Painting of Magnolia Tea II

So happy to get to my first painting of the white hummingbird I had so gleefully stalked with my telephoto at the Arboretum in Santa Cruz a few months back. I have lots of plans for all photos I took of him  but I wanted to start with something for my Birds & Teacups series.  I paired him with a white Limogues T&V demitasse, which is a delicate and glowing as the bird, and a magnolia grandiflora bloom.  If I’s wanted to be matchy-matchy I might have painted whit ivy, which seems to be depicts on the handle of the demitasse, but there’s enough magic and mystery going on in this image and I really loved the the scale of the flower compared to the bird and the cup.

Quick oil sketch in rose and vilolet tones.

Blocked in a whole lot of loose color, working largely dark to light.

Placing more halftones and highlights.




Good day’s work but I ran out of daylight and objectivity. By Monday I should have more of both!

Wildflower at the Triton’s Salon


I got a chance to take a quick peek at the Salon (between piano and ballet lessons) the work is fabulous as will be the reception for this statewide competition and exhibition at the Triton Museum of Art (guest juried by Charlotte Eyerman, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Monterey Museum of Art)! The exhibition runs April 16 – May 29, 2016. Reception this Friday 6-8 pm.

So delighted to be part of this with Wildflower!
Looking forward to hanging out with peers and friends! Come – you’re all invited!

Linda Christensen at NUMU

In conjunction with the ongoing More Than Your Selfie exhibit, Linda Christensen gave a great talk at NUMU last night in which she talked about her painting philosophy, process and studio tips!

In Self, Linda Christensen’s oil painting in the More that your Selfie exhibit at NUMU, as in most of her work, the artist  is interested in the “honest body language of the unobserved figure”. Her paintings are not about capturing a likeness but rather a gesture, a pose and in inner life. Her paintings are large and loose and bold and laced the line and pattern.

The paintings go through radical transformations as she works, which she demonstrated to us in a series of photographs. She may lay in the loose outline of a figure in a scene then go back into it with stencils and palette knives and brushes, breaking up the figure and space in surprising ways which direct the painting until there is an emotional resonance that starts to happen.

I loved how she spoke about her studio experience, how every aspect of it should be conducive to her process, right down to the sensory experience of tracing paper. She likes an abundance of canvases, stacked up, lots of paint perpetually open, brushes hanging out in the turps, a six foot long glass palette and lots of room to move in. Her process is to paint, turn and cleanse her “visual palette” with a classic black and white movie that she has running, look out the window to stretch her eyes than walk right back to the canvas with fresh eyes, knowing what she needs to do next. She’s set herself up for success, limiting the reasons to leave the studio, to break her focus.  She said something that was very interesting, “If it’s hard, I’m not going to do it”. So know and honor your process, make it as enjoyable as you can.

She spoke of how painting is so highly personal and that your Point of View is really something to be cherished. It’s important to hone in on what really interests you and to realize that what you’re drawn to and how you work is part of that Point of VIew.

Linda Christensen shared with us a thumbnail timeline she had prepared for a college talk in which she had laid out  her work and influences over the years chronologically and recommend it as a great way to glean insights and perspective into the arc of one’s work.

Another tip she had was trying Color-aid cards, complete with mixing instructions on the back. She said it was sometimes fun to pull out a new palette to work with.

The audience was largely comprised of artists and we couldn’t get enough!


Wildflower picked for the Triton Salon!

Wildflower - oil on canvas - 48x48 inches - Marie Cameron - 2015

Such good news today, I heard that my painting, Wildflower, was selected for the Salon at the Triton Museum statewide 2-D competition by guest juror, Charlotte Eyerman, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Monterey Museum of Art! The exhibit will run April 16 – May 29, with a fabulous reception on April 22 from 6-8 pm.

I’m so delighted, not only because it’s on honor to be juried into this competitive show, but because I’m particularly proud of this piece and I think the story behind it is incredibly moving.

This painting was inspired by a photograph that a Facebook friend of mine, Aušra Štarka, had taken a few years back. It was of her father, Antanas Štarka, in Lithuania wearing a wreath of wildflowers on his head. I was amazed that all these flowers were ones that I had grown up with in Nova Scotia and the beauty of the image of this handsome man with his prophetic gesture stayed with me.  When Aušra shared his passing, I expressed my condolences and also my wish to paint him one day and she told me the story behind the photo I could paraphrase it but she told it so eloquently,

“I am glad you like the portrait of my father with the wild flower wreath. The story is that I have dreamed of making that wreath of wildflowers from the fields of Lithuania for many years but when I would go back for a visit, I would get busy with other things and that idea would get delayed to the next year.. Year after year.. Or there would be no wildflowers.. So there it went. Until this summer. Because there were many wildflowers this year, on my last day before my flight back, I went near the river and gathered a bunch of wildflowers and created this wild looking wreath. My father was excited to be the first one to pose with it.. And that was the last thing I shared with my father.”

Aušra said that he was singing away, and that’s where his dramatic gesture comes from in the painting. I feel like he’s imparting something important to us, that father and daughter are both letting us know how important it is do what you love in life and to share it with the people you love. Thank you Aušra for so generously sharing all of this with me, with us!


David Stonesifer on Plein Air

“I paint what I believe in.”
Los Gatos artist, David Stonesifer gave a wonderful talk about his approach to plein air painting and it’s role in the California art scene as part of the Brown Bag Lunch series at the Triton Museum of Art.  He shared lots of great painting tips and his infectious passion for the immediacy and vibrancy of the genre!

David Stonesifer - Plein Air- Brown Bag Lunch Series- TrIton Museum of Art - photo Marie Cameron 2016 - talk

Plein air is painting that is done on the spot, outside in all kinds of weather. You have to be quick and skilled to get down your response to what you see before the light and shadows change and David Stonesifer gave us all kinds of advice he’s gleaned from great teachers and years of “brush milage” in the field. One was, “Don’t chase the shadows!” -paint those in first if that’s where your interest lies – get that down quick!

David Stonesifer - Plein Air- Brown Bag Lunch Series- TrIton Museum of Art - photo Marie Cameron 2016 - audience

David Stonesifer spoke of Oakland’s Society of Six – a plein air group that I need to study up on! One of them had said of his work, “I have nothing to say, but much to express”.  Such a lovely way of summing up the plein air experience, which has historically (pre-camera) been about capturing the scene as a study for the larger “real” painting that would be done in the studio later. These “studies” have come to be highly valued in their own right for the freedom and immediacy that the studio work often lacks.  That’s what Stonesifer loves being out there with his subject and painting it as se sees it and feels it.

David Stonesifer - Plein Air- Brown Bag Lunch Series- TrIton Museum of Art - photo Marie Cameron 2016  Theodore Wores 1925

We were even treated to a comparison of a Saratoga orchard painting from 1925 by Theodore Wores (from the Triton’s permanent collection) to one of Stonesifer’s from last week in nearly the same spot!

David Stonesifer - Plein Air- Brown Bag Lunch Series- TrIton Museum of Art - photo Marie Cameron 2016 David Stonesifer - Plein Air- Brown Bag Lunch Series- TrIton Museum of Art - photo Marie Cameron 2016  Wores vs Stonesifer

David Stonesifer - Plein Air- Brown Bag Lunch Series- TrIton Museum of Art - photo Marie Cameron 2016 painting

David Stonesifer shared with us a number of paintings showing different weather and times of the year.

David Stonesifer - Navakavich Orchard, Saratoga, Feb 6, 2013 - oil on board - photo Marie Cameron

I’m delighted to have several of Davis Stonesifer’s paintings  in my personal collection, Navakavich Orchard, Saratoga (above) and Saratoga Barn (below). I adore them, beyond their beauty and subject matter, for the skillfully free manner in which their painted.

David Stonesifer - Saratoga Barn, June 15, 2012 LG Plein Air Event - oil on board - photo Marie Cameron

One of  the tips  David Stonesifer shared with us is to block in a thin, general underpainting using the complementary color of what you see. When the underpainting peaks through the final brushstrokes it adds a vibrant intensity. You can see in this illustrated in the painting above where he’s used pink and peach under the sky and mountains and aqua and periwinkle under the meadow.

David Stonesifer - Plein Air- Brown Bag Lunch Series- TrIton Museum of Art - photo Marie Cameron 2016 - with audience

There was certainly a lot of interest in this well attended lecture!

I case you’d like to see more of his work, you can visit his website or his upcoming open studio Saturday & Sunday, May 7 & 8 from 10am – 5pm at 18000 Overlook Road, Los Gatos, an event not to be missed!


Julie Heffernan at NUMU

We were so lucky to have Brooklyn based artist Julie Heffernan speak with us Sunday at New Museum Los Gatos in conjunction with their current exhibition, More Than Your Selfie.

More Than Your Selfie - NUMU - Julie Heffernan - Self Portrait with Falling Sky - 2011 - oil on canvas - photo Marie Cameron 2016


Included in this exhibit is her oil painting, Self Portrait with Falling Sky. As with many of Julie Heffernan’s paintings, she uses the self portrait as a vehicle to explore her relationship with outer and inner worlds in magical settings of fantastic gardens, wild jungles and gilded palaces – all bursting into flame or blossom or fruit, laced with a secret language of survival and hope held in a tenuous, transcendent balance.

NUMU - Marianne McGrath and Julie Heffernan - photo Marie Cameron 2016

NUMU curator Marianne McGrath with artist Julie Heffernan. It was all about the redheads –  in the historic images, in the paintings, and in the audience!

NUMU -  Julie Heffernan - photo Marie Cameron 2016

Julie Heffernan’s talk and slide show introduced us to her early art influences that broke through her suburban Ozzie and Harriet style upbringing on the West Coast – passionate Catholic hagiography and hippy hedonism in Golden Gate park, then onto German figural renaissance with her Fullbright scholarship in West Berlin. While in Europe she was exposed to the likes of Velázquez, Fantin-Latour and Bosch to name but a few and so began her lush still lifes as self portraits, traditional still lifes with contemporary flourishes and mind bubbles. These grew into the monumental, surreal follies, and the epic dystpoias of today which have been fueled by both personal and global events.

NUMU - Julie Heffernan - slide shoe of work 1 - photo Marie Cameron 2016

NUMU - Julie Heffernan - slide shoe of work 2 - photo Marie Cameron 2016

These are but a few glimpses into the slide show that accompanied the talk but a visit to Julie Heffernan’s website is order – also a visit to NUMU and to Mark Zukerberg’s house if you get the chance!  The artist also recommends checking out Elizabeth Kolbert on the environment, Elizabeth Gilbert on creative creative imps the TV series Black Mirror!

Painting an Artist in Her Studio – 2

A real El Niño style rain today – great for hanging out in my studio but not so good for photography –  the color is definitely off in these pictures. I’m excited about how the painting is coming along though and I may have even come up with a title – I’m thinking Menagerie sounds right.

Untitled (for now) WIP 7 PeopleInMyNeighborhood - Marie Cameron 2016

Untitled (for now) WIP 8 PeopleInMyNeighborhood - Marie Cameron 2016

Untitled (for now) WIP 9 PeopleInMyNeighborhood - Marie Cameron 2016

Untitled (for now) WIP 10 PeopleInMyNeighborhood - Marie Cameron 2016

Capitola Rocks

LGAA Plein Air - Capitola - Capitola on the Rocks (WIP) getting there…Marie Cameron 2016


This is how my little 8 x 8 inch plein air painting turned out after I took it back to the studio and messed with it a little…. perhaps there’s a little too much of a warm cast in the lighting but I think I’ve traded some of the freshness of color and application of the earlier stage for  a stability and structure of the final version.

Capitola Rocks - oil on board - 8x8 inches - Marie Cameron 2016



It’s still a cute painting but that’s the whole thing about plein air –  to learn how to let the immediacy and imperfections of the moment fill the canvas with life and don’t try to beat it to death with notions of what it should look like…… It’s a lesson I have to learn over and over again.



Studio Visit – Carole Rafferty

I fell in love with one of Carole Rafferty’s paintings. Well, actually, I love all her paintings but there was one in particular that was beyond perfection. It was a little out of my budget but that didn’t stop me from seeing it in person. Maybe if I couldn’t have the painting, I could paint the artist with the painting!

Carole Rafferty Portrait - Marie Cameron 2015

Carole Rafferty with Street Corner #1

I know Carole from the Los Gatos Museum Gallery and the Los Gatos Art Association where we are both members, but she’s also represented by Nancy Dodds Gallery and the Studio Shop and the American Impressionist Society and the California Art Club.  Her studio is in Palo Alto (and has had a fancy reno since I visited it in 2015 – which is nice for her but who else would even notice with all these gorgeous paintings all over the place?!).

Carole Rafferty Studio - Marie Cameron 2015

The artist with a coffee and another favorite painting, Street Corner #2.

Carole Rafferty specializes in urban landscape painting, but everything she sets her brush to has that same dreamy, super skilled handling of paint, light and palette.

Carole Rafferty Paintings in the studio- Marie Cameron 2015

Just look at this lush light and shadow playing across the scene!

Carole Rafferty Paintings in the Studio 2- Marie Cameron 2015

Rafferty’s work is so atmospheric and absolutely filled with the sense and spirit of place…

Carole Rafferty Easel - Marie Cameron 2015

…like this Marnia view that was fresh on the easel.

Carole Rafferty Palette - Marie Cameron 2015

Looking at her tools of the trade, I think, it’s not what you’ve got…it’s what you do with it!

Carole Rafferty Chinatown Lanterns - Marie Cameron 2015

There is so much to learn from this Chinatown painting, Grant Avenue San Francisco. The overall effect of the palette is subtle but there is so much complexity to the color! The peach of the buildings is underpainted in the sky, the green of the awning is echoed in the shadows throughout, the red dots are repeated as awnings and lanterns and lights of the cars. I love too how the figures and cars and relegated to different zones in the painting.

Carole Rafferty Paintings - Marie Cameron 2015

More fabulous paintings everywhere you look!

Carol Rafferty Portrait 2- Marie Cameron 2015

You can see more of her amazing work on her website,

Painting of Violet Tea I

Another in my Birds & Teacups Series, Violet Tea I is still very much a work in progress…

Violet Tea I (WIP 1) Marie Cameron 2016

Quick oil sketch…

Violet Tea I (WIP 2) Marie Cameron 2016

Some lovely loose brush strokes suggesting violets…

Violet Tea I (WIP 3) Marie Cameron 2016

Sketching in the background…

Violet Tea I (WIP 4) Marie Cameron 2016

Filling in here and there…

Violet Tea I (WIP 5) Marie Cameron 2016

Wiping off the gestural background that I was afraid was building up too much…

Violet Tea I (WIP 6) Marie Cameron 2016

Blocking in some shadows and loosing my loose violets in a pursuit of realism…

Violet Tea I (WIP 7) Marie Cameron 2016

Sharpening up details, but there’s such a long way to go in terms of drama (which will come from the lighting) in this piece…..I’ll post more when there’s more to see.

Violet Tea I (WIP) 8 Marie Cameron 2016
I didn’t know I was going to go for a greenish background! Such a busy image really called out for a simplified palette.

Violet Tea I - oil on board - 12x12 inches - Marie Cameron 2016

Here is the finished painting, which is now on exhibit at the Los Gatos Museum Gallery.


Magnolia Tea I (WIP)

A new Bird & Teacup on the easel today! This time it’s one of the little Dark-eyed Junkos that are always underfoot. This one is nestled into some branches of Star Magnolia that my friend painter Isaias Sandoval had cut for me from his tree. I love the way it’s coming together!

Magnolia Tea I  (WIP) 1 - Marie Cameron 2016

I sketched out the image in magenta oil…

Magnolia Tea I (WIP) 2 - Marie Cameron 2016

Blocked in the darks and mid tones of the background loosely…

Magnolia Tea I  (WIP) 3 - Marie Cameron 2016

Worked in the branches…

Magnolia Tea I  (WIP) 4 - Marie Cameron 2016

Paid some attention to my bird…

Magnolia Tea I  (WIP) 5 - Marie Cameron 2016

Laying in the shadows in the petals and cup, they may look like white flowers but they have a huge range of warm and cool colors (pinks. yellows, greens, treys, lavenders and blues) in both the shadows…

Magnolia Tea I  (WIP) 6 - Marie Cameron 2016

And the highlights…

More tomorrow!