mention.

Sergio Lopez, Honorable Mention.

Za Vue, Third Place.

Aimee Erickson, 2nd Place

Thomas Kitts, 1st Place.

The show was overall a success for the museum so I believe they will expand the show next year and put more resources into it. I know that they will plan on making the show last a month to accomodate everyone who wants to see it. I hope that translates into more sales. Even though I only made one sale, that is all I usually sell in this show anyway. I think my strategy of taking it slower absolutely paid off, since I nabbed two awards this time. I usually do quite well with awards up there, come to think of it. It felt better to win the awards this year for some reason. I think it's because I hold the venue in high regard, and I felt the awards were pretty fair and balanced.

I am glad to see the new approach to plein air events working so far.

Extra Thoughts

The Maryhill State Park we camped at was pretty nice, but there was almost no privacy from one campsite to another. In most places I've ever camped at, there is usually some greenery of some sort to shield you from your neighbors.

Here is our campsite. It is very green. You know why it's green? Because the sprinklers go off every day. Every part that the ground has green grass is where the water drenches. But don't be fooled, water spray isn't a totally exact science. If you were one of the unlucky folks who were camping on either side of us, your car/picnic table/tent might have gotten sprayed sometime during the day. And if you were REALLY unlucky like our poor neighbors who got to their site late, they spray late at night when you are trying to set up your tent... So if you are going to camp at Maryhill State Park, be wary.

The Columbia River was lovely to swim inside of when it got hot. There were a few days where the combination of no wind and a hot desert day made for perfect swim opportunities.

Have you ever painted on a 6x8 panel, then realized that you brought a 5x7 panel with you? Because that is what happened to me. Fortunately, I found a little frame shop in The Dalles called Westwind. I didn't see too many ready-mades, but this cool-looking punk-rockish lady with wild hair greeted me. I told her what I needed, and how soon I needed it, and she whipped up a simple little frame for me for 10 dollars in like 10 minutes! Great service. It's a good place to find in a pinch like that, and maybe I'll get some more frames from there in the future.

Drawings For Sale
Prints For Sale

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Quick Trips And Paintings

I've been having a good time getting out of Santa Rosa for little chunks at a time this summer. Here are a few paintings that I've done recently.


I met my buddy Judson for a few days out in Mendocino Follow his Instagram account ( to see the paintings he did out there, they're pretty sweet.

I got there on a rare sunny day for the area (the main downfall of that part of the coast, soooo many gloomy days) but I had not yet recovered fully from my trip to Easton, set-up-wise, because I had some some missing parts to my plein air gear, AND I my tripod connection had loosened, making dealing with the wind that had picked up pretty impossible without jerry-rigging a tightening solution using some rope. Part of the reason this painting is so loose and sketchy is because I was fighting with the set-up. I still had fun trying some different paint application.

Later in the evening I worked on this one at the beach. There was a really nice light effect that I tried to capture from life.

Last night I took it into my studio and finished it up. It's 8x10".

The next morning was gray and foggy, but the headlands have such interesting unique structures that you can make cool designs easily. I used plenty of ivory black to get quick color harmony and focused mostly on value control. This is probably my best one. 9x12".

Before I left the area that evening, I walked down Big River to find this scene which also feels at home in any western state, really. There were a steady stream of kayakers along the river, so I managed to capture one as I finished the painting. This one is 9x12".

Sardine Lake

This weekend I went with my lady and her friends up to Sardine Lake, home of the majestic Sierra Buttes. This lovely spot is in Tahoe National forest, and if you want classic granite peaks, it might be the quickest way to find them from where I live. I probably would have painted more had I been alone but here is the one 6x8" painting I did out there. I took a lot of photos, and I plan on working on larger pieces in the studio soon. 

There is still plenty of plein air painting events for me this year. Next week I'm heading up to the Columbia River Gorge area bordering Oregon and Washington for the Pacific Northwest Plein Air event. I'm looking forward to seeing many friends, and for the first time ever, I'll be camping the entire event! Should be a fun time, and I am looking forward to painting in that area, as always.

For all the necessary info, you can go here to check it out:

Sonoma Plein Air

Because of a big snafu in scheduling and unmet expectations, I wasn't able to participate in Sonoma Plein Air last year.... But I am so looking forward to coming back this year! It's always one of my favorite events, not in the least because it takes place in my home area. I already have some spots picked out, and I plan on approaching it similar to how I did Easton this year. If you read my post about Easton, you will have learned about my future plans on strategizing for plein air events in the future, so I am looking forward to testing it out.

