La Mariposa – Out of the Studio into the World

The state imposed humanitarian crisis at our southern border has me (and most of the country) up in arms. That means a paint brush for me. I wanted to paint a baby, naked but for a skull-faced tattoo on its back, caged with chain-link fencing. I would not have the baby completely vulnerable though, she would be covered in clusters of live monarchs as though they were keeping the her and themselves warm while still others would fly through the fence, symbolizing migration and hope.

I didn’t quite finish it in time for the Families Belong Together Rally yesterday but I didn’t let that get in the way of printing up a poster using the words “Asylum Legal – Child Abuse Illegal”, as taking children away from their asylum seeking parents and then holding them in detention while their parents are held separately in different facilities, in different state, or worse – deported without them, is nothing but state sanctioned child abuse!

Protesting at City Hall in San Jose, California.

What a powerful and uplifting thing to channel all that horrible news into art and to share it with others lending your voice to the chorus of protest, speaking truth to power and injustice!

Pausing for a moment in front of Lacey Bryant’s fabulous mural.

Yes, it’s still a work in progress, I plan on adding more butterflies to the baby’s shoulder… but I’m glad that I didn’t let something so little as an unfinished painting get in the way of making a statement at the rally, every voice counts, especially when we use them together!

Studio Visit with David Flick

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting with David Flick in Los Gatos, California. I had seen his work previously in a pop-up downtown and was very impressed with his portraits and figurative work and so when he turned up at my studio during NUMU’s Historic Home Tour this year I asked if I could visit his studio. I’m so glad I got a chance to see his work before he goes off in the fall to begin his MFA at the New York Academy of Art!

I was immediately drawn to Flick’s sensitive rendering of the figure and his gorgeous handling of light (oblique shadows, spotlighting, backlighting and reflections) and his innate sense of color. His compositions too are thoroughly dynamic. But beyond these great technical aspects, his subjects are all really compelling, with a captivating point of view that draws one deeper in to the work. He’s not afraid of paint either and can make it behave or explore it’s wilder side. I can’t wait to see where his MFA journey will take his work….

Here are just a few images that caught my attention but you can visit his website is at to see the full range of his work and follow him on Instagram at dflick.

Rider – 2017 – oil

Desert – 2012 – oil

Lactose Intolerance – 2016 – oil

Ben – 2015 – oil

Idol – 2018 – oil

Ok, I had to include another studio shot because just how cool is it to have an aqua VW van in your studio?!

Lunch with Theodore Wores

What a pleasure to learn more about Theodore Wores, California Impressionist painter (1859-1939) over my bag of almonds at the Triton Museum of Art’s Brown Bag Lunch series conducted by Deputy Director, Preston Metcalf today! The Triton has 47 of his paintings in their permanent collection, a generous gift from his wife, Caroline Bauer. A good number of these pieces were recently cleaned and restored and are included in this exhibit, Under the California Sun, which consists of landscapes painted in the San Francisco Bay Area and Yosemite. Many of his orchards were painted right here in Los Gatos and Saratoga and are so special to me as I grew up in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, surrounded by orchards. In fact, they are actually kicking off their annual Apple Blossom Festival today! Under the California Sun will continue at the Triton until July 29 when it will go on tour!

Theodore Wores – Spring Blossoms of California – Los Gatos – 1919 – oil on canvas.

Theodore Wores – Blossomtime, Saratoga, California – 1919 – oil on canvas.

Theodore Wores -Tree Blossoms – 1920 – oil on canvas

Theodore Wores – Road with Blossoming Trees – 1922 – oil on canvas.

Theodore Wores – Road by Blossoming Orchard – 1925 – oil on canvas

Theodore Wores – Spring Blosoms of Los Gatos – 1925- oil on canvas.

Theodore Wores – My Studio Garden in Saratoga, Ca. – 1926 – oil on canvas.

Theodore Wores – A Garden in Saratoga, California – 1927 – oil on canvas.

Want to see more Wores? The Triton has a batch of paintings he did in Spain that need the same loving (read professional and expensive) cleaning and restoration that these pieces had. They are gratefully seeking financial donations (to bridge the gap in grants)…just saying!

How much is that Doggie in the Window?

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where the dogs went.” – Will Rogers.

A pack of pooches were juried into the display in the front window of Gallery 24 for the month of November. Paintings are by Julia Watson, Kay Duffy, myself, Sandi Okita and Kevin Kasik.

Here’s a close up of my painting, Retriever in the Orchard, a 12″ x 12” oil on panel. I met this beautiful chocolate lab bounding through the historic apricot orchard in Saratoga  between rain showers and piano lessons one spring.

Rainy Day at the Studio

After four years of drought, it looks like were finally going to get a decent El Niño! This was the second day of heavy rain and I delighted in keeping my studio windows open to hear all of that rolling thunder!

I love how cozy and inviting the studio is in the midst of all that rain!

It always amazes me how the rain makes everything look different!

