Friday, December 28, 2012

Cinque Terre

For fans of Cinque Terre, Italy, you might recognize this slice of Riomaggiore.  This town is the most southern of the 5 towns, and if you took the walk from north to south you probably caught a boat just below where the photo for this painting was taken.  For your journey back to your starting point.  Next up another Italy landscape - a Tuscan setting.  Thanks for checking in...Mark

Thursday, December 20, 2012


A few years back when Elke and I were in Cinque Terra, Italy with our friends Dennis and Chris we took that great walk from town to town along the Mediterrenean.  The most southern town is Riomaggiore.  This is a painting from a photo Elke took.  What I like about the composition of this painting is that it is tall and narrow - very similar to the feeling you get standing at the foot of the town.  It feels like they crammed this beautiful little town into a narrow valley that runs straight down into the sea.
You'll get a better sense of the proportions when I hopefully wrap this up later next week.  I can't wait to paint the boats at the bottom of this scene.  Merry Christmas!  Mark

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Monterey wharf pelican

It's been a busy month since my last post.  Travels to Ecuador, 4 failed paintings, finally something finished.  I was down to visit an artist friend of mine in Carmel a couple of months ago.  I missed him, but I had my camera with me and headed over to the Monterey wharf.  It was pelican day or so it seemed.  For me pelicans are a real joy to paint.  The feathers are a test, their bills are just so colorful and unique.  And their eyes seem very friendly.  Maybe the fact that they let you get so near helps you feel like they are friends.  This white pelican has great colors in its feathers.  Oh yea, I also like his/her little cormorant buddy.

Thanks for checking in...and a very MERRY CHRISTMAS to all!!!   Mark

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Sherlock Holmes with friends

The Sherlock Holmes restaurant/bar is a wrap.  When my wife took the photo of this restaurant on a walk in England we were accompanied by some good friends.  Although they weren't present at the photo taking, I thought they would be perfect sitting at the tables on the sidewalk.  Here you the way, the big red thing in the foreground is a mail box.  Very cool, and provides some nice balance to the composition.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Sherlock Holmes

On our walk across England a few years ago we found this very English restaurant / bar called, The Sherlock Holmes.  My wife has encouraged me to do a painting of it, so that is what's on my table.  I'm doing this painting on Aquabord panel with the idea of sealing this finished painting, and framing it without glass.  I've got a ways to go, so if you check back in another 10 days or so from this posting, hopefully you'll see a finished painting.  Thanks for coming by, Mark

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Mallards completed

I really enjoy painting birds.  These two mallards were photographed at the Palo Alto duck pond.  Before I started laying down paint, I envisioned these ducks painted on a white background with a few cat tails or plant fronds as the background.  So, what do you think?  I like the simplicity and just the natural colors of the ducks...

Up next is a tavern we found on our walk across England a few years ago.  I'll be painting on the Aquaboard panel.  I want to seal this painting and frame it without glass.  Thanks for coming by, Mark

Friday, September 21, 2012

His and Her Mallards

Just started a painting of two ducks.  Male and female mallards.  Not sure if they are a couple, but they seemed to follow each other around while I was doing my photography, so I think they're at least good friends.  If you wonder what the blue tape is all about, I taped down some protective paper so that I don't accidentally splash paint on the background.  I'm not sure how I'm going to finish the painting after I have painted the ducks - but however it happens I want a clean background to start with.  By the way - this is painting backwards and a lot dangerous.  Normally the background is laid down first then the subjects are painted.  Check in again to see how this gets handled - maybe there won't be a background - we'll see.
....further progress...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Hallstatt, Austria

A couple of weeks ago I was thinking of my wife Elke's German heritage so I thought I'd paint a landscape from that part of the world.  Hallstatt, Austria is close enough, so this fairytale town got the nod.
I'm not sure what's next.  If anyone has any recommendations I'm all ears!  Thanks for checking in.  Mark

Monday, August 27, 2012

Santorini, Greece

This was a challenging painting.  Solving some of the issues of shadows, and bringing out some dimension in the hillside was a test.  The results are, I would like to go there.  A friend went, took this photo, and I hope this painting will be a pleasant reminder for a long time of his traveling there.
Next up:  from travels of Elke and mine, a Austrian village that is about as picturesque as it gets -Hallstat.  Hope you've had a great summer - hope you made some memories.   Thanks for coming by, Mark

Thursday, August 9, 2012

English Market

For an artist who likes to paint details this was a lot of fun.  If it was possible to count brush strokes I'm sure this painting would contain more of them than anything I have ever done.  I'm glad my wife suggested this photo from a trip we took.  It's just the sort of subject material that brings back fond memories and reminds me why it's good to travel.  I mean if you want a bottle of Wobble Juice, you gotta go get it!
Next up a commissioned painting from a friend who happened to travel to Santorini, Greece.  Somebody had to go, and somebody needs to memorialize it.  Thanks for checking in....Mark

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Still Life Almost

So, I've never painted a still life scene.  And technically, I probably still haven't with this next painting.  But this close up photo I took in front of a English market comes pretty close.  If you squint your eyes maybe it will look like a bunch of fruit bowls, and wine bottles.  Wa-La a massive still life.  Or maybe not....

