About Donna

Donna Schaffer Plein Air painting a vineyardIt’s All About the Art

I have lived amidst wine country vineyards since 1990. From every window of my home I see vineyards and/or oak trees. How could I not be a painter? This is truly an amazing area with the forests, the lakes, the vineyards and not far from the ocean. Each sunrise and sunset takes your breath away.

Sometimes I feel like I should’ve been a botanist or biologist instead of a fine arts oil painter. I’m always searching to find information about my flora or fauna painting subjects. What are their habits? What are their lifespans? Where can they be found? My passion for the specific scientific knowledge increases my familiarity of each subject. I believe one should “paint what you know.”

I’ve been so lucky. Art wove through my early years in advertising and publishing. That resulted in the development of my personal dimension of oil painting over the last 20+ years – especially in the painting of incredible natural environments – the flora of Northern California and the undersea world of marine life.

I spend many hours each week painting outside in nature (plein air) and/or studio painting. My work is represented by the Upstairs Art Gallery in Healdsburg, California and Corrick’s in downtown Santa Rosa, California. Two weekends each Fall I am a part of Sonoma County Art Trails at my home studio in Dry Creek Valley just outside Healdsburg, California. Contact me and I’ll let you know what the details are for this year’s event.

But It’s All About the Adventure Too

I’ve been a scuba diver since just after college. From Mendocino to Catalina, to Florida, plus all over the Caribbean and the South Pacific I’ve pursued scuba diving adventures, frequently on liveaboard dive boats. Each trip has added to the gigabytes of reference images; a lifetime of sea critter painting reference material!

And I love the adventure of horseback riding. We had our own horses for quite a few years and took them all over Northern California to ride. Plus, Charlie and I went on three horseback riding adventures in Iceland in the 90s. One of our rides was 21 days long—we toured a large portion of the western half of the island.

When I was in my 20s I was into bicycling. I rode halfway across the US with the 1976 Bikecentennial. In ’77 I went to England and did a Cotswold Hills tour with the British Cycle Touring Club. Then I went with another set of British riders to Bulgaria rode around the countryside, mountains and in towns. It was still behind the iron curtain then, quite the experience. Charlie and I did rides around California after that, but then switched to horses. Now I just hike, but not as much as I should…..

And It’s All About the Fun

Some of my biggest adventures in life so far have been riding a snowmobile to the top of Snaefellsnes Jokull in Iceland, snorkeling with a juvenile humpback whale for four hours, ziplining, flying in a glider plane that was catapulted from the ground, diving the wrecks of Truk Lagoon, etc. etc. I can be more mundane too. I love growing my flowers for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. I love singing in the local community chorus and I’ve been known to can many containers of sauces, jams and chutneys. Plus, there’s always the holidays. My favorite holiday is Halloween.

Halloween - Medusa & Frankenstein
Orgasmatrons from Sleeper
Kissing Fish
Julia Child
Wall Street Ghosts
Shining Knight & Damsel in de Dress
Brick Schmitt House - 1979
Medusa & Frankenstein
Space Man & Woman
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