Sergio Lopez - North SF Bay Area Fine Artist

Upcoming Shows and Events

-May: "California Light" - Landscapes. Christopher Queen Gallery, Duncans Mills, CA.
May 21-June 29: Paso Robles Art Festival
•June 18-21: Paint San Clemente, Southern California.
-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.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Vanishing Boundaries

I have been working diligently for months on paintings for a show that I consider one to be of the most important shows in my career yet. I will be showing alongside Mia Bergeron for a two-person figurative show in Charleston at the Robert Lange Studios gallery. Mia Bergeron is one of my favorite portrait painters out there right now, so to be able to show alongside her (and maybe steal some of her clientele ;) ) is such a huge deal to me.

Since so many people have asked me, I thought I'd give the brief story of how I arrived to gallery. I went out to Charleston a couple of years ago. One of the reasons I went was to see a 3-woman show at Robert Lange Studios, of which Mia Bergeron was one of the participants. I chatted with the gallery director at the time, and friended them on Facebook. They started to see my work in their feed, and sent me an email a few months after I visited their gallery. They invited me to send work out, and later on participate in the "North Vs. South" group show. They liked what I sent, and so by the end of the year, they approached Mia and I to be in a two-person show together. Of course I was excited! Imagine, to come out to a gallery you like to see work of an artist you admire, and the gallery takes you in, then the gallery has you show with that same artist you admire! It's one of those pay-offs that being an artist affords you.

In addition to some new paintings from previous series, I am debuting a new series I've been working on. The concept is titled "Proud Birds." Part of the idea behind the concept (which I get into more detail in the latest American Art Collector magazine) is that I don't believe a painting has to have a deep underlying meaning in it to be considered "high art," and the peacock motif is a reflection of that idea.

There are more paintings from this concept that I will slowly reveal after the show opens. For now here are some teasers for the show.
“All Birds Must Have Wings,” 20x20 inch oil on linen mounted on board. $2400
“Black Jade,” 18x16 inch oil on linen mounted on board. $1725
“White Wings,” 30x16 inch oil on linen mounted on board. $2650
“Shedding Selkie,” 24x20 inch oil on linen mounted on board. $2800
“Parhelia,” 30x24 inch oil on linen. $3600
Here are some detail shots of "White Wings," pre-painted pattern.
A detail of a painting entitled "Sorrow In Good Light." 
Be there at the reception to see the entire painting.
A crop of a large painting called "Over Your Sheltered Nest." It was also in-progress at the time of this photo being taken.
There is one more painting called "Heart In Hiding" that you will just have to be there to see it in person!

Here is the relevant information to make sure you don't miss the show.

Vanishing Boundaries
Mia Bergeron & Sergio Lopez
September 5-25 2014
Opening Reception: September 5th, 5-8:00

Robert Lange Studios
2 Queen Street, Charleston, SC 29401 
Open Daily 11:00 - 5:00 
 Phone: (843)805-8052 

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Prints For Sale

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

2014 Angels Boot Camp with Ray and Peggi Kroll Roberts

Last week I got to sit in for a couple of days at the "Angels Boot Camp". What is this, you ask? Should I send my bad kids there to learn discipline? Will I lose weight? While I can't answer those questions, I can tell you that it is a fairly intense 4-day workshop at Ray and Peggi Kroll Roberts' studio in the Sierra Foothills. 4 different days, with 4 different instructors. The heat was intense, but part of the reason is because of all the friction created with the brushes going across the canvases. The main lessons that were being taught were learning to see simple compositions and using colors and shapes to effectively convey the observed light in your paintings. I took Ray's "plein air to studio" workshop in 2011 so it was nice to revisit some of the lessons.

Day 1: Peggi Kroll Roberts

I arrived halfway through the first day of the workshop, so I missed the first part of Peggi's teaching which focused on a strong two-value composition. This painting was a 40-minute study done completely with a palette knife. I never use a palette knife exclusively. I always reach a point where I want more control than what I can get out of a palette knife. The trade-off is interesting texture in the painting, though.
I was still trying to warm up with this painting. Another 40 minute study. I should have taken a picture of Peggi's painting. She is so good at simplifying things in her painting and nailing the essence of light and color in a scene.
20-minute head study as Peggi demo'ed.
This was a 40-minute study where I was starting to get back into my groove. I can feel how my recent lack of figure painting is affecting my paintings. People liked my teapot though.
There are so many paintings and studies in their studio. It was fun to rifle through them and marvel at them. Here is a really cool portrait study that Ray did.