Well, anyhow, still life or not it is incredibly complex.  I'm going to be here awhile, so please come back in a week or so and see if I'm making progress.  Thanks for checking in....Mark

Sunday, July 15, 2012

1930 Duesenberg

This painting was a lot of fun.  The chrome, the paint, the highlights - never a dull moment.  Often in a painting there's a place or two that is a bit boring.  Places where you trudge through to get to the good stuff.  Sometimes it's hard to pick up the brushes when you get to those places.  That was never the case here.  It was hard most of the time to put the brushes down.  I'll definately be painting more cars down the road - sorry pun not intended.  Who out there has a cool car needing to be painted?  Ok, thanks for checking in - I'm not sure what's next, but whatever it is it will be on my table in a day or 2 - any recommendations?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Concours Beauty

A couple of weeks ago I attended the Palo Alto Concours D'Elegance.  The vintage cars were fantastic.  It was a great reminder of what beautiful design can be.  What's gone wrong the past 60 years?  I, how about a painting of one of these?  I haven't painted an automobile before so here we go.  I've chosen a 1930 Duesenberg - what a car!  Hopefully I'll get it right and have something to frame in another week or so.  Thanks for coming by....Mark

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Alpine Inn

This was a lot of fun.  I was pleased the day that I took the photo that there happened to be no cars or vehicles parked directly in front of the Inn.   I actually would have gone away and come back another day.  Instead a couple of real nice motorcycles were positioned perfectly to the right hand side.  Leaving the front nicely exposed, and the details in the windows and front parking area wide open.  So, although this painting celebrates the Alpine Inn, for me, the two motorcycles are a great balance to its age and history.
Thanks for coming by...check in again soon, I'm already engaged in my next creation...assuming it goes as well as it is going in my head!    Mark

Friday, June 22, 2012

Burgers and more...

An old friend in local dining...Alpine Inn is a favorite spot for burgers, beer, fries and sodas.  As you may have noticed, for the last many months I have been applying a lot of paint toward paintings of local establishments that are either personally memorable for me and my family, or as in the case of the Tobacconist store - just a cool Palo Alto store front.  Alpine Inn is one more of these special places.  If all goes well I should be finishing this painting in about a week.  Thanks again for checking in, Mark

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tobacconist is a wrap

It's been awhile since I completed a painting.  As my previous post explained I had a string of unsatisfying attempts.  Then I started this cool tobacco shop in town, and promptly went on vacation...Ecuador was calling.  Well, I'm back, in more ways than one!  The Tobacconist shop was a very satisfying painting.  The amount of detail was amazing, and the things that drew me to the idea in the first place: the wooden indians, the lighted cases, the neon signs, and the warm setting came through.  I'm pleased...I hope you are as well.  Thanks for checking in - Mark

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Still learning....

It's been a crazy month.  I've torn up 4 paintings.  Normally I would say that I tear up one painting for every one that I complete.  I just wasn't getting the results I wanted with my brushes...I'm still learning!  Hopefully I'll get back to at least one or two of the paintings that ended up in the trash - the subject matter is worthy, right now my skills weren't.

So, now I think I may have a keeper - I'm in the early stages of another local landmark in town.  There's a pretty cool tobacco shop on University Avenue in Palo Alto that has great stuff behind the front windows, and a couple of Wooden Indian statues guarding either side of the front door.  I took a photo of the front of the store just after sundown so that the lighted display cases, and the neon signs would show.
Hopefully I'll have this painting completed in the next week to 10 days.  Thanks for checking in....Mark

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mac's Smoke Shop

Following the theme of nightscapes of local landmarks - I'm having fun with Mac's Smoke Shop in downtown Palo Alto.  I don't know the age of his establishment, but it's been around a good long time.  It has the best neon sign in town.  I took the photo of this shop at 6:30am in mid-March.  If you check back in another week, I should have a finished photo.  Thanks for dropping by...Mark
OOPS...I accidently replaced the finished painting with the painting in progress. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Black and White Ruffed Lemur

Here you go.  Too cute for words...the black and white ruffed lemur....

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Last month I entered 4 paintings in a local painting exhibition that drew paintings from all over the country.  All 4 were accepted and are on display for the rest of March.  They can be seen at the Pacific Art League in Palo Alto.  Corner of Ramona St. and Forest Ave.  This is the first time I have publicly displayed any of my work, and it was real encouraging to have all 4 of my entries accepted. 

