Our Favorite Summer Lake Tahoe Activities

The turquoise blue waters and mountain landscape of Lake Tahoe make for an idyllic and rejuvenating vacation all year round. Summer Lake Tahoe activities are endless — from boating to sunbathing to hiking to everything in between.

South Lake Tahoe, the gorgeous lakeside town where our very own Marcus Ashley Gallery is located, is also packed with fun in summer. South Lake Tahoe summer activities include live music, fine dining, boating experiences, tours, and much more.

There’s so much to do in summer you might just have to come back year after year! Read our favorite ideas and get inspired to make your vacation itinerary.

  • Kayaking or trekking to a secret beach

One of the top things to do for leisure around South Lake Tahoe is to find the hidden nooks and crannies around the lake, including the hidden beach. Kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding are essential summer Lake Tahoe activities anyways, but you should also try to reach new shores with your vessels!

The famous Hidden Beach is tucked away on the beautiful East Shore, and can be accessed by a mile-long trail or a boat. This popular beach is also the only place in Lake Tahoe that allows nude sunbathing and swimming, so if that doesn’t float your boat (or kayak), just be aware.

  • Hiking the mountain trails

We can’t imagine how you could pack a summer in Lake Tahoe with activities but not include a hiking trail! There are so many gorgeous state parks and lakeside paths to hike that outdoor enthusiasts are spoiled for choice.

We love the famous Rubicon Trail that has an end in our own South Lake Tahoe. A popular summer activity, hiking this trail will connect you with both D.L. Bliss State Park and Emerald Bay State Park. It’s almost seven miles one way, so you’ll need to pack a lunch, and consider parking two cars on each end of the park if you can.

Make sure you follow dog guidelines (on some trails, a dog must be kept on a leash), and make sure a hike isn’t too strenuous for everyone involved in advance. Hiking is one of the best ways you can enjoy the beauty of Lake Tahoe and truly immerse yourself in the gorgeous, serene wild.

  • Zip lining and ropes courses

Monkeying around on zip lines and ropes courses is a fun thing to do in a South Lake Tahoe summer! There are plenty of courses and guided zip line tours that let you see the beautiful scenery from above.

The Tahoe Treetop Adventure Park, for example, is full of courses that have you interacting and exploring up in the air for about two hours each. People of all ages can do these courses, so they’re great for a family. This is not a passive zip lining tour where you glide over the canopy; this is an interactive obstacle course you have to make your way through.

Heavenly Mountain Resort also has a range of rock climbing walls, zip lines, and ropes courses to enjoy, making visiting it a very popular South Lake Tahoe summer activity. We also love the dining and views at this resort!

  • Cycling and mountain biking

Lake Tahoe is a biker’s paradise. Whether you like adventurous mountain biking or simply a roll around a flat path, you’re in the right place. Cycling is a very popular summer Lake Tahoe activity, and for good reason.

One of our favorite cycling destinations is the Pope-Baldwin bike path. This path is conveniently paved, so you won’t need a mountain bike or rough terrain biking skills. It takes you through old growth forests and to several gorgeous beaches, including Kiva Beach. This is also a great activity for kids, as it has plenty of stops and a breezy terrain.

  • Indulging in fine dining and live music lakeside

There’s no better place for dining and events than in South Lake Tahoe! You will never run out of dining options, whether you like Asian fusion, Irish pubs, or anything in between. You can find casual fare as well as gourmet, 5-star dining, so vacationers on every budget can find something delicious.

Check out our article on our local dining recommendations to grab some more ideas for fun things to do in South Lake Tahoe summer.

  • Visit our art gallery in South Lake Tahoe

When you’re planning your summer Lake Tahoe activities, don’t forget to include a visit to Marcus Ashley Gallery. Our world-renowned gallery is a feast for the imagination, and visitors of all ages will appreciate the variety, skill, and creativity we have on display.

Come explore 4400 square feet of paintings, sculptures, books, gifts, and even a rare and exclusive Dr. Seuss collection. You might even want to pick up a souvenir of your vacation in the form of local Lake Tahoe artwork inspired by the beautiful landscape. We have fully-insured international shipping, custom framing, and every service a collector could need. Come check us out year-round. We’d be happy to welcome you into our gallery.

Spring Gift Guide: Our Top Gift Ideas For Spring

What do you get for the art lover who has everything this spring? At Marcus Ashley Gallery, our collection is blooming with unique art and innovative artists who are at the forefront of contemporary art. If you’re looking for a unique art gift idea for spring, look no further. Whether you’re seeking a small-size piece like a Loet Vanderveen bronze animal sculpture or something on a grander scale like a commissioned piece by Miri Rozenvain, we have something for every visual aesthetic.

Explore a selection of our favorites below and browse our full collection online to find the perfect gift this season or any time of year.

Blue cubic crystal sculpture entitled Blue Spectrum by Jack Storms at Marcus Ashley Gallery
Blue Spectrum by Jack Storms

A Jack Storms original sculpture has no perfect imitation in the world. Very few people can blend optic crystal, dichroic glass, and spectrum glass in such a fascinating way. A Storms sculpture is an exquisite, unique art gift that will be cherished by any lucky recipient for generations.

These sculptures are such a kaleidoscopic marvel that they seem almost computer generated, even though they’re meticulously crafted by hand with special machinery. These sculptures have a science fiction-like, otherworldly appeal, and indeed, some were even featured in a Guardians of the Galaxy film!

Animated gif of a copper wind sculpture entitled Double Spinner by Lyman Whitaker at Marcus Ashley Gallery
Double Spinner by Lyman Whitaker

These stunning sculptures by Lyman Whitaker are mesmerizing in a garden, front yard, or public space. We adore the optical effects Whitaker manages to achieve, and the floral motifs and its function as outdoor decor make it a perfect gift idea for spring. His pieces are what first greet our gallery visitors outside of our South Lake Tahoe gallery and make a lasting impression.

With a Whitaker sculpture, you will not only have a visual marvel, but also sublime craftsmanship and mechanical integrity. Whitaker has been making these sculptures for over 50 years, and he’s well-respected for his innovative designs and reliable construction. If you’re looking for an outdoor sculpture, a Whitaker original is ideal.

Glass sculpture of a purple frog and orange flowers entitled California Gold by artist Frogman at Marcus Ashley Gallery
California Gold by Tim Cotterill “Frogman”

A Frogman sculpture would make a fantastic Mother’s Day gift in May! Rather than giving your mother a set of flowers that wilt after a few days or so, give your mother a one-of-a-kind glass flower sculpture by an artist of renown. These keepsakes are created to simply put a smile on your face, and to us, that’s certainly a gift worth giving.

Colorful still life of wine, fruit, and flowers entitled Gold Rush by Eric Christensen
Gold Rush by Eric Christensen

A vibrant Eric Christensen painting is a remarkable gift idea for spring. These paintings are utterly awestriking in their realism, and the curators and collectors at Marcus Ashley Gallery simply can’t get enough.

Christensen is an undisputed master of his craft. You might not believe it, but these hyper-realistic paintings are actually watercolor! Christensen’s signature watercolor technique allows him to go beyond the look of a photograph and create a magical brightness and charm that transports viewers to the countryside. A Christensen limited edition or original would certainly be a unique art gift to remember this spring.

  • A Unique Art Book

An art book is a wonderful gift for any art lover, all times of year. We have plenty of recommendations from our gallery.

Out of the Shadows by Mackenzie Thorpe is a heartwarming story of the artist’s life and journey towards becoming an artist. Scratching the Surface covers the life and career of Sally Maxwell, a nature artist with phenomenal realism and an entrancing style. New Horizons is full of beautiful nature illustrations by Charles H. Pabst, whose mission in art is simply to “give joy and happiness.”

An art book would be an ideal gift idea for a spring graduate, especially if your grad majored in art or design!

Painting of a tropical scene and The Little Mermaid characters entitled Dreaming by Steve Barton
Dreaming by Steve Barton

Kick off the light-heartedness of spring with a delightful Steve Barton painting. These bold and colorful creations have an aura of fun and whimsy, and they’re also technically brilliant and make fine collectors’ pieces art lovers can appreciate. Take your gift to the next level and choose one of his trademark Wavy pieces, where the frame is just as much a piece of art as the painting within it.

Steve Barton is also a Lake Tahoe lover who takes plenty of his passion and inspiration from the beautiful nature seen in Tahoe and the Sierra Nevadas. If you’ve visited our gallery in South Lake Tahoe and you’re looking for a piece to commemorate your stay, look no further than our collection of Steve Barton paintings.

Realistic artwork of a wildcat entitled Stepping Out by Sally Maxwell
Stepping Out by Sally Maxwell

Sally Maxwell is a master of making the personalities and spirits of wild animals come alive through art. Her signature black backgrounds make for an eye-catching showstopper on any wall.

Amazingly, her artwork is not paint on canvas. She uses a unique scratchboard technique to achieve her crisp lines and bold contrast, a medium which few contemporary artists have mastered. A Maxwell limited edition or original is a fine gift for any art appreciator and animal lover.

Find More Unique Art Gifts at Marcus Ashley Gallery

We’ve barely scratched the surface of what our expansive gallery and online collection have to offer. Marcus Ashley Gallery is a destination for art lovers in the heart of South Lake Tahoe, and our extensive range of gallery services online and in-person make us the perfect place to find an art gift idea for spring. Contact us for more information about any of the artists in this guide or for help finding the perfect gift for your family. We’re here to help!

The History of Realistic and Hyperrealistic Art

Hyperrealism is a relatively new form of art. It describes artwork that looks incredibly lifelike and is often mistaken for the real thing. At a distance, it’s easy to confuse a hyperrealistic painting or sculpture for an actual photograph or object. This is quite deliberate. Artists create an illusion of reality by using special techniques to create their artwork. As a genre, Hyperrealism is distinct from Photorealism and Realism, although it evolved from them. To understand the history of the hyperrealistic art movement, it’s worth taking a look at the history of its precursors.

Realism and Photorealism

Realism was born in the mid-19th century in post-revolutionary France. Until then, the art world was dominated by styles like Romanticism and Late Baroque, which were all about idealistic portrayals of the world. Their subjects were often borrowed from myth and theology and were showcased in imaginary, dramatic settings. It was akin to artistic escapism.

Realism artists rejected these notions and sought to create art that was grounded in reality. Painters like Gustave Courbet and Jean-Francois Millet exemplified this style. They painted scenes that depicted working-class themes and common folk. It was authentic art that showed the world for what it was, without dressing it up or avoiding unpleasantness.

Photorealism emerged in the late 1960s in the U.S. It built on the Realism movement and the popularity of photography. Photorealists would take a photo and attempt to reproduce it exactly with paint on canvas. Their subjects were often pop-culture objects and urban American settings. Richard Estes and Chuck Close were some of the first Photorealist artists and indeed went on to pioneer Hyperrealism artwork later on.

Evolution of Hyperrealistic Art

Unlike Photorealist artists, Hyperrealists don’t seek to copy their subjects exactly. Rather, they use their photographs only as a reference point and go on to add elements and themes that appeal to them. Broadly speaking, Photorealists dispassionately and accurately reproduce what they see. Hyperrealists deliberately infuse their creations with emotion and narrative to evoke greater meaning. By adding context and complexity, they hope to make their artwork come across as natural and indistinguishable from the reference material.

Hyperrealistic art first began to gain a following in the 1970s. The movement was recognized internationally when it participated in the 1972 edition of documenta, the Modern and Contemporary Art exhibition in Kassel, Germany. The term ‘Hyperrealism’ was coined a year later by Isy Brachot, a Belgian art dealer. In 1973, he hosted an exhibition which featured the work of several prominent American Photorealists. He called it L’hyperréalisme.

However, despite its roots, it wasn’t until the early 2000s that Hyperrealism evolved into the independent art form it is today. Modern Hyperrealism combines traditional artistry with newfound techniques by leveraging advances in technology.

Hyperrealism Artwork: Tools and Techniques

By definition, hyperrealistic art imitates reality — not necessarily in the details of what the actual object looks like, but rather in its ability to make the viewer believe it’s a real object or photograph. For instance, if the reference photograph shows a person with an impassive expression, the artist may choose to add a grin or a wink to the painting. However, the objective is to make you believe they’re both real photographs.

This requires a great deal of technical prowess and dedication to achieve. It also creates new opportunities for experimentation and artistic application. Hyperrealistic art can incorporate photographic limitations like perspective, depth of focus, and range of focus. Artists even go so far as to accentuate photographic anomalies, such as fractalization, in their artwork in order to emphasize its digital origins.

In this sense, the subject of Hyperrealism artwork isn’t just the image in the photograph, but the photograph itself. It’s tendencies like these that define Hyperrealism as a distinct and mature genre.

Hyperrealist artists employ the same art tools that have been in use for centuries, including paint, ink, charcoal, graphite, clay, marble, and so on. However, they make some allowances for mechanically transferring the images to the canvas or mold to simulate reality. Aids like grayscale underpainting, grid tools, and photographic slide projections onto canvas are common. Hyperrealistic art sculptors will often apply polyesters directly onto the human body or mold for greater fidelity.

Modern technology has its part to play too. Digital art, created with the help of special software and gear, is a popular way to create hyperrealist sketches and paintings. Working digitally, the artist can incorporate effects and elements into the art that would be impossible to capture with photography.

Modern Exponents of Hyperrealistic Art

Hyperrealism artwork can have a variety of subject matters, ranging from portraits to still lifes, landscapes, figurative art, and more. Each artist will often develop a niche that intrigues them. Marcus Ashley Gallery hosts a wide selection of artwork from modern masters of Realism and Hyperrealism.

Eric Christensen

Eric Christensen is a watercolor Hyperrealist. In fact, he’s the only known artist able to produce hyperrealistic art through standard transparent watercolors. His muse is the California wine country. He creates incredibly vibrant and lifelike landscapes and still lifes around this theme. He does this using a patented watercolor technique that allows him to transcend the look and feel of a high-definition photograph.

Many of his works are based on real locations. He spends a lot of time extensively photographing his subjects before he gets down to recreating them in paint. Each painting takes months to complete. Christensen releases only four or five originals every year.

Shades of Summer hyperrealistic art by Eric Christensen
Shades of Summer by Eric Christensen

John-Mark Gleadow

John-Mark Gleadow’s paintings look like something straight out of a bibliophile’s Instagram. His paintings typically show a series of books stacked together on a shelf. You’re drawn in by the book titles in what you think is a photo, until you spot something off about it. You realize that while the image appears to be a photograph in every sense, it couldn’t possibly be one.

Gleadow’s hyperrealistic art is created using oil on canvas. He prefers oils because of their richness and permanence. Gleadow enjoyed success as an artist quite early in life and his work is well recognized worldwide. His influences include Salvador Dali, Vermeer, and Rene Magritte.

Bibliotheque III Hyperrealism artwork by John-Mark-Gleadow
Bibliotheque III by John-Mark Gleadow

Alexander Volkov

Alexander Volkov’s still-life and landscape paintings are some of the most captivating images of rural America you’re likely to come across. His realistic and hyperrealistic art is loved internationally for the beautiful interplay of light that characterizes each piece. He skilfully uses lighting to create mood and infuse narrative into his artwork. A Volkov original tends to draw you in and make you lose track of time as you’re appreciating it.

Volkov is self-taught, but only in the conventional sense. He believes that there is learning and inspiration all around you if you’re willing to pay attention to it. Some of his early influences include Vermeer, Rembrandt, and William Turner. He has recently forayed into the world of sculpture as well.

Aspen Sunset by Alexander Volkov
Aspen Sunset by Alexander Volkov

Explore Hyperrealistic Art at Marcus Ashley Gallery

If you’re fascinated by this art style, learn more about it at Marcus Ashley Gallery. Our expert art consultants will be delighted to introduce you to some modern Hyperrealism artwork maestros and give you an insight into their process.

Explore all the art services our gallery offers, including custom framing, home previews, and affordable financing. Get fully insured international shipments of your hyperrealistic art and free shipping in the continental U.S.

The Hyper-Realistic Paintings of John-Mark Gleadow

True hyper-realistic paintings are both a trick and treat for the eye. When this technique is masterfully achieved, one can feel like they’re looking through glass at a real object for a moment. Learning this art form takes many years of focus, practice, and determination.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the technique behind one of the most fascinating and beautiful artists on display at Marcus Ashley Gallery, John-Mark Gleadow. Gleadow specializes in book spine art that is so rich and vivid that it seems photographic. Indulge in his unbelievable creations and explore the pieces you can envision in your personal collection.

Dissecting Hyper-Realism

Like any art form, one can appreciate hyper-realism even more if they have an understanding of the techniques and skill required behind it. Hyper-realism already looks impressive to the untrained eye, but it’s even more mind-blowing when you’ve attempted to paint anything yourself.

Hyper-realism is not as simple as copying exactly what you see — far from it. To achieve hyper-realism with paint, you must have a remarkably perfect command of color mixing and an understanding of how color interplays with light, both of which are immensely hard to grasp even in computer-generated imagery. Doing it by hand requires patience and many, many years of practice.

Often, paintings that are not hyper-realistic seem a bit too perfect. This makes them beautiful in a way, naturally, but it also gives a sense of fantasy and surreality. To create a hyper-realistic painting, one must embrace imperfections and learn how to imitate the unpredictability and variety of nature.

There is a small difference between photorealism and hyper-realism. Photorealism strives to perfectly emulate a particular photograph, while hyper-realism attempts to go even further beyond by emulating real life as closely as possible. In short, hyper-realism is usually more detailed and gives a sense of “false reality”.

How Gleadow Achieves Hyper-Realism

It is possible, albeit sometimes difficult, to achieve hyper-realism using mediums such as water color, pastels, pencils, acrylic paint, and so on. Gleadow, however, opts for the richest and most classic of all paints: oils. He prefers oils for their malleability and durability, like so many great artists before him. His inspirations include Rene Magritte, Salvador Dali and Vermeer, all of whom had an impressive command over oil painting techniques to manipulate how they portrayed (or did not portray) reality in their respective styles.

You may not notice it at first if you only see his literary artwork online and not in person, but his book spine art is actually larger than life. This is one of the ways Gleadow is able to achieve such precision detail — he enlarges reality in order to have closer control over shading and miniscule lighting effects.

Popular Works By John-Mark Gleadow at Marcus Ashley Gallery

John-Mark Gleadow has produced a large amount of realistic artwork, all of which is as eye-catching as the last. Here’s just a sampling of the Gleadow collection we have on display at our gallery.

