California landscape painting - landscape painting and seascape painting, plein-aire paintings. Artist Z. Sverdlove's art gallery of oil paintings of subjects in and around San Gabriel Valley.

Zolita Sverdlove (1936-2009)

20th Century Impressionist

California Landscape and Seascape Oil Paintings

Watercolors, drawings, and graphic arts

Zolita Sverdlove was a notable 20th century impressionist. Her work utilizes rich color and she captures the majesty of her surroundings. Zolita Sverdlove received her B.F.A. from the Cooper Union Art School. She also studied with Richard Diebenkorn at the San Francisco Art Institute. Her paintings are in numerous collections, including the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, and the Owens-Corning Collection of the Toledo, Ohio Museum. Her paintings have been shown in numerous venues, including the Allan Stone Gallery, and the Cooper Union. Many of her art works over the past decade are oil paintings, watercolors and graphics of California landscapes, particularly of the San Gabriel Valley, the Pasadena area looking northward to the San Gabriel mountains and southward to the buildings of downtown Los Angeles in the distance. Other paintings represent the California coast from Orange County to Monterey.
This website lists current art for sale. You can make a purchase in two ways:

(1) Contact the Tirage art gallery at https://tirageart.com and they can handle the sale over the Internet

(2) Contact me at drdrapp@earthink.net and I can arrange payment by check

The Sverdlove studio is available for visits by appointment in South Pasadena, CA

Zolita Sverdlove was a prolific artist. As of October 7, 2011, there were 262 oil paintings, 1,180 watercolors, 1,050 drawings, 220 pastels, 645 monotypes, and various other works included in this website.

To link to a large selection of artwork in any category, click on any of the icons below:

Impressionist landscape oil paintings of Pasadena, CA and surroundings
Los Angeles and environs - buildings and freeways - Impressionist landscape oil paintings
California seascapes, waves, shores harbors and boats - Impressionist landscape oil paintings
San Francisco - Impressionist landscape oil paintings
Orange County, CA - Impressionist landscape and seascape oil paintings
Marshes, fields and flowers
- Impressionist landscape oil paintings
Trees - Impressionist oil paintings
Impressionist watercolors - landscapes, still lifes, seascapes, etc. Over 1,100 watercolor paintings are linked in
Cities of the world - Impressionist cityscape oil paintings
Impressionist drawings - all media
- black and white and color Over 1,000 drawings are linked in
People - Impressionist oil paintings
Still life - Impressionist oil paintings
Nudes and Figures on paper
Expressionist monotypes
(and Acrylics)
Abstract Art
Prints (etchings, drypoint, lithographs, woodcuts, linocuts, ...)
Zolita's favorites? - These works were framed and hung in her studio when she died.
Impressionist pastels of landscapes, flowers and other genres. More than 220 pastels are linked in.
– You can purchase art from Zolita's estate through the webmaster at drdrapp@earthlink.net.

You can arrange a visit to her art studio in South Pasadena, CA

You can purchase lower cost prints of some of these paintings at:



Self Portrait (circa 2005)
The South Pasadena Library has made a permanent installation of two large oil paintings by Zolita Sverdlove to celebrate 30 years of her work in her studio in South Pasadena. See picture below:

Statement by the artist about her work

The landscape of California is both breathtaking and ominous. Freaky things happen in Nature here.

What interests me are creepy skies over the mountains that make the mountains into something out of the Hobbitt.

What should not be happens in reality: postcard sunsets, crescent moons that hang at the wrong angle, harvest moons, clusters of jeweled lights, glittering palms under black skies, red sunsets with purple black water glittering under the clouds.

I am fascinated with the ever-changing, dramatic expanses of color and light.
My work is involved with both the gorgeous and creepy, the awesome and the frightening.
I like to deal with the real that appears unreal. This dichotomy: What is real? What is unreal? This is the essence of my work.

44-Page Color Catalog Available: A professionally printed catalog (8.5" x 9.5") is available containing 16 quality color reproductions of oil paintings, 4 black and white reproductions of drawings, and 24 pages of professionally set text. The full text of an essay by Peter Frank is included. The cost is $20 postpaid in the U.S. To order a copy, send an email to:



By Peter Frank

(Senior Curator at Riverside Art Museum
Art critic at Angeleno Magazine
art critic at LA Weekly)

Zolita Sverdlove would seem to be attempting the impossible: rendering the Pacific landscape with an Atlantic brush and palette. The vastness and brilliance of California space, whether urban, rural, or entirely natural, would presumably resist the intricate, color-flecked touch of a painter trained on the East Coast who had inhered the lessons of European modernism, and whose style still admits a love for impressionism, Cézanne, van Gogh, German expressionism, and the masters of stroke and nuance who comprise the New York School. But having painted west of the Mississippi for most of her adult life, Sverdlove has found a middle road, coursing between the painterly tradition in which she was raised and the pictorial tradition most painters in California practice.

Sverdlove studied with Richard Diebenkorn, but even the limpid lucidity of his Ocean Park abstractions, not to mention the vivid, dramatically composed canvases he realized in his figurative period, do not marry the landscape attitudes of our two coasts the way Sverdlove’s paintings do. Without ever quite resorting to inventing colors, she finds a (literal) middle ground by exposing the impressionist palette to the California sun and by wielding a brush that finds the moisture seeping through this dry climate. The result is a kind of neo-Fauvism inflected by a consideration (however non-systematic) of Pointillist techniques. Objects such as buildings, trees and cars are as much inferred as described, their veracity affirmed not by detail but by spatial context. Sometimes Sverdlove’s rendering can border on the crude, as in the rendition of Highway 101’s arching approach to the Golden Gate Bridge in Tulle Fog over San Francisco. But the crudeness is not only offset by the sensitive description of the Bay behind it; that description practically requires the foreground to be “imagined” in, the busy red network of the girders, the unlikely green of the pavement, and the blockiness of the cars all conspiring to determine an obdurate foreground that makes the sweep of the Bay and the gathering solidity of the famously dense fog that much more immediate.

