Monday, July 9, 2012

(Not) Painting With Artist Julie Higgins

After painting with the California Arts Club mid-June,  I dropped artist Anne Schreivogl off at the San Jose airport and headed towards the wine country of Napa and Sonoma Valley.  It had been over ten years since I painted in this area, so, I was eager to revisit.

I guess I had so many pre-conceived notions of what I wanted to paint that nothing pleased my sensibilities....and it was hot! 104F!  I camped in the Napa region, for four days, started several paintings, and netted one, an old Airstream trailer.

"Hanging By the 'Stream", oil, 9" x 12", $950

Enough of that heat, I moved on to Mendocino, California to meet my old friend, artist Julie Higgins.

Since Julie is more of a 'sensual expressionist' her interest in plein air painting was nil.
Good conversations and cooler temperatures made this a good stop to do a little painting as well.

I found myself dazzled by the colors of the water and rock formations below the high cliffs.

"Pierced Cliff", oil, 12" x 12", $1200

I also discovered a little white shed down an alley.

"Upkeep", oil, 10" x 12", $1050

I continued north, only to be met on the Oregon coast with rain and a forecast of 4 more days of the same.  After seven weeks on the road, I decided to cut the trip 'short', and made my way back to Anacortes.  When I arrived home, summer had too.  I experienced so much beauty on this trip, yet summer on Fidalgo Island is hard to beat.

"End of Ninth", oil, 9" x 12", $950

If any of these paintings interest you, feel free to contact me.
alfredcurrier (at)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Painting with the California Art Club

The California Art Club is deep in tradition with regards to plein air painting. We were fortunate to join some fifty + members at a CAC sponsored painting event at Mission San Antonio de Padua.  It was a weekend of intense painting along with a little socializing as well.  I must say that the Director of Development, John McIntyre did an exemplary job in creating this paint-out at this remote California mission.

We were humbled by the quality of work produced.  Brazilian artist Deladier Almeida, Elizabeth Tucker, and many more were who I met in passing.

In my painting of the mission, there was a constant struggle with light.  The facade was dark while the main mission structure was a more intense pinkish color.  During the process of painting, the mission structure seemed to come forward and the bell tower facade seemed to recede.  The next time I'd look up, it would seem to be the opposite, and a struggle for this artist.  All in all, I was happy with this painting.  Like so many times, my next painting was a frisbee, never to be seen again.  But, that is part of the process. Take risks and fly or flop, avoiding the safe comforts of familiarity.
California Art Club participants

"Mission San Antonio de Padua", 12" x 16"
plein air oil, Currier, $1600

Email: alfredcurrier (at) yahoo (dot) com

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Painting Yosemite -Beauty and the Beast

The drive from Bishop, California to Yosemite National Park was a pleasant one.  This Western States Plein Air painting trip has been full of very nice experiences and from what I had heard about Yosemite, I anticipated it to be one of the highlights of this sojourn.

First impression: Where to go, where to camp, people and cars everywhere. Yikes! 
We were met with so many obstacles: not being able to camp in Yosemite Valley, no vacancies; reservations made five months in advance! must camp in primitive sites an hour away, no showers, no electric, all food and toiletries out of cars and into bear boxes.

Whoa, step back, Jack!  Take a deep breath.  Our first break was a campground a half hour away.
I qualified for a site that only cost ten bucks a night. We set up camp and drove to the "Valley".  This place is beautiful but, too many people and cars on very windy roads.  I don't think I can paint here.

Slowly, we find places to paint. Then we found that we could camp in the valley by going to reservations and asking for cancellations of camp sites each morning. We're figuring it out, life is good.

Getting out of the car and hiking a little got me in touch with this place.  The beauty has emerged and the beast has faded away.  I started with the obvious monuments of mountaintops and waterfalls and then got lost in the inspiration of swirling water in the nearby river. 

The color in the water is incredible.  The light off the granite mountains just glow.  There's a certain peacefulness in these tall powerful trees where they seem to wrap their arms around you and say: "Take a deep breath and slow down."  Now, this is what nature is all about.

Al painting at Inspiration Point

As we drove around the Yosemite Valley, we kept passing a still water area of Merced River.  This was not a convenient place to stop but it caught my eye each time.  Finally, I stopped and walked the narrow roadway to this spot.  For me, it was magical.  Jutting out over the river was a flat rock that was just the size of my easel with space for me to stand.  I stood there thinking: this is just too simple...paintings need to have more in them. ..but, it's too incredible to pass up. "Streams of Color", an 8" x 10" painting was a sheer joy to paint.

