Category Archives: Articles

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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Also posted in 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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Also posted in Exhibits, News, Oil Paintings, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , , |

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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Also posted in Exhibits, Landscapes, News, Oil Paintings, Portrait, Uncategorized, Wine Country Art Tagged , , , , , |

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!


Also posted in Exibits, News, Uncategorized

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.


Also posted in News, Uncategorized Tagged , |

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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Also posted in Exibits, Landscapes, Oil Paintings, Small Works, Still Lifes, Uncategorized, Wine Country Art Tagged , , , , |

Sonoma Valley Olive Festival Painting

2015 Olive Season Poster

What an amazing start to 2015! Sonoma Valley chose my painting, “Gift of the Olive” for the Olive Festival Poster. I loved working on this painting because of the way the light worked with the translucent gold oil in the decanter that played off the gray-green olive branches and bright orange persimmons.  This is indeed an honor and I have been basking in the lovely warm comments and hugs that are so plentiful here in Sonoma.

The poster is available for $15 plus tax and shipping from the Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau as well as the new delightful Studio 35 gallery.  To buy a poster you can also contact me directly at

You can read all about it here.

Also posted in Still Lifes, Uncategorized, Wine Country Art Tagged , , |

Pat Paints Lanterns for Audubon Fundraiser

Pat Paints Lanterns for Audubon

What fun I had researching salamanders, quail, egrets and flowers to paint my lanterns for auction at The Art of Eating Audubon fundrasier for Nature Education Programs at the ACR Bouverie Preserve in Glen Ellen. Numerous Sonoma artists were asked to decorate paper lanterns with motifs portraying the flora, fauna and environments of the ACR Preserves (including the Audubon Canyon Ranch at Stinson Beach and the beautiful Bouverie Preserve in Glen Ellen). The Art of Eating fundraiser took place Sunday May 18 2014 at the Bouverie Preserve in Glen Ellen and I heard that my lanterns helped raise considerable money for the organization’s worthy youth education programs.  The event raised more than $122,000!

The famous food author, MFK Fisher spent her last 20 years at the Audubon Canyon Ranch Bouverie Preserve where David Bouverie provided a house for her on beautiful property. The five ACR Preserves in Marin and Sonoma Counties total more than 5,000 acres and are home to herons, egrets, quail, salamanders, and much more wildlife and flora.
Interested in finding out more about the preserves and the Audubon fundraiser?

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Also posted in Acrylic Paintings, Landscapes, Uncategorized, Wine Country Art Tagged , |

A is for Art

Old Coffee Pot by Pat Meier-Johnson 5 x 7 oil painting on canvas

Old Coffee Pot by Pat Meier-Johnson 5 x 7 oil painting on canvas

The year is starting like a blank canvas. The absence of something is not a bad thing. But when it came to fulfilling a promise to myself to start my own web site, I found myself staring at my computer screen. A lot.  I should be in the studio painting but I made myself a promise to get this site up before Valentine’s Day.

I have been writing about other people’s work.  You’ll find my article about the David Hockney exhibit at the San Francisco de Young museum here. And Andrew Goldsworthy’s installation at the San Francisco Presidio here. And there’s more, like my article about sculptor Joshua Harker who is a master of 3D printing here.

So now it’s time to post my own oil paintings and drawings. Sonoma has been a great inspiration as have our adventures around the world. 2013 was full of great experiences traveling with my wonderful husband, Russ Johnson aka The Connected Traveler, an accomplished writer and photographer.  We visited Morocco, Paris, Berlin, the beautiful Sonoma Coast in Northern California, New York, Mt. Shasta, California’s Central Valley and more.

I found it surprisingly easy to paint when traveling, using a light pochade box and in some cases water miscible oils. And whether it’s on the road or simply here in the wine country where we live, when we travel we explore with an artist’s eye, capturing what we see to bringing it back to share with you.

So there you go. My first blog post on the brand new Pat Meier-Johnson blog. I plan to post more articles and my own paintings here soon so please follow me on this new adventure.


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Also posted in Drawings, Oil Paintings