Monday, January 29, 2024

American Graffiti Tribute Art by Elise Durenberger, 2023

2023 was a wonderful year for a car show. Happy people, shiny cars out and about in the fair town of Petaluma, Ca.  From sun up to sun down, the Cruisin' the Boulevard's Salute to American Graffiti was full of smiles and lovely energy. It's something to experience if you can make it out to our show, the second part of May, each year.  

Here's my blurb about this piece as it appeared in the Petaluma History Museum last May - Sept., 2023:

The latest, 50th year movie anniversary, Cruisin’ the Boulevard painting is our grand tribute to the late Bo Hopkins, his unforgettable bad-boy with a possible heart of gold persona in “Joe” the leader of the Pharaohs, and the brilliantly illuminated scene depicting Curt (Richard Dreyfuss) staring deeply into the storefront full of televisions situated on Kentucky Street, circa 1973 (when the movie was filmed). We were working on this concept prior to the loss of Bo, but the scene took on new importance once we learned that we would not have him there to preside over this theme. At the suggestion of the board, the Curt/TV scene was central, but the artist was then tasked with filling in the rest of the story. When Elise learned that building at 147-149 Kentucky Street had once been the opera house, designed by Brainerd Jones, she enthusiastically dug deeper into historical photos where she finally figured out the mystery of the red-light-cast during much of that scene as the Pharaohs convince Curt to “take a ride.” She discovered that there was a rotating neon sign that read “WILSON’S” and “FURNITURE” on opposing sides. Visible in a reflection of the parked car where Curt’s “butt had been parked,” you can see the sign rotating in real time in quick moments of footage, although the sign as a whole does not appear in the shot. Her quest for the deepest minutia of historical detail keeps our artist invigorated and returning year after year with new material.

“Take a Ride with the Pharaohs” by Elise A. Durenberger ©2023Original, Acrylic on Canvas 24 x 30”  $4,000.00         

*For purchase information, please contact me:

7 years of American Graffiti Art on display at the Petaluma History Museum, 2023


That first hour of the wee-morning when we set up for the day

Kentucky Street at dawn is a glorious treat for the eyes

Looking upwards on Western Ave. is such a lovely and historic view


My cute mom and me 

Customer-ready in the booth!

A darling customer and me posing with her new artwork and "the best seat in town!"

 The American Graffiti Car Show hosted by Cruisin' the Boulevard, Inc., is a grand time. 

Here's hoping you can join us, May 16th, 17th & 18th, 2024! 

Happy Motoring

Monday, January 22, 2024

American Graffiti Tribute Art 2020 & 2022

 The 2020 Event Art for Petaluma's tribute to American Graffiti was complete and awaiting its time in the spotlight when the world created other plans. We all recollect where we were when the pandemic happened, so it should come as no surprise that we lost some black top during that difficult time. What follows is my summary for last year's exhibit in dedication of Petaluma's deep connection to the movie American Graffiti. 

In hindsight, we got a lot of extra millage with our 2020 artwork. In a bargain package, we also got 2021 and 2022 in the same painting! It’s funny now, but when Elise painted the 2020 piece in late 2019, obviously we didn’t know how it would stand the test of time…. and a worldwide pandemic. But with a little luck, her piece that was created to acknowledge 15 years of car show celebration held up well. Similar to the 10th year celebratory artwork, Elise painted fifteen car characters, including two that were not from the movie. We showed love to our founders, John and Joetta Furrer and had their pristine Chevy added to a heavily detailed Petaluma Boulevard perspective, quietly parked in front of fictional “P-town Auto.”  Wayne & Rhonda Van Patten were honored by capturing their gorgeous (not yet born in 1962, the fictional timeline for American Graffiti) Pontiac, in a brick-side advertisement for “Future Pontiac.” This original fine art painting showcases the best of what we have come to count on Elise’s in work: there are too many details to acknowledge but we implore you to study this one. It features so much of what most of us love about the crusin’ culture and history of Petaluma, and also the universal experience of small town USA.

“The Fastest Car in the Valley” by Elise A. Durenberger ©2020
Original, Acrylic on Canvas 24 x 30” $4,000.00  SOLD!

