Currently on display in the storefront windows of Chico Paper Company, five watercolor paintings tell the story of five Chico landmarks. These hand-painted illustrations by Jeffrey Michael George chronicle the well-known sights of Bidwell Mansion, Monkey Face Rock, the Senator Theater, Bidwell Presbyterian Church, and the Chico Water Towers. The gallery, Chico Paper Company, at 345 Broadway in downtown Chico, offers a limited number of high-quality prints for sale, as well as the framed originals. Jeffrey feels honored to be an artist at the gallery, and enjoyed a warm, welcoming Artist’s Opening Reception in July of this year. It was great to be introduced to the Chico art community and to have the opportunity to show artwork on the same walls as the other excellent artists affiliated with the gallery. The entire experience has been inspirational, and Jeffrey has since been busy creating new watercolors of other Chico points of interest–such as One Mile Pool, the Diamond Hotel, Salmon Hole, and the Saturday Farmer’s Market. Jeffrey has enjoyed a lifetime career as an architectural illustrator, which has taken him from New York City to San Francisco and now to Northern California, with many clients all over the country. Jeffrey has enjoyed his new hometown of Chico since moving here in 2018 with his wife Susan. Their adult sons Matt & Jim have been longtime residents of Chico and it’s been great re-connecting with them on a much more frequent basis. So here are some photos of the gallery display, and the Opening Reception–and the five watercolors themselves. If you love Chico and share an appreciation for its unique characteristics and landmarks, you should visit Chico Paper Company in downtown Chico and see the art in person in a gallery setting. In addition to supporting the local art scene, you will also be supporting a local business that helps make downtown Chico a treasure in itself !
Here is a color pencil rendering I just finished last month for an architect in South Carolina. It was a fun one to draw, since it involved boats, waterways, a restaurant, and brand new storage structures–all viewed from the air. Having done another rendering for Sean Murphy, one of the architects for this project, he recommended me to his colleague, Rhett Morgan, an architect in Charleston, South Carolina. I worked on a tight timeline with both Sean and Rhett to produce this image. Starting from a Google Earth background taken from this aerial viewpoint, I sketched in the new proposed boat storage buildings and traced the existing context. There is an existing waterfront restaurant right in the center of this view, and some docks which will be improved as I show them here. The remainder of this view shows an existing marshy area in the foreground, and existing heavy industrial areas behind the site toward the horizon. The boat storage works in an interesting fashion: Boats are stored in multi-story storage structures that have screens to camouflage the boats themselves. When you want to take your boat out in the bay, a forklift gets your boat from storage, delivers it to the launch area, and a boat valet brings your boat around to the dock for you. There are nine of these storage buildings clustered together in close proximity with alleys to access the boats. It’s pretty clever, as you can store an enormous number of boats in a relatively small area. I enjoyed portraying the marshlands in the foreground of this view, using photos of the local flora as reference material. I hope you enjoyed this illustration in the color pencil technique by Jeffrey Michael George. Jeffrey creates many architectural illustrations for projects all across the country, including Louisiana, Florida, South Carolina, and California.
Here are a couple of architectural renderings I finished recently for a proposed residential project located in Los Altos Hills, California. It’s a single family home on a beautiful lot with mature oak trees and redwoods. The architect is Pacific Peninsula Architecture of Menlo Park, California. I worked with Eric Peterson, the project architect and designer at Pacific Peninsula to develop these illustrations. Eric puts together the submittal to the City, which is a complete description of the project, including the renderings. We decided on these two view angles–as the first one shows what you see from the street, the second view shows the actual front of the house, which faces away from the street. The exterior materials include natural stone, cement plaster, steel window frames, and a metal roof–all in warm neutral tones. The house is a speculative venture–one of many created over the years by Pacific Peninsula. My role in these projects is to bring the architect’s design to life, showing the materials with a sense of light and shadow, along with landscaping which is both existing and proposed. In this case there was only a preliminary landscape plan as reference, so much of what you see here is my suggestion of what the landscape would be. Almost all of the trees shown are existing, and they usually frame the architecture pretty well on their own. But the landscape really helps to visually set the building into the land and give it a “lived in” look. I hope you enjoyed these hand-drawn images or “architecture-to-be”. These illustrations are hand-drawn and colored in the color pencil technique by Jeffrey Michael George, Architectural Illustration. Jeffrey creates many architectural illustrations for projects located in the San Francisco area, including San Mateo, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Woodside, Portola Valley, Atherton, & Los Altos Hills.
