Crazy Busy

Marin Open Studios

Come see us at Marin Open Studios! Marin Society of Artists May 12-13, 2018

It has been a wild and busy start to 2018. After the elections last year I decided I had to become much more involved in non-profits, and so I did, and I brought Russ’ wonderful video and photography capabilities along. The only thing is that it seems there is a season for non-profits and everything seemed to be happening in the past two months. So I found myself scrambling to get my act together for Marin Open Studios as well as my entries in several other shows including A Valley of Talent, a first-time show in Sonoma that garnered great reviews and attendance.

So, back to the easel. As you can see, Open Studios is just a few days away. More later.

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Summer Art Season is Coming – New Works in Oil and Photography

Preparing for the summer season of shows, I am adding some photography to my repertoire. Both Russell and I have a photos in the Marin Society of Artists upcoming Images 2017 show at the Marin Society of Artists, June 15 to July 8 with a reception June 25. Also coming up: The Marin County Fair. Judging takes place in a couple of weeks and I plan on having several pieces of art in the show — paintings as well as a giclee. 

This has been a year of growth for me and I think you’ll be seeing some changes in my style. I learned a lot with Carol Smith Myer and her teachings are always with me. But my subject matter has shifted. The still lifes that were my focus in the classroom were great training and I return periodically to get my discipline back. But this past February the blizzard in New York City and the glow of the multicolored jumbo video screens created a surreal atmosphere that I was oh so happy to capture in this painting depicting stylized New Yorkers braving the elements in Times Square.  

18 x 24 oil painting of New York Times Square in winter. Art by Pat Meier-Johnson

Times Square Winter – 18 x 24 Oil on canvas by Pat Meier-Johnson

I so liked what evolved with Times Square Winter that my senses easily responded to a scene on the opposite coast, San Francisco. We had a great lunch with a friend of ours from Taiwan who was spending some weeks working in San Francisco. But she had yet to see the Cliff House on the far west tip of the Richmond District of San Francisco. We ordered up a window table and enjoyed the great lunch and the sparkling sun on the water. Heading out of the building on the water side, we leaned over the edge and saw a beautiful enormous mandala being carved in the sand. It was a meditation by the artist who even signed his work, only to have it washed away in the waves. By now the light was quite magical, reflecting the sky in the water and bringing out the gold tones in the sand. No wonder the state colors are blue and gold!  

Oil painting of Ocean Beach, San Francisco. Art by Pat Meier-Johnson

Ocean Beach San Francisco, 22 x 36 oil on canvas by Pat Meier-Johnson

People were walking their dogs and strolling while the waves, which typically can be quite brutal, were gentle that day and lapped at the sand, covering just the walkers’ toes. I grabbed my camera and snapped a bunch of pictures. This time it was mainly the long afternoon shadows that made the picture magical. 

Once I completed the picture, I did a video of it, scanning from figure to figure, dubbing in the sounds of the surf and a barking dog. I plan on posting it to Youtube and will link it here where I get a chance.

So you are seeing a shift in my work. I don’t know what quite to call it, but it’s different and I’m enjoying it.  Currently on my easel: Sonoma Hills. Stay tuned.

I’ll have lots more for you to see. And remember, if you like a work on my site but it’s not available or perhaps you have an art budget to maintain (don’t we all) ask me about limited edition giclees. I am so very happy with the quality of the giclees that I can barely tell the difference between them and my originals.

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Posted in Articles, Exhibits, Landscapes, News, Oil Paintings, Uncategorized

Can it be that time of year again?

Marin Open Studios

Come see us at Marin Open Studios! Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, 2nd Floor, May 13-14 2017

It seemed like winter dragged on forever here in the San Francisco Bay Area. But now the sun is shining and creating brand new ways to see the world once again. In fact the weather is hot. Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched in DC this past weekend in sweltering heat opposing man-induced climate change, San Francisco Art Market took place at Fort Mason in gorgeous weather, and my thoughts are turning to Marin Open Studios #MOS2017.

Pat Meier-Johnson at Marin Open Studios gala gallery 2017

Pat Meier-Johnson artist at Marin Open Studios gala gallery 2017

I can tell you, this has been the wettest longest winter.  But my studio has changed from chilly to “throw open the doors and windows” in a matter of two days.  I can’t complain. Aside from time spent nursing a rotten cold, I spent a fair bit of time this winter in my studio and even used the gnarly season to inspire some new works including Times Square Winter and Ocean Beach San Francisco. More about that in a moment. But first, let me remind you that it is Open Studios time again. This year I am showcasing my work May 13 -14 at the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art 500 Palm Drive in Novato, California in the War Room (not my choice of names, but there you have it).  It’s on the second floor of the museum which is located on the old grounds of Hamilton Air Force Base. What was called Hamilton Field started in the 1920’s and was built in the 1930’s. It was an air defense base during WWII.  Now it’s a very nice complex of art studios, exhibition space and gift store. 

