Gallimauphry Friday- North Coast Open Studios Coming Next Weekend! Come Visit Me!

NCOS guidebook

2017 will be the nineteenth year of a Humboldt County event that I co-founded with another local artist, Sasha Pepper, who was the one who knew how to put an event like this together. We had 43 artists sign up the first year and it’s just rolled on from there, to my immense satisfaction. This will be my first time participating in a number of years and I’m really excited to be a part of it again. I’ll be open both weekends….June 3-4 and 10-11 from 10am to 5pm. The garden will be in full bloom, too, and I’ll have a selection of choice plants for sale along with my paintings, drawings, cards and prints.

Guidebooks, which include maps, are available at a variety of locations around the county, but you can also find out who’s opening their studio on the event website here. There are over 100 artists and fine craftspeople to choose from. Many people plan their weekend around visiting the artists in specific locations. I’m in Dow’s Prairie, just north of McKinleyville. There are seven of us in the area and three more locations just to the north in Trinidad and Westhaven, so make a day of it and come see us! We’ll all have signs out to direct you to our studios.

If you’d like to preview many of the participating artists’ work, there’s a show up now at Stonesthrow Boutique in downtown Eureka at 423 F St. My painting “Chronos (Khomyn Tal Takhi Stallion)” is there.

“A Fine Fall Morning (Hustai Takhi)”, the painting I have in the guidebook.

Humboldt County has had a vibrant art scene since the 1960s. You will be amazed and excited by the variety of styles and media we work in. If you’re coming in from out of town you can find visitor information here. Coastal Humboldt County is the place to beat the inland heat.

“Foal” I’ve been experimenting with a new style and approach. Come check out my newest work and hear the stories behind the paintings.

You can also always find my work at Strawberry Rock Gallery in Trinidad. My studio is open by appointment throughout the year. Just use the contact form on my website to set one up.

In Honor Of The Fact That It’s POURING Rain Right Now, Here Are Some Recent Watercolors

school road


Last year I joined up with an informal “Sunday Painters” group. One person posts the next location on his Facebook page on Saturday and then whoever wants to shows up. There’s been close to a dozen of us at times. It’s about a 50/50 split between those who work in watercolor and those who paint in oil. I’ve mostly been using it as a busman’s holiday and doing watercolors. It’s always great fun and camaraderie. Here’s a selection of what I’ve done over the past few months.

I use either a set of Yarka poured watercolors or a Winsor-Newton set of half-pans on Arches cold press 140lb. watercolor blocks or loose 8×8″ pieces of Saunders Waterford 140lb. cold press. I’ve also been experimenting with Lanaquarelle cold press and hot press. I’ve got a variety of brushes. My current favorite is a large synthetic round that I got at Cass Art Supply in London last May, but I also like Robert Simmons’ Sapphires. I just got a new Stephen Quiller flat, the same as my friend and nationally-known watercolorist David Rankin uses, and plan to try it out this weekend since so far the weather forecast is looking good. David has posted a ton of wonderful tutorials on his website and his Facebook page. If you do watercolor or want to, check them out. I’ve learned a lot from him, not only about handling the media, but picture-making in general.



seat stacksschool road 3

mad river (1)

school road 2

2 mad river



We Take A Drive Up The Coast On Solstice

I’ve spent most of my life in northern coastal California. And love it here. We’re within the sound of the ocean and only a half hour from Redwood National Park.

We went for a drive on Solstice in between storm fronts and found some lovely light, rainbows, Roosevelt elk and crashing waves.

Here’s an “album” of my favorite photos as a holiday gift from me to you, my friends and fans. Thank you for your interest in my goings-on and I hope you have a great 2013!

Roosevelt elk bulls
Roosevelt elk bulls, hanging out together again after the yearly rut
Roosevelt elk bulls can weigh up to 900 pounds.
Roosevelt elk bulls can weigh up to 900 pounds.
Rainbow at Dry Lagoon State Park with Goat Rock in the background.
Rainbow at Dry Lagoon State Park with Goat Rock in the background.
Rainbow over the Pacific Ocean.
Rainbow over the Pacific Ocean.
Storm clouds coming in.
Storm clouds coming in.
Surf's up.
Surf’s up.
Every winter the ocean breaches the spit between it and Stone Lagoon.
Every winter the ocean breaches the spit between it and Stone Lagoon.
Redwood Creek was running full. Usually we can continue down the gravel onto the beach.
Redwood Creek was running full. Usually we can continue down the gravel onto the beach.
This vernal pond, backed by red alders, was hosting some hooded merganser ducks.
This vernal pond, backed by red alders, was hosting some hooded merganser ducks.
On the way home, we could see the next storm coming in and we got caught in a short spat of heavy hail.
On the way home, we could see the next storm coming in and we got caught in a short spat of heavy hail.

