Tuesday, September 24, 2013


20x20" oil on canvas

Here's a recent experiment that worked out better than I thought it would. The goal was to work really fast and do my best just to think of colors and shapes. It can be overwhelming painting complicated scenes on a larger canvas. I approached this subject without expectations, I just tried to be spontaneous and see what came of it. It may have a few problems but there's something I like about it so I figured I'd post it.

In other news, the John Natsoulas Gallery in Davis, CA hosted their 22nd annual paint out on Saturday. I paid my entrance fee a few weeks in advance but seriously considered sitting this one out since rain was predicted. I wasn't sure I wanted to wake up early and drive 100 miles, paint all day in the rain, and then drive another 100 miles home again at 10pm when the event ended. However, while eating dinner and watching Bob Ross reruns on YouTube the night before, I had a change of heart. I'm glad I decided to go, I met a lot of nice people, saw some great art and ended up winning first place. The rain made it a rough day though, you can check out some pictures here.

Friday, September 20, 2013

"Railroad Crossing"

10x8" oil on canvas panel

I managed to paint four small paintings in Burlingame yesterday. The plein air event in Davis is tomorrow so I've been painting outdoors as much as possible. I started my first painting around 8am and finished my last just after 6pm. It was a long day but I had a good time experimenting with subject matter and composition. I posted all four paintings on facebook, if you're interested you can check them out here.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


10x8" oil on canvas panel

I've doing quite a bit of plein air painting lately, with mixed results. Most plein air painters mention needing to paint from life in order to see subtle colors that don't show up in photos, but I'm finding it much harder to judge colors while outdoors. I think this painting of eucalyptus trees is a step in the right direction. I painted this while standing in the shade next to a dry creek bed. It was really hot today so it felt good to find a cool secluded spot to paint.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Powell Street

8x8" oil on masonite

I've decided to do some larger versions of my recent cityscapes. Even though these are only slightly larger than the paintings for 50/50, they were definitely more difficult. Next I plan to do some 20x20" versions. I'm trying to work my way up in size and yet maintain the look of the smaller paintings. I posted a gallery containing a few more 8x8s on my facebook page, you can take a look by clicking here.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

"Cafe on Polk"

12x12" oil on masonite

This is a painting that didn't quite make it into the City Streets show a few months ago. Originally this painting was just a very loose sketch. I didn't feel it was quite finished enough to bring to the gallery, but I liked the composition and the mix of natural and incandescent lighting. I finally decided it would be worth spending some time to see if I could bring it to a level of finish that I was happy with. It's unusual for me to rework an existing painting, I usually just move on if something doesn't work. I'm glad I put the extra effort into this one.

It turns out I'll be participating in two plein air events at the end of the month so I decided to get organized. It's so important to have your gear and your process figured out. I spent a few hours streamlining my equipment and then hit the streets to test it out. I was able to do a couple of small paintings, in separate locations, in less than three hours. I still struggled a bit with the paintings but at least I wasn't frustrated by my gear.

I've been painting here in San Bruno to save time. I figured I wouldn't be too particular about the scenery since I just needed to get out for a test run. I've actually found some interesting subject matter which has been a nice surprise. I posted a photo on my facebook page.

Tomorrow is the opening reception for the Waterfront show at the Studio Gallery. Stop by and check it out if you're in the area! The reception is from 2-6pm.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

"Red Buoy"

10x8" oil on canvas panel

Here's another quick oil sketch from my Maine photos. This is marker #2 just off Marshall Point. I took the photo for this while out on a puffin cruise. The amazing thing is we actually saw puffins! They were pretty far away but we did see quite a few. It was the "sunset cruise" so the light was beautiful. I must confess I wasn't that interested in the birds, they were sort of far away. I was more interested in taking pictures of buoys.

The Burlingame Paint Out is coming up at the end of the month so I tried to get out and paint on Tuesday. It was a lovely sunny morning but I was unable to find anything inspiring to paint. I looked around for two hours before giving up. I've learned that unless you find a composition you're excited about it's not worth setting up your easel. I'll give it another try next week.

Monday, September 2, 2013

"Point Reyes Wave"

20x20" oil on canvas

Here's another from Waterfront, which opens September 4th at the Studio Gallery. The reception will be on Sunday September 8th, 2-6pm. I just dropped off my paintings yesterday and there were already a bunch of really nice paintings in the gallery.

In other news, I started a facebook page, Michael Chamberlain Paintings. I plan to keep it updated with photos and event info. I just uploaded a couple of albums, one for the 50/50 show and another for the Waterfront show.