Global Warming Paintings at the San Francisco Federal Building: March 18 - June 1, 2010

My two Global Warming Triptychs, set in San Francisco and in Oakland, will be on exhibition at the San Francisco Federal Building, 90 7th St (at Mission) from March 18 to June 1. The exhibition will occupy the ground level of the lobby. To purchase prints of the paintings shown in this blog go to "Featured Works" in the Shop.

Across a Hundred Years, oil on canvas, 2007

This is an appropriate location to showcase the Series for two reasons.

1. This building, designed by Thom Mayne, is the first 'green' Federal Building in the country.

2. The idea for this series occurred to me while I was painting this building  from the corner of Mission and 7th St. That painting "Across a Hundred Years" is included in the exhibition.

The Global Warming Series is an invitation to you to actively imagine our future if global warming remains unchecked. These paintings are not  predictions. They are science fiction. There are too many variables for us to predict the future of our planet with any precision. Only by exercising our imagination can we begin to grasp the enormity of the effect our species is having on this planet, and, perhaps, take measures to lessen our impact.

Here are the central panels of the two Triptychs:

For San Francisco

San Francisco Global Warming Triptych # 2, oil on canvas, 2008

For Oakland

Oakland Global Warming Triptych # 2, oil on canvas, 2009

Also on exhibition will my recent painting of the Chronicle, and a ten foot wide painting of the Bay Bridge both created on location in San Francisco:

Storm Clouds over the Chronicle, oil on canvas, 2009
Bay Bridge Panorama, oil/canvas, 2007

The Federal Building is open to those who wish to view my exhibition. Please inform security at the front door of your interest.  If you intend to bring a large group contact Conference Center manager, Mike Ladd, in advance at 415.625-2756 , 415.948.8531 [email protected]

East Bay Open Studios 2009

Saturdays and Sundays June 6 & 7, 13 & 14, 2009

11AM - 6PM

351 Lewis St Oakland, CA 94110

Google Map

The East Bay hosts one of the highest per capita concentrations of visual artists in the United States. You've probably never heard of most of them. Many are not represented by local galleries.

Pro Arts, oil on canvas, 18"X 24", 2004

Four artists, who have attended my painting workshops in Oakland, Mexico or Italy, are taking part in Open Studios. They are  O'Brien Theile and Ron Weil both in Berkeley,  Marvin Dalander in Alameda. And Lorrie Fink in Oakland.

I've participated  in East Bay Open Studios every year since it's inception in the early 80's.  Pro Arts is an artist membership organization which has acted as an entry point into the art world for emerging talent. It hosts a number of exhibitions each year. My exhibition with Pro Arts in 1986 garnered a full page review (by Charles Shere and Susan Stern) in the Oakland Tribune, as well as a gallery connection. Sales from this show enabled me to phase out my landscape gardening business and devote myself full time to painting.

Autumn at the Farmers' Market

This year I am showcasing my painting of the San Francisco Chronicle (Storm Clouds over the Chronicle) and the Farmer's Market painting that was featured in an article by Brenda Payton in the San Francisco Chronicle. I will  be showing other examples of my Farmers' Market Series and Urban Garden Series as well as new urban landscapes.

You are welcome to explore my racks in the mezzanine where I store about a hundred paintings, and to take part in lively conversation with other guests over wine, cheese and cappuccinos.

I look forward to seeing you.

News in the News Pt 2: The Once and Future Chronicle

For years I'd been considering painting the San Francisco Chronicle building at 5th and Mission. I 'd hesitated because the location seemed so difficult. When the Hearst Corporation announced it was shutting down the Seattle Intelligencer and eying the San Francisco Chronicle for closure, I hurriedly set up my easel on what Leah Garchik would describe as a “boomerang shaped traffic island”. This was one of the busiest sites at which I've worked. It was also one of the most interesting.

Storm Clouds over the Chronicle

I started Sunday, March 15 . There was a strong wind and heavy clouds. I got soaked and my easel very nearly blew over into the traffic but I managed to block in an ominous sky.

Monday, I'd just started painting when I caught sight of Joel Selvin striding towards me in a maroon overcoat. Like everyone that I would talk with, Joel was concerned about the future of the paper, but, unlike most, he was not upset about leaving. “I'm 59 and I have a book deal. So I'm taking a buyout. I started here as a copy boy when I was seventeen. It was so different then. You know, the presses used to be down there.” He pointed to the far end of the building. “When they started to roll the building would rumble and shake. You felt the building lurch and you knew we were going to press. There were grates over those windows. Hot air would be driven out by the machinery. After work I'd stand on the street below inhaling the smell of the presses.”