A Visit To Our Garden

It rained all through April, so most plants got a late start. But everything is going great now. Vegies are in, but not much to see yet.

I thought I’d share an “album” of photos that I’ve taken over the past month or so to give you look at one thing I do when I’m not at the easel, which is garden. Great exercise and very rewarding, especially this time of year.

I have a special fondness for old roses, hardy geraniums and *most* of the critters who show up. Enjoy.

View of the front garden facing east
Rough-skinned newts doing what newts do in the spring, being checked out by a couple of mosquito fish. What was interesting is that they were doing it out in the middle of the pond in broad daylight. It turns out that they are so toxic that nothing messes with them.
Unidentified species of caterpillar that has colonized some Himalayan honeysuckle volunteers. And only those.
David Austin English Rose “Abraham Darby”
Lilac “Sensation”
Unidentified caterpillar. Might turn into a sphinx moth, but don’t know for sure.
Hardy geranium “Splish Splash:, which is merrily seeding itself around the garden and also hybridizing with Johnson’s Blue.
The Supervisors: Niki, our tri-color rough collie boy and Eowyn, the black kitteh
The reward: a nice big vase of fragrant old roses

And don’t forget to check out my WildArt Mongolia Expedition Kickstarter project. It ends July 15 and it’s all or nothing. If I don’t raise the amount I’m asking for then I receive no funding through them. I’d really appreciate your support!

Don’t Miss This Great Plein Air Workshop! Sign Up Now Before It Fills Up!

I’m extremely pleased to announce that my friend and colleague James Coe will be coming to northern California to hold his first ever workshop out here in July! Below are all the details. We expect his workshop to fill up, so get your reservation in soon! As I’ve made the arrangements, please direct any questions to me.

Source of the Saco by James Coe

Nationally known landscape painter, bird artist and author James Coe will be giving his first-ever West Coast workshop, “Plein Air Landscape Painting in Oils”, July 9-14, 2012, to be hosted by Westhaven Center for the Arts.

This will be an intensive 5-day program which will explore the challenges of working en plein air directly from the landscape and also introduce the traditional methods and materials of alla prima (direct) painting in oil. There will be a presentation and orientation session Monday evening which will include topics ranging from the history of plein-air painting to the preparation of homemade painting panels for use in the field.  The session will also include a step-by-step presentation of the instructor painting outdoors and in the studio, using plein air studies as references for larger studio canvases.

The workshop will be based at Westhaven Center for the Arts, which is located in Humboldt County on the beautiful and scenic north coast of California, about six hours north by car from San Francisco. Painting locations will include coastal seascapes and beaches, redwood forests and the nearby fishing town of Trinidad.


Instructor: James Coe
Dates: July 9-14 (Monday evening orientation, Tuesday-Saturday plein air sessions)
Workshop fee: $600 ($100 deposit due upon sign-up)
Class size: maximum of 10
Location: Westhaven Center for the Arts
501 S. Westhaven Dr.
Westhaven, CA 95570

Supply list, travel information and lodging/meal options will be provided upon registration (fee is for workshop only)

For more information or to reserve a space, call Susan Fox at 707 496 1246 or email her at sfox at foxstudio dot biz (email address format is to foil web crawlers; use normal format for emailing me)

Encroaching Shadows, Roadside Barns

About James Coe: Jim’s oil landscapes, which typically feature natural settings and rural scenes from New York’s Hudson River Valley and Northern Catskills, are recognized for their naturalistic palette and painterly handling.    

A signature member of the Oil Painters of America, and chosen in 2011 as a Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum Master Wildlife Artist,  Jim has been featured recently in PleinAir magazine, Western Art Collector and Wildlife Art Journal.   

His art has appeared on the covers of Sanctuary, Bird Watcher’s Digest, Birding World and The Auk, the professional Journal of the American Ornithologists Union.  He is represented in the permanent collections of the New York State Museum, Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Massachusetts Audubon Society and the Bennington Center for the Arts.   

