The Nocturne Wall April 11, 2013

My Friend and art patron, Robert Eringer, has opened a new Saloon in Santa Barbara. It is called Palmeri's.  Once a seedy dive bar, Eringer has cleaned Palmeri's up, making it a location to come, have a drink and a chat, Listen to good music, and leave feeling you've had a "memorable experience," of leaving Santa Barbara without actually going anywhere.

He has taken a collection of my paintings; (38, out of the 86 he owns), and has decorated the inside of the saloon with them, and assorted pantings by his father, and Santa Barbara Artist Shawn Kirkpatrick.  The Nocturne Wall, of moonlit scenes, remains above the fray and frolicking customers  who are enjoying their libations below.

Most of the paintings depict images I painted on our Surreal Bounce over the last 13 years. Every painting tells a story about our quest; our search into creativity and madness.

Feedback from the clientele is that they love having artwork on the walls...

In my opinion, it sure beats plastic Budweiser pennants.


Photo: Robert Eringer



Setting Moon, Bird Refuge November 28, 2012



Setting Moon, Santa Barbara Bird Refuge
18 x 24  oil/canvas


Solo Exhibition featuring recent paintings by Thomas Van Stein
Compositional Elements influenced by the artwork of Late 19th, Early 20th Century Japanese Masters

December 6, 2012 through January 13, 2012

Artist's Reception: First Thursday Art Walk, December 6, 2012  5-8pm

James Main Fine Art and Antiques
27 E. De La Guerra Street Street
Santa Barbara, California  93101


Night Train July 25, 2012

The Criteria for my Master's thesis was set. I needed to seek out painting sites and images that were darker, and moodier than the normal "pretty picture" moonlight nocturnes. I found many of these settings were set along railroad tracks near urban industrial areas.

I painted this F-5 Engine on location at the Filmore and Western Railroad Museum in Filmore, California. I intended it toward my Master's Thesis, however it was denied by my committee advisor, Bruce Everett. It didn't make the cut for my Thesis Exhibition as content was critiqued as being, "Too Sellable".

Night Train
22x28 oil/canvas

Painting Status: Available for Purchase through James Main Fine Art, Santa Barbara, California. (805)637-8632

Carnival Lights July 8, 2012

I grew up in Carpinteria, and always looked forward to the magical mysteries of the St. Joseph's Carnival in July.

So last night I got the idea of grabbing my paints and setting up across the street from the carnival, and capture to the best of my ability, the muse of amusements. I say to the best of my ability because I only had my palette, easel, and book lights. I had two brushes; one #2, and one #8. I had no thinner, and NO OIL PAINTING MEDIUMS. I decided to just go for it as maybe that will help me to grow as an artists. (I remember my mentor, Dan McCaw, saying, " You should be able to paint inside a phone booth". So, I looked at this as a phone booth opportunity. I began painting at 9pm, and at 10pm they started breaking down the carnival. This image was taken at 11pm.

The only other extraordinary moment i experienced duing this painting was this CARPAS gang member, and some of her gang, crept up behind me when I was deep in concentration, and she  yelled, "BOO!!". Well that just pissed me off to know end and i let her know it. However, I was outnumbered, so I did my diplomatic best to educate them that I was working, doing my job, and I needed to get back to work. I think, because of my reaction, they were all startled, and because of my ