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Laura Cunningham

Do you have a pent up interest in doing art? Or are you an artist who wants to explore painting more deeply? Come and learn to unleash your creativity and artistic talent! I teach easy ways to undrestand the best materials and methods so you can learn to do art and have fun creating drawings and paintings  in various mediums. I specialize in oil painting, but I also enjoy working in pastel, watercolor, colored poencil, charcoal, graphite, pen and ink, gouache, and other mediums. Everyone can learn to be an artist, it is not difficult once you understand the techniques, and I make it easy to learn in a friendly, supportive environment.

I am a traditional oil painter and field naturalist, who studied painting methods at the Smithsonian, the Frick, NYMOMA, and museums in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Oakland. 

In 2010 I published the book A State of Change: Forgotten Landscapes of California (Heyday: Berkeley,, as an artist-naturalist exploring the historical ecology of California. In it I have hundreds of my drawings, sketches, and oil paintings depicting the landscapes of cities before European contact. Scenes of my imagination, based on research of how the land and wildlife may have appeared 200 years ago.

My children's book The Bay Area Through Time was also published in Heyday in 2013. (

I am currently writing a new book on Oil Painting Landscapes and Nature, a guide to methods and materials, as well as a history of landscape painting. I have also painted many large murals for towns and colleges (one is a 90-foot depiction of the Tonopah & Tidewater train in Nevada, on the side of a building), as well as interpretive illustrations for museums, books, technical journals, and magazines.

Bachelor of Science in Paleontology, University of California, Berkeley. 1990.

Graduate Certificate in Natural Science Illustration, Science Communication Program, University of California, Santa Cruz. 1991. 

September 2012 to January 2013 – Solo art show at the David Brower Center in Berkeley, California, entitled “Laura Cunningham: Before California.”

March 6, 2014 - April 3, 2014 -- Solo art show at the Merced County Courthouse Museum, California. See

1995 – 1999 -- Traveled to various art shows in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Arizona, and Nevada to sell oil paintings and art prints. Including such shows as Pacific Rim Wildlife Art Show, Safari Club International show, Foundation for North American Wild Sheep show, and many local shows. 

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