Jim lives with his wife and two children in a farmhouse on the western rim of the Hudson River Valley, where he continues to seek a balance between plein air landscapes and larger studio canvases of birds in natural settings.

Five Reasons To Do Small Paintings

Over time, I think most painters end up with preferences for size, ranging from true miniatures that may only be an inch by an inch to, well, big, really big. Like ten feet high.

I’ve tended to stay in a middle range, which happens to be what has NOT been selling during the recession. But before the meltdown, I had decided to start doing art festivals and I needed a large body of work. Most of the paintings are 12×16″ to 18×24″.

Then I joined the Lost Coast Daily Painters and found myself needing to have a small (5×7″ to 8×10″) painting to post every week. It was hard at first to work that small, but I got used to it and started to see some definite advantages:

One, they are more affordable for people.

Two, many buyers and collectors don’t have room anymore for work that is much bigger and it encourages them to take a chance on a new artist. That would be me.

Three, small works seem to be considered appropriate for gift-giving, so that expands the market a little.

Four, for me as an artist, I’ve found that it’s a good way to study various painting problems, like capturing light effects, without investing time and materials in a larger piece that might not pan out.

Five, they force me to focus on one idea and to keep it simple.

Here are three recent small works:

Arcata Bottoms Stormlight oil on canvasboard 8x8"

I wanted to capture the light effect of dark clouds and sunny areas. Working in a square format was fun, too.

Black Bear, Grand Tetons oil on canvasboard 16x8"

I’ve struggled with how to paint this kind of light effect- foreground shade and background sun. It’s a push and pull process. I think this works pretty well.

Reticulated Giraffe, Samburu oil on canvasboard 8x10"

Once again, I’m studying how to do a light effect- the high key shadows and reflected light on the head of the giraffe. I also ended up with a postive/negative shape relationship that I like. The color of the giraffe and the sky form a complementary color relationship, too.

What has evolved over the past year is an interesting split that is working well for me. I’m doing a lot of smaller pieces like the ones above (I plan to have 30 or so available at the Marin Art Festival). And then I’m painting larger, major pieces that can require a lot of preliminary work. With luck, you’ll see the latest one next week.

Lupin Blooming in Redwood National Park

The word’s gone out and it made the front page of the local paper. There is a rare explosion of lupin bloom up on Bald Hills Road in Redwood National Park. My husband and I took the Jensen Healey out for a spin to go check it out this afternoon. I didn’t know what to expect, but went late in the afternoon hoping for good light. Interspersed amongst the lupin was darker purple larkspur, which added a good contrast of value and hue. Here’s some of the photos I shot:

It was mostly this huge patch by the road, spilling down the slope
It was mostly this huge patch by the road, spilling down the slope
The sun was going down, so things were starting to get backlit
The sun was going down, so things were starting to get backlit
This is looking south and a little west
This is looking south and a little west
It was really a living tapestry of flowers
It was really a living tapestry of flowers
These are just the highlights
These are just the highlights
As a bonus, there were these white Douglas iris in bloom, too
As a bonus, there were white Douglas iris in bloom, too

Great weekend and more to come!

I had a terrific time doing North Coast Open Studios this year, not the least because I sold the coyote painting shown below in my June 3 post. The title is now “Double Check”

Lots of nice people, most of whom had not been to my studio before. On Saturday afternoon, one couple stopped by who had driven all the way from Ukiah just for the event. She had researched the artists and chosen the ones they wanted to visit, since, with over 100, there wasn’t time to see them all. I was very flattered to make the cut!

I’m now in prep mode for the Marin Art Festival and will head south on Friday. Really looking forward to it. Temperatures are supposed to be in the 80’s, though. I paid an extra $25 for electricity, so the portable fan goes with me. I ain’t suffering for my art if I can help it.

Today I’ve been scanning drawings for new notecards. Here’s three of them, a jackrabbit, spotted hyena and a snow leopard:

The next big event for me locally will be Wild Visions 2, a group show consisting of myself, Paula Golightly, John Wesa, Linda Parkinson, Shawn Gould. This time we are showing with Meridian Fine Art at the Umpqua Bank Community Gallery. There will be a reception the second Friday in August, so save the date! More as it gets closer.