Day 2: Ray Roberts

The resident cat! She is 16 years old but as spry as a cat 4 times younger.
These were Ray's demos of the morning. He was imparting interesting basic lessons that can benefit anyone who doesn't mind getting back to basics, which is just about anyone. One of them being the "1/3rds, 2/3rds, A Little Bit Rule:" 1/3rds of one value, 2/3rds of another value, and a little bit of a third. It's a good simple rule to keep in mind when designing the light and dark value pattern.
This was a painting I did after watching his first demo. Was trying to apply the "1/3rds, 2/3rds, A Little Bit Rule" to this one. Guess what, it must have worked, because I sold it.
The day was sort of sunny, sort of overcast, and I couldn't find anything worth painting on the ground. Ray suggested that I try painting the clouds instead. Good idea! Not something I would have thought of doing but I'm glad he suggested it. Ray also had a good critique, which was to be mindful of repetitive shapes. It's very unnatural to have repeating shapes in nature. This touches on the "controlled chaos" principle, a lesson he was also teaching.
Ray's afternoon demo! It's interesting to watch them come together. The overall light effect doesn't usually show up until late into the painting. You just have to have faith in your decisions and be patient as you're painting. Another small lesson he shared was a trick for keeping pure color clean where it's needed (like in the flowers here) by laying down the pure color first and then adding the dark shapes around and into the light pure color.

This was a painting that I got a lot of kudos on as I was painting it. It's their old chicken coop. I ended up selling this one as well.
My final painting of the day was of their plum tree. I wanted to do a close-up a bundle of fruit on the tree but the sun was way too hot to set up without much shade around it.  This was another exercise in texture.

Day 3: Carole Gray-Weihman

Here is a photo of Carole doing her demo in the morning. Photo courtesy of Al Tofanelli.
This was a painting I did after being inspired by Carole's demo. I adopted her technique of layering complementary colors with a palette knife. I finished with a brush to refine things that I couldn't quite finesse with the knife.
Peggi's stance! Her signature twist.
I had to go back home at this point, but not before snagging a Ray Roberts to add to my collection! What a beauty!
I wasn't able to get any of my own shots from the 4th day since I wasn't there, but here are some photos courtesy of Al Tofanelli.
 Sweet marker sketches by Peggi Kroll Roberts!

I think the students gained a lot from the teaching. I believe they will be doing it again in 2015 at the end of July, so if you enjoy painting in a lovely setting with some experienced, expert teachers, mark it in your calendars for next year.

Check out Carole's Plein Air Liaison website and maybe sign up for the mailing list.

Drawings For Sale
Prints For Sale

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

2014 Main Loop Roadtrip Part 3: Zion, The Sierras, and The Scary Mystery Truck

I'll be wrapping up my Colorado trip here with the journey back to Santa Rosa. Fair notice: this post is mostly photos, so if it's not your bag, I'll see you next time.
I left Telluride in the evening with the expectation that I would reach my destination(Zion National Park)  in the morning. It was about 7 hours of mostly sparse desert to get there so I was hoping to get through the mostly boring parts at night.

I was getting really tired near Page, AZ. I did not see any place to rest anywhere so I stopped at some teeny little town called Kaibito. There was nothing that looked halfway inviting for a quick stop besides a gas station with a little parking lot. I thought I would try to take a cat-nap that would power me until I reached Page. I was there for less than 10 minutes when I saw a truck drive around the lot and come right up to the side of my car, headlights still on. The truck was not moving, and the headlights were staying on, but no one was coming out of the truck either. Who was in the truck and what did they want?? I didn't know what to do. I did not want to get out of my car, but I didn't want to pull out because what were they going to do? Would they follow me? Was another truck going to come and box me in? I was starting to get nervous. I tried to look in the truck to see what type of person was in the truck. I couldn't see much inside, and couldn't really see the side of the truck either. I didn't do anything, just tried to wait it out for another 10 minutes or so. They didn't move, just stayed in their truck and kept their lights on. I thought, OK, I'm just going to pull out, try and leave, and see what happens. So I backed out, and was able to see what kind of truck it was. Arizona State Troopers. So I knew I wasn't going to die, but still didn't know why they didn't question me or tell me to get out of the truck or anything. I left the gas station, then got back on the road and left the town. They didn't follow me. So I don't know what that was about, but it scared me enough to get me to drive another half hour to Page.

