Sergio Lopez - North SF Bay Area Fine Artist

Upcoming Shows and Events

-April: Braving The Elements - Landscape Group Show, Robert Lange Studios, Charleston, SC.
•Indelible - Group Show, Alexi Era Gallery, St. Louis, MO.
-May: "California Light" - Landscapes. Christopher Queen Gallery, Duncans Mills, CA.
•May 15-18: Carmel Art Festival
•May 21-24: Paso Robles Art Festival
-June 29-July 5th: Telluride Plein Air.
-September 2014: Sergio Lopez/Mia Bergeron - Robert Lange Studios, Charleston, SC.
-October 2014: "The Traveling Painters," 3-Person Show - Christopher Queen Gallery, Duncans Mills, CA.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Plein Air Convention 2014 Recap: Part 1

Hey so I'm still recovering from the whirlwind event that is the Plein Air Convention. For those who don't know what the convention is(somehow escaped the aggressive marketing?), it's a convention where once a year 700 artists go to the Crown and Anchor bar in Monterey and drink a lot before they remember they have to wake up early to hear Eric Rhoads teach them how to sell their paintings. Hold on, I'm getting ahead of myself here. Before that happens, those 700 painters go to the convention center in Monterey where they watch demos of (almost)all of their favorite plein air painters, listen to lectures and presentations by artists, marketers, gallery owners, etc. and shop for supplies to fuel their inspirations to paint outdoors. It's put on by Eric Rhoads and the rest of the Plein Air Magazine team. For the low low sum of $995 you get a ticket to 5 days and nights of hardcore immersion in all things plein air.

I had been hearing for a couple of years about how awesome the event is from all my friends who had attended before. This was the 3rd year, and some had attended all 3 years, which is a pretty solid endorsement in of itself. Not being able to afford it in past years kept me from going to it before, but I bit the bullet this year and payed for a ticket. I had to make sure I could afford not only the ticket, but a hotel room in Monterey, and enough money to join in the festivities and debauchery. Please handle my wallet carefully, it's still sore... Anyhoo, I was very excited for it once I knew it was a reality, and I was looking forward to seeing old friends, making new ones, and checking out what they had in store for us.

Day 1

Bear with me because I didn't take a ton of photos of everything, so there will be gaps in some parts as far as the visuals go. I got there a little late on Monday the first day because the early schedule started off with sort of a "plein air basic" track to get some of the amateurs up to speed. I was definitely too advanced for it so I didn't watch it. I waited until 4PM for the real opening to begin.

The opening keynote was by Kevin Macpherson. That dude is FUNNY. He kept us all pretty well-entertained with his constant stream of self-deprecating jokes, slideshow of his paintings, and some inspirational quotes sprinkled in here and there. I had forgotten how good of a painter he is. Actually, I didn't forget, but I needed a reminder. It's hard to notice in this photo, but there is so much good painting in this piece that it really makes you stop and pause to look at everything going on it it. Great abstraction working to building a reasonably realistic painting. Quite inspiring, actually.
Kevin Macpherson, "Catalina Playground."

Next up was last year's $15,000 prize winner Shelby Keefe with a speed painting demo to her own music. There was a lot of speed painting going on in this event, which I can take or leave. Where I'm at, it has to be really really good for me to be impressed with a large painting done in 30 minutes. I'd much rather see a well-executed painting done patiently.

There was a Lifetime Achievement Award given in absentia to Richard Schmid. I don't blame him, if I was 70 years old, I probably wouldn't feel like flying across the country just to pick up a trophy. Still, it would have been nice to meet the man/myth/legend. There was a great slideshow of his work with some rarely-seen paintings that spanned his entire career. They actually uploaded part of the presentation to Youtube; check it out:
I wish I'd taken photos of the slideshow, there was some dynamite work. His early landscapes were so so good. As much as I like all of his work, his pre-1980 landscape work has so much thick texture and dazzling interplay of light and dark that I miss in his later more-quiet landscapes. Still, very inspiring. His Maine seascapes depict a quality of grays and fog that are reminiscent of what you find on the North Coast of California and the Pacific Northwest.

