Category Archives: Oil Paintings

Social Activism, Spirit and Art

Demonstrators after Women's March January 21, 2017

Four people embrace the spirit of women’s rights on a rainy day with signs at the end of the first Women’s March, January 21, 2017.

Most of my paintings come from the heart, but none so much as one of my newest, “After the March.” My husband and I participated in the January 21 Women’s March and were so uplifted by the spirit and strength of entire families marching and supporting women’s health rights, peace, and kindness that I just had to paint a picture of it. People all over the world, even in Antarctica, braved all kinds of weather to make their voices heard. 

I got back to the studio the day after the march, set up my canvas, and the paint virtually flew from my brush to the surface. You will notice a different, looser style than most of my paintings. The reflections in the wet city street simply happened. The four people were not from the march specifically. They are archetypes of the demonstrators, pulling together for important causes, arms around each other, holding their signs and returning triumphantly after such a massive and peaceful turnout that the world simply had to take notice.

I think art has a very important place in documenting the mood of a specific time and society. Some of the political cartoons we see everyday are masterworks in their own right and I admire the abilities of cartoonists to capture a face, a setting, a statement and turn it into a work of art. Google political cartoons and you’ll see for yourself the wide variety of styles used to make political statements. Here’s one example:

These are difficult times and we all respond in different ways.  Mine happens to be painting.  I hope you like it.

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What a Year of Art

Oil painting of grape pickers by Pat Meier-Johnson

The Pickers – oil painting by Pat Meier-Johnson (study) Wine Country Series

It has been quite a while since my last post. It’s been quite a year.  Travel and numerous art shows and commissions throughout the year have provided me with a real deadline…sometimes I need that kick in the pants.  I am finding great solace working in the studio. The noise of the election season continues and at times it is almost deafening. I feel like pulling a pillow over my head and going into hiding, but instead I put on some good music, set up the paints and get lost in the studio until Russ comes and hauls me out.(It’s always surprising how dark it is at the end of the day this time of year.)


I have opened an etsy store just for my closeout items.  Visit us at  I have a number of pieces that have been in shows and Open Studios and galleries. So I am running out of room as I make more pictures.  This might be a way of great way to pick up a real deal on original art as a gift for the holidays.  You can view and purchase my other works at my ongoing online store,  anytime.

In addition to numerous shows in Marin and Sonoma, I am honored that several of my paintings won awards this year including the following:

New Beginnnings: Honorable Mention – Marin County Fair

Painting of Sonoma Land Trust Baylands Restoration Project

New Beginnings (Sonoma Land Trust Restoration of Baylands) – 10 x 30 Oil Painting by Pat Meier-Johnson

The judges at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair awarded three of my paintings and two of Russ’ photos this year. I am particularly fond of these paintings – Piggy Dreams and The Toast, award-winners in the Agricultural and Lifestyle categories and a third prize winner, By Any Other Name:

Award-winning painting of sleeping pigs honored at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair

 Piggy Dreams – 16 x 20 oil painting on panel by Pat Meier-Johnson. Award-winning painting at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair 2016 

Artist Pat Meier-Johnson paints three girls celebrating with a glass of wine. Winner Sonoma Harvest Fair 2016

The Toast – 20 x 20 oil on canvas by Pat Meier-Johnson SOLD

Painting of autumn roses in Sonoma by Pat Meier-Johnson

By Any Other Name  – roses and peonies in a blue vase 12 x 12 oil on canvas by Pat Meier-Johnson

Russ and I have also been exhibiting together at Open Studios at the Marin Society of Artists and also currently have a show called “Side by Side” at the Parkpoint Health Club in Sonoma. Our reception was full of friends and we’ve met a number of new locals too.  The club is just a few blocks from our studio and a really nice place to work out.

Recently I have been doing some experimenting with colors, inspired by the bright hues of autumn.  This one in particular is a vineyard in southern Oregon. 

Oregon Vineyard in the afternoon - oil painting by Pat Meier-Johnson

Vineyard in the Afternoon (Study-Not for sale)

So come visit the online store and web site and even better, come visit when you’re in the neighborhood. I wish you the very best holiday season and a peaceful, happy 2017.