I was beyond honored to win Best of Show, 1st Place and Best of Section in the Sonoma Marin Fair, 2021. A wise and discerning American Graffiti enthusiast and Car Show participant purchased this art during the 2023 event directly from the Petaluma History Museum. Although the tasteful customer had to patiently wait to receive the painting until after the show, he was glad to do so and we were delighted! 

For information on how to purchase remaining, original paintings and reproductions, please contact Elise Durenberger at

Gratefully yours, 


Wednesday, May 24, 2023

American Graffiti Tribute 2019

Looking back to 2019, it went by in a flash... (of rain & lightning) Although our big day on the streets where this scene went down was rained out just as we were opening my booth, we still managed to enjoy the event. Super fun Cruise-In dinner and one of my favorite paintings, great people and tremendous effort...   Here's what was reported on how that art came to be:

The ultimate spotlight was placed on the artwork for 2019. That was the year we finally paid tribute to the outrageous shaving cream caper at the corner of Western Avenue and Petaluma Boulevard. Our artist reveled in the use of light, historical signage and perspective, incorporating the Linch Jewelry neon sign for the second time (the first was in 2015), adding a beloved board member to the playful liquor sign just for fun and remembering Carithers grand, cursive brand, where Western begins to recede into the background. Other notable additions incorporated into the fine art included a reflection of the grand Masonic Clock tower in the Carithers’ window, the old fire pole and the abstinence fountain, where the artist added the engraved words: your mama’s car. If you don’t know the relevance of them, time to review American Graffiti and some of the most creatively provocative insults between two leading men battling for fast-car bragging rights. As is custom for the event artist, Elise plants details in so many crevices of her creative work, we’re still discovering them! “Spotlight on American Graffiti” is a highlight of paint and imagination.

“Spotlight on American Graffiti” by Elise A. Durenberger ©2019
Original, Acrylic on Canvas 24 x 30” $4,000.00

"Spotlight on American Graffiti" ©2019 by Elise Durenberger
Please consider visiting this original painting at the Petaluma Historical Museum, 20 4th St, Petaluma, CA 94952, now through 9/3/23 for their outstanding exhibition on 50 years of American Graffiti.

For information on how to purchase the Cruisin' the Boulevard art, please contact,

Monday, May 22, 2023

American Graffiti Tribute Art 2018

 Thank you for all of your kind support and enjoyment of the Fine Art paintings I do for Cruisin' the Boulevard's annual salute to American Graffiti. I'm continuing to share my previous work, in celebration of the 50th year of the movie. This is the season when the town of Petaluma is boasting about its part in one of the top 100 films of all time, and this year our historical museum is featuring a wonderful collection of artifacts, memorabilia, video clips and even 7 years of my paintings. I'm so honored to be a part of this incredible event and legacy of cruisin' and all of the delicious nostalgia surrounding that precious time. Here's an explanation of the work from 2018 which had a poignant acknowledgement of a tragic and terrifying fire that changed our region of Northern California forever. First responders from all parts of California, the country near and far and even from other countries including Australia (!) poured into the area to help us. My goal was that this painting would satisfy the purest forms of American Graffiti fans, but also acknowledge heroic first responders near and far...

The event year that followed one of the worst firestorms in Sonoma County’s history, provided a very unexpected turn in how we celebrated American Graffiti. We wanted to acknowledge our first responders, but not create any more pain with images that were still impacting our friends neighbors well into 2018. On another inspired drive through town, Elise observed that Petaluma’s Fire Department, Station #1 still looks authentic to at least 1962, and certainly farther back than that. Its historical charm is undeniable, and even though it wasn’t featured in the movie American Graffiti, our artist dove into her imagination and through her painting, moved some city blocks around just enough to incorporate the familiar with major automobile stars from American Graffiti in a setting that could have easily been a part of the movie. Rainy streets provided more artistic content in the painted setting and our nod to first responders was cemented in event art. 2018’s “Honoring First Responders and Local Heroes” was a loving acknowledgement to brave folks on the front lines, with a reminder that we had all lived through tremendous change. That year we presented Station #1 with their very own canvas reproduction painting, created by Digital Grange of Petaluma, so that our heroes always remember our gratitude.

“Honoring our First Responders and Local Heroes,” by Elise A. Durenberger ©2018
Original, Acrylic on Canvas 24 x 30” $3,750.00

"Honoring First Responders and Local Heroes" ©2018 by Elise Durenberger

Following the fires, I went on a personal campaign to thank as many first responders as possible. I sent out these cards that I created, to nearly 1,000 agencies with heart felt, handwritten notes yet sadly, came short of the nearly 5,000 on the list that had been compiled by lovely folks on a local Facebook group that was providing resources to help care for victims, first responders and people who wanted to help. The goodness that emerges out of tragedy is something to be grateful for and we had an abundance, thankfully.

Presenting Petaluma Firehouse #1 with a gifted copy of the 2018 art

For information on how to purchase the Cruisin' the Boulevard art, please contact,

Thank you! 

 - Elise

Thursday, May 18, 2023

American Graffiti Tribute Art 2017

I'm sharing another painting of event artwork completed for Cruisin' the Boulevard's annual tribute to American Graffiti, this one created in 2017. This original piece is also featured in the Petaluma Historical Museum for their exhibit on the 50th year celebration of the movie American Graffiti, running 5/18/23 - 9/3/23. 

"The Best Seat in Town" ©2017 by Elise Durenberger

This is the story of how the artwork came together that was created to share for the exhibit at the Petaluma History Museum:

The setting for 2017 was still being contemplated when our artist found herself quite literally crusin’ the boulevard on her way to an event downtown. It was a crystal clear night where the iconic Old Mill was showing off against an elegantly lit sky, boasting our proud American flag in strong, sturdy balance and Elise was mesmerized. She pulled over and found herself directly across from the used car lot that still uses the business office so brilliantly shown in the scene where Toad has pulled over to contemplate his fender-bender while driving Steve’s car, the exquisite Chevy Impala, and is then accosted by a smarmy used car salesman. Elise envisioned these two dramatic settings zipped together in a painting, and the 2017 theme, “The Best Seat in Town” was born.  With a glorious, colorful flapping banner capped car lot, a brilliant, buzzing neon sign and gigantic rocking chair to inspire, the artist studied movie clips and still shots to confirm the signage, and other bits of nostalgic detail from a low-tech, but gloriously festooned time for car sales. The final painting is still one of her favorites and we enjoyed the  use of images in this artwork, especially when considering that the majority of the movie footage is shot in horizontal scale,  missing so much of Petaluma’s skyline charm.  We appreciate being able to have our own stamp of Cruisin’ the Boulevard on the event artwork in Elise’s paintings.
“The Best Seat in Town,” by Elise A. Durenberger ©2017                        
Original, Acrylic on Canvas 24 x 30” $3,500.00

For information about purchasing the original painting please contract

American Graffiti Tribute Art 2016

Another flashback to event artwork completed for Cruisin' the Boulevard's annual tribute to American Graffiti that was created in 2016. This original piece is also featured in the Petaluma Historical Museum for their exhibit on the 50th year celebration of the movie American Graffiti, running 5/18/23 - 9/3/23. 

Here is a blurb that was written about how the 2016 art came to life: 

In 2016, we decided to take the action for the annual event painting right to the edge of town, specifically the gas station at Kastania Road, Petaluma.  This spot is most notable to American Graffiti movie fans as the shop where John Milner (Paul LeMat) prepares his hot rod for a potential road race with Bob Falfa (Harrison Ford). “Uncapped for 2016” was designed and painted by our artist, Elise Durenberger, mostly through her imagination, stalking the Gas N’ Shop at Kastania Road a few times, and with the inspiration of board members who sought to remember Wolfman Jack in a subtle portrait in the texture of the moon. There was a rumor that the gas station might not survive new updates to the Highway 101, southbound freeway, so the timing was just right to memorialize that location. Our hunch proved worthwhile since the station closed not long after our event for the year. We are so fortunate to have so many historical locations of the classic movie magic that created American Graffiti, but change is inevitable and we are grateful for our collaborations with Elise so that we can put our custom Cruisin’ the Boulevard imprint on these important memories.

"Uncapped for 2016" ©2016 by Elise Durenberger

“Uncapped for 2016” by Elise A. Durenberger ©2016
Original, Acrylic on Canvas 24 x 30” $3,500.00

For information about purchasing the original painting please contract

Thank you for cruisin' by! 

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

American Graffiti Tribute Art 2015

It's a quick flashback to 2015! In honor of the 50th year of American Graffiti, the Petaluma History Museum is sharing original art from Cruisin' the Boulevard, Inc., that I painted including this exciting piece from 2015, my second year as event artist. Their new exhibit will open 5/18/23 - 9/3/23.