18 x 24 oil painting of New York Times Square in winter by Pat Meier-Johnson

Times Square Winter – 18 x 24 Oil on canvas by Pat Meier-Johnson

This past Friday was the official gala for Open Studios.  It was wall to wall people and I had to go back to grab this photo.  You can see my large painting, Desert Dancers along with many other works from regional Bay Area artists and #325 Town Center, Corte Madera.  We also donated a couple of works for a silent auction fundraiser. The new location is terrific. Overall the shopping center has a new pleasant updated look. The lighting in the gallery itself was great and the wall dividers elegant, lending themselves to a very nice display of the art.  I guess it’s a high quality problem when you have to say ‘scuse me when navigating the crowds. Check  But be sure to patronize the many artists’ own open studios dotted all around Marin County.  Guides are available all over the place and online at

I am particularly happy with this work: Times Square Winter. It’s a style that captured the light and action of Times Square during the snowstorms of February 2017 and was inspired by numerous photos of intrepid New Yorkers braving the elements. Every year in art, photography, in life in general is a year of growth and discovery. I love it. And I am so lucky to have my wonderful husband Russ who likes exploring and discovering as much as I do.

Earlier this month I went to the Art Market San Francisco at Fort Mason with Russ and my photographer friend, Judy Reed. A massive display of works presented by galleries and reps.  Some were clearly “trying too hard”, as Judy would say.  Surprising was what sells. A three-painting mid-century series that did not look very well executed was being lifted off the wall as we stood there, purchased by someone who maybe has a Palm Springs home… The nice thing about art is that there is something for everyone. There is no real right or wrong, and that’s the subject for another post about what we learned doing videos for Sonoma Plein Air, a non-profit that raises funds for art in public schools here in Sonoma Valley. Stay tuned. 

Now it is time to go to the studio and paint!  Marin Open Studios is right around the corner!




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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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But is it Art?




Computer paints a Rembrandt

Your computer just did what?

You Call This Art?  

I have been seeing a lot of articles about the impact of computers on art and one recent one that even intimated that deep learning could enable a computer to knock out a credible Rembrandt or Van Gogh. See this article about the result of a two-year project called “The Next Rembrandt” that not only had a computer creating the shapes and colors but with 3D technology mimicked the brushstrokes as well.  But there is nothing like the soul that artists put into their work, and I think that we, as fellow human beings, can sense and appreciate what’s “real” and what isn’t. What do you think?

So in hopes that original art prevails, we hope to see you in a little less than a month to celebrate spring and creativity!


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Of Muses and Mentors

It’s a beautiful day today and I just want to give a shout-out to some of the very special mentors in my life.

My grandfather loved to paint in the Carmel California area. This was at Point Lobos. Note the chipmunk taking in the same view.

My grandfather was my early mentor in art. He loved to paint in the Carmel California area. This was at Point Lobos. Note the chipmunk taking in the same view.

We were a very lucky family when I was growing up – four generations under one roof. Yes, I even remember my great-grandmother and the life lessons she would teach me. My gutsiness came from my grandmother who taught voice in our home studio and turned people who never thought they could sing into accomplished performers. My mother and father were hard-working, enterprising professionals in the textile business building relationships with top designers like Edith Head and bringing the finest fabrics to fashion-conscious enthusiasts in Marin County and San Francisco. Mom raised me to believe I could do anything I set my mind to. But it was my grandfather – an engineer, architect, poet, and artist who taught me to love art, giggle and appreciate hand-drawn cartoons of artists like Wilhelm Busch, and to understand some of the basics of painting. I would spend hours in my grandfather’s studio and he would drive me to the Marin Society of Artists in Ross as a small child, where I would take crafts classes. Little did I know then that years later, I would be exhibiting my own paintings at Marin Open Studios in that very same place.

Over the years some excellent teachers have opened my eyes:  First of all, my husband Russ. It’s a joy to hang out with him and see what he captures in his photography and videos. At College of Marin I started studying art with Chester Arnold.  His profound paintings carry important messages about society today. A trip with my husband to the Maine Media Workshops introduced me to photography instructor Joe Baraban, who taught me about light, the most important element in photography and painting. He also taught me about Gestalt, perspective, visual tension and I’ll share with you this important point: “You find the light, you’ll find the shot.”  Light is everything! And a very special shout out to my mentor with whom I have been studying the past couple of years, Novato-based artist Carol Smith Myer, creator of luminous oil paintings.

So in keeping with my philosophy of living life with an attitude of gratitude, I say thank you to my friends, my family and my mentors.


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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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