"Streams of Colors", 8" x 10"
 plein air oil, Currier, $850
"Bridalveil Falls", 14" x 11"
plein air oil, Currier, $1200

"Half Dome", 8" x 10"
 plein air oil, Currier, $850
Next stop: Painting with the California Art Club with fifty other artists.

email: alfredcurrier (at) yahoo (dot) com

Monday, June 11, 2012

Painting with Thomas Moran

In our Western States plein air painting trip, direction was not always apparent.  This was the case with leaving Durango, Colorado.  We headed southwest and found ourselves at the Grand Canyon. This was not my choice as I had been there a few times and couldn't see myself painting there, but Anne Schreivogl had never been.

I found myself thinking about artist Thomas Moran.  I knew who he was and was familiar with his work but I knew little about his process or even what years he painted.  I presumed it was in the mid 1800s since that is when the lead tube was invented. In my mind, the single most contributing factor to the Impressionist and Plein Air movement was the lead tube. This helped make artists portable.

Now driving through the Grand Canyon National Park, I see a sign that says Moran Point.  ...hmmm? How long was he here?  Did he have a horse and pack mule?  How many point of views did he consider before choosing this one?  Wow!  Just the logistics of it all.

I'm driving my Toyoto Sienna pulling my T@B teardrop trailer and I see a sign that says "Moran Point".  You might as well say: "Paint here on the red X, dumbo."    ....okay, okay, it's 6pm and the sun sets at 8pm.  We've got time for a quick study of the GRAND CANYON... :-0

The result was we got to paint right next to Thomas Moran, Edgar Payne, and many others who stood right in this spot. It was exhilarating!

Now, enough red rock. Off to Yosemite!

Email: alfredcurrier (at) yahoo (dot) com

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Plein Air painting in Durango

In this series of blog posts, based on painting through the Western States, I rarely knew what was next, but, Durango has always been on my 'bucket list' of places to go...but, art was not the reason. 

My interest has been the infamous Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Steam Engine Train journey.  To my surprise, upon arrival, I found that the "Iron Horse" Cycling race was to take place tomorrow- wow!!  This is a 50-mile race between the steam train and the bicyclist that takes you from Durango (6000') to Silverton, Colorado (9500').  The winner was the cyclist, a 2 1/2 hour sprint to the top.
Showing her age, the steam engine was no match for the lightweight carbon fiber cyclist.  The train finished in 3 1/2 hours.

What does all of this have to do with art?  Not much except that my mug made it on the front page of the Durango Herald for painting the train yard. 
Al Currier of Washington State creates an oil painting of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and railyard on Monday.  "I've been traveling around the western part of the county for the past month doing a series of plein air paintings," said Currier,who has been in Durango for the last three days painting.

The next day Anne and I painted downtown Durango and now plan to head south or southwest.

p.s. Not only did we see a great professional bike race, we also rode the train to Silverton and back, now out of the bucket. -Al 

The Durango-Silverton Train- worth the ride if you are in the area.

"Durango to Silverton Train", 10" x 12", plein air oil,
Durango, Colorado, Currier, $950 
"Pedestrian Zone", 12" x 9" plein air oil
Durango, Colorado, Currier, $950

"Discovery", 9" x 12", plein air oil
by Anne Schreivogl in Durango, Colorado, $450

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Painting With Kim English

On our "Grass is Always Greener" Western States Plein Air Trip, we joined Kim English and a group of other artists who were taking a plein air workshop from him in southern Colorado.  I've always admired Kim's work since I first ran across it some 25 years ago.  In my opinion, Kim English is a master artist and it was a delight to get to paint with him.

Kim English, master artist

Like with previous posts, my paintings below are for sale, framed, wet, and ready to ship.
If interested while I'm on the road, no sales tax or shipping costs will be incurred.
alfredcurrier (at) yahoo (dot) com. 