Tenth Year Anniversary Tribute by Elise Durenberger ©2015

Here a piece that was written for the Petaluma History Museum about the 2015, 10 year anniversary event art for Cruisin' the Boulevard, for their new feature on the 50th anniversary of the filming of American Graffiti:

The artwork for 2015 was created with the intention of celebrating ten years of Cruisin’ the Boulevard. The process began with the inclusion of many of the cars from the movie, including some of our regular “star cars” that represent American Graffiti at our annual event. With cooperation of the Petaluma Police Department, we were able to stage the background layout our artist was envisioning, right in the heart of downtown Petaluma so that she could take reference photos to enable her drawing and eventual painting for the year. The number ten is incorporated into the layout in various ways, including the use of ten car “characters.” Toad’s charming Vespa was lovingly featured, since it nearly stole the show in the initial Mel’s Diner scene as it unexpectedly collided with a garbage can as a hilarious result of user error. This famous gaffe made it into the movie and cemented the adorably clumsy authenticity of Toad’s (Charles Martin Smith) character. Other ways the artist signaled our 10th anniversary was by including the number in various business signs and finally by creating a faux advertisement painted in the brick edge of the Masonic Building.  We’ve come to enjoy anticipating how Elise emphasizes aspects of our annual theme in her artwork. This painting was her second on behalf of CTB and continues to be a favorite image to many.

“Tenth Year Anniversary Tribute” by Elise A. Durenberger ©2015
Original, Acrylic on Canvas 24 x 30”  $3,750.00

For information about purchasing the original painting please contract

Monday, May 15, 2023

Cruisin' the Boulevard with Bo Hopkins and the Pharaohs

 It's that time, again!

Introducing my original, acrylic on canvas painting for this year's celebration of American Graffiti from the wonderful volunteers at Cruisin' the Boulevard, Inc., from Petaluma, Ca.  This year's piece features a tribute to the late, dearly beloved, Bo Hopkins. You can spot references to him throughout this artwork, which had been slated to celebrate Bo, presumably being here to enjoy the spotlight. In his absence, the work moved forward with love and fond memories. It was an honor to weave these concepts together to create a mood that not only remembers Mr. Hopkins, his character Joe, but also reminds us of the iconic beauty of Petaluma, the relative simplicity of a time where cruisin' was a way of life and sometimes you could be invited to "take a ride with the Pharaohs" and still make it off to school the next day.  

This one's for you, Bo!

"Take a Ride with the Pharaohs" ©2023 by Elise Durenberger

The original artwork for this year's celebration of American Graffiti is for sale along with very limited, high quality, archival canvas reproductions as wall as fine art paper reproductions. Please contact for purchase information and let him know I sent you!

Thank you for cruisin' on by! 

- Elise

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Holiday Art Fest 2022 of Petaluma, CA

It's that fabulous time of year and I am elated to be included in this year's Holiday Art Fest in bucolic Petaluma, CA. This gathering of artisans will be a fantastic opportunity to boost your seasonal spirits and fill your stockings with all kinds of unique creations and spectacular cheer.  I hope you'll add this opportunity to support local artists and immerse yourself in all things HOLIDAY to your calendar.

Date: 11/20/2022 from 10am - 4 pm

Location:  Hermann Sons Hall, 860 Western Ave., Petaluma CA 94952

Friday, October 28, 2022

Petaluma's People's Choice Award

SO grateful for this wonderful honor. I was chosen Best Local Artist for 2022 by our fabulous newspaper.

Thank you Argus Courier, family and friends and the great community of Petaluma, Ca. My heart is full.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Historic Petaluma and the Movie American Graffiti

 The year was 2014, my first year serving as the Event Artist for Petaluma California's Salute to American Graffiti, a huge 3 day party in celebration of classic cars, talented actors and the town that provided some of the most iconic settings in the classic movie by George Lucas. Setting up for the day long car show, the grande party of the event, gets going before dawn. My first time, tiny booth, super nervous and excited, I snapped a photo that to this day encapsulates the magic of all of the above. I loved it so much that I incorporated it into a painting. This is not official event art, but rather art right from my heart. A love tribute, if you will. 

