Pleasanton artist Mark Shawver became inspired last February while browsing through his family's old photo albums.
"I couldn't believe what I found -- it was like buried treasure full of wonderful old images dating all the way back to the 1930s," he recalled.
"I knew right away that I had to make paintings based on these wonderful, nostalgic photos of our past," he continued. "Most of the pictures are of family members. Some include people we don't even know."
An exhibit of the resulting collection, "The Family Album Redux," opened last week at the Lindsay Dirkx Brown Gallery at the San Ramon Community Center, 1201 Alcosta Blvd.
"I've spent the better part of this year painting people I love and some I dearly miss," Shawver said. "It has been a joy-filled trip down memory lane for me."
Shawver studied graphic design at San Jose State from 1975-78. He started his own business, Shawver Associates, a graphic design firm, in 1979, and he moved the firm to Pleasanton in 1984, where it grew to 12 employees. He retired the business in 2011 although he continues to work for a few clients.
He started painting regularly in the late 1990s, creating Pleasanton and other Bay Area landscapes, still lifes and portraits. He joined the Pleasanton Art League and the Livermore Art Association, and regularly entered juried exhibitions and won awards.
In 2018, Shawver was commissioned by Pleasanton to paint a mural at the Kaiser Permanente facility on Stoneridge Drive. He said that project motivated him to push himself more, and he went on to be featured at galleries and win awards.
In 2017 he had a solo exhibit at the Harrington Gallery, and last year he won a merit award for his painting, "First Street," at the Fresh Works exhibit. Now he paints almost exclusively with acrylics, including "The Lake," which measures 36 by 48 inches and won a silver medal at this year's Alameda County Fair.
Shawver invites everyone to come view his "Family Album Redux," which has brought him so must pleasure to produce. The exhibit runs through Nov. 25.
"Here's to family," he said.