Hyper-realistic oil painting of nine travel book spines with a small globe by John-Mark Gleadow entitled Across the Globe
Across the Globe” by John-Mark Gleadow, limited edition giclee on canvas

This remarkable book spine art by Gleadow features both part of the shelf and a miniature globe beside the books, both seamlessly incorporated into the overall realism. The books share a similar color palette and size, adding a satisfying homogeneity that’s pleasantly offset by the beautiful miniature.

Hyper-realistic painting of seven book spines  by John-Mark Gleadow entitled - Could You? Would You?
Could You? Would You?” by John-Mark Gleadow, limited edition giclee on canvas

The mint condition of the six exterior books stands in sharp contrast to the damage and wear shown on the central study bible. Directly to its left stands a hefty title, a story of Warren Buffet’s road to capitalism, and the story of Gandhi stands nearby. The painter’s stance on these topics and the wear of these books is unclear — is the bible worn from use, or mistreatment? It’s up to the viewer to interpret.

Three hyper-realistic book spines with a paintbrush sticking out, entitled Love by John-Mark Gleadow
Love” by John-Mark Gleadow, limited edition giclee on canvas

This painting is a break from Gleadow’s usual row-style literary artwork. Rather than a row of spines, this book spine art piece is a close-up of three intricate, bold book covers. This Gleadow piece is phenomenal for its ability to perfectly replicate classical artwork and simultaneously manage to make it look like it’s being stretched on glossy paper around a book. The mastery over lighting, color, and shading an artist has to have to produce this level of hyper-realistic painting is hard to believe!

Hyper-realistic painting of seven book spines entitled Bibliotheque VI by John-Mark Gleadow
Bibliotheque VI” by John-Mark Gleadow, limited edition giclee on canvas

Each of these book spines contains a topic of great weight and cultural significance. Each topic can also spark instant reactions and emotions from our own personal experiences. These provocative titles are masterfully painted, like all of his works, and the subject matter adds weight and interest to Gleadow’s impeccable hyper-realistic painting formula.

Explore Gleadow’s Book Spine Art at Marcus Ashley Gallery

If you’ve been fascinated by the hyper-realistic book spine art of John-Mark Gleadow, we welcome you to explore the rest of his collection with us. Come visit our expansive gallery in person in beautiful South Lake Tahoe, or explore fine artwork from wherever you are with our online gallery.

Marcus Ashley Gallery has a number of premier gallery services including insured international shipping, custom framing, certificates of replacement value, financing options, and more. We handle every service with professionalism and expertise, and we can answer any of your questions. Enjoy the world of classic and contemporary art and further your art collection with ease.

Highlights from Our Figurative Sculpture Collection

Figurative artwork, or figurativism, implies representational artwork. It describes any form of art that includes references to real world objects, particularly to human and animal figures. The term “figurative art” is a relatively modern one, coined somewhat in response to the emergence of abstract art, which is synonymous with non-representational art. Michelangelo and Alberto Giacometti, for instance, are great examples of unique  figurative sculpture artists from the late 1400s and mid 1900s respectively.

In a general sense, the term “figurative” is retrospectively applied to all art before abstract art. It’s also distinct from modern realism in that figurative artists employ contemporary references. Modern realists also base their work on real world objects, but their styles predate the post-impressionism period, i.e. prior to around 1886.

In this blog, we’ll look at some figurative sculpture artists whose work is showcased here at Marcus Ashley Gallery.

Michael Parkes

Micheal Parkes is arguably the leading magical realism artist in the world at the moment. His sculptures (and his artwork in general) borrow heavily from figurativism, seamlessly blending these two styles. Interestingly enough, Parkes used to paint in the abstract expressionist style earlier in his artistic career. At a certain point, he gave up the practice of art all together and traveled to India in search of inspiration and philosophical illumination. Emerging from his hiatus, his style underwent a dramatic change, represented by the vast body of his work today.

Angel Affair by Michael Parkes

Parkes uses various mediums, including canvas, paper, vellum, stone lithographs, and bronze sculptures. His figurative sculptures are truly stunning, and versatile in that they work in a variety of spaces. They blend mythical and modern elements in ways that surprise and delight. There’s usually an interesting backstory to go with them as well. 

Angel Affair, depicted here, was conceived while Parkes was stranded at Zurich airport in the middle of a snowstorm. His companions happened to be businessmen. While waiting for the next flight, he fell into a fitful slumber and dreamt of angels flying down to the businessmen to kiss their loneliness away. When he woke up, he swore he saw an angel fly away and leave behind a single feather that he has to this day. 

As with most of his figurative bronze sculptures, Angel Affair is rendered in a traditional Florentine patina, however, you can choose to buy it with a customized, colorful patina that Parkes creates using special techniques.  The intricate detailing you see on parts of the sculpture, including the angel’s wings and the businessman’s hair is achieved using a special sculpting technique called ‘Lost-wax’. 

Boris Kramer

Synergy by figurative sculpture artist Boris Kramer

As the son of world-renowned artist Richard Kramer, Boris was perhaps born to be one himself. His figurative sculptures are found in galleries and private collections all over the world. He uses mediums like steel, bronze, brass, and copper

Kramer learnt blacksmithing techniques at an early age by his father’s side. His work showcases a fascination for human relationships and often evokes dynamism and intensity of the kind found in exuberant dance routines.  

Case in point — Synergy — is a polished steel creation. The figures are forged from mild steel, which is heated, twisted, and welded until the figures form a continuous loop. They’re meant to showcase the strength that is found when two people connect intimately. 

This steel sculpture is about 50 inches or just over four feet tall and works equally well as an outdoor or indoor showpiece. Each of Kramer’s sculptures are unique, hand forged and personally signed by him. You can explore more of Boris Kramer’s work at Marcus Ashley Gallery. Keep a close eye on our events calendar to see when Kramer is due to visit one of our gallery art events next.


Pieta by Michelangelo

Michelangelo is one the greatest, if not the greatest, figurative sculpture artists of all time. Referred to as Il Divino or “the divine one,” his skill is and will be revered for generations to come. His works during the Renaissance period are some of the most recognizable and important images in art history and treasured possessions in museums and private collections worldwide.