I slept near a bunch of RV's in the back of a WalMart parking lot. Apparently this was the de facto rest stop in the area. I can't sleep for long in airplane seats or car seats, so I only slept long enough to catch the sunrise. By the way, very few skies more beautiful than desert sunrises.
One of the most beautiful drives I've ever done! Maybe the sunrise bumped it up a few notches, but the drive between Lake Powell and Kanab, UT was glorious... It goes along the edge of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. I couldn't get great shots of that, but here are a couple of photos of what I saw along that drive.
I reached Zion about a couple of hours after stopping in Page. It is quite the amazing site. The park is created in these towering red "temples" of limestone and sandstone and is also carved by rivers that have created beautiful canyons. Here is one of many scenic viewpoints in the park.
I stopped to eat breakfast at a cafe that happened to have an awesome painting by Kevin Macpherson in it. For my money, it's the best landscape painting in this post :P Good to see some nice art in such a tourist destination.
This a view partway down Zion Canyon that made me nickname it "Desert Yosemite." The views along the trail are so inspiring. Had I more time and energy I would have trekked up Angel's Landing but the trail to the "emerald pools" was more than sufficient.
One thing about the wildlife here: The squirrels are VERY friendly. No doubt because of the tourists ignoring the many warnings not to feed them. The squirrels are fatter than I'm used to seeing, and move at about half the speed of your neighborhood guy. This does, however, afford me the chance to take some cool close-up shots of them, like this one here.
My one attempt to paint in the park was thwarted by the sudden onset of rain in the park about midway through this painting. I wasn't even going to post this, but I think some people like seeing half-done paintings as well. If this is the first painting of mine you've ever seen, PLEASE go back in my archive a little bit, I'm much better than this...
It was rainy and gray in the park, so that meant I wasn't going to get to do much more there unless I waited it out for another few hours or so. I needed to get moving, so I got back in the road. One of my favorite things in nature is watching what happens as the clouds clear after a rain.
These were both taken near St. George. It seems like a pretty cool place on account of its proximity to so many national parks and monuments.
So, between St George and Vegas it was raining. Sometimes it sprinkled, other times it stormed. It didn't, however, cool down much. It felt like 95 degrees at 9:30 PM in Vegas. How do people live in such a place?? The desert is not a place for me to live. I stayed at a place in Pahrump, which for the price was a million times nicer than the motel I stayed in at Green River.

It was nice to see my beloved California in the distance here. Not sure what those mountains are called, but they have the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, home to the oldest trees in the world.
Some of the beautiful Eastern Sierras, outside of Bishop.
My whole idea for taking the route home was to be able to paint at the June Lake Loop. It's a relatively easy place to reach by car, and while not as pristine as Lake Ediza, it is still extremely beautiful place to visit. It is an alpine lake with a charming town and the quintessential granite mountains around it(think mini-Tahoe). Again, thwarted by rain halfway through! I finished this one in the studio, where I was able to control the lighting situation in the painting a little better.
It was still another six hours to get home, and the rain was off/on still, so I didn't paint anymore on my way home. But here are some nice shots that I took of the mountain landscapes.

The meadows in Mono County are very picturesque and highly worthy painting subjects. What else could you need?
A valley view along Monitor Pass. Again, so much to paint in the area.
A cluster of peaks near Markleeville.
Another beautiful scene near Markleeville, close to South Lake Tahoe.
Thanks for hanging along. Until next adventure!

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

2014 Main Loop Roadtrip Part 2: Telluride Plein Air

Telluride was a great experience again this year, with perfect weather pretty much the entire time there. I got to dig in to more of the town than last year, and I got to paint in some areas that I saw last year.

