Silicon Valley Open Studios

Connecting artists to art enthusiasts

David Stonesifer, plein air artist.

By Apala G. Egan

Portrait of David

A plein air painter, David Stonesifer focuses almost entirely on landscapes, with oil as his medium. The soft colors, muted shades and the way the light is captured mirrors the paintings of the French Impressionists. The meadows of California come alive in his brush strokes of blues, greens and mauves; the viewer can perhaps even breathe in the fragrance of the blossoms hanging heavy on the boughs of fruit trees.

His favorite venue for painting is Santa Clara Valley. He loves the vineyards as well as the fruit orchards in bloom. He has recently completed fourteen paintings of Saratoga’s heritage orchards. These orchards contain apricot and cherry trees which bloom at different times of the year. From late February to early March, you have the apricots in bloom and from March onwards, the cherry trees are blazoned with flowers.

A particularly favorite spot is over the hills, inland from the ocean from Watsonville where there are some beautiful apricot orchards. Although most of his paintings are of California, he has also painted scenes in Nantucket when he visited that area. According to him, the light is completely different there,   so those pictures are very distinct from his local pictures.

Although landscapes may be his specialty, he also does the occasional still life and chooses his subject matter with care. A lidless teapot beside a jug of flowers and two apples that appear as though they have just rolled to a standstill on the table conveys the sense of the windblown outdoors. The flowers appear to have been freshly cut and dipped in water and the fruit were just plucked from a branch.

As a plein air painter, weather can be a challenge. And, as the sun moves on its diurnal round, the shadows evolve in a constantly.

Everything changes so fast outdoors, according to Stonesifer. You get a sudden inspiration at one moment. Then the light changes and so does the mood of the scene. “You need to capture it immediately and then fill in the stuff later,” he says. “The distant mountain and sky remains the same, but the light hitting a wall or tree changes. There is a saying among plein air artists he said. “Don’t chase the shadows”.

He majored in fine arts at San Jose State University and had a successful career in the interior design industry for many years. Now he focuses exclusively on painting. For over ten years he has exhibited at various art festivals, including the Los Gatos Plein Air Festival, and also shows at the Los Gatos Museum Gallery.

He will be showing his artwork at the Silicon Valley Open Studios in 2017 The website is:

See more of David's work here