The beginning of a new week…. and although I made some major headway in working out the image I’m going to be doing for a commission, I was not able to start work on it as my client and I still need to decide on the appropriate scale. I couldn’t let the day pass without    using my paintbrush so I painted this little 4×4″ oil of a Western Bluebird which is destined for the painting tree at the Los Gatos Museums Gallery. I wonder if I can whip up some more tomorrow – or should I do teacups? Hope they’ll dry in time for the exchange this weekend!



What the Triton Means to Me with George Rivera

The Triton Museum of Art has a new exhibition up, What the Triton Means to Me, which features the work of five artists, Patricia Bengston-Jones, David Middlebrook, Leroy Parker, Nabeela Sajjad and George Rivera. The careers of each of these artist have been substantially enhanced by their relationship with the museum in different ways, which the artists write about. The show runs until January 3, 2016.

George Rivera was the Executive Director and Senior Curator at the Triton for many years, he’s an Associate Faculty Instructor of Art at Mission College in Santa Clara,  he has juried some 400 exhibitions and competitions and has mentored and counseled countless artists (myself included) all in addition to making his strikingly beautiful and deeply introspective art (I mean, while not riding his motorcycle or playing his guitar)!

What The Triton Means To Me - George Rivera - Reception - photo Marie Cameron 2015

Having touched the careers of so many in the artistic community with his warm generosity and sage advice it was no wonder that the there was a huge turnout of artists, curators, friends and family for his opening reception!

What The Triton Means To Me - George Rivera - photo Marie Cameron 2015

What The Triton Means To Me - George Rivera - photo Marie Cameron 2015

What The Triton Means To Me - George Rivera talking with artists Bob Martinez and Mei-Ying Dell'Aquila - photo Marie Cameron 2015

What The Triton Means To Me - George Rivera - Precipice - Triptych oil on canvas 2005-20015 - photo Marie Cameron 2015

OK, here’s what his oil painting triptych, The Precipice, looks like without all the people flocking about.

What The Triton Means To Me - George Rivera - Precipice - Triptych oil on canvas 2005-20015 bird detail - photo Marie Cameron 2015            What The Triton Means To Me - George Rivera - Precipice - Triptych oil on canvas 2005-20015 with me 2 - photo Marie Cameron 2015             What The Triton Means To Me - George Rivera - Precipice - Triptych oil on canvas 2005-20015 - fire detail with my hands - photo Ron Dell'Aquila 2015

Rivera’s paintings have such a bold, commanding presence, there is a strong dramatic flair but also a quiet introspection, they can all across a room but also draw you in with  these lovely, symbolic details like the bird and the flame. FYI – those are my hands in the photograph taken by Ron Dell’Aquila – not in the painting.

To see more of Rivera’s work (after you visit the Triton) you can visit Sandra Lee Gallery in San Francisco where he is represented.



Painting Pansy Tea

Now that I have my reference material all composed, I am able to precede with my Pansy Tea painting.

Pansy Tea WIP 1 - Marie Cameron 2014

I like to sketch out my outlines with thinned oils on a white ground. I feel it helps me to maintain a clarity and vibrancy of color.

Pansy Tea WIP 2 - Marie Cameron 2014

I begin to block in a bit of color as I feel more confident about the way the drawing is going.

Pansy Tea WIP 3 - Marie Cameron 2014

Since the bird is the primary subject, I wanted to concentrate on it first.

Pansy Tea WIP 4 - Marie Cameron 2014

The next goal I had was to work the entire canvas (all twelve inches of it).

Pansy Tea WIP 5 - Marie Cameron 2014

Here I’ve built up highlights, shadows and details.

Pansy Tea WIP 6 - Marie Cameron 2014

I will continue along this path, adding glazes to tone down areas until I feel it has enough depth and presence.  Speaking of presence,  I see my little finch is looking more like a chubby chick!  Taking pictures as you go along is a great way of seeing your work in a new way. Let’s see what I can do about that tomorrow!


Painting of Bunches of Dahlias

I love starting the week with a new painting and I’ve been eager to work on this one ever since I did that photo shoot at Bunches last summer! It’s part of my Los Gatos Shop Girl Series – (or least that’s what I’m calling it for now, there are only two so far).  There are a lot of good things going for this image to begin with. My subject, for instance, is as beautiful as the dahlias are – her lips are even the same color and shape as the petals! I love the texture, color and pattern that give this piece so much exuberance but which is tempered and grounded by the broad swathes of black and taupe. I’ve laid down all my paint thick and loose and I feel like a sculptor as I try to paint the light and shadow that play throughout the scene. Can’t wait for tomorrow!

Painting of Bunches in Progress - Marie Cameron 2013 1

Painting of Bunches in Progress - Marie Cameron 2013 2

Painting of Bunches in Progress - Marie Cameron 2013 3

Painting of Bunches in Progress - Marie Cameron 2013 4

Painting of Bunches in Progress - Marie Cameron 2013 5

Painting of Bunches in Progress - Marie Cameron 2013 6

So I found I was only spinning my wheels, painting her face over and over,  ironically laboring over the freshness in her expression. I hid her away over the holidays and was able to come back to her this week. While she may have lost some of the freshness of the first approach, she has gained a poignancy to her expression and a radiance I’m thrilled with.Dahlia Days - Marie Cameron - oil on canvas - 36x24in - 2014