Next up were the award winners of the Plein Air Salon. Who would win the $15,000 award?? I appreciate you hoping it was me, but alas 'twas not I. A watercolorist named Stewart White took home the bacon.
" St Johns Church, Richmond" by Stewart White. Watercolor, 11x14.

Day 1 concluded with the cocktail/mingling party where we all reconnected and also put faces to familiar Facebook names. We cashed in our free drink tickets, ate the free food, then escaped to what passes for nightlife on a Monterey weekday. Hey I'm not complaining; I'm a homebody.

Day 2

Day 2 begins bright and early in the morning. 6:30 AM to be exact. Master marketer Eric Rhoads begins his 3 day presentation on how to better market our art. He starts the presentation by saying, "some of this information will offend you." What he was saying was essentially to put our artist's berets and copies of The Art Spirit down for a second and listen to what he has to say about selling art. One of the more unsettling nuggets he gave us included "Improving your craft won't necessarily improve your sales." Ugh, talk about a gut punch to everything you were told... I don't 100% agree with that actually, but I was still willing to hear him out. He went on to give us a lot of useful tips, and some of the exercises (like imagining your ideal customer and a few simple tricks to put us in that person's shoes) immediately worked to jog my imagination about coming up with strategies. Part 1 finishes and I'm digging it so far. We break for breakfast and wait for Joseph McGurl's demo.

A quick sketch of Shelby Keefe + some notes.

Joseph McGurl

Joseph did a demo where I did a quick-ish painting from a finished piece of his. It was pretty cool and fairly unique as far as the convention goes. Joseph is a painter in pursuit of the light, and is more influenced by the early painters of the Hudson River School much more so than by the California Impressionists/Sorolla that much of the rest of us consider influences. I was struck by his preference for ratty brushes and quick-drying whites to build up texture rather than laying brushstrokes on top of each other as most of the other instructors do. I took away plenty from this demo, and even picked up a new tool: a plastic putty knife that you can use for straight edges, making horizon lines, and measuring angles. Very useful for any painter who relies on straight lines for anything they do in a painting.

Randy Sexton and Larry Moore did a demo, which I kinda regret missing most of because I heard it was a good one. I was too jazzed up and ready to paint to sit through another 1.5 hour demo. Here is the only photo I have of it.
Instead I went and painted a really quick study of the rocks near the wharf a block away from the convention.
Monterey Fisherman's Wharf. 3x5 in
I caught the tail end of a Bryan Mark Taylor demo before settling in for John Burton.

John Burton

John Burton started an ambitious demo where he tried to paint a 30x40" canvas in 2 hours. Now, John Burton is a really good painter, local to Carmel who is really good at landscapes. It was pretty interesting to watch him do his thing up there, but I wonder if we would have gotten more out of watching him work a smaller painting further. Still, some take-aways were his use of Kings Blue (a light blue that is based on a mixture of ultramarine blue and white) and azure blue. They seem like good time-saver colors. A good quote of his was, "Plein air painting is an open book test. Studio painting is a closed book test." Meaning, if you are looking to study nature, go to the source instead of relying on a photo's interpretation of the scene. He did a good job and was sufficiently inspiring.

It was time to go out and paint! We went out to Asilomar to paint as a group. It was cool to see so many painters basically take over a spot on the beach and apply our new tricks to our paintings.
Asilomar Beach, 11x14, 2014.
I don't mind gray days like this, in fact, I like trying to find the color within the seeming grays.

Another fun thing to do during these paint-outs was to walk around and see what everyone else was doing. I caught a bit of Daniel Gerhartz painting en plein air...
...speaking of Dan Gerhartz, this is a good place to end today's installment. Coming up next is his demo from the model and much more...

For those who can't wait any longer to see more, I put together a slideshow of photos I took of some instructors doing demos. Looking back at it, I wish I took some more photos than just the essential demo stuff, but now I know for next time. Anyways, enjoy.

Drawings For Sale
Prints For Sale

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Painted Roses in the Midwest

Hey everyone, I have been falling behind on blogging lately... The truth is, it's so much easier just to post photos to Instagram on the go, and blurt thoughts out on Facebook as they occur to me. But I realize I have a handful of dedicated readers on here so I try not to neglect this.