Paso Arts Fest

This is going to be my 3rd year in a row participating in Paso Arts Fest. I LOVE painting in that area, I have done well before, and I just always have a good time there. There is a large "Outdoor Fair" component of it that is open to other artists, but we are part of the "Signature Exhibition" at Studios on the Park in Paso Robles, California.

We arrive the 26th of September and exhibit our work on the 29th.  For a list of the participating artists, click here:

Drawings For Sale
Prints For Sale

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Plein Air Easton 2016: The Major Leagues

So I did it. I went all the way to a small town in Maryland to compete in a plein air competition. Why would I do such a thing? Was it even worth it? 

Well for starters, Plein Air Easton has always had the reputation of being the best plein air event in the country. It may be debatable between a very small handful of shows, but from everything I can tell, it is the best-run event I'ver ever been a part of. Basically, everything I like about the other good events are done even better here. From the hospitality, the hosts, the opportunities for socializing between artists, the organization, etc. it's exceeded my expectations.

I arrived in Maryland on the 6th of July. I flew into Baltimore and it was almost a two hour drive to get to my hosts place in St Michaels, an even smaller town than Easton about 15 minutes away. I settled in and took a nap to recover some from my red-eye flight before I drove into the town of Easton to familiarize myself with the place. I met up with some friends who were hanging out at the Avalon Theatre (the hub for the event.) After a bit of grumbling about the heat and humidity we got some dinner and talked more shop. The day was ending, and then it was going to be time to sleep and get ready for what the event might have in store.

Pre-Paintout: Tilghman Island

They have a couple of pre-paintout events that are created for the purpose of letting artists familiarize themselves with painting in the area, and getting the locals psyched about the event. The locals were all very nice, and very few people DIDN'T know what we were doing in the area. It was clear that the Plein Air Easton staff had done an amazing job of promoting the event because there were a lot of people who were happy to see us out and about painting, and they knew where to find us.

I put a lot of effort into trying to do a good job of painting for this event. An opportunity for a nice cash prize for the Artist Choice Award winner was a good motivator. I made the first terrible mistake, one I'd be sure not to make again. I set up in a spot with no shade and no sunscreen. At least I had a hat and LOTS of water (omg water is crucial out there) but it exhausted me in a way that took me some time to recover. I am happy with this painting. I think it was one of my best paintings I did out there but it has yet to find a home at this point.

Apparently, a lot of artists put a lot of effort into their paintings, because this showing turned out to be one of the strongest of the whole event, in my opinion. When I walked into the show room, I was like "Geez, this isn't even the main show! If it's this good now, what chance do I have of being successful?" Was great to see everyone together and getting to meet all the East Coasters that I had never met before.

"It's Not The Heat (But It Is Too)" 10x8 in. oil on linen mounted on board. $550, Available.

Pre-Paintout - Cambridge, MD

This was a brand new event for Plein Air Easton. Cambridge was a town a half hour south of Easton which I thought was pretty cute and cool, and was the home of the favored IPA in the area, RAR Brewing Co. Most people chose to paint the waterfront; however, I found the downtown area plenty appealing so I stuck around. I started on a painting of a cemetary that did not turn out well at all, so I wiped it, turned 90 degrees, and painted this view instead. The lighting made a nice composition here. It was one of my favorites of the show as well, and got some compliments. Even though sales were light at these pre-events, this one found a home by the end of the show.
"Past The Bell" 9x12 inch oil on linen mounted on board. Sold.

Friday night was the night of the orientation and canvas stamping. They are smart about it, because they know the orientation is loooooong, and there are a LOT of rules they go over, and everyone seems to have a question, some a little less ridiculous than others... So they feed us and give us alcohol first, and they do a bit of a song-and-dance (literally) before they get into it, then they do the stamping afterwards so that no one bounces out before they can tell us everything. 

Side note: There was a special event Saturday at this beautiful estate called the Wye House, but I didn't take pictures of my painting or the show there, just forgot to, with everything else going on. I'm sure you can find pictures of it if you search for Plein Air Easton on Facebook.

Sunday: Paint Oxford

"Turquoise Sky" 8x10 in. oil on linen mounted on board. Sold.

I wish I had spent more time in Oxford. It was a cute little town with plenty to paint. However, this painting was a little rushed. However, I did end up selling it, and I was fairly happy with it, considering the circumstance. Again, a strong show here by the other artists, Tim Kelly did an awesome luminous interior which I really liked.


"Morning At Sleepers Pond" 12x24 inches. $1875. Available.