In a couple of months the same gallery is going to have an exhibition with the theme of "Animals".  I'm interested in participating, so this past weekend I made a trip to San Francisco Zoo to take some photographs.  I think there might be a few good paintings in there somewhere.  A couple of days ago I started in on a pretty cool little lemur.  He or she was hanging onto a tree stump with some bamboo leaves all around.  Here's the start...check back in a few days and I'll have an update.  Cheers, Mark

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

General Store Completed

This was a very fun piece to create.  Love the early morning light, the great colors, and the details provided by the roof, the gas pumps, phone booths and groceries in the windows.  If you ever drive down highway one just south of Carmel and stop here for gas you will be using more modern pumps.  I just couldn't paint in the existing high tech pumps - I traded them out for some vintage Sunoco Pumps.  And as you will notice the price of gas is a bit dated - by about 50 years - the age of the pumps.  Thanks for checking in....Mark

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Carmel General Store

Last month on the same trip to Carmel that I photographed the Mission, I drove down Highway 1 just past Point Lobos, and there sits a quaint General Store - Gas Station.  I took an early morning photo, and this is the subject of today's painting.  I'm wrapping up the background, and trying to not overpaint it.  The size of this painting is 21" x 36", on masonite panel.  Check back late next week, and I should be close to done.  Thanks for checking in.   Mark
Thought I'd give an update...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Stanford Theater

Finished and off to the framer.  This was fun.  I really enjoyed laying down the vibrant colors, and shadows that are cast by the neon lights and night background.  I was also pleased that at the time I took my photo, Gone With The Wind was playing.  An all time classic for a classic theater.

My next painting is going to be the largest painting I've ever done.  A 24x36 inch painting on watercolor - masonite panel.  The subject is a Country Store - Gas Station located on highway one south of Carmel, near Point Lobos.  I should have something to look at in about a week - so please check back.  In the mean's Stanford Theater, Palo Alto.   Thanks, Mark

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Somthing New and Different

I've been wanting to paint a local (Palo Alto) scene, maybe a landmark.   So, I thought how about our Stanford Theater in downtown Palo Alto.  For those not familiar with this theater it opened in 1925.  In 1987 the David and Lucile Packard Foundation purchased the theater and restored it to its original splendor.  It plays classic movies year round, and at reduced prices both for tickets and popcorn!  Thank you Packard Foundation.  I've been taking my daughter Megan on dates to see movies here for about 20 years - and yes, we still do that...Casablanca for the 2nd time a couple of weeks ago.

 When I decided to paint the Theater, I also decided to try a night photograph and thus a night painting.  This has been fun!  Neon lights, night shadows, etc.  Very cool material...hope you will agree...
Check back in a week, I should be done.  Thanks for checking in, Mark

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Carmel Mission

A couple of weeks ago, Elke and I enjoyed a nice anniversary (29) getaway to one of our favorite escapes, Carmel, CA.  We snapped a few early morning photos, and were rewarded with some nice weather.  We hadn't been by the Carmel Mission for many years - in fact the last time was when Elke's brother and wife (Steve and Lisa) were married in the church.  Thought I would do something a little different and paint a piece of the mission.  Here you go...thanks for checking in...cheers, Mark

North Berwick, Scotland

I wrapped up my first painting for 2012.  North Berwick, Scotland.  If you haven't been, the next time you are in Edinburgh, drive 25 miles due east and you'll be glad you did.  A peaceful, quaint, wonderful Scottish town located on the Firth of Forth.  If you happen to have your golf clubs with you, play the course.  This painting was photographed from the putting green adjacent to the first hole.  Wonderful memory!  Thanks for checking in, Mark

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Scottish Landscape

I took a photo from a golf course in Scotland looking back at the the town's little harbor and breakwater.  The town is North Berwick.  Located on the south shore of the Firth of Forth, and about 25 miles east of Edinburgh.  What I like about the photo and this painting is the simplicity of content.  As you can see, or will see better when I'm further along is that the sea and sky kind of blend together.  The Island rock known as Bass Rock on the left of the painting, is a noticeable landmark for this town, and a nice balance for the weight of the buildings on the right hand side. 
The foreground will be mostly green grass of the golf course.  I should be onto that in about a week.  Thanks for checking in.  Cheers,  Mark

Tuesday, January 3, 2012 we go!

I hope everyone had fantastic holidays, and are refreshed and getting back in the swing of things.  I took a couple of weeks off from my brushes, but am now back at it.  In the mean time - since my previous post - I did complete the Stanford Hills - Hoover Tower painting.  It is back from photography and you can see the result below.  I will be uploading this painting to my website later today.  It will be for sale (it's being framed as we speak).  And prints are also available.  Those details can be found on my website.   I have started a painting of a photo I took in Scotland last year.  It's a landscape / beachscape from the town of North Berwick.  I'll post an update on this painting in a week or so, when there is something to see.  Until then...Happy New Year!  Mark