Time to turn our wheels and head this trip back west!
"Old Jimmy", 9" x 12", plein air oil
Westcliffe, Colorado, Currier, $950

"Wood Pile", 10" x 12", plein air oil,
Westcliffe, Colorado, Currier, $1050

"Retired Mover", 9" x 12", plein air oil
Westcliffe, Colorado, Currier, $950

Friday, May 25, 2012

Painting in Colorado with Joshua Been

The Grass Is Always Greener, a plein air painting trip through the western states is on the move again. After leaving Ketchum, Idaho, my next stop was to pick up artist Anne Schreivogl in Denver. We headed west and set up camp in Buena Vista, Colorado, halfway between Leadville 10,000' and Salida 7,000'. We painted a little in the historic Leadville and next in Buena Vista, both with unbelievable charm. Thinking about these small Colorado towns, the whole painting trip could have been just in this area.
Anne Schreivogl painting in Salida, Colorado

Salida, Colorado is an arts town with a variety of art from abstract expressionism to classical realism. This is where we met the plein air artist Joshua Been, an up and coming artist who can really paint mountains and streams. "Joshua, would you like to go plein air painting?" I asked. "Sure!" he said with a grin on his face.  Joshua Been, an artist to watch, for sure.

Joshua Been, right (Anne in background)

One morning the three of us were painting at Cascade Falls, a fast-moving rapid river. The wind blew so hard that Anne Schreivogl's velcroed palette went airborne some fifty feet into the flowing stream below, never to be seen again. The weather here can test even the most seasoned plein air painter but, it was all worth it. Anne had mentioned earlier that she just wanted to sit on a rock and meditate on the serenity of it all. Well, she got her chance, sans palette.

Here I am painting Cascade Falls in Colorado (with palette)

We awoke to 40 degrees in the mornings but, soon the temperatures rose to the mid-seventies. Oh, I almost forgot, the coffee roasters here are awesome and that comes from a Northwesterner who loves coffee. Next stop will be somewhere between here and Durango, CO.

As mentioned in the last post, the paintings shown below are available for purchase minus shipping and sales tax while I'm on this Western States Painting Trip. They will be shipped directly to you from the road.

"Leadville (Leadville, Colorado)", 9" x 12", plein air oil, Currier, $950
"Palace Hotel- Salida,Colorado", 10" x 12", plein air oil, Currier, $1050
"Victoria Bar", 12" x 9", plein air oil, Currier, $950

"Cascade Falls- Bueno Vista, Colorado",
12" x 10", plein air oil, Currier, $1050

Contact me by email : alfredcurrier (at) yahoo (dot) com

Monday, May 14, 2012

Painting in Sun Valley with Lori McNee

As I drove away from my home in Anacortes, Washington, the thought of "the grass is always greener" came to mind.  How many times have I walked outside and a painting was to be found everywhere.  Other times I would burn up a tank of gas and never find anything that inspired me. This is why each year I "get out of Dodge", to get refreshed. 

This year it's a six-week plein air painting trip through the Western states, first stop: Ketchum, Idaho.  Ketchum/Sun Valley, Idaho is a special place and not because it just happens to be the oldest ski resort in the country.  The terrain is visually inspiring and it's also the home of my friend and fellow artist, Lori McNee.

Lori McNee

We painted and talked art for three days, fun.

My paintings included in this blog are from this visual paradise tucked away in the moutains and they are available for purchase. Buy any of these framed oil paintings while I'm on the road and I will cover sales tax and ship to you for free.  Email me at: alfredcurrier (at)

"Homage to Hemmingway", Sun Valley, ID
12" x 9", oil, $950, Currier

"Murdock Creek", Sawtooth, ID
12" x 9", $950, Currier

"Cottonwoods in Sawtooth", Sawtooth, ID
9" x 12", $950, Currier

Email: alfredcurrier (at)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Grass is Greener

My home in the Pacific Northwest is incredibly beautiful but, this past winter wore on me. Each year I will get out of the studio and spend at least a month plein air painting. These travels have taken me to some of the most inspiring places around the world as well as the United States. I feel very fortunate. This year, I am extending my time to six to eight weeks and I have decided to share a little of this with you. So, if you can bare with me, I am going to increase me blogging for this trip. When possible, I will try to meet up with local artists. My hope is to spend four to six days in each location. My plan is to head first to Ketchum Idaho and meet up with famed artist, Lori McNee. Then off to Denver Colorado to join Anne Schreivogl, Southeastern Utah, and into the central coast of California where I will join other artists from the California Art Club. Yosemite is on my list in between somewhere before heading back to Washington. The trip will be fun. The ambitious part will be the writing. So, please join me in this adventure of painting. Alfredo

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cinco de Mayo at Simon Mace Gallery

You are invited to my new show "Glow"

May 5, 2012 at 5:30 is my opening reception at Simon Mace Gallery in Port Townsend Washington.