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Jump for Joy – It’s Time for Marin Open Studios

Oil painting of happy dogs by Pat Meier-Johnson

Jump for Joy – 16 x 20 oil painting on canvas by Pat Meier-Johnson

It’s Time to Celebrate Art

Hot dog (or dogs!) it’s that time of year for Marin Open Studios! I will be exhibiting new paintings and prints at the new headquarters for the Marin Society of Artists, 1515 Third Street at E in San Rafael. And right next to me will be my hubby Russ with his great photography. We’ll only be there May 7-8 so come see us. And bring your mom – remember May 8 is Mother’s Day. How about getting Mom a painting or a fine photograph as a gift?  And don’t forget the gala on Saturday April 30, 5pm – 8pm. Meet the artists, enjoy wine and lite bites, bid on items in the Silent Auction.


It was a great honor to have been able to contribute two works for the annual LymeLight Foundation’s Dart for Art auction in Burlingame, California. My good friend, photographer Judy Reed, introduced me to this this beautiful event featuring more than 100 works of art and more than 300 attendees. The audience gets to peruse the art at the beginning of the evening, making note of those pieces they want the most. Then according to group numbers on their name tags, each group assembles at the entry to the gallery area and on the given the green light, they dart to the piece of art they want and (provided it wasn’t already chosen by an earlier dart-er, they place their name tag below the tag describing the artwork to claim it. Lots of fun and lots of money was raised for young people suffering from awful tick-borne (and transmittable) Lyme disease. Insurance does not provide adequate coverage for this disabling disease, so every contribution helps.

STAY IN TOUCH. We love to hear from you and we look forward to seeing you in person at one of our upcoming shows.

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Fun Among the Sonoma Olive Trees

Pat Meier-Johnson oil painting of Sonoma Olive Pickers for Sonoma Olive Season exhibit at Studio 35

Sonoma Olive Pickers – 16 x 20 Oil Painting by Pat Meier-Johnson

It’s Sonoma Olive Season

To everything there is a season, and that’s certainly true here in Sonoma which is primarily know for its bountiful grape harvests and wine industry.  But like the great wine region of Tuscany, there is another crop here and it yields gold-green deliciousness. It’s the Sonoma olive and you’ll notice more and more olive trees being planted throughout the Sonoma Valley.

Father Kelly kicked off the Sonoma Olive Season with the Blessing of the Olives for years with a delightful, touching and sweetly humorous presentation at the old Sonoma historic mission.  Father Kelly (who was the perfect Hollywood image of a charming priest)  passed away suddenly last month. Just this past weekend Father JoJo Puthessary took over the happy duties.

Like anything delicious and complex, a fan base develops quickly, and olives are no exception. Throughout Sonoma experts, enthusiasts, and newbies gather to learn how to raise and cure their own olives. During Sonoma Olive Season there are numerous events where home olive farmers are happy to share tastes of olives that they have cured themselves, ranging from salty and leathery to green and crunchy. There are banquets, comedy shows, and more throughout the town.  Art exhibits at Studio 35 and Jacuzzi Winery pay homage to the olive. And then there’s Martini Madness (self explanatory). And any time of the year the Olive Press, located inside Jacuzzi Winery has a complete facility where short run olive oil is produced from a wide variety of local olives and year round offers a wide assortment of olive oils, some infused with flavors ranging from citrus to garlic and much more. Be sure to try the wines at Jacuzzi right across the hall.

Olive Pickers

Olive harvest in Sonoma

You can hardly blame folks for wanting to try their own hand at Sonoma olive harvesting and producing olive oil.  When I saw my friend Katherine Parker’s photos of her adventure at one of the the 2015 olive harvests, I was inspired to create this painting for the exhibition of olive art at Studio 35 in Sonoma where it will be on exhibit through the the 11th of January 2016.

Oh and when you head to the store to buy your next bottle of golden goodness, make sure that you take a close look at your olive oil.  A recent CBS 60 Minutes story raised some questions about the olive oil that is imported into the United States — Yet another reason for purchasing local, small run olive oil.

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O Little Town of Sonoma

12 x 12 Oil Painting of Sonoma Plaza California by Pat Meier-Johnson

Sonoma Plaza Holiday Lights (c) 2015 Pat Meier-Johnson

I love this town. There is an innocence and kindness here in Sonoma that brings together people of all kinds of persuasions, religions, ethnic backgrounds and income. Perhaps it can be said that having a town center — a true town center like our Sonoma Plaza — plays a role. In the warm months it’s all full of music and produce stands with people picnicking and sharing wine. Now in the chill months the Sonoma Plaza sparkles as though some kind of  winter fairy scattered a shower of lights over the buildings and trees from atop the palm tree in front of City Hall.

