Painting in New BaganWelcome to my blog.

I’m an American naturalistic painter.

I was born in Los Angeles in 1972. From the age of 6 to 10 I lived in the Fiji Islands where my father was a regional director of the Peace Corps. The beauty of Fiji and my native California instilled in me a love of the natural world.

My foundation in fine art began at the University of California at Santa Cruz where I originally studied biology. The excellent art instructors Patrick Ahern and Hardy Hanson introduced me to plein air landscape painting and academic drawing, respectively.

After finishing Phi Beta Kappa in 1992 I moved to Italy and trained at Charles H. Cecil Studios in Florence from 1992 to 1996. Cecil Studios is a traditional painting atelier directly descended, via R. H. Ives Gammell and William Paxton, to the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris under Jean-Léon Gérôme. Today the school maintains a rigorous drawing and painting curriculum similar to the Academies of 19th-Century Europe.

Cecil taught us the Nietzschean idea of the dichotomy of Apollonian and Dionysian elements in art. The premise is that great art is the result of the merging of strong emotion and passion with analytical precision and dexterous skill, honed through years of monotonous and repetitive study.

During my time in Florence I was also introduced to the writings of the Renaissance Neoplatonists. ‘The Oration on the Dignity of Man” by Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, especially, had a profound influence on me as a young artist.

This short treatise describes God’s creation of man so that “there be some creature to comprehend the significance of so vast an achievement, love its infinite beauty, and stand in awe at its grandeur”. While the literal view on this is that God created man to marvel at God’s work, my art is based on a more secular reading of the text: The artist is nature revering itself. As such, the painter should attempt to avoid developing any personal style in their work. My painting is attempt at letting nature depict itself without overt interference of personality or ego.

While aware of the impossibility of such an endeavor, I’ve always felt that an important duty of the poet today is to direct a return to humility towards, reflection on, and study of, the natural world. This return to finding inspiration in the world around us, as well as building a foundation for art based on the observation of nature, are important first steps towards building an environmentally sustainable future for humanity.

I created this blog to share information about techniques and materials, as well as to keep people updated on my paintings and exhibitions. Your comments are appreciated.

Thanks for visiting,



  1. Your work is a wonderful culmination of concepts from past masters that w most likely both share. I was a student of RH Ives Gammell back in the 70’s… plus a handful of other master painters, including the colorist Henry Hensche. My wife and I travel some and paint together… I enjoyed viewing your paintings, especially like the minimalist quality of suggestion….
    ciao, ernest

  2. Hi, I was lucky to find your website–I enjoyed reading your posts and seeing your work. Your paintings are beautiful. I wondered if you have paintings that are for sale or are they all by commission. Thank you.

  3. You work is beautiful,pure and true. I am learning so much from you,thank you. It is a struggle -this creative life but what a wonderful way to live! I would choose no other. All the best to you and congratulations for first place,Cynthia Loewen

  4. Thank you so very much, Marc, for your generous teaching and tips. My friends and I are indebted to you for the enjoyment of painting. As a self-taught artist, your site is especially precious to us.


  5. Over and over I return to your work when I am finding life a bit to hard on me (I have lost my husband three years ago) and when I doubt so much about my painting work. Your paintings are so totally beautiful and inspiring that I want to reach for my brushes!I was very insterested to day toread of your training and you made me reflect on the dichotomie of passion and reason when painting ( I am too muuch of the first and definitley must be more analytique)
    Thank you for this blog Monique

  6. Hi, I came across your blog by way of “Photographing Paintings with a DSLR.” I wondered who might have painted the beautiful image of the woman under the leaves. I thought I’d stumbled upon a photographer’s blog, so what a surprise to find your other blog posts are of your paintings! I haven’t been this awestruck by anyone’s figurative art in some time, despite the infinity of what’s out there on Instagram.

    Thank you for sharing your adopted philosophy on making art that lets nature depict itself. How simple, how obvious, and how true. It sheds light on my own artistic path.

  7. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. I was wondering if you have a page where thought share your plein air materials. Your preferences in equipment, brushes, pochade boxes, etc. Also, I watched a wonderful short video of you painting where you held something up to one side of your face. Curious about that. Thank you so much! Your work is so beautiful.

    • Thanks Jean-Marie. I was probably holding up a small mirror (these days I use my phone) to view the image in reverse to check my shapes. I’ll try to summarize my equipment in a short video soon. In the meantime I try to categorize all my posts and the materials ones are here: http://www.marcdalessio.com/materials/. The search box also works well for specific questions (I use it to find posts myself).

  8. Hi Marc. I am so impressed at how methodically you keep moving forward in plein air painting. It seems as though you are impervious to the challenges of weather and travel. You don’t seem distracted by marketing or recognition. Your main concerns appear to be only continued discovery and improvement. It obviously pays off. Your work is incredible.

  9. Dear Mr. Dalessio, I’ve been revisiting your site periodically for several years now and have never been disappointed. Your combination of sensitive perception and matching of shape, color, saturation, and tone seem to always hit the right note, balancing observation with feeling and originality and intersting touch. Although I’m an art historian (specializing in Pre-Columbian art of the ancient Americas) I have painted for many years and your work continues to inspire me.

Leave a Reply to Carl Bretzke Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.