Daylight On Kentucky Street ©2017 by Elise Durenberger

Cruisin' The Boulevard, Inc., is a group of tireless volunteers who spend a large majority of the year preparing for the annual festival. The event starts with a super fun, spirited dinner party where fans, event staff and VIP's mingle, dine, celebrate and set the mood. The next day follows with a slightly informal car show where anyone can visit and show off their classic beauties in an open parking lot in town. All of this leads up to the BIG day on Saturday where the American Graffiti style cars (some ORIGINAL from the movie and a few clones) make a dramatic display on the exact streets where it all happened. Throughout the rest of downtown Petaluma, hundreds of the yummiest, candy colored custom cars who have been pre- registered are carefully parked to show off their exquisiteness and boy, if you haven't been, I can promise it's a good time! Here's a photo of myself and the timeless beauty, and Oscar nominated actress from American Graffiti, Candy Clark from that very first year, along with the original painting. What a thrill that was!

Candy Clark, Elise Durenberger and 2014 Fine Art

This year's, much anticipated, return to celebration is right around the corner on May 19th, 20th & 21st, 2022. I'm already planning my booth to feature the event art, which is available for purchase in different forms ranging from Original Fine Art Paintings, Limited Edition Archival Canvas Reproductions, Archival Rag Prints as well as greeting cards and postcards. Additionally, I'll have my own collection of classic car fine art including reproductions of the piece featured in this post, "Daylight On Kentucky Street." Speaking of Kentucky Street, here's the shot I took that first morning that reminds me of the treasures of living in Sonoma County and why I adore the work I do. Thank you so much for stopping by! 


Friday, March 18, 2022

Commission Work of Santorini Greece

 While most of us were hunkered down close to home during early pandemic, 2020, I spent much of it in Greece. Lucky ME, right!?! Wait. That might be a little misleading... I visited Santorini Greece in my MIND: on behalf of a lovely client who contacted me through my Fine Art Website and asked me if she could commission me to do a series of paintings that would represent her trip there, years prior. I'm not much of a travel girl, myself (#homebody!) but this sounded fun. When I met her in real life, she had a gigantic assortment of photos she had taken and some from adventurous google searches, all splayed out on her kitchen table to entice me and boy! It worked. Not only was I totally inspired to paint something custom, personal and unforgettable for this nice lady, but also I'M READY TO TRAVEL! LOL 

The following are three separate, but complimentary paintings custom created from many different images meant for the client to display in a line, much like a triptych. 

(Not to self: I must get a shot of them living on her wall, but so far she is thrilled!)

Santorini Immersion by Elise Durenberger ©2021 Acrylic on Canvas 24" x 18"

Donkey Delivery in Santorini ©2021 by Elise A.Durenberger  Acrylic on Canvas 24"x18"

Wonderful Windmills of Santorini by Elise A. Durenberger ©2021  Acrylic on Canvas 24"x18"

It's quite a thrill to bring someone's dreams to light with my use of paint and canvas, and this project was EXTREMELY rewarding. Thank you for checking them out. If you have any questions or comments please don't hesitate to leave any of the above here on this post. 



Friday, April 16, 2021

Cruisin The Boulevard, Salute to American Graffiti 2020 - Event Art painted by Elise Durenberger

2020 - the year that put the whole world on pause...

In Petaluma, California, the most filmed and featured backdrop for the iconic George Lucas movie, American Graffiti, and the home of a beloved annual car show, Cruisin' the Boulevard, the streets were silent and the crowds did not gather. The PAINTING for the event was, however, completed and will stand by for 2022 when HOPEFULLY we can once again fill the streets with finely tuned, perfectly (or imperfectly!) polished relics from more innocent days. My most ambitious effort yet, it features more automobile characters than even our 2015 piece, which was a celebration of the 10th year of the car show and had 10 different vehicles. The recent painting has 15 cars featured, including two that were not actually in the movie, but were owned by two of the original board members who started Petaluma's Salute back in 2005. I'm extremely proud of the relentless detail and perspective. As usual, I have dropped in many "Easter Eggs" and connections to the many years since the movie and in tribute to the celebration itself.  In spite of the pause, I will be thrilled when this piece graces the cover of the collectible program, posters, t-shirts and banners, etc. I am honored to present...
"The Fastest Car in the Valley'" by Elise A. Durenberger ©2020 Acrylic on Canvas

This origianl acrylic canvas piece @ 24 x 30" is available for sale. SOLD
For information on how to purchase this, pigment rag or canvas reproductions, please contact and definitely visit the Cruisin' The Boulevard website.