Are you still planning to shop for Christmas? Around the periphery of the Sonoma Plaza are boutiques of all kinds: Moroccan cookware, fanciful clothing like Artifax and J.James, international gifts,  jewelry, shoes, silver, leather, cheeses, and a whole row of home decor stores. The wine tasting rooms are multiplying like crazy. You can find all kinds of decor and environments and offerings from some highly talented winemakers. A couple of faves include Passagio Wines and Bryter Estates. We are looking forward to indulging in the comfy seating of the recently opened Pangloss Cellars tasting room.

There are some super restaurants here too. One of our favorites is EDK (El Dorado Kitchen) and of course The Girl and the Fig. Not to be missed is OSO and Cafe La Haye. A new Indian restaurant has opened just off the square. Memorable for its perhaps unfortunate name, Delhi Belly, we have heard nothing but rave reviews. Maybe we will be there for New Year’s Eve because we love India so much. And of course the Basque Boulangerie, which at night vents to the alley off its kitchen. If you’re walking to there after a glass of wine at Murphy’s Irish Pub at night, it’s likely the wafting bread aroma will knock you off your feet, not the wine.

So here is my oil painting I just completed, 12 x 12 on stretched canvas of Holiday Lights on Sonoma Plaza. Note the dry pavement…but not for long. We’re about to get several days of rain right through Christmas. Just what we asked Santa for (including a few other things)…we need the rain.

Happy holidays and a healthy wonderful 2016 to you all.

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Handsome Zeus

Portrait of the beautiful chocolate labrador retriever, Zeus

Portrait of the beautiful chocolate labrador retriever, Zeus

So I’m sitting outside the local Basque Boulangerie bakery in Sonoma with some friends and there’s a guy who owns a chocolate Labrador Retriever. I’m a pushover for animals of all kinds and this one was a particularly sweet dog! “You should have Pat paint your dog,” one of my friends told him. Before I knew it, I had been commissioned to paint Zeus, a handsome dog with the most soulful eyes.

I really enjoyed studying Zeus.  Zeus’ coat was glossy and while it was truly chocolate colored, the gloss picked up blue and rose highlights that I captured in the painting. The whorl pattern on his chest went this way and that. And his eyes…oh I loved painting his eyes.

Zeus’ owner, Rick, is quite the traveler and when he was back in town a month or two later, I invited him and Zeus to come to the studio to pick up the portrait. I think they both liked it. It is going to hang in Rick and his wife’s new home in Hawaii.

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Left-handed Still Life with Fruit

Fruit Bowl - Oil Painting on linen panel by Pat Meier-Johnson

Fruit Bowl – Oil Painting on linen panel by Pat Meier-Johnson

I decided to try a still life painting with my non-dominant hand. A large brush, broad strokes, and voila. Even the pattern and folds in the tablecloth came out well. Of course I went in with my right hand and finished off a few things. The stripes in the bowl were more difficult to do with my left hand, for instance.

Best thing about still lifes is that you get to eat the fruit afterwards. The mangoes were delicious.


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Wingo – Almost a Ghost Town

Oil Painting of Wingo in the Sonoma Wine Country

Wingo – Oil Painting by Pat Meier-Johnson
14 x 20 on canvas

They call it Wingo.  (Cue the spaghetti western music theme.)  There was a time that ships stopped here to deliver goods to the historic town of Sonoma in the northern California Wine Country in the mid-1800’s. Passenger boats dropped off visitors, farmers loaded boats with crops, there was even a railroad. But little Wingo at the north end of San Francisco Bay faded away and today the marshlands around it are protected, known as the Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area, which is overseen by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

A few people still live here and the access is seasonal. There’s birdlife and the beautiful golden colors in the fall. My husband Russ and I hiked out here one afternoon to capture pictures of these ramshackle buildings, and whispering rushes at the water’s edge. We were careful not to bother the tiptoeing waterbirds that picked their way here and there, poking between the reeds to find an errant appetizer.

If you come visit, the entry is past the Larson Family Winery.  It’s a peaceful and unspoiled step into Sonoma history. Find out more about Wingo here.

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Northern California Coast

Oil Painting of Friends on the Beach in Mendocino - by Pat Meier-Johnson

Friends on the Beach – Oil Painting by Pat Meier-Johnson 11 x 14 on Linen Panel

There’s nothing like a girls weekend.