Featured here is arguably his most famous bronze sculpture ever — the Pieta. As one of his defining creations, it cemented his name in history at the age of 23. The Pieta was commissioned in 1498 by French Cardinal Jean de Bilhères, initially as a tomb monument. However, it was so well received that it went on to be showcased inside St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, where it stands to this day.

Originally carved from beautiful Carrara marble, the figurative sculpture depicts the Virgin Mary supporting the body of the dead Christ in her lap after his crucifixion. The Pieta is special because this theme of the Virgin Mary and Jeses was virtually unknown in Italy at that point in time. Bronze limited editions of Michelangelo’s work today are sanctioned by Casa Buonarroti. Formed by Michelangelo’s family after his death, they are the sole possessors of the artist’s “droits morale” or moral rights. We are honored to offer our clients and community access to these treasured works.

Loet Vanderveen

Greater Kudu - Regular by Loet Vanderveen

The late Loet Vanderveen’s work as a figurative sculpture artist stands out in this list for his focus on animal forms. The highly stylized poses and interpretations of his sculptures give you some sense of his great love for animals. His creations are coveted possessions in museums worldwide. Marcus Ashley Gallery hosts one of the few comprehensive collections of Vanderveen’s work available anywhere in the world. 

Vanderveen worked largely with bronze. Kudu, Greater-Regular, shown here is a great example of his attention to detail when representing the animal form. The greater kudu is an antelope found in southern and eastern Africa. As someone who’s been on many African safaris for first-hand inspiration, much of Vanderveen’s work showcases wildlife from that region. This figurative sculpture shows the antelope nestled in its natural sedentary pose in the wild. It’s rendered with an elegant black crackle patina, lifting the appeal of the piece.

Explore More Figurative Art at Marcus Ashley Gallery

All the artists featured here and more can be found at Marcus Ashley Gallery. Browse through the work of Renaissance masters and modern to contemporary geniuses alike. If you’re really struck by this art style, talk to one of our art experts for more information on figurative sculpture artists. 
Learn more about all the services our gallery offers to give you an enriching art experience, as well as some of our excellent financing options.

Artist Highlight: Alexander Volkov’s Paintings

Alexander Volkov is a modern day master of realism. He’s most widely known for the clarity of vision which drives his creations and the interplay of light that brings each piece alive. He has a particular fondness for the American countryside and much of his portfolio over the past 30 years has featured this. His realistic landscape paintings are some of the most captivating representations of rural America you’re likely to come across.  

Volkov lives in Frenchtown, NJ with his wife and business partner Heidi Breyer. They’re parents to five adult children.

Early Life in Russia

Volkov was born in St. Petersburg — formerly Leningrad — in Russia in 1960. From the age of seven to 17, he attended a special English school. He started painting when he was in high school using oil — his primary medium to this day. This continued while he studied at the Department of Physics at Leningrad State University, where he graduated from in 1986. Following graduation, Volkov worked for a time as an animator at the Leningrad Studio of Science Films and later as a stage artist in a small theater in the city.

Around 1981, he began to exhibit some of his realistic landscape paintings with the Brotherhood of Experimental Arts, an “underground” art collective active in Leningrad at the time. Later on, he joined a breakaway group of some 30 artists called Ostrov or “Island.” These artists united together in the ideology that their work was neither socialist realism nor extreme avant garde.

In 1989 he immigrated to the U.S. In a stark break from the thrum and bustle of St. Petersburg he was used to, he chose to settle in rural America, which has been his home for over three decades. It’s these vistas that have fed his imagination and inspired his vast portfolio of realistic landscape paintings. 

His Process and Inspirations 

Volkov reluctantly refers to himself as “self-taught.” He believes that there is learning readily available all around you, should you want it; people, dead and alive, famous and unknown, and even things and events around you can be a source of learning if you’re willing to pay attention. 

As an evolving artist, Volkov drew inspiration from a host of “teachers,” including Rembrandt, William Turner, Franz Hals, Vermeer, and many other past greats. He looked to Beethoven and Satie, Einstein and Tarkovsky, and Nabokov and Steinbeck. There were also the people he grew up with and those in his life, including school and university friends, professors, and struggling artists.

In addition to realistic landscape paintings, Alexander Volkov is also fascinated by architectural depictions and still-lifes. He brings drama and poetic expression to all of this work through his favored device — light.

The use of light features heavily throughout Volkov’s work. He skillfully lends mood and creates an atmosphere in his paintings through an interplay between light and darkness. The resulting artwork always feels like it has a story to tell and draws the viewer in.

“There is no greater mystery to me than the conflict of light and dark. In the way they clash and penetrate each other, there is the source of everything.”

A Look at Volkov’s Work

To give you a deeper insight into his method, we’ve featured select artwork from Volkov, including some of his original realistic landscape paintings as well as the result of his foray into a brand new medium.

Hunter’s Moon

Hunter’s Moon realistic landscape painting by Alexander Volkov

Hunter’s Moon marks St. John’s Eve — the Summer Solstice, a magical time when spirits are said to come out of the ground and the water and join the festivities happening all around. The painting is also meant to convey stillness and serenity with the moon peeking through the trees and beautifully lighting up the glade and the lake. Volkov tries to create a mood where the viewer can absorb this sense of calm and quietude amidst the celebrations of the day.

This realistic landscape painting is an alla prima or a “first try.” The artist uses faster drying paints and larger brushes to lend deeper textures throughout the piece. Employing this method allows him to revisit the techniques of his youth and create works of art with more passion and intensity. This technique results in a more impressionistic aesthetic, a natural fit for Alexander Volkov’s realistic landscape paintings. Volkov’s alla prima works are usually not published as limited editions. 

Locktown Sunset

Locktown Sunset by Alexander Volkov

This is a special painting by Alexander Volkov. It shows the interior of a church in New Jersey, close to where he lives. While the church itself isn’t operational anymore, the local community wanted to find a way to save and preserve this place. Volkov created Locktown Sunset for a fundraiser that could be used to help this church. He spent hours inside this church by himself looking at how the light passed through the space and glanced off its walls. He was deeply struck by the harmony, beauty, and simplicity of the place. It seemed to him as if the church was a focal point in the world and while he was in there, nothing else existed but him and the church. The experience moved him and inspired him to create this piece.

Locktown Sunset bears all the hallmarks of a Volkov original, with the skilful rendition of light across the church’s surfaces and the atmosphere it creates. It’s one of his most recent works.