Happy Motoring! 

- Elise

Monday, February 18, 2019

Event Art for Cruisin' the Boulevard's Salute to American Graffiti, 2019 by Elise Durenberger

Proud to share my recently completed art for 2019's Cruisin' the Boulevard Salute to American Graffiti. This year's piece, "Petaluma's Spotlight on American Graffiti" was inspired by George Lucas's use of light in the filming of American Graffiti and how the brilliance of Carbon Arc Searchlights enhanced the infamous shaving cream scene, filmed in Petaluma, Ca. 

For six years I have had the privilege of creating the Fine Art backdrop for the wonderful car show and celebration of American Graffiti, hosted by Cruisin' the Boulevard, Inc.,  the most kind-hearted volunteers and truest classic car aficionados I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Painted with acrylic on canvas, my goal for this year was to up the magic of the lighted effects I has hoping to create with paint, while maintaining a balance of subject and composition that worked with or without the graphics that will be layered in for the promotional materials for the event. 

As always, my success is in the eye of the beholder. Here's hoping it works for YOU!

Please come and see us, if you can. Cruisin' the Boulevard is held on the same streets where the movie was filmed, downtown Petaluma, Ca., May 18th, 2019. Check out Cruisin's website for the extended schedule of events and details on how to purchase this year's art. Sure hope to see you then!



Sunday, July 1, 2018

Fine Art at the 2018 Marin County Fair

I adore a good summer fair. Cotton Candy, livestock, carnival rides, good friends and exhibits. This year I took a risk and entered quite a few paintings in the Marin County Fair. This fair is juried and highly competitive. My work was turned away more than once, post College, when I really thought I had something special to offer. I have a lot more years and humility under my belt, so when I entered last year with one piece, I was awestruck to have it accepted. 

Petaluma Ewe ©2017

 This year I decided to go bolder. To my delight, I had all four of my Fine Art entries were accepted.

The Grand Dame of Rancho Durenberger ©2016

Chico and Helen ©2017

Cruisin' the Boulevard 2018 - Honoring First Responders and Local Heroes

The Washoe House (Archival Pigment Reproduction on Canvas/2017) Original Painting Acrylic on Canvas ©2017

 If you have the good fortune to visit the Marin County Fair this week, I hope you'll keep an eye out for my paintings/babies. 

Happy Fair Season and thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Event Artist for Cruisin' the Boulevard's Salute to American Graffiti, 2018

I was honored to return as event artist for my 5th year and the 13th anniversary of Cruisin’ the Boulevard, Petaluma’s Salute to American Graffiti. Creating a painting to become the foundation of the Cruisin’ program and printables is a process I adore and anticipate soon after the boulevard is cleaned up after the previous event. Early in 2017, there were already whispers of inspiration and plans for this year, but life is filled with surprises and sometimes there are very large bumps in the road.

Sonoma County residents will never forget how the firestorm changed our community. Generations will define their lives by this catastrophe, remembering where they were and how they were affected.  No matter what the depth of loss, first responders rushing into the fire zones as thousands rushed out symbolized hope, comfort and courage during our deep despair. Members of the Cruisin’ the Boulevard team started wondering how they could acknowledge the fire victims and first responders in the new event art, so with some collaboration, I painted another hybrid scene (old and new, altered geography and characters) with Petaluma’s D Street Firehouse as a glowing companion for our beloved classic cars and nostalgia for the 2018 Cruisin’ the Boulevard painting. Together with the hard-working CTB team, we hope this scene satisfies the truest fans of American Graffiti while reminding us all that some of the greatest stars drive fire engines, police cars, ambulance, motorcycles, fly helicopters, airplanes and answer 911 calls. To first responders of all kinds, this year’s Cruisin’ the Boulevard event salutes you!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Wood Art Jaguar

Please consider visiting the 29th annual Artistry in Wood at the Sonoma County History Museum to view "Roar" by Paul Marini through the 7th of January, 2018. While there, I hope you'll cast a vote in the People's Choice ballot box in the main gallery. Thank you!