I was thrilled to have the opening of my watercolor paintings of Chico yesterday at Chico Paper Company, 345 Broadway in downtown Chico, California. It was quite an event with wine and cheese being served, and lots of friends and family stopping by to celebrate the occasion. It’s been quite a whirlwind leading up to this event, which marks the beginning of my work being offered for sale at the gallery. I will now have my paintings available to view anytime during gallery hours. Since starting these paintings late last year, I concentrated on completing five watercolors by Spring 2023. With these paintings in hand, I could go to the gallery with a body of work completed–to see if they were interested in my work. The gallery loved the paintings I did, which made me feel so happy and encouraged. I met with Eric Metcalf, the owner of the gallery and several of his assistants. We decided that a limited edition of ten prints should be made of each of the five watercolors. I was very pleased to find the services of Pixel Perfect Printing in Chico to make these high-quality prints for us. I worked with Elizabeth Kuiper, the very talented owner and printmaker. Once the prints were made and delivered to the gallery, both the original watercolors and some of the prints needed to be framed for exhibition and sale. Chico Paper Company, in addition to being an art gallery happens to be an excellent art framing shop, doing everything from design to manufacturing of the frames, matting and glass. Once the framing was complete, we could have our Introductory Artist Opening which happened yesterday, July 15, 2023. It was a great occasion–not only enjoying family and friends, but I also got the chance to meet several of the other artists who show at the gallery. Please come by the gallery and see these new watercolor paintings celebrating Chico treasures like Monkey Face, Bidwell Mansion, the Senator Hotel, the Chico Water Towers, and Chico Presbyterian.
Here is a link to the Gallery for more info:
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to work with a very good client on their project planned for the community of Palmdale, California. The client is Van Meter Williams Pollack, an architectural and urban planning firm located in San Francisco. I worked with John Doyle at VMWP, a very talented architect, in developing these three perspective views. Each of the views had a specific purpose–one to show the generous park space proposed, one to show how the project looks from across the street, and a third view to capture the character and scale of the cluster homes portion of the master plan. John has a good hand at drawing also, so I feel fortunate to be asked to create these illustrations. Luckily for me, my clients are usually so busy designing and creating architecture, they often don’t have the time to do their own renderings. It’s a relationship that has been developed over many years–and I know there is a level of comfort when we work together, even on a tight schedule. I can count on them to deliver the information I need, and they can count on receiving the finished illustrations in time to incorporate into their presentation. Although these illustrations are watercolors, I also work in a color pencil technique, depending on which “look” is best for each project. Watercolor is good for capturing mood and can be more evocative….color pencil can be best for representing materials, textures, and colors perhaps more accurately. When I get a chance to review a project at the outset, the project itself usually suggests one technique or the other. So, please enjoy looking at these renderings of this recent housing community proposal for Palmdale….These illustrations are hand-drawn and colored in the watercolor technique by Jeffrey Michael George, Architectural Illustration. Jeffrey creates many architectural illustrations for projects located in California and across the U.S., including the San Francisco area, San Mateo, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Woodside, Portola Valley, Atherton, & Los Altos Hills.