Eternal Love

Eternal Love by ALexander Volkov

In a departure from his realistic landscape paintings and still lifes, Volkov explores the world of sculpture with Eternal Love, his debut piece. Amid the turmoil of 2020, Volkov turned 60. Those two events inspired him to finally act on his long-held desire to foray into sculpture. He felt it was a natural segue for his artistic expression. 

Eternal Love is a sculpture of two hands reaching upwards together, capturing his evolution as a person on two fronts — as a husband and as an artist. It represents enduring hope, faith, and love for life, and symbolizes enduring human resilience in difficult times.

Volkov used a cast of his own hand as a muse. The sculpture’s hands are crafted from polymer clay infused with marble powder. The base is made from solid marble. The sculpture also features his signature interplay of light, its elements are positioned in a way so as to cast shadows at different angles of illumination. 

Explore More Volkov Art at Marcus Ashley Gallery

Volkov’s portfolio is available in its entirety at Marcus Ashley Gallery. Browse more sculptures and realistic landscape paintings by Alexander Volkov. Discuss his work with our art consultants to get an even deeper insight into his process. Volkov is very open to collaboration and taking on commissions that help bring someone else’s vision to life.

Look through our gallery services for a more enriching art experience and keep a tab on our art events for a chance to meet the artist in person.

Why We Love Mixed Media Artists

Mixed media painting of an eagle by 2Wild at Marcus Ashley Gallery
“Wild Flight” by 2Wild, acrylic and mixed media on panel

Mixed media artwork is totally free of restrictions. Any limitation a particular media might have is forfeit when you blend materials to create your own new style. The lack of barriers can be overwhelming for some, but the best mixed media artists utilize the full extent of their creativity to produce utterly ingenious artwork.

Here, we’ll explore why mixed media art is breaking boundaries and the contemporary mixed media artists that are shaping the genre. Learn more from the art connoisseurs at Marcus Ashley Gallery.

A Brief History of Mixed Media Art

The definition of mixed media can simply be “artwork that uses more than one medium,” the concept of which has been around since as long as artwork has been around. As a respected art form in the Western world, however, mixed media became popular around the time of Picasso around the 1910s. 

Picasso would blend previously unheard of materials like canvas, rope, and seemingly random materials such as wallpaper in his work. His peers, including Braque and Matisse, experimented with collage and cubism in new and eccentric ways, blending media in a way that was previously considered gauche or unacceptable.   

The mixed media artist Marcel Duchamp truly took collage to new heights, however, with his innovative and often bizarre collages. He took strange items like newspaper clippings and broken pipes to make artwork that really “stood out” — and even infuriated some fine art connoisseurs at the time.

Mixed media artwork often existed to challenge the very idea of what artwork was to the art world, especially those in high society salons who were still firmly rooted in classical techniques and approaches. Mixed media artwork was one of the big steps towards breaking down boundaries for artwork that existed between the rich and the poor. Its message: “You can make art out of anything.”

Contemporary Mixed Media Artists We Love

At Marcus Ashley Gallery, we’re proud to host work from some of the finest mixed media artists of our time. Mixed media allows artists to push creative boundaries and give two-dimensional works interesting texture and unique 3D elements. 

Below is some of our favorite mixed media artwork on display at our gallery. Make sure you explore more artists at our online exhibition!

2Wild (An Artistic Collaboration of Barak and Miri Rozenvain)

Mixed media artwork of a golfer swinging a club with the arc of his swing covered in colorful butterflies, entitled Spring Golfing by artist duo 2Wild.
Spring Golfing” by 2Wild, acrylic and mixed media on panel

Brother and sister duo Miri and Barak Rozenvain are some of the best known contemporary mixed media artists today, and they do not hold back in their ambitious experimentation and soaring creativity. Both siblings are impressive and accomplished artists in their own right, and together, their art soars to new heights. 

No media is off limits for 2Wild. They use everything from map clippings to glitter to sand in their artwork, all carefully collected from places in which they’ve gathered their inspiration. They also take commissions from clients, and are happy to represent the themes and inspirations that are important to you in their unique style. 

Dave Archer

A colorful cosmic scene with a central pinkish planet, entitled Mystic by Dave Archer.
Mystic” by Dave Archer, mixed media on glass

Dave Archer’s cosmic mixed media artwork is not just superficially fantastic; the scientific approach to his work makes it completely out of this world. 

Archer actually uses a handheld Tesla coil to electrocute a mixture of acrylic resin paint, which produces “cosmic clouds” he then paints over with planets and surreal galactic elements. He manipulates the paints on the back of clear glass with two million volts of electricity, and takes inspiration from real photographs from space telescopes for his imaginary galaxies. 

Archer is a fantastic example of a mixed media artist who uses technology and specialized materials in his craft. He was one of the pioneers of mixing electricity with art as well, with his earliest works first made in the 1970s. His works are truly like no other, and have even been featured in shows like Star Trek!

Rolinda Stotts

A triptych of pine trees and an orange landscape, painted by Rolinda Stotts.
On the Wild Side” by Rolinda Stotts, mixed media

Stotts uses a mixture of different types of woods and acrylic to create beautiful natural landscapes and evocative scenes that respect her powerful love of nature. 

What’s fascinating and unique about Stotts’ artwork is that she intentionally breaks and cracks her work. The results evoke images of ancient frescos and decayed wood, adding beautiful layers of texture and tactile depth. Imperfection is beauty to Stotts, and there truly is a deep beauty in her one-of-a-kind mixed media artwork. 

Discover Mixed Media Artists at Marcus Ashley Gallery

At Marcus Ashley Gallery, our passion is representing some of the best artists of history and today. We host fine works from some of the best mixed media artists in the United States and beyond, and we’re delighted to share them with you both online and in person in South Lake Tahoe. 

Our concierge gallery services allow you to collect fine artwork for your own personal collection. We can provide the highest gallery services including custom framing, fully insured international shipping, and certificates of replacement value. Come visit our expansive gallery or consider purchasing artwork for your collection online. 

Romantic Ideas for Your Lake Tahoe Winter Vacation

Are you looking for things to do in Lake Tahoe for Valentine’s Day or other special occasions with your partner? We’ve got your list right here of fun things to keep you busy and enjoying time spent with loved ones. No matter what time of year, Lake Tahoe has romantic eateries, events, and attractions to bring you closer together. Here are some of our favorite local activities.