Over the next few weeks, as I talked with reporters, columnists, editors, copywriters, and teamsters about the crisis, I had the sensation that I was standing in the eye of a storm. Of course, the Chronicle's drama was unfolding against the backdrop of collapsing economic institutions, and the huge brouhaha over "retention bonuses" at AIG which added a surreal dimension to this local event.

An insurance agent “between jobs” stopped to chat. Referring to AIG, he volunteered his opinion of management in the insurance industry. “These guys at the top, four rungs above me, with their Yale and Harvard degrees, all they know how to do is play golf, walk around in expensive suits, and tell you where to eat that'll cost you $ 300 or more. They couldn't run a hot dog stand!” When I asked him about his chances of finding another job. He replied confidently.”Oh I'll find another job. I know how to talk.”

Chronicle writers and staff were less sanguine. Being in the newspaper business they had a sense of the “big picture” and they could see that that if they took a buyout or were laid off they would probably never have a job like this again. I became aware of a real esprit de corps which in the current circumstances was accompanied by gallows humor: I was told that the joke making the rounds was that the paper must be going under because it was having its portrait painted.

Photo courtesy of Maryly Snow,

Kenneth Baker passed by on several occasions. One day he remarked on the ominous clouds in my painting. I told him that they had taken this form almost by accident. That I was pleased with the 'fissure' in the clouds falling diagonally towards the silhouetted Chronicle building. “More like slow lightening.” he replied.

Just about every afternoon, around the time that I put on the clock, the Executive News Editor, Jay Johnson, would stop on his way to work. One afternoon, observing his long face, I asked him how he was doing. “Not so well. Last night I had to say goodbye to a hundred and twenty employees.”

Friday, March 3, was the last day for many of the 120 who'd opted for buyouts. Steve Rubenstein and a number of other reporters paused to chat with me on their way to a final lunch. Steve posed for a photo next to my painting. An associate told me that Steve was brokenhearted to be leaving, but that staying was too risky.

This last observation was reinforced by a younger reporter, Jonathan Curiel, with whom I had a stimulating conversation about the Middle East and about Robert Fisk whom he had interviewed. I inquired if he had taken a buyout. “No, but maybe I should have. The paper needs to shed another 30 people. They could fire me next week.”

Shortly after he left, a gentleman stopped whose wife was completing her last day at the paper. “Who's going to monitor our local and national government if we lose our newspapers?” He asked, “ It's newspapers that generate most of the investigative reporting. I don't think Americans realize what the loss of newspapers will mean for our democracy.” “A democracy that we barely salvaged in the last elections.” I added. He nodded grimly and crossed the street to meet his wife at the entrance on Mission.

A lifetime subscriber, who'd overheard him, shared her concern. “ I'm so upset. Every time I receive my paper it's a little thinner. It's like watching someone on chemotherapy. I just hope it survives and recovers.”

Those who remain at the Chronicle, and many good people remain, must strive that much harder to reinvent it. To somehow link it effectively into cyberspace while remaining a tangible paper of record. Non profit institution, investigative reporting by subscription, these and many other ideas swirling around probably need to be explored.

Whatever our criticisms of the paper (and Chronicle readers are a diverse and critical bunch) the paper functions as our public square. It is a place. It leaves a permanent record. The mercurial internet is everywhere and nowhere. Words cut into stone in the ancient forum. Words printed on paper today. Ok, so I can print words from the internet and pass them around to my friends. But will they be in news stands on the street, in coffee houses, on breakfast tables all over town? Will they remain as part of the common historical record in ten or twenty years?

Friday, April 10 my last day on the street I spoke for a few minutes with Deputy Editorial Page Editor, Lois Kazakoff. She had no doubts as to the value of the Chronicle. “ It tells our stories.” she declared.

Like it or not, over the years the Chronicle's reporters, editors, columnists have laid the cobbles or bushwacked the trails that constitute much of the intellectual landscape that we navigate in the Bay Area. We should all work to keep this institution alive.

I am offering a special of $5 Shipping & Handling on all prints on paper. Prints on canvas are also available online. To purchase the original painting please inquire: [email protected]