It’s nature’s truth

July 5, 2014 § Leave a comment

Peter Loftus | North from Pfeiffer Beach

Peter Loftus | North from Pfeiffer Beach

By BEN BAMSEY
Artworks Magazine

Each landscape tells a story — a sunrise on a beach in Mendocino County when the reflection in a tide pool is just right, a golden-brown valley near San Luis Obispo where oak trees perform a delicate dance up a hillside, the view from a cliff in Big Sur on a day that shades of blue seem to stretch the sea to infinity. The art is a celebration of light, location and the magic of nature. It has the allure of blissful perfection, but the secret to the serenity of a Peter Loftus painting is locked in the layers of honesty in each brushstroke.

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‘Energy is present in the paint’

June 29, 2014 § Leave a comment

Peter Loftus | Eventide at Hole in the Wall

Peter Loftus | Eventide at Hole in the Wall

“LIGHT-DRENCHED PICTURES of the jagged cliffs, rocky shoreline and deep woods that run along Highway 1 on California’s central coast celebrate the magic of the light, the place and nature,” a critic has written of landscape artist Peter Loftus’s work. “Energy is everywhere present in the paint.”

Loftus was born in Washington, D.C., in 1948. He spent his childhood in France, India, Italy and Thailand, moving frequently with his family. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania. In the late 1970s, with an Ivy League art education under his belt, a love of the outdoors and a French easel, he packed everything he could fit into a station wagon and moved to California in search of the ideal light for his plein-air work. Later he moved into a studio above Santa Cruz and began turning the plein-air pieces into larger oil paintings.

“I want thorns and bugs in my paintings,” Loftus says, “because for something to transcend from pretty to beautiful there has to be some kind of flaw that endears it to us.”

Peter Loftus’s paintings have been exhibited throughout the country and are included in many public, private and corporate collections. He has had a long association with the Fischbach Gallery in New York and had a number of San Francisco exhibitions at the legendary William Sawyer Gallery in Pacific Heights in the 1980s, and later at the Hackett-Freedman Gallery near Union Square. We are pleased to present his paintings in San Francisco once again.

Plein-air in the park

June 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

THE RENOWNED PAINTER Ken Auster takes his plein-air workshop to a favorite park in San Francisco.

‘Okay, you win’

June 4, 2014 § Leave a comment

Hayes Keeler stopped to visit Marc Jacobs' Christmas swan in 2007.

Hayes Keeler stopped to visit Marc Jacobs’ Christmas swan in 2007.

ONE OF OUR strongest supporters — and one of our neighborhood’s truly good guys — was laid to rest the other day. Hayes Keeler was a lawyer turned investment advisor who lived nearby. Over the years, he’d stop by on his neighborhood rounds, always ready to joust, tickled that another lawyer had turned gallery owner. Even as Parkinson’s Disease took its toll, he remained amazingly upbeat.

His friend Tim Smith gave the eulogy at what was billed as the “Celebration of the Life of Hayes Keeler” on May 3, just down the hill at the beautiful little Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin.

“He was tough,” Smith said, “challenging, probing, engaging and professorial. I always had to be sure I knew what I was talking about, even if I thought it was obvious. After he continued to challenge me and I continued to squirm, he would suddenly smile and say, with a twinkle in his eye, ‘Okay, you win.’ ”

‘That flicker of gold’

April 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

Ken Auster | Slide Ranch

Ken Auster | Slide Ranch

By KEN AUSTER

ONE DAY I was invited to go out with a few friends and paint on location at a local beach. Using an old easel and a few tubes of oil paint left over from college painting classes, I set up and started painting what I saw. The experience was a turning point in my life. Here was the bare bones of art — no process and minimal equipment, just a burst of passion and paint, with immediate results and gratification. It just happened and it was beautiful.

A year and probably 200 paintings later, I was ready to get feedback from people other than my friends. I looked north to San Francisco. For me, San Francisco has always been a kind of Disneyland for adults. My first adventure there was in 1967 during the Summer of Love. There’s still a Jefferson Airplane poster on the wall in my studio. So during another trip to the happiest place on earth, I thought I would stop at a few galleries with some transparencies and see if I could get some response.

The last stop on this spontaneous gallery tour was the Thomas Reynolds Gallery, in a classic Victorian flat a few steps from Fillmore Street. A series of small rooms showing mostly small paintings, each one hanging with room to breathe. I presented my slides — and the owner wanted to see more. It was at that moment I realized that a good gallery was interested in my work.

A few weeks later we scheduled my first show. My original vision was to paint landscapes of Northern California — trees, rocks, ocean and hills, but no city. That first show sold out. So did the second and third. It was the mid-90s at the height of the plein-air painting renaissance and I was right in the middle of it all, painting many of the small towns along the California coast. I won top prizes at the plein-air events that were cropping up, and the surfer-turned-painter story was picked up by several art magazines.

Then came another moment that again changed my direction as a painter. I was driving in San Francisco on California Street late in the afternoon heading into the belly of the city — a straight shot downhill punctuated by intersections and cross traffic with red taillights glued loosely together at the bottom. I stopped at a red light and just stared for a moment at this incredible concrete grand canyon. I grabbed my camera and started taking pictures, circling the block and hoping to hit every red light. Everywhere I looked was a painting. Artists are always looking for the moment that is the catalyst for the next painting — that flicker of gold. I had found the mother lode.

— from Ken Auster: Intellect & Passion

Intellect & Passion | Ken Auster

Flowers for China

March 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

Gary Bukovnik at work on his largest watercolor yet.

Gary Bukovnik at work on his largest watercolor yet.

SAN FRANCISCO PAINTER Gary Bukovnik has become increasingly popular in China, with a number of museum exhibitions of his watercolor paintings of flowers in recent years.

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‘The message was what moved me’

March 3, 2014 § 1 Comment

Herman Volz | Picket Line, 1938

Herman Volz | Picket Line, 1938

By JAN HOLLOWAY

I came to an art career at midlife. After raising four children, I took some art history courses and the docent training course at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. It was especially fun introducing school children to the museum.

Then, my interest piqued, I set out to be a part of the commercial art world.

In 1980, I was hired by the well-established Maxwell Galleries in the heart of San Francisco’s art scene near Union Square. It was a turning point for me. Maxwell’s afforded an opportunity to become acquainted with a wide range of American and European art from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was also a terrific place to learn the business of running an art gallery from Mark Hoffman, the owner of Maxwell Galleries, who was a genial gentleman and a seasoned pro.

Armed with that valuable experience and my husband Maurice’s support, I went out on my own. At first I worked as a private dealer from our home in San Francisco. Eventually I found a little storefront on Francisco Street in North Beach and opened a gallery there in 1988. Within a year or so, I had become acquainted with artists who had worked on the Coit Tower murals and began showing their work. Then more and more art of the 1930s and early 1940s came into my inventory.
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