With our husbands minding the fort back home, four of us went up to Mendocino to enjoy the beauty of the northern California coast.
From left to right, Stephanie, Mary and Judy. The light was perfect as we explored a beach below the highway near our vacation rental.  All three ladies and I are members of Impact100 Sonoma, a women’s giving circle that does great things in the Sonoma Valley.  This organization not only helps non-profits but builds wonderful friendships. This weekend was filled with laughter, camaraderie, and some great hiking.

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Marin Open Studios

Pat Meier-Johnson exhibits her oil paintings at the Marin Society of Artists

Pat at Marin Open Studios 2015 (photo by Lynn Tompkins)

What an exciting couple of weekends! It was time for the 2015 Marin Society of Artists’ group exhibit at the Ross Art and Garden Center, part of Marin Open Studios. What started out as a relatively slow first day continued to grow and by Sunday of the second weekend, (Mothers Day) the gallery was full of people looking at the works of some 15 local artists…including me.  Thank you to all my friends who came by throughout the two weekends.

The preparations for this exhibition began much earlier. I had to select the paintings I wanted to include and finish my three New York City urban paintings. Then I had to frame them all. I even built a frame for one of the very odd-sized ones like the 10″ x 30″ View from Keller Estate. (Yes, I bought a mitre box and saw, clamps, furniture glue, and pine trim and made a fine frame that went so nicely with the earth tones of that Sonoma painting.) Russ printed some great giclees and prints of my paintings that I matted and inserted into plastic bags.  Thank you Russ!

Judy Theo, our friend who used to own Wolf Gallery here in Sonoma, came over and gave me some great tips on working art shows and what sells and why. My friend and neighbor, Connie Parker helped me lay out the show on the garage floor where I had taped out two 4 x 8 areas. She laid out the paintings in a such as way that they really worked together. I took pictures and oh, did that help when the time came to hang the show!

I’ll say one thing, my background in setting up trade shows came in handy. I had everything from breath mints to wire cutters, my handy labeling machine, even a change of shoes.

Saturday morning, 11am, the doors opened. A few people came in, largely locals and friends of the artists, including my friends. Then, after lunch, a swarm. Then another. I sold two paintings. Originals. No one ever told me that it would be hard to part with a painting, but these were my two best pieces. (Does one get visitation rights?)

Some friends stopped by late Sunday and bought two paintings that will be featured art in their newly purchased wine country vacation rental home. I was so thrilled and can’t wait to see them when they have their open house.

I find it very interesting to see what people are attracted to. A lovely family came by on Sunday and both father and daughter immediately chose my View from Keller Estate and Sebastiani Vineyard paintings, one for each of their houses.  Others loved the edgy urban scenes.  Still others were drawn to the flowers.  Several people pointed out something that I  had never verbalized. My colors are “juicy” and the images are “happy”.  I take that as big compliments and if my paintings put a smile on someone’s face, I’ve accomplished what I set out to do since I was a little girl at my artist grandfather’s knee, watching him take such pleasure in painting.

The Same Pear Cool and Warm Oil Painting by Pat Meier-Johnson 11 x 14  on canvas

The Same Pear Cool and Warm
Oil Painting by Pat Meier-Johnson
11 x 14 on canvas

View from Keller Estate Oil Painting by Pat Meier-John son

View from Keller Estate, Sonoma
Oil Painting by Pat Meier-Johnson
10 x 30 on canvas

Sebastiani Vineyard by Pat Meier-Johnson 16 x 20 oil painting on canvas

Sebastiani Vineyard Oil Painting by Pat Meier-Johnson 16 x 20 on canvas

Beautiful Fall Flowers Oil Painting by Pat Meier-Johnson

Fall Flowers – Oil Painting by Pat Meier-Johnson 11 x 14 on Linen Panel 2014

Oil Painting of unexpected spring snow in New York by Pat Meier-Johnson Spring Snow Central Park 2015

Spring Snow Central Park New York Oil Painting by Pat Meier-Johnson 11 x 14 on Linen Panel 

Cow Talk Oil Painting by Pat Meier-Johnson 16 x 20 on Linen Panel

Cow Talk
Oil Painting by Pat Meier-Johnson
16 x 20 on Linen Panel


Highway One near Jenner California

Highway One Near Jenner Oil Painting by Pat Meier-Johnson 16 x 20 on Linen Panel


Cakebread Vineyard at Dawn Oil Painting by Pat Meier-Johnson 8 x 10 on Linen Panel

Cakebread Vineyard at Dawn
Oil Painting by Pat Meier-Johnson
8 x 10 on Linen Panel

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