Would you rather see more small frequent updates or do you like less frequent but more in-depth updates on here as I have been doing for a while? Please let me know. I try to make all of my outlets different enough to be followed individually and get a worthwhile experience even if you follow each of them.

The newest painting from the Painted Roses series was done for Aunia Kahn's gallery Alexi Era. I was invited to take part in the gallery's "Indelible" show. What are more indelible than tattoos? It's nice to once-again work with a model who actually has a lot of tattoos, and not have to "fake" it. Tattoos were part of the original concept for the series, anyways. This is a special exhibit for me, as I'm planning on cutting way back on group shows after this year (way too busy with my own things, which is a blessing in of itself) and it's one of the few times I have anything showing in the Midwest anytime in the foreseeable future. If you live anywhere near St. Louis and want to see my paintings in person, please make the trip!

"Lady Eve" 11x14 in. oil on linen mounted on cradled panel. $900 inquire here for purchase.

Drawings For Sale
Prints For Sale

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Charcoal Drawings: A Simple Update

Hey everyone, I'm posting some drawings from the past few months. As always, you can see them posted in real-time on my Instagram page.
These were done in graphite.

2 10 minute drawings of the same pose.

This one is one of my favorite studies in recent memory.

I thought this was an interesting angle for this pose.

For those who were curious, the vine charcoals I used here were Nitram Fusains soft(the green ones).

I wish her foot wasn't covered, otherwise I'd really like this one.

Done with a Lyra Color Giant pencil. Sometimes it's my favorite pencil to work with.

Drawings For Sale
Prints For Sale

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Painted Roses: Ayama (WIPs + SF Group Show)

Hey everyone, here is a new painting of Vaunt from the Painted Roses series. This one was done for the Gauntlet Gallery's 12x12 Show.

I took some WIP shots of it while I was painting it. You can see the grid method I use to help with accuracy. You can also see what it looks like once I tone the canvas. I'm working on developing a more interesting textural surface as a starting point. Click on the photo to get a close-up look at the surface.

Check out the video I made about how I toned this canvas without completely destroying the underdrawing.

Here is the finished piece. In terms of color, it's one of my favorites I've done of Vaunt. I also like some of the direct brushwork in her face, especially the nose.

The show is "CA 12X12" and it's open-theme. The only stipulation was that we painted our pieces on a 12x12 in. board. There are some good names participating in the show. Lots of familiar names and heavy hitters, including:
  • Akira Beard
  • John Wentz
  • Justin "Coro" Kaufman
  • Kate Zambrano
  • Kieran Collins
  • MJ Lindo 
  • So Youn Lee

And many others. I encourage you to check out the whole lineup and maybe RSVP if you're in the Bay Area.

Gauntlet Gallery
1040 Larkin, San Francisco, California 94109
Opening Reception March 8th 2014 7-10 PM

View the event on Facebook HERE

Drawings For Sale
Prints For Sale

Monday, March 03, 2014

Plein Air: A Show For Frugal Collectors

The year starts off for me with a bunch of new plein air paintings out the gate. These were all local Santar Rosa scenes, with a few locations revisited. Other subjects were of places I've gone by many times without ever painting. The only good thing about the drought is the abundance of sunlight in winter months. I took advantage by going out most of my free days to "bike&paint." 

"A Touch of Class" 9.5x6.5 in. oil on linen mounted on board. SOLD
I liked this one enough right after doing it that I put it in a frame immediately.

"The First Of The Year" 6x8 oil on linen mounted on board. $475
This one has a freshness to it that is really appealing to painters. It's rare that I nail the atmosphere and color while keeping it so loose with the brushwork.

"Through The Thick" 9x12 in. oil on linen board. $700
This one took the longest to do. I spent a few days 45-minutes to an hour at a time trying to get it right, and ultimately took some reference photos to finish the leaves and branches. 

"A Short Day" 11x14 in. oil on linen. $900
After a good rain is my favorite time to paint. The moisture in the air, the retreating dark clouds, the spots of light... All "painter-porn."