Visit Marcus Ashley Gallery

While you’re perusing the bustling Heavenly Village shopping district, stop in for a stroll around Marcus Ashley Gallery. Our art gallery has 4400 square feet filled with unique oil and acrylic paintings, watercolors, limited-edition prints, bronze sculptures, glass and metal art, gift items, and books. You’ll find artworks from renowned artists like Dr. SeussFabio NapoleoniMichael ParkesSteve Barton, and so many more. Or, if you’d prefer to relax at home with your sweetie and a glass of wine, you can also view and shop for works of art online!

Meet Contemporary Artists at Our Gallery

Whether it’s Jack StormsAlexander Volkov, or Eric Christensen, we regularly host special events for our artists at the gallery. Artists discuss their visionary techniques, offer special giveaways, or paint in-person so our visitors can see masterpieces being created in real time. You’ll need to RSVP to attend most of our art events, as we offer light bites and beverages for our guests. Enjoy time together in the gallery before heading off for your romantic dinner!

Hit the Slopes

The middle of February is the perfect time of year for romantic winter things to do in Lake Tahoe for Valentine’s Day or your special occasion. Snuggling up to your partner on a ski lift as you ascend a mountain ski slope is a great way to spend the most active part of your day. Lake Tahoe rests under the Sierra Mountain range, and any ski resort you visit will offer spectacular views, slopes with varying difficulty levels, and plenty of fresh powder.

Snowboarders and ski enthusiasts across the country love the diverse terrain of Lake Tahoe ski resorts. If you and your partner get the chills, just take a break at the resort bar and cozy up with romantic Lake Tahoe cocktails. Whether you’re looking to ski gently through an old-growth forest, up your game black diamond trails, or simply enjoy some laid-back time with your kids in resort snow parks, Lake Tahoe ski resorts have something for everyone.

Three people ride a ski lift up a mountain in the Lake Tahoe area

Visit the Casinos

After a fun day of swishing down the slopes, you might want to heat up your romantic Lake Tahoe Valentine’s Day weekend with a trip to the casinos! Lake Tahoe has over a dozen casinos situated on the Nevada side of the lake. You’ll find more than your share of slot machines, card tables, and gambling under the dazzling lights. But if you’re a light gambler, there are plenty of other things to see and do at the casinos, too.

In the casinos, you can grab a quick bite to eat or experience fine dining. You can also order indulgent cocktails at the casino bars, browse the gift shops, get pampered at casino spas, and just soak up the hustle and bustle of the casino scene. You could also catch some nightly musical entertainment at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

Romantic Date Nights at Local Eateries

After your days of sight-seeing, skiing, and art-viewing, if you’re looking for a romantic Lake Tahoe date night, then we’ve got some local eateries you need to try! There is a lovely ambiance and beautiful views all over the area.

Riva Grill

Make a reservation at one of the best destinations for a lakefront dining in South Lake Tahoe, ideal for a sunset dinner for you and your sweetheart. Enjoy your favorite beverage on the outdoor patio with sweeping views of the lake and Sierra Mountains. This is perfect for Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, or just because.

Edgewood Restaurant

Edgewood Tahoe Resort offers an elevated fine dining experience with contemporary flare and stunning architecture to match its exquisite view of the lake. With three options (bistro, bar, or restaurant) to choose from depending on your personal tastes, you may also end up calling Edgewood your home for the duration of your stay, as it also has premium guest lodging options, spa and beauty services, and other resort amenities that, combined with the food, you may never want to leave.

Big Water Grille

At this restaurant, views of the lake can be seen through tall pines. Menu items are moderately expensive, but the creative and fresh seafood plates are worth spending the extra pennies on, especially when it’s a date night.

Christy Hill 

Christy Hill offers beautiful views of the lake and a range of menu items, including vegetarian options, made from the freshest of ingredients. The dining room meal prices are moderate to expensive, but they also have a cafe that offers the same great quality for much cheaper prices.

Soule Domain

As soon as you walk into this log cabin restaurant in the woods, you’ll be warmed up with the sight of a cozy fireplace, low-light oil lamps, and a vintage setting. Prices are reasonable, specials change weekly, and many patrons say this is the best place for a romantic dinner in Lake Tahoe on Valentine’s Day. Make reservations well ahead of time!

We hope this list of romantic things to do in Lake Tahoe will help you make your trip something special to remember! Come back to visit Lake Tahoe again in the summer for all sorts of fun lake activities and new artist events at Marcus Ashley Gallery.

The History and Process of Lithograph Art

Lithography is a medium that has dominated printmaking since the 18th century, but its defining principle is rather simple: oil repels water. By inscribing an oil-repellent image onto a flat, porous stone, one can use the stone to create thousands of near-identical prints and spread their words and images far and wide.

But what is lithography in art? Lithography has applications in advertising, wallpaper production, computer printing, and even nanotechnology, but it is also an intricate art medium if you have the patience for it. 

Discover how lithograph art works and heighten your appreciation for the craft at Marcus Ashley Gallery.

The Origins of Lithograph Art

The first mention of the word lithography comes from Germany in 1796, when author and actor Alois Senefelder wished for an inexpensive method of printing his theater materials. Lithography comes from the Ancient Greek lithos, ‘stone’, and graphein, ‘to write’. German limestone, known for its hardness, porous qualities, and fine grain, was the first stone used to create the smooth surface required for a perfect print.

Senefelder used pencils made of fat or resin, then treated it with a special chemical process that could be washed and reused a great number of times without reducing the quality of the drawing, unlike the cumbersome woodblock printing process that was customary back then. 

Essentially, lithography art is the process of creating an image that ink can adhere to in order to make a large number of near-identical prints. Lithography was an early printmaking method devised for a simple purpose that has had a monumental impact that persists to this day.

How Does Lithography Work?

The process of how lithography works can vary widely from artist to artist, but typically, the process of creating a lithograph goes as follows:

  • An artist draws the design onto flat stone (usually limestone) using oil-based ink.
  • The completed design is then processed, or etched, using layers of talc and rosin.
  • Acid and/or gum arabic mixed with acid is brushed onto the stone to create a chemical reaction, fixing the oil drawing into the stone.
  • A solvent removes the drawing, and a material is applied that etches the stone into place. 