"Roar" © 2017 by Paul Marini
Last spring I was contacted by a dear friend with an invitation to meet a gentleman who needed assistance painting a life-size Jaguar that he had created from wood. He had never painted before and he was looking for consultation to take his unfinished wood-carved creation and paint it with life-like details, markings and color. This invitation, I gladly accepted. 

Unpainted Jaguar head, carved by Paul Marini, 4/17/17
Full body shot of "Roar", created with basswood, by Paul Marini
Forearm and claw detail of wood art Jaguar by Paul Marini
I thought it was a wonderful challenge and had already planned how I would "teach" this man color theory to guide him, when we met a week later. I figured I'd be in and out in several weeks and hopefully, witness the presentation of his finished piece a few months later. Although my anticipated curriculum did not go as predicted, we worked together for several hours weekly for over 6 months, and developed a lovely friendship. My student, Paul Marini, an extremely accomplished and respected, retired Avian scientist,  shunned my attempts to teach him to paint, yet we developed a system where I guided, consulted, mixed a LOT of paint, to contributed in a small way to this spectacular project.

"Roar" on display in the Artistry in Wood show at the Sonoma County History Museum
Part of the inspiration for this piece was Paul's brief foray into hunting as a young man. Taking the life of a squirrel by his own hands for pleasure, changed him. He wondered why the same level of satisfaction couldn't be achieved by shooting with a camera. Creating life, via his wood artistry, was a satisfying method of celebrating nature's beauty without harming it.

Paul Marini, wood artist and "Roar", explaining his process

Paul had additional inspiration for "Roar." Over 4 years ago he suffered a major heart attack while working out at his local gym. Miraculously, some of the folks also working out were first responders.  Their quick action, expertise and aide saved Paul's life. Others in the gym jumped into action as well and in the wake of this experience, incredibly deep friendships and loyalty grew. Paul decided to make this piece with the hope of selling it and donating the proceeds to aide first responders and programs to make AED machines and education available and accessible throughout our community.  He has already donated an AED machine to the gym where he belongs and hopes to see many more installed throughout the area. Ironically, Cruisin' The Boulevard, Petaluma's tribute to American Graffiti, with whom I am affiliated and in my 5th year as their event artist, is a non-profit group who's major cause is placing AED machines in our community, so good folks surround me and I am blessed.

More images from "Roar" ©2017 by Paul Marini, which is currently on display in the 29th annual Artistry in Wood Show at the Sonoma County History Museum, main gallery, through January 7th, 2018.

Eye detail from "Roar" by Paul Marini
"Roar" head shot including whiskers made from whisk broom, human hair and horse mane
Ear detail including real fur donated to Paul by my German Shepherd, Joeseph
Final head shot, because it is SO tremendously beautiful ♡
As I have gotten to know Paul Marini over this past 8 months, my gratitude for the kind and skilled folks who saved him is immeasurable. I lost my father to a sudden heart attack over 15 years ago, so I have deep appreciation for the events and people who aligned to save Paul.

Life can be filled with miracles and I am grateful when my journey is touched by them.

For information about purchasing this one-of-a-kind, INCREDIBLE wood art Jaguar, please email me,, and I can put you in contact with Paul.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Cruisin’ the Boulevard, Petaluma’s Annual Salute to American Graffiti

For the past four years, I have had the honor of being the event artist for a fantastic local event, celebrating the filming and enduring fun of the movie American Graffiti, Cruisin' the Boulevard. Largely filmed in Petaluma, Ca. during the summer of 1972, our town boasts the most notorious movie scene locations, many of which are near to the exact condition they were at the time of the filming, some 45 years later. Voted in 1998 to the American Film Institute's list of 100 superlative films, American Graffiti is a splendid time capsule for the American teen experience of 1962 and a gleaming visual history of downtown Petaluma.
My contribution to the cause has been to create art that celebrated a pre-chosen theme for the year’s event. Three of the following 4 paintings are available for purchase in their original, one-of-a-kind, 24 x 30 inch acrylic on canvas, or as digital, limited edition, Breathing Color canvas reproductions made by Digital Grange. For more information about these specific paintings, please visit the Cruisin’ the Boulevard website and look under Event Art

There's plenty of time to make plans to visit this year's Cruisin' the Boulevard celebration and I would adore meeting you at my booth, downtown P-town on May 20th, 2017. Thank you for your interest!