Similarly, Sverdlove’s realizations of the Los Angeles skyline, seen from several of its many vistas, rely on color, mass and even contour to determine atmosphere. Space takes care of itself, either in forceful recessions that arch back, almost revealing the earth’s curvature or in the classic foreground-midground-background planes we know from 17th century Dutch landscape painting. Sverdlove tackles the problem of animating light and shadow, of creating a convincing continuity between here and there, with the superposition of the expected – gray-blue or tan-brown midgrounds, for instance, or the ripple of distant mountains – with the unexpected – the red, quasi-autumnal trees in the foreground of View from the Getty or the tangle of a freeway interchange girdling the low waist of Freeway Frenzy.

Sverdlove’s style thus provides her a menu of approaches broad and flexible enough to apply to a range of landscape subjects. Her most consistent characteristics are her brush and her line; even her palette changes, and changes markedly, with the place and the mood (time of day, time of year, weather). Her Los Angeles vistas are lit by their skies, many of which are infused with clouds. (Like other non-native Angelenos, Sverdlove waits for winter storms and summer typhoons to bring “real weather” to the exquisite blue void above us.) Her mountain scenes are stark, stylized profiles evincing thin atmosphere and poignant chiaroscuro. (Fittingly, Sverdlove admires Ferdinand Hodler, the great Alpine post-impressionist.) Her shore views, in the 19th century French tradition of Courbet and Monet (but also distantly echoing the more naturalist tradition of the early California landscapists), follow craggy promontories and placid inlets out to seas that turn from still to roiling in the blink of an eye; that turbulence is mirrored or foreshadowed by the busy, gnarled brushwork with which Sverdlove handles the wave-eaten surfaces of the rocks. And when she gets the opportunity to delve into a rustic scene, such as her description of a location (Clear Pool: Hahmonga Watershed) in Pasadena’s Arroyo Seco, not far from her home, Sverdlove unleashes her full palette, applying it delicately and judiciously so that the painting, however vivid, never devolves into a Fauvist color-fest and always maintains that all-important sense of place.

That sense of place is the heart that beats at the core of Sverdlove’s art. She views everyplace as exotic stimulus for eye and hand. Indeed, her most conventional paintings here are of a place – indeed, a whole ecology – she has never inhabited. Her depictions of the Everglades are by no means conventional per se; they are simply less unusual than her California paintings, structured as they are around horizon lines that in most cases fall near the middle of the picture and, thus, determine a low panorama partially obstructed by the park’s “Sea of Grass.” Even so, Sverdlove’s Everglades are not those of the tourist; richly colored and steeped in a wet, wet light, these views, expansive or close up, celebrate the integrity of the region’s ecology – not as a political issue (although by inference, of course, they warn of its fragility and argue for its maintenance), but as an experience.

Such experientiality, to reiterate, is what makes Sverdlove’s painting tick. When we talk about “sense of place,” we are talking about the experience of a space and its contents – which is precisely what Sverdlove sets out to capture in her paintings. In this sense she is an abstract painter, concerned less with the facts and details of her subject matter than she is with its experiential – not just optical, but tactile and climatic – essence. This, of course, has been the goal of landscape painters since the landscape first emerged as a genre. But the goal of every landscape painter, from Rembrandt to Thiebaud, has been to bring the viewer to a place via a route forged by that painter. However Zolita Sverdlove measures up to the history of landscape painting in other ways, she has earned her place in it by forging her own route.

Los Angeles, March 2006

Josef Woodard's review in the Los Angeles Times:

"Drawing on a subtle and rough-hewn painterly gift, Sverdlove shows landscape paintings of the great outdoors in our veritable backyard, although we may not immediately recognize the scenes.

Her landscapes are just impressionistic enough to throw off the scent of familiarity, and she displays a romantic's sense of transference, finding allusions to other places. Thus, she views "New Mexico Clouds Over L. A." and an uncharacteristic purple haze in "Winter Skies Over Santa Barbara."

Color plays a central role in her vision, as with the outburst of yellows and oranges in "Sea of Flowers," consuming the lower half of the canvas. This subject could have been gaudy in the wrong hands, but Sverdlove's grace and balance save the day. These are paintings about nature as well as about the pure inner life of painting.”

Artist's Resume:
(click here to see resume)

Other sites that display works by Zolita Sverdlove

Tirage Art Gallery

Valley House, Dallas, TX

Gallery Art Directory


The Fuschia Tree

Arroyo Arts Collective

Painter Gallery

Fine Art America

Ask Art

Alex Schaefer

Ruby Lane

Lillian Delevoryas
- a wonderful artist -
and friend of Zolita Sverdlove
Erica's Floral Art
To send a message with comments on her art work or a request for prices, send an email to the webmaster at: drdrapp@earthlink.net
This website was created by

California landscape painting - landscape painting and seascape painting, plein-aire paintings. Artist Z. Sverdlove's art gallery of oil paintings of subjects in and around San Gabriel Valley.