Tag Archives: Pat Meier-Johnson

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 https://marinopenstudios.org/.  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 https://marinopenstudios.org/visit-artist-studios/.

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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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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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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Two Girls in a Boat – Oil Painting

Two_Girls_in_a_BoatTwo Girls in a Boat by Pat Meier-Johnson 14 x 20 oil painting on canvas

This oil painting, Two Girls in a Boat based on a trip Russ and I took the summer of 2012 when we went to Maine to take a week-long photography course at the Maine Media Workshops. Instructor, Joe Baraban, a well known commercial photographer taught us to “follow the light” and did not allow us to crop or otherwise alter our photos. So we really learned how to line up our shots, compose, and get our settings right.

Joe himself was a painter before he became a photographer so his influence on my oil paintings is very strong as you can see. The students got up before dawn, once as early as 4:30am and driving far to catch the early light on a picturesque lighthouse. During the workshop we paid several visits to the Rockland Lobster Festival, early morning and early evening where there was no shortage of subjects from set-up crews to a diverse crowd of fair-goers to photograph.

After the photography course Russ and I traveled to Gloucester, Massachusetts where we continued our early morning schedule. We took photos of these two women out rowing on the water in Gloucester harbor. There’s something very different about the water on the east coast. The depth, color, the way it moves. The simple wood boat was a pleasure to paint.  I can see why so many artists painted in the New England area: Wyeth, Hopper, etc.

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Al’s Place Oil Painting accepted by Arc Gallery

Al’s Place – Sacramento Delta Oil Painting by Pat Meier-Johnson 11 x 14 on Canvas

How exciting. My first oil painting to be submitted to a gallery has been accepted into their catalog and will be featured online by San Francisco-based Arc Gallery in their “Like a Tom Waits Song” exhibit starting in early May.  I submitted this painting in response to a call from the gallery for art of any medium that is evocative of a Tom Waits song. So I  started to imagine places where Tom Waits would hang out and sing his songs.

Russ' photo was great to work from. The only thing missing was, well, a pianist. So I asked him to model for me in our hallway where a decorative entryway table was just about the right height.

Russ’ photo was great to work from. The only thing missing was, well, a pianist. So I asked him to model for me in our hallway where a decorative entryway table was just about the right height.

Fortunately Russ took a great photo at Al’s Place in Locke on the Sacramento Delta quite a few months ago. The locals’ politically incorrect name of the bar is “Al the Wop’s“.  You can see the name painted on the window of the restaurant and silhouetted onto the piano in this picture.

Originally a Chinese restaurant that opened in 1915, it became the only non-Chinese business in town when Al Adami and an associates bought it in 1934 from Lee Bing and continued in the business till 1961. It continues as a real Tom Waits-type whiskey bar and food joint in a run-down building.

I like the way the light streams through the window and casts letters on the face of the piano and filters through the beer bottles on the table. The buffalo head can’t be ignored either. The theme and the scene were great for a palette knife, pure oil colors and and gritty strokes.



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Old Coffee Pot

Old Coffee Pot – Oil Painting by Pat Meier-Johnson – 5 x 7 on canvas

Our friend Kathleen Hill has collected kitchen paraphernalia for years and in 2013 assembled a marvelous exhibit, “Kitchen Memories: The Kathleen Thompson Hill Culinary Collection” at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art.  As visitors wandered through the exhibits they recognized food mills, Jell-o molds, even a formica and chrome kitchen table that took them back to their childhood and put warm smiles so many people’s faces.  I loved this old coffee pot displayed atop an O’Keefe and Merritt stove in a corner of the show and just had to do a small oil painting of it.

My great grandmother was a wonderful cook and came to California from Czechoslovakia. Going through Kathleen Hill’s show I saw several items that took me right back to the days where I was at my Omi’s side as a very little girl watching her mill walnuts that she put in homemade apple strudel. No store-bought filo dough for her! This was the real stuff rolled out on a floured tablecloth so thin till you “could read a newspaper through it.”  She loaded the filling at one edge, sprinkled melted butter and nuts over the rest, and then gathered the tablecloth until the dough flopped over and over, enveloping the apples in the middle with layers of flaky pastry, butter and nuts. She then lifted it onto the flat pan where it looked like a baby in swaddling clothes and baked it.

Food is such a big part of our lives, and Kathleen, who is Food and Wine Editor of the Sonoma Index-Tribune, has rounded up all kinds of good folks and businesses here in Sonoma for the Sonoma Valley School Garden Project. This wonderful program connects local kids with the origins of food, how it grows, how to cook it, and shows them how cool it is to raise their own fruits and veggies and enjoy them. (It’s astounding how many youngsters are unable to connect the processed foods they eat with the produce in its natural state). Is there such a thing as a plant that grows french fries?  Some schools are even donating some of the food they raise to people in greater need. Ah, that’s the spirit of Sonoma!

When I created the small oil painting of the coffee pot I tried to capture the transparency of the glass part of the lid and the hard baked enamel finish of the pot itself. I hope you like it.

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Welcome to the Hood

Welcome to the Hood by Pat Meier-Johnson oil painting on canvas

Welcome to the Hood by Pat Meier-Johnson 8 x 10 oil painting on canvas

Our friends Alan and Kathy in Sonoma have a beautiful Siberian husky named Patsy who appears to be fascinated with a white neighborhood cat. Do dog and cat meet regularly on the hood of this red car? Almost an abstract, I enjoyed doing this small oil painting, capturing the light at play on the cat and dog’s fur and whiskers and reflections on the hood of the car.

Alan gave me the photo that I worked from. It reminded me of when I was very little I believed that dogs and cats went to their own little schools in a fruit orchard across the street from our house in Mill Valley.

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