"Liquid Gold" 9x12 in. oil on linen board. $700
This painting I started from life, then it rained a lot, thus covering my vantage point with water. I had to come back afterwards with my camera. In this painting I pushed the golden light quality to the extreme.

"Same As It Ever Was" 8x10 in. oil on linen board. $500
I really like the way the grass came out on this one. Although the paint is thin, it took a lot of layering to get that effect.

These paintings are all going to be for sale at the Frugal Collector show at the Christopher Queen Gallery in Duncans Mills. Reception is Sunday March 9th. I hope to see a few of you there!

Drawings For Sale
Prints For Sale

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Gallery Rejects, Part 2: Taste and Medium Choice

As a continuation of my post from last week, I am going to talk about another issue I ran into recently. I was contacted a few months ago by the Elliott Fouts Gallery in Sacramento, which I consider to be the premier gallery in Sacramento. They asked me for some new work that had not been exhibited in the area before. This painting "Benibara" was painted about a year ago, but then I recently reworked it for myself.

"Benibara, Version 1"

When the gallery asked for a piece they could use for the promotion of me in the show, I sent them this painting. Can you guess why it was rejected?

That's right, the nipple piercings.

They explained that it is too risque for their gallery, and although it was a bit of a bummer, they know their clientele and their sensibilities, so I completely understood their reasoning. I decided later that the painting didn't need the piercings in it because it didn't add much to the concept anyway, and if it was going to be a distraction, it'd be a bad move artistically to leave them in. Besides, I've never included her piercings in any of my paintings of Vaunt since, so there was even less reason to keep them.

To end this anecdote on an uplifting note, I ended up selling this painting on my webstore! Woohoo!

"Benibara" 12x9 in. oil on linen mounted on panel. Sold.

Point 2: I created 4 new pieces for the show in January and 2 were taken. In order to keep this series interesting to me, I changed up mediums here. I'd done these in gouache before. I wanted to see what I could do with pastels. These were fun, although oil will always be my favorite. I put them in some nice frames. I didn't use adequate backing at first, which contributed to the gallery not taking them, but I think some galleries are averse to taking pastels from an artist not known for using them. I think these are unique, and will become a rare item for collectors.

"Sagiso" 15x8 in. pastel on paper. $875

"Sagiso" 14x18 in. framed pastel on paper. $875

"Tsubaki" 15x8 in. pastel on paper. $875

"Tsubaki" 14x18 in. framed pastel on paper.

Here are the 2 new paintings accepted into the show. These were done on Arches oil paper primed with gesso. It's an interesting surface to paint on, because it has different textural qualities that let me do things I wouldn't normally be able to do on canvas. Click on the photos for a higher resolution picture you can study the texture from better. I'm experimenting here with a looser more tactile treatment.

"Mayflower" 8x14 in. oil on paper mounted on board. $800

"Sombreuil" 8x14 in. oil on paper mounted on board. $800

But wait, there's more! I am also showing 2 pieces previously exhibited at Capital Artworks but being moved to Elliott Fouts Gallery in Sacramento where they will have a much wider audience.

"Acapella" 14x14 in. oil on linen board. 2013 Sergio Lopez $1200.

"Perfumista" 12x15 in. oil on linen. $1100.

Speaking of which, here is the info about the show I am participating in. Elliot Fouts always does some nice graphics for their shows. Here are some photos with a couple of representational artists I'm showing alongside.

Link to Article in American Art Collector

Elliott Fouts Gallery
1831 P. Street
Sacramento, CA 95811
Phone (916) 736-1429
Tuesday - Friday: 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Saturday - Sunday: 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM

40 & Under, a group show featuring artists 40 years old and younger.

Ali Cavanaugh, Angie Renfro, Gabriella Soraci, Jeanne Vadeboncoeur, Jose Di Gregorio, Tobias Tovera and Sergio Lopez.

Feb 1, 2014 - Feb 28, 2013 • Second Saturday opening reception: February 8, 2014 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM.

In closing, I want to ask a couple of questions:
Would you change a painting if a gallery requested it? Have you ever had to consider what a gallery's tastes might be when in the process of creating?

Drawings For Sale
Prints For Sale
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