This was my first official painting of the event. I had a mis-start the evening before and junked a "wiper." This was a view from the house I was staying in, which was an amazing multi-million dollar home in the hills above Telluride. Great views of the San Miguel mountain range.
"Wilson Peak After Dawn" 6x8 in. oil on linen board.

I spent most of the day painting around the town of Telluride. This is one of the charming scenes about town that make it so much fun to paint in town.
"Summer In The Shade" 8x6 in. oil on linen board

This is one of those scenes that I didn't get around to last year. I think I can do a better job with this one especially in the waterfall part. It doesn't quite feel like a waterfall; it looks more like an actual bridal veil, in fact.

"Bridal Veil Falls" 9x12 in. oil on linen board


This was a painting that I redid. I tried to 
"Wait Right Here"  9x12 in. oil on linen board.

This was a view just down the road from the house I was staying at. See how that whole "house worth millions" thing is starting to make sense?
"Deer's Haven" 12x16 in. oil on linen board.
This was one of my smallest paintings yet one of my most popular paintings of the ones I did out there. People seem to really enjoy tall narrow paintings for some reason. I believe it is because it's easier to find a spot to put them on the wall. Especially with a little guy like this one going for $450, people seem to consider them a bargain.
"Fall Creek" 9.5x4.5 in. oil on linen board.
This painting took a couple of days to finish. I started it one day, then I saw a herd of elk behind me in the distance. I don't know if they were going to make their way over to me, or if they get aggressive, but I sure wasn't going to find out. I came back the next day a little bit earlier and finished it.
"The Valley Floor" 11x14 in. oil on linen board

This painting I had to paint rapidly because of the sun rapidly vanishing behind me, but the drawing and some of the values suffered because of it. Paintings of the evening are very hard to nail in one shot.
"It's Magical" 8x8 in. oil on linen board.

This was a view from a vista point near where I was staying. One of the many beautiful parts of Highway 145. Very much worth the drive if you ever find your way out there.
"Her Majesty" 12x9 in. oil on linen board.

I drove down what has to be one of the most scenic roads in the country to Rico, a small town with a lot of western "mining town" legacy still permeating the feel of the place. I painted a large BBQ grill on wheels with some smoke coming out of it. I enjoyed leaving it sketchy-looking with the vignetted look to it.
"What's Cookin'?" 11x14 in. oil on linen board.

This painting turned out to be way more popular than I ever expected it to be, especially among artists. It was painted at late evening. The diffused golden light that bathes the entire town at evening is incredible. The muted tones made people think I was going for an "old fashioned" look, but it really did look that way to me.
"If You Squint Hard Enough" 6x8 in. oil on linen board.

I didn't get a better photo of this one because it sold before I was able to take a good picture of it. I'll take a sale over a good photo of the painting, any day.
"The Clock Tower" 9.5x4.5 in. oil on linen board. Quick Draw, Sold

After a very strangely-handled live auction of the quick-draw paintings(who starts an auction high and goes lower?? :-/ ) it was time for the Artist Choice Award Reception gala. Here are the award winners:

3rd Place: Larry Rudolph. He is good at handling black paint in his work, I don't see a whole lot of plein air painters blatantly using ivory black in their paintings.
2nd Place: Wayne Mackenzie, who sold out during the outdoor show. Great job!
1st Place: Susiehyer. This was a very impressive and ambitious painting for a plein air event. It was also very well done. It was my second choice behind Nancy McDonald's awesome street scene.

4th of July in Telluride is always a big deal in town, with the parade, fly-overs, and fireworks. The idea is that the influx of people brings a lot of eyeballs to our tents and sales will follow. That is true for some people, and not as much for others.
Here is a shot of my paintings on the wall.
By day two, I got a little bored of the lack of sales. I did some sketching of the environment.
I left Telluride with more paintings than I hoped to come back with. Sales were awesome for some people and not-as-awesome for others. It's hard to say whether or not it was because it was a down-year, or what. It didn't really feel like it. The people who sell well, do well. I guess that leaves the rest of us to step it up and learn how to sell better, or continue to be disappointed. One of these days I'll see something worth reading here:

Coming soon: The conclusion to my travels.... Part 3: Zion and the Eastern Sierras!

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