Every once in a while I like to paint a small, quick watercolor which is more like a sketch or study. In this case the subject is an old stone building under renovation sitting on a hilly grassland in the Sierra Foothills. It was something I saw across the roadway from our trailer spot just south of Angels Camp, California. Something about it intrigued me–the structure was rough, definitely old, and in disrepair to say the least. The metal roof and its supporting framing members were missing, and there was a heavy timber scaffold out front to aid in the renovation. It was an opportunity to show a stark, brutal historic structure in its bare-bones state, with its roof collapsed, and some of its stone eroded and missing–but nonetheless on its way back to better times. The window openings were black as coal, and the shadows very strong in the mid-morning sunlight. As a painting, there were basically three components–the structure, the field, and the fence….The shadows would define the spatial relationship between all three. There was an abstract nature to the setting, because the hilly grassland was homogeneous and without much definition, due to the young, vibrant growth of the early spring grasses. I painted that first, then the structure, then the fence. Tried to keep it simple and true to its initial impression when I originally spotted this house on the hill. There’s a simple flatness to the overall composition, and to each area of the painting–very minimal differentiation within the grassy field, or the stone walls, just enough to describe the material and convey some human scale to the image. The original is 5″ x 8″ on watercolor paper and took about an hour and a half start to finish. This artwork is hand-drawn and painted in the watercolor technique by Jeffrey Michael George, Architectural Illustrator. Jeffrey lives in Chico, and creates many architectural illustrations for projects located in northern California and the San Francisco bay area.
Toward the end of last year I was commissioned to create these illustrations for a youth center in Grass Valley, California. Previously called NEO, this after-school youth organization is now Bright Futures for Youth, serving Nevada County youth. It’s an existing space on Litton Drive in Grass Valley that is going to be renovated with the improvements shown in these interior views I completed in December. Pool tables, a small stage, a cafe, and video gaming lounge. The architecture and space planning was done by Siteline Architecture of Nevada City, California, which is just a few miles from the site. I was given a Sketchup model as a starting point. With that digital model we were able to choose a couple of perspective view angles that would help highlight the improvements. My next task was to add lots of teens and a staff member or two inside the space–enjoying the various activities that are happening. The first view shows what you would see standing near the entry, looking into the space with the stage on the right, a small administration desk in the immediate foreground, pool table in the center, with cafe on the right and video game area at the back of the space. The second view is more or less the opposite–looking back with the gaming area in the immediate foreground, cafe beyond, etc. As an artist, I particularly enjoy creating the scene as the individual teens are interacting, playing video games, taking selfies, talking trash, playing 8-ball, or maybe enjoying their friend’s music. Of course, you still need to render the selected materials, surfaces, and light fixtures correctly, too. But I think what really makes these kind of illustrations successful is the human element–if you can portray the kids well, including the way they dress and wear their hair, those details go a long way toward making a successful drawing…..These illustrations are hand-drawn and painted in the watercolor technique by Jeffrey Michael George, Architectural Illustration. Jeffrey creates many architectural illustrations for projects located in the San Francisco bay area, the Sierra foothills, Sacramento, as well as his hometown of Chico, California.
In November 2022 I was asked to create these six color renderings involving an existing state mental health facility located in Pineville, Louisiana. The request came from a good client of mine, Rick Williams of Van Meter Williams Pollack, Architects of San Francisco, California. These illustrations show Rick’s ideas for revitalizing and supplementing what is already there on this large site. Many buildings would remain, others would be added to the mix, in order to create lots of on-site housing, but also, some retail and commercial buildings. The interior circulation system would emphasize and encourage walking and bike-riding, and there would be ample opportunities to gather in small or large groups within the public spaces of the new development. Rick’s concept is that, with these additions and renovations, a new, fresh live/work community would emerge, complete with many new housing units and a village center with the shops and services required. Many housing options would be available, from single-family (attached and detached) to townhomes to apartments. These illustrations are in the watercolor technique by Jeffrey Michael George, Architectural Illustration. Starting from a Sketchup background, landscaping and entourage are added as an overlay. Then with client approval of that, Jeffrey creates a freehand pen line drawing, combining all architectural and entourage elements and submits this for approval. Ultimately, color is added to the line drawings with watercolor washes and the finished rendered images are sent to the client for their use. One of the things that clients like about working with Jeffrey is that, with limited information and input from them, he can create images that capture their intentions. In Rick Williams words:
“The Pineville renderings show just how powerful JMG’s sketches are, in capturing the essence and character of a place, when speaking to a community vision. These sketches were able to replace thousands of words, and as the client said, “Now I’ve got it!”, “I understand what you’ve been talking about”…. I say “invaluable”! ”
Jeffrey creates many architectural illustrations for projects all across the country, including Louisiana, Florida, and California.