In the mornings I would paint at my hosts' house during the event. This was one I spent the most time on. I probably spent 4 days total on it. It was really nice to have a place that I could find something beautiful to paint right where I was staying.

"Maryland Pastoral" 12x24 inches. $1875. Available.

There is a lot of scenic farmland in Talbot County. However, it's hard to know exactly where it's ok to set up and paint. Oh, one thing I'm bringing with me next time? A good umbrella! It's dangerous to paint in the sun out there without proper protection. I did like this scene; however, half the reason I chose it was because of the tree that shaded me AND the cool breeze from the river nearby.


"The Birdhouse" 9x12 inches oil on canvas mounted on board. $750. Available.

Tuesday was the day I spent in the town of St. Michaels. It was a nice little town to paint in, This was painted from the yard of a host who let me paint there. I attempted a very ambitious evening painting at the harbor, but I learned my lesson: If I want to complete a multi-day painting en plein air for a competition, I better make sure that every piece of the composition will be there every day! I started a painting I was happy with, until I came back the next day and found that my boats were gone! ...And they never came back...

"Wanting What I Can't Have" 6x8 inches. Sold.

I had wanted to do a nocturne in St. Michaels ever since I drove back from Tilghman Island. One of the requirements for the show was to do a 6x8 for Sunday's special show. After hunting around for a bit, I found an interesting shop front that I purposely isolated in my composition. It was one of my favorite paintings to do of the whole event, and got me really psyched to try to paint another nocturne the next day.


I don't remember how Wednesday morning started out for me, but I do remember a storm drenching the area for a few hours. It was the only storm we had to deal with over the course of the event besides the 15-minute rager at the Wye House that soaked many of us. After that passed through, I went out to the town of Easton where we were required to paint for the rest of the event(more about my thoughts on that later). I was getting tired of painting "pretty" things at this point. More specifically, the monotony of the well-manicured, stately, and sameness of the foliage of the Mid-Atlantic. I found an old gas station at the Easton Marina. I enjoyed the angles and shapes of the scene in front of me. It wasn't my best painting ever, but it got me out of my rut a bit and let me hit everything again with a fresh perspective.

"Sick Of Being Pretty" 8x10 in. oil on linen mounted on board. $550 Available.

"The Warm Colors Of Night" 16x12 in. oil on canvas mounted on board. $1200 Available.

There were a lot of us who hung around the town after the Volunteer Appreciation Dinner to paint nocturnes. I found a scene in front of a building with a charming stone facade. Nocturnes can be done pretty quickly, but you have to be careful to get the color temperatures correct since you are relying completely on artificial light. You may have your own light shining on your painting/palette, but it doesn't mean the light in the scene is the same color at all. Best to knock down the saturation and work with the values/design of the scene instead, or you may be surprised when you look at what you actually painted the next day.


We could begin bringing our paintings for the show. It was very exciting to see some of the paintings coming in already, even though the hard deadline was actually the next morning. I walked in the Academy Art Museum (where the event was being held) to see Jason Sacran's stunners. Here is one his pieces.

Courtesy of Jason Sacran via


It's showtime! The judge Tim Newton did a good job of keeping all of us guessing what was going to win awards. There were tons of awards given, sometimes more than one to the same artist. I will do my best to post the awards here. I would link to their blog instead, but they kind of slacked this year on it.

Zufar Bikbov's Award Winners.

Eric Bowman "Best Hospitality"

Natalia Dik "Best New Artist"

Best Architectural, Ray Hassard.

Vanishing Landscape Award, Tim Kelly

Best Maritime, Elise Phillips

Life On The Farm Award, Patrick Saunders.

Best Painting By A Maryland Artist, Nancy Tankersley

Honorable Mention, Palden Hamilton.

Third Place, Camille Przewodek.

Second Place, Trey Finney. 

Grand Prize Winner, Sara Linda Poly.


Saturday was Quick Draw day. We scoped out some areas the day before. I chose this scene because it had 3 of my requirements: Shade, Light, and Interest. Had I more time, I might do the drawing a little bit more carefully but I was satisfied with the color and brushwork. I sold it as soon as I put it on the easel, AND I nabbed a $100 Honorable Mention Award for it, so all in all it was a solid day.

Final Day

The final day of the event was a final day of sales too, They did a very smart thing where they had us all do a 6x8 painting each, which was eligible for an extra award too but more importantly they were unveiled to the public only on the last day. It was a great way to get people back into the showroom on a day that is notoriously slow. It worked, because not only did people buy a lot of the 6x8's but they bought a handful of the other paintings too. 

Was The Event Worth It?

