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A Journey in Artistic Growth

Ron "en Plein air"
Ron “en Plein air”

My goal as an artist is to strive toward continual growth in my craft and the ability to express my appreciation for the beautiful places I’ve been so privileged to experience and enjoy. This artistic journey will end at my last breath, yet beyond this I hope my paintings will share some essence of the joy in spirit and gratitude I’ve been blessed with by our creator for this brief lifetime.

Read on, in the chronology of this journey below, or have a look at my online portfolio by using the menu at the top of each page.


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Stunning Welo Opals

I currently have some spectacular Welo Opals in stock, waiting to be made into a beautiful ring for a lucky lady…

Check them out on Instagram, but hurry–they’ll be gone soon.

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While my easel has a freshly primed linen canvas on it right now, I’ve also been working on another separate area of creativity for the last two years or so…

Jewelry making has always been on my bucket list of skills to explore and above you can see a few of my ring creations. I like to use sterling, fine silver and 18kt gold, along with various stones and cabochons. Each piece is entirely designed and hand crafted at my work bench from scratch, from crucible to jewelers bench. Here is a short video showing the elegant, long oval, Sleeping Beauty turquoise ring in the photo on the right, above.

And here are examples of my work in thumbnail format…

A sample of various designs by RLO

If you have interest in creating a special, custom gift for you or a loved one, let me know. I have some exceptional opals (and other stones) right now that are just screaming to be made into incredible, one-of-a-kind rings. You can email me at

For now…just go to the menu bar at the top of this page and click on “Store,” to see the links to my paintings and my jewelry creations.

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Ramona Grasslands Preserve with the San Diego Plein Air Painters

#pleinair #art #painting #oilpainting

The Winter rains have brought the Ramona Grasslands back to life.

The last time I visited the Preserve, the scene was dire–the parched grass and oaks were severely stressed. Many of the trees were beyond recovery, as evidenced by the piles of firewood left by the Forestry Service. But… the recent rainy Winter has turned the situation around. Currently, this Spring, there are live streams of flowing water crossing the grasslands.

I recommend you visit the grasslands soon, before the arid months dry up the profundity.  I took my camera along today on my plein air painting outing and captured some images.  Here they are in a short video for your enjoyment…


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The Signature of the Artist…

Signature(s) of Ronald Lee Oliver

The coup de grace…

The finishing flourish for any oil painting is the artist’s signature.

I use two signatures to finish my pieces.

I sign my paintings with my last name, “Oliver,” or with my initials, “RLO.” I use the latter when it fits better than the larger, “Oliver” signature.

The signatures above are a montage from various studio and plein air works. The simple lines of my signature indicate and compliment the style of painting conveyed in the works. The brush strokes remain as applied, informing the viewer by impression, rather than tightly rendered or controlled imagery.

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Rios Trailhead at San Elijo Lagoon

Ronald Lee Oliver

Saturday, October 1, 2016

San Diego has some great places for the plein air painter to park their easel and capture the beauty of nature with brush and paint.

One of the best places in the county is the nature reserve at San Elijo Lagoon, between Solana Beach and Encinitas. The lagoon and tidal estuaries meander East to West from the inlet at the coast. The tidal flow extends inland for almost two miles, flowing under the I5 Freeway before eventually ebbing to a stop in Rancho Santa Fe.  I painted at a place along the Rios Avenue Trail, which is on the Southwest side of the Lagoon, on a peaceful, foggy, October morning. I can recommend the many locations at the lagoon as a places one could return to again and again and find something new to paint, each time.

Here are some photos and video I took to share with you. You’ll also see my completed painting at the bottom of this post.

A panoramic view of the Rios Trailhead at San Elijo Lagoon.
A panoramic view of the Rios Trailhead, looking East at San Elijo Lagoon.

Birds and jumping fish break the stillness now and again…

Lifting fog on a mild October morning.
Lifting fog on a mild October morning.

Here’s a short video that gives a 360 view.

Here is the painting after about an hour and a half of painting, when I decided to take it home.  I made a few small touches and corrections back in the studio.

16x20 Rios Trail at San Elijo
16×20 Rios Trail at San Elijo

…and here is the finished piece, “Rios Trail at San Elijo”

Ronald Lee Oliver
Rios Trail at San Elijo Lagoon, 16×20 oil on panel