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. 
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!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Dramatic Northern California Sunset with Windmill

The day this dramatic sunset scene enveloped our lovely county, I knew I had struck creative gold. My heart raced, because I was driving home from visiting my mom, in Marin County, south of where we live. My conundrum was WHERE and HOW could I view and photograph the setting sun, as time was of the essence and I am greedy. The more inspirational pictures I have in my file, the better.

Adding to the rush of my excitement was the sight of our annual Sonoma Marin Fair, visible from my position on the crowded freeway at rush-our. Against the unfolding drama of the heavens, I could see the Ferris Wheel and other attractions starting to glow with their neon goodness against the darkening midway. What to do. I couldn't think straight and I wanted to be in the right spot to get the scene I could already picture in my head.  Then I remembered: MY SON WAS AT THE FAIR! Frantically, I called him praying that he would somehow accept my phone call, amidst the joy and chaos that is the summer fair at dusk, teenagers, freedom, COTTON CANDY, kettle corn... 

But he is a good boy. He ANSWERED! (And he HEARD me!) He took the exact picture I was lusting for...Fodder for a future painting (which I have actually started!), but it freed me up for this baby:

Sunset over Stony Point ©2014           Acrylic on Canvas 24 x 18"

Lucky me! Although I was fairly squirmy with anticipation, I was able to calmly plot another location to hoard a different photo exploration of the crazy-beautiful sky. The above painting is the result of my terrific fortune. This gorgeous setting was already in the que for a painting with a late summer brooding, grey sky (that I have NOT painted yet), but I had a feeling it would look good in these colors, too. Before I started to paint, I entered it in a different local fair, later that summer. Proudly, it won first place and I sold it to a very dear friend in time for it to become the ultimate anniversary gift for my OTHER very dear friend. Wow! That was a fortunate sequence of events!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Commissioned Painting - Penngrove California

I was quite thrilled when a friend purchased this painting, spontaneously, a few years back. I was even more excited (and honored) when this same friend commissioned me to paint his family ranch. He is the proud son of Italian immigrants and cherishes this property, dearly. Although I could not get photo resources to help me paint the ranch from the perspective I wished (due to trees and the fact that I'd have to be in a raised angle above a busy road), but I did my best to piece together elements to turn my visual hope into a completed painting.

Here is the final result and detail shots:

Tarca Family Ranch ©2014       36" x 24" Acrylic on Canvas

Once the painting was complete, my handy hubby was kind enough to create this beautiful custom frame made with vintage barn wood. My customer/dear friend and his family were delighted with the result and I am elated to have such savvy "repeat customers!" Win, win one and all!

If you have any questions or comments, please let me know. I sure appreciate it!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Plein Air Ranch Painting Fail

 A few years back a girlfriend of mine came over to paint, plein air in my back field. I've never done that before and I'm sorry to say, I spent at least eight times the amount of effort back in the studio, so I don't think I can really have credit for this being a true in the open air piece. Oh well - I had a lot of fun and loved the completed painting SO much, I got over it. 

Painting, like so many things we do in life, is like exercise. You have to work at it routinely. One of these days I'm going to try to create more spontaneous "muscles" in my work...  But for now, I'm grateful for the painting muscles I do have!  

 Springtime at Rancho Durenberger © 2013              9 x 12" Acrylic on Canvas

Happily for me, a dear friend saw this painting in my kitchen and bought it on the spot. Shortly after that he commissioned me to paint his family's ranch! I wonder if "ranch painting" could be my thing? 

(I like it!)

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Petaluma California Ranch Painting

A few years ago I painted this lovely ranch that I would see each morning on the drive to take my kids to school in Petaluma, California. I was constantly surprised by how different it could look in various light and nature conditions. I intend to paint it again, and again in the future, but for now I am grateful it was completed and suited the vision I set out to capture. Last year I had the good fortune of meeting the wonderful family who live on this incredible property - and THEY BOUGHT the painting! Yay!

Jewel of the Backroads ©2014 by Elise Durenberger                   9 x 12" Acrylic on Canvas

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Iconic Red Truck meets Petaluma Back Road

The morning commute has always been something of a blessing and a curse, after all I was not born a morning person. But routine is the key to life and for the better part of the last three years, I spring from the covers, wake the zombies and get us out the door and off to various schools on time. With little conversation the "mom bus" makes its rounds and on the way, I am privileged to some amazing scenery. 

 Our dear and FORTUNATE friends have this view to enjoy, EVERYDAY of their lives. Even this shot through my dirty windshield, shows the charm of their sleepy valley. I've been threatening to paint it for years. 

Old Red on Roblar ©2015 by Elise Durenberger

THAT day, is finally here. {I'm SO excited!} Finally! 

This is my friend, James, and his Fire Engine Red, 1934 Ford Pick-up Truck. His gorgeous vehicle was in the original American Graffiti movie and is kind of famous in my neck of the woods, so I decided to compliment the American Flag in my landscape with this beauty...

Red Truck - close up.
 American Flag - Close up.
Old Barn and Old Glory - close up.

Good to get this one off the "to paint" list. Although I have a feeling, I'll revisit this lovely valley (in paint) again. 

- Elise