La Estancia

I had the chance to paint with the Los Gatos Art Association’s Plein Air Group a few weeks ago at La Estancia in Los Gatos. I’m afraid I don’t get out with them more than once or twice a year but I always love it when I do manage to break away from the studio. They are such a great group of talented artists who generously share tips and ideas. It’s so invigorating being out “in the field” trying to throw it all down before the light changes or soup’s on!

Vincent Liu

Liz Fennell

Wheelbarrow full of arts supplies!

Veronica Gross

My painting in progress – the tree was in silhouette when I began.

My  11X14″ oil – trying to keep it colorful, wild and loose!

Nancy Takaichi’s palm painting.

Lisha Wang

Kathy Carlquist

Al Shamble

Rebecca White’s oil.

Gathering after lunch for the critique.

So many paintings in only few hours!

Sam Pearson’s pastel.

Will Maller leading the critique and discussion.

Will Maller’s palm.

Los Gatos Plein Air Art Show and Sale

The Los Gatos Morning Rotary Club hosts the the annual Los Gatos Plein Air Art Show and Sale. Artists from all over the US are juried into this week long event where artists paint throughout the area, producing an amazing oeuvre of fresh work to be auctioned and sold at the end – the results are always impressive!Here a few shots I manage to capture from today’s sale at the Town Plaza (artists websites are linked to their names).

Greg LaRock (Newport Beach, CA) – Best of Show

Suzy Long – ( Mendocino, CA) The Copper Bucket – People’s Choice Award

Susan Elwart Hall  (Atherton, CA) – Artist’s Choice Award

Susan Elwart Hall – Pink Buzz – Oil – Honorable Mention

John Guernsey (Marietta, GA) – Courtyard at the winery -Oil -Second Place

Waye McKenzie (Truckee, CA)

Wayne McKenzie – Mountain View – Oil – Third Place

Wayne McKenzie – Friendly Rivalry – Oil

Wayne McKenzie – Santa Cruz Surfers – Oil

Anton Pavlevnko (Mollala, OR)

Anton Pavlevnko – Trickling Creek – Oil – Honorable Mention

Terri Ford (San Jose, CA)

Terri Ford – Valley Vista – Pastel – Honorable Mention (with a bit of reflection)

Kevin Kasik (San Jose, CA)

Kevin Kasik – Shannon Road (detail) – Oil

Me and Kevin hanging…

David Stonesifer (Los Gatos, CA)

David Stonesifer – Foot of Shannon Road – Oil

Ed Lucey (Los Gatos, CA)

Will Maller ( Los Altos, CA)

Sergio Lopez (Santa Rosa, CA)

Sergio Lopez – Capitola Rooftops-  Gouache

Barbara Clark (Corrales, NM)

Barbara Clark – painting detail – oil

Sterling Hoffmann (Sebastopol, CA)

Abby Zhang (Los Gatos, CA)

Laura Wambgans (Santa Clarita, CA)

Art Docent Volunteers, Julia and Judith

Art lovers

Artist Lorraine Lawson volunteering with the Morning Rotary.

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!


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.



Rick Guidice – Plein Air

So THIS was the gorgeous sunset over Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Company last night where Rick Guidice was having his opening reception for his plein air paintings! The exhibit will run through October 31.

With all the tables cleared away, the cafe made a great venue to exhibit art and host a ton of people!

For someone to just pick up oils and produce a fabulous body of plein air work within a year and a half would seem pretty unreasonable, but this is Rick Guidice who has spent a lifetime working in art, as an architectural illustrator at the age of 16, space art for NASA (now on view at NUMU), advertising illustration for Atari and creating residential and commercial designs for his own firm. Pencil, acrylic, watercolor now oil. The medium doesn’t matter it’s the skill and the eye and the passion that matters.

Me and Rick at his very well attended reception.

Moss Landing

Scotts Valley Two


Rick Guidice with artist Maralyn Dorsa and Frank Dorsa.

Elk Horn (a personal favorite)

Rick Guidice’s wife, artist, Susan Jaekel.

Artists Ed Lucey, Maralyn Miller and Veronica Gross

Ed offered to get me in there too!

NUMU Curator, Marianne McGrath with Rick Guidice.


Los Gatos Plein Air 2015

I love plein air!  It’s magical how artists go out and brave the elements and a cacophony of input and paint up a little gem in a matter of minutes – so fresh, so immediate!  Los Gatos Town Plaza was filled with such gorgeous wet paintings by artists from all over the West Coast that had been juried into Los Gatos Plein Air 2015. Artists had begun painting on location last Tuesday with canvases stamped at NUMU and had wrapped up their work by Friday night with a VIP Auction.

Plein Air 2015 - viewing- photo Marie Cameron 2015

Organized by the by the Los Gatos Morning Rotary Club, proceeds from the event are going to support Montalvo Arts Center, the Museums of Los Gatos, Lighting for Literacy, Los Gatos Music and Arts and Art Docents of Los Gatos (which was represented by this great group of women – Hey Louise and Elizabeth!).

Plein Air 2015 - Art Docents - photo Marie Cameron 2015

The Los Gatos Museums Gallery was well represented with five member artists participating, Ellen Howard, Ed Lucey, Will Maller, Carole Rafferty and David Stonesifer. In fact, Carole Rafferty was awarded best in show!

Plein Air 2015 - Carole Rafferty - photo Marie Cameron

Congratulations to Carole Rafferty who was awarded Best in Show!

Plein Air 2015 - Caole Rafferty, BEST IN SHOW - photo Marie Cameron 2015.

Plein Air 2015 - Carole Rafferty, Golden State - photo Marie Cameron 2015

Plein Air 2015 - David Stonesifer - photo Marie Cameron 2015

David Stonesifer.

Plein Air 2015 - David Stonesifer, View of LG from Olive Grove - photo Marie Cameron 2015

David Stonesifer‘s oil, View of Los Gatos from Olive Grove.

Plein Air 2015 - David Stonesifer, the piece I shot him working on- photo Marie Cameron 2015

I shot David working on this piece last week on Overlook Road.

Plein Air 2015 - Will Maller - photo Marie Cameron 2015

Will Maller.

Plein Air 2015 - Will Maller, Morning Walk Vasona - photo Marie Cameron 2015

Will Maller‘s oil, Morning Walk Vasona.

Plein Air 2015 - Ed Lucey - photo Marie Cameron 2015

Ed Lucey.

Plein Air 2015 - Ellen Howard - photo Marie Cameron 2015

Ellen Howard.

Ellen Howard  - oil painting -  LG Plein Air 2015

Ellen Howard‘s oil painting.

Plein Air 2015 - 2nd place Greg LaRock - photo Marie Cameron 2015

2nd Place was awarded to Greg LaRock for his oil painting of a creek in Saratoga.

Plein Air 2015 - Honorable Mention- Erich Neubert, A Walik in the Park - photo Marie Cameron 2015

I missed 3rd place, but an Honorable Mention went to Erich Neubert for A Walk in the Park.

Plein Air 2015 - Kim VanDerHoek - photo Marie Cameron 2015

Another Honorable Mention went to Kim VanDerHoek for this lake scene below.

Plein Air 2015 -Honorable Mention  - Kim VanDerHoek- photo Marie Cameron 2015


Plein Air 2015 - Lorraine Lawson - photo Marie Cameron 2015

Lorraine Lawson.

Plein Air 2015 - Susan Elwart Hall - photo Marie Cameron 2015

Susan Elwart Hall.

Plein Air 2015 - Susan Elwart Hall , Pentouse View- photo Marie Cameron 2015

Susan Elwart Hall‘s Penthouse View.

Plein Air 2015 - Susan Elwart Hall, the piece I shot her working on - photo Marie Cameron 2015

I shot Susan painting this piece on Overlook Road.

Plein Air 2015 - Sylvia Dahlgren - photo Marie Cameron 2015

Sylvia Dahlgren painting away.

Plein Air 2015 - Sylvia Dalhgren, Point Lobos - photo Marie Cameron 2015

Sylvia Dahlgren‘s oil, Point Lobos.

Plein Air 2015 - Yong Hong Zhong- photo Marie Cameron 2015

Yong Hong Zhong.

Plein Air 2015 - Yong Hong Zhong, Hiding From the Sun - photo Marie Cameron 2015

Yong Hong Zhong‘s oil, Hiding from the Sun.

Plein Air 2015 - Anton Pavelnko - photo Marie Cameron 2015

Anton Pavlenko  was awarded an honorable mention, for a beautiful little painting, I was going to take a photo of it but then I got distracted by this one:

Anton Pavlenko‘s oil, Morning Meditation.

Plein Air 2015 - meeting with an artist- photo Marie Cameron 2015

Plein Air 2015 - Elvis and gentleman companion - photo Marie Cameron 2015

Elvis and his gentleman companion taking in the art.

Plein Air 2015 - Mira and Me - photo Marie Cameron 2015

Mira Petkova, a fabulous new volunteer at the gallery who is helping with promotion material, and myself shooting the event (Thanks Thuy Le).

Plein Air 2015 - Nancy MacDonald, title unavailable - photo Marie Cameron 2015

Nancy MacDonald‘s oil, Joined at the Hip – love those stabs of red!