There are very few gripes to be had with the event. The main one for me is how they "shrink" the eligible painting area for the competition paintings. We are required to have 2 paintings finished by Friday morning for the competition. To be eligible, they must be completed within the boundaries they set as the competition goes along. So for the first two days you can paint anywhere in the Delmarva Peninsula, the next two days in Talbot County, and the last two days in the town of Easton. I understand that the reason for it is that they want to give the residents of Easton a chance to see us at work during the week, but I feel like that is what the pre-events, the optional paint-outs, and the Quick Draw event is for. If we had free reign the whole event, it would help those of us who could use all the time we can get for our competition pieces.

The Quick Draw was slightly disorganized for us participating competition artists. The event was open to everyone who paid the $10 fee. There were probably 100 artists who painted that day, it could have used a bit more organization to let us know where to be to display our paintings the best we could. They could have easily designated a space for us competition artists to show our work together instead of being scattered everywhere along Harrison Street. Because it was a long street to walk along and see eveything, I didn't want to leave my easel unattended for too long while I mingled.

The Weather

The outdoor painting conditions in July on the East Coast are pretty unforgiving. The heat plus humidity is brutal and is capable of draining all the energy out of the unprepared Californian. Fortunately I was given plenty of forewarning. It was bad but not too unmanageable. The bug situation wasn't bad either. A few mosquito bites but fortunately no tick incidents. They make a big deal of them for good reason, but I was pretty cautious for the most part. Good pro-tip was to bring a tarp to stand on and set your gear on top of. It also came in handy when a flash thunderstorm came and drenched us but not my gear because my tarp saved it :) The weather is much less predictable than California but if you put your big boy pants on, you can survive.


Sales are a tricky beast. I have always heard fables of the amazing sales that are had at Easton. In fact they boast of record-breaking sales year after year. They are pretty forthcoming about that information both before and after the event. When you do an event and expect to sell tons of paintings, and you dont, you can't help but think there is a disconnect. Sales were fairly evenly spread over the almost-60 artists, Of course there are people like Mark Boedges who pretty much sell out, but he is the outlier. And then there are people who don't sell anything, which is pretty heartbreaking. Everyone else is somewhere in the middle. Depending on travel cost, you never know where your profit margin is going to lie. If you are consistently selling over 2k worth of paintings in your local plein air events, then by all means, step up to the majors and give Easton a try. You are probably a really good plein air painter or at least know how to sell yourself like one, which is probably as important. People who can keep their travel costs down will be rewarded, I think.

Given these obstacles, is worth doing? By and large, yes. Besides the money you can stand to make, the experience and growth as a painter that you gain is also valuable. You will find yourself a changed plein air artist at the end of the show.

Thoughts On My Approach

As is often the case with these places I'm new to, I finally started to get a good feel for the area after being there over a week. I was expecting to paint more maritime scenes out there but I found myself drawn to many varieties of different subjects. Had I been better prepared, I might do more paintings of the beautiful countryside, and bringing in a lot more of my natural propensities into my approach next time. I normally tend to paint hills and vistas here in California, and not having those to fall back on, I painted things where the mid-ground/foreground are more dominant in the scene.

There is a strategy to events like these. You can go about it in 2 different ways - go for the prize money or paint for the library sales? Meaning, do you put all your time into painting two amazing pieces for the shot at winning the big prizes, or do you try to put together a solid body of (not too expensive) work that appeals to the buying public instead? Neither strategy is clearly better, but it does mean you have to plan accordingly. They treat you extremely well, with dinners provided for the artists almost every day if we choose to take advantage of them, but they do cut into valuable painting time. If I were to do the event again, I might skip a few of these extra events, fun as they are, for good painting light. 

This is a long event. Counting the pre-events and the duration of the gallery show, it's a week and a half. That's almost double the majority of events I've done before. You can use this opportunity to learn to pace yourself, and/or stretch out and try new things you may not have before because of time constraints. Some people tend to consider "plein air" to always be "alla prima" yet the majority of paintings that won awards clearly had been worked on over several days, or at least not done in one shot. All this extra time, and long talks with fellow artists like Brenda Boylan, Jason Sacran and Danny Robbins, made me pause to consider what I am really trying to accomplish with my plein air paintings in the grand scheme of things. I'm excited to consider what might be in store for my landscape work in the future.

There is a lot I learned about my ability, and how to paint for such a high caliber event. I will go forward with plein air events with the mantra: "Paint Like You're In Easton."

I am hoping to come back next year and have an even stronger showing.

Drawings For Sale
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