I just recently finished this watercolor painting of the Bidwell Mansion in my hometown of Chico, California….I chose to paint it in backlight–in other words with the sun behind the building, shining through the cupola at the third story….a challenge, but glad I did it….there’s a certain abstraction that happens under these lighting conditions….which allows the artist to emphasize certain elements and characteristics of the structure, while ignoring others–not something the artist can do with most commissioned renderings because the architect or builder usually wants you (the artist) to show all the details possible….But in this case, it’s strictly my painting–so I can do what I want….liberating ! More on the building from website of Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park: “Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park is a beautiful, three-story, 26 room Victorian House Museum that stands as a memorial to John and Annie Bidwell. John Bidwell was known throughout California and across the nation as an important pioneer, farmer, soldier, statesman, politician and philanthropist. Annie Ellicott Kennedy Bidwell, the daughter of a socially prominent, high ranking Washington official, was deeply religious, and committed to a number of moral and social causes. The Bidwell’s were married April 16, 1868 in Washington, D.C. with then President Andrew Johnson and future President Ulysses S. Grant among the guests. Upon arrival in Chico, the Bidwell’s used the Mansion extensively for entertainment of friends. Some of the guests that visited Bidwell Mansion were President Rutherford B. Hayes, General William T. Sherman, Susan B. Anthony, Frances Willard, Governor Stanford, John Muir, and Asa Gray. When constructed, Bidwell Mansion featured the most modern plumbing, gas lighting and water systems. The overall style of the three-story brick structure is that of an Italian Villa, an informal, warmly romantic style. The building’s exterior is finished with a pink tinted plaster.” Hmmm….Pink tinted plaster–another reason I chose to treat the building with backlighting….. This illustration is hand-drawn and painted in the watercolor technique by Jeffrey Michael George, Architectural Illustration. Jeffrey creates many architectural illustrations for projects located in the San Francisco area, including San Mateo, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Woodside, Portola Valley, Atherton, & Los Altos Hills as well as his hometown of Chico, California.
This is a watercolor painting I did recently for my sweetheart….So what better time to post it on the internet than Valentine’s Day ! It’s a historic structure in Central California which has a lot of personal significance….My wife, Susan Lynn Dana, is a direct descendent of William Goodwin Dana, who constructed this home in 1837….The following is a description borrowed from “historycenterslo.org”: “The Dana Adobe or “Casa de Dana” is a historic
landmark in Nipomo, California, lying about 25
miles south of San Luis Obispo. It was one of the
earliest adobe dwellings built in San Luis Obispo
County and became the celebrated home
of William Goodwin Dana, his wife Maria Josefa
Carrillo Dana and their very large family. William
Dana was a wealthy Boston sea captain who
settled first in Santa Barbara, where he courted
and married Maria Josefa in 1828. In 1837,
Mexican California Governor Juan Alvarado
granted Rancho Nipomo to Captain Dana, over
50,000 acres, as a reward for his loyalty. Dana
employed many native Chumash laborers and
others to build the adobe between 1837 and his
death in 1858, a tumultuous time in Alta California. The Dana
adobe and Rancho Nipomo also served as an
important exchange point on the first official U.S.
mail route between Monterey and Los Angeles.” Regarding the watercolor painting, I really enjoyed working on it….Some of the challenges were capturing the hills in the background which are soft and gorgeous in the distance, and concentrating more on the landscape than the building itself–something that I don’t usually attempt because frankly, my job is typically focused on the architecture….It’s actually liberating to shift the balance away from buildings, and focus one’s attention on the natural beauty that surrounds….I wanted to keep the background and the house itself light and bright on the value scale, then frame those elements with darker richer tones in the foreground trees, landscape, and historic El Camino Real monument….This artwork is hand-drawn and painted in the watercolor technique by Jeffrey Michael George, Architectural Illustrator. Jeffrey lives in Chico, California and creates many architectural illustrations for projects located in all parts of the great state of California including the San Francisco bay area.