Monday, March 5, 2012

My books are available

I now have PayPal in place and functioning. Please find Alfred Currier, Impasto and Alfred Currier, Glacier National Park 101 available on my website:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Visual Chapbook

I would have never thought that a month of plein air painting (painting outside) would culminate into a catalog. The whole process from beginning to end was both nerve-wracking and exhilarating. The way I talk about this might give the impression that it is a 500-page hardback. I have had a major book before written by a museum curator and published by a university press but, I had little input or control.

Alfred Currier: Glacier National Park 101 is a small intimate part of my life, in the summer of 2011. It is a quiet introspective with nature, a much-needed sabbatical from studio painting.

So, what's the fuss? Well, several discussions have surfaced lately about plein air painting and what qualifies a painting to be called "plein air". For the record, these works were started and finished on location with the exception of two that were the victim of a weather change at the very end. Now, some might say that if they painted from a photo, it's a plein air painting. Others might say that if it were started outside, it qualifies. And, one established plein air painter told me that 80% had to be accomplished while painting plein air.

I find all of this amusing, who cares? It's from within and how you, the artist, feel about what you do. I was moved by the beauty of the park, a visual commune so to speak. ...and the majesty of it all.

Through several conversations in the park, it became apparent that some of our leaders want to privatize our National Parks under the guise of being fiscally responsible. I find this appalling as it could open these sacred lands up for mining and degradation of our park system. This was the motivating factor for producing this visual chapbook. We need to keep our parks safe for our children's and grandchildren's sake. Amy Marquis, Associate Editor of National Parks Magazine wrote further on this topic in the preface of this catalog.

This visual chapbook will be released during my Glacier show reception this Saturday evening, Feb 11, 2012 at Howard/Mandville Gallery, Kirkland Washington. You are invited. I will give a short talk at 6:30pm followed by a book signing.

Books will be available from my website, after Feb 12.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Life of an Artist

I was recently invited to be included in a book titled "100 Artists of Washington" by Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. It's always nice to be noticed, but, I was asked to write a little blurb about myself in the first person. This was an uncomfortable situation. It's like holding a spotlight above your head while doing a tap dance. I sat quietly for a while, trying to gather my thoughts. What brought me to this point in life? Why was I an artist as opposed to having a real job with regular income and health insurance? I had done that for a while but, it never clicked with me as my mind would wander off somewhere. Eventually, someone would smack me on the back of the head telling me to pay attention. Was that the key? I wrote:

"Gazing out the window watching a bird hop from one branch to another wasn’t uncommon for me in my early years while sitting in my classroom. Others were learning more quantitative subjects like math and verbal skills. It was that meditative activity that has stayed with me all my life. Art has been my interest since childhood.

My formative years were established in a small town in southern Ohio, Chillicothe. Art took many forms in my life and creativity was at the center although, not always recognized. I studied two years at the Columbus Collage of Art and Design and went on to receive my degree at the American Academy of Art in Chicago. I did teach for a while at the Palette and Chisel Academy of Fine Art, Chicago, the Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, KS, as well as painting workshops throughout the United States and Europe.

My voice, however didn’t establish itself until I moved to the Pacific Northwest in 1990. The Skagit Valley Region of Washington State was my artistic coming of age. It was here where my “impasto” skills emerged and my voice began to bellow. It was here where I discovered that my technical skills were my tools of expression and not the end within itself."

So, that was my submitted response for the upcoming book, 100 Artists of Washington. Did I choose the life of an artist or did it choose me? The idea of working 9 to 5 with regular income conjures up the idea of security and being able to walk away from your job at day's end. An artist has none of that. I don't seem to be able to walk away nor do I have the security of a regular income. I went 11 months in 2011 without a major piece of my work selling. In the past 3 weeks, 7 have sold. That's like getting paid once a year but, that's the norm in this profession. I really don't think of it as a profession as much as an obsession. There are many positive aspects that far out way the negatives. First, no one can fire or lay my off. Second, if the weather is nice, I can chose to go for a bike ride. Mostly though it the satisfaction of delving into yourself and losing all concepts of time and space while coming out the other side with the fruits of your labor(or fruits of your play).

Saturday, January 14, 2012

"Art for the Heart" raises over $8,000

"Art for the Heart" raises over $8,000 entering its third week.
Proceeds to go to selected non-profits that support basic human needs and the environment in which we live.

Come visit my open studio.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

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