Modern lithography can often skip some of this process, utilizing polymer coatings and metal or plastic plates to achieve a similar result. Additionally, a derivative method called offset lithography uses sheets of rubber and the same concept of oil and water in order to print large amounts of paper, and it has persisted as the most popular printing method since the 1960s. Photolithography also plays a part in the mass production of electronics and other technology.

What Is Lithography in Art?

Lithography is a highly technical form of creating prints, but it doesn’t just have technical uses. After overcoming technical difficulties in the medium’s initial stages, inventors were able to develop a way of adding artwork to paper and newspaper prints, allowing for one of the world’s first simple mass production of artists’ works. 

Soon, lithography art could also be produced in color. An artist creates a different stone for each additional color and a separate layer of ink would be applied to the paper for each stone. The artist must take great care to align the etchings perfectly so that the colors do not overlap.

Artists began to use lithography about a century after it became a popular printmaking method, and in the mid-1800s, it became a trend amongst popular artists like Delacroix, Géricault, and Goya. 

Lithography allowed artists to achieve renown and recognizability like never before. For the first time, the masses could see masterful, gorgeous works of art in books or newspapers, making art much more accessible to the average person and different social classes.

Lithography fell out of favor as an art medium for a while, but it was revived when a new generation of famous artists including Picasso, Matisse, and Miró were encouraged to pursue it. New and easier methods were refined in this time, which made lithography popular for wallpaper, printing, and of course, art.

Michael Parkes: A Famous Contemporary Lithograph Artist

Michael Parkes has reached a near-legendary status in the art world for his mastery of stone lithograph art. He has spent decades learning this difficult technique, and an understanding of what is involved in his artwork’s creation makes his result even more impressive.

His meticulous art style lends well to the incredibly precise and detailed technique required for lithography, and he can create fantastical, intricate scenes with the same refined quality as his paintings. His lithographs are hardly sought after, and Marcus Ashley Gallery is fortunate to offer many pieces from his collection on our online gallery, which you can peruse at your leisure.

Discover Masterful Lithography Art at Marcus Ashley Gallery

If you have any questions about purchasing limited edition print artwork for your collection, what lithography art is, or other fine mediums on display in our collection, one of our experienced art consultants would be happy to help you. Contact us anytime. Browse our gallery online or visit our vast gallery in person at South Lake Tahoe. 

Explore Our Menagerie:
Animals in Art at Marcus Ashley Gallery

Capturing the natural world in art is an ever-impressive feat, and those who manage to portray the mannerisms and beauty of animals in art have a rare talent. Read about some of our most popular artists who explore animals in their artwork.

Loet Vanderveen

The late Loet Vanderveen was one of the most famous modern animal sculptors of the 20th and 21st century. His iconic bronze animals have been collected by Queen Elizabeth II, The King of Tonga, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and many more notable individuals. Vanderveen sadly passed away in 2015, making his limited collection of sculptures all the more rare and exclusive.

Black bronze sculpture of a kudu with curled horns by Loet Vanderveen.

Kudu, Greater-Regular

Vanderveen’s childhood was influenced by his love for the zoo and his dreams of exotic safaris. After serving in the R.A.F during WWII, he was able to pursue his artistic career and learn rare patine bronze sculpture techniques. This elegant form is enhanced by delicate patina work that gives it an entrancing color and shine.

Sculpture of two giraffes by Loet Vanderveen.

Giraffe Pair

Look closely at this sculpture and you can see the small cracks in the patina, carefully chosen to imitate a giraffe’s. It is only with Vanderveen’s immense skill that he could manipulate patina and bronze with such care.

Tim “Frogman” Cotterill

Every one of Frogman’s unique frog sculptures has a personality all its own. The jewel tone and texture is achieved with bronze, gold, or steel, and his masterful technique lets him create animals in art that are, in his words, “just plain fun.”

Frogman’s modern animal sculptures are currently out of production, so everything you see on our site or in-person is a limited edition and soon to be unavailable. Shop while you can!

Sculpture of a green frog with a red heart called Casanova by Frogman.


This lovely piece is just one of Frogman’s many gorgeous frog sculptures. This lively little amphibian looks so real it could almost jump off your display.

Sculpture of a red gecko entitled Diablo by Frogman.


Frogman doesn’t just make frogs! His eye-catching geckos spark the same curiosity and whimsy as his classic frogs.

Miri Rozenvain

Miri Rozenvain’s lifelike, kaleidoscopic animals in art are beloved by collectors around the world. Her unique style is a surprising mix of abstract and realism, employing a technique that adds captivating texture to her modern animal paintings. She creates custom pieces for the gallery as well as on commissions for our clients. If you are interested in such a piece, please get in touch with us to learn more. 

 Colorful abstract owl painting entitled Determination by Miri Rozenvain.

Determination (Sold)

Rozenvain is incredible at capturing the depth of an animal’s facial expression in her art, and this free-flying owl is no exception. 

Painting of an abstract colorful horse entitled No Speed Limits by Miri Rozenvain.

No Speed Limits (Sold)

This custom painting has such expressive texture that the powerful horse seems to almost be bursting through the canvas in an explosion of color.

Sally Maxwell

Maxwell has mastered capturing animals in art. Her modern animal paintings feature scratchboard, a rare and unique medium that allows for highly precise lines. She uses a distinct technique in scratchboard that allows her to add color to what’s largely known as a black and white medium. Her process is part of what makes her art highly unique and sought-after. 

Realistic painting of chardonnay, cheese, and a monkey by Sally Maxwell.

Chardonnay Monkey

This painting was inspired by Maxwell’s love for chardonnay, cheese, and crackers on a happy evening: some of life’s delightful simple pleasures. The lifelike quality is utterly stunning.

 Painting of bears and crows entitled Shoo Fly by Sally Maxwell.

Shoo Fly

Maxwell’s experience with depressive thoughts inspired this painting of crows and a bear. These crows represent the negativity she wishes to ward off. Her new slogan: “I AM the bear and I can do it!”

Discover More Animals in Art at Marcus Ashley Gallery

To see more of our modern animal sculptures and paintings, browse our online gallery or visit our expansive gallery in beautiful South Lake Tahoe. We welcome you to explore our inspiring collection!