When To Put Down the Brush?

It’s been a long time since I’ve done plein air. Since having my children it’s been easier to be a studio painter. Painting in the open air teaches you to paint in the moment, to rely on the gesture and the medium, to lay down your poetry on the canvas quickly before the light changes or your fingers freeze or the bugs chase you away!  Plein air works are known for having a freshness and vibrancy that their over worked studio counterparts can sometimes lack. It’s a good lesson for all artists and one I struggle with daily. When to put down the brush!

That brings me to my recent foray in plein air, against good advise, I couldn’t leave well enough alone and continued to rework my persimmon painting once back in my studio. Every painting is a learning experience, but I put it to you, do you prefer my pre-studio or post-studio version better?

Marie Cameron plein air persimmon painting pre & post studio 2012

My plein air persimmon painting pre & post studio – which one do you prefer?


Plein Air Party

What makes a plein air party you may ask?

A gorgeous day, a stunning location, a mess of easels, paints, mediums, gloves and canvases or boards and you’re good to go – oh yes, and most importantly a whole whack of talented artists!

What makes it festive is a hot barbecue, a cold beer and a mountain of mouth watering desserts. Add in a painting and gift exchange, some lava soap and hand lotion all is merry and bright!

Artist Diana Leone and her husband Ed hosted the LGAA -PA holiday party this year and it was time for me to break out of the studio and brush up on my plein air skills. Most artists chose to paint a view of the meandering Calero Creek but I went with the Leone’s magnificent persimmon tree. I must say, I so enjoyed sitting underneath that canopy of impossibly orange fruit set against that brilliant blue sky, watching the flock of marauding starlings and listening to the croaking of bullfrogs – I didn’t really care how my painting was turning out! So when artist Kevin Kasik came to climb the tree and harvest what he could reach, I was only to happy to get out of the way. Not before a plump, ripe persimmon practically fell into my lap – and my, it was sweet!

Calero Creek- photo Marie Cameron 2012

Calero Creek meandering along in the morning light of a Californian winter.

Plein Air Painters - Photo Marie Cameron 2012

Plein air artists setting up to paint along the creek.

Artist Hershel Abelman - Photo by Marie Cameron 2012

Artist Hershel Abelman blocking in his values with a persimmon underpainting.

Artist Rebecca White - photo Marie Cameron 2012

Artist Rebecca White ready with her palette knife!

Artist Kathy Carlquist  - photo by Marie Cameron 2012

Artist Kathy Carlquist adding the last touches to her view of the Calero Creek.

Artist Diana Leone (portrait) - photo Marie Cameron 2012

Artist Diana Leone laying in her color. Visit her website at

Artist Cynthia DeBenedetti - photo by Marie Cameron 2012

Artist Cynthia DeBenedetti  capturing the moment.

Artist Ellen Howard - photo by Marie Cameron 2012

Artist Ellen Howard setting up her easel. Visit her website

Artist Will Maller - Photo by Marie Cameron 2012

Artist Will Maller setting up for plein air.  His website is

Artist Will Maller's Set Up - photo Marie Cameorn 2012

Will Maller has sketched in the work with persimmon orange, start with a spark!

Will Maller's Paints - photo Marie Cameron 2012

Will Maller’s paints could be a great painting too.

Persimmons and Sky - photo Marie Cameron 2012

The Leone’s Hachiya Persimmon tree was dripping with ripe fruit.

Marauding Starlings - photo Marie Cameron 2012

Flocks of marauding starlings liked them too!

Sitting Under the Persimmon Tree Painting - photo Kevin Kasik 2012

Working on my persimmon painting under that big beautiful tree.

My Inspiration - photo Marie Cameon 2012

This view was the inspiration for my painting.

Fresh Persimmon Painting - photo Marie Cameron 2012

And the result before I let Kevin have the tree.

Kevin Kasik Persimmon Harvesting - photo Marie Cameron 2012

Artist Kevin Kasik harvesting persimmons on high.

Kevin Kasik Out on a Limb - photo Marie Cameron 2012

Kevin Kasik out on a limb.  See his work at

Kevin Kasik Tossing a Persimmon - photo by Marie Cameron - 2012

Kevin Kasik tossing persimmons to artists below.

Kevin Kasik in Persimmon Tree 1- photo Marie Cameron 2012

This is my favorite one of Kevin Kasik in the persimmon tree with the tub ready below.

Tub of Persimmons - photo Marie Cameron 2012

One of two tubs filled with very ripe fruit – someone is going to be busy!

Lava - photo Marie Cameron 2012

Keep it clean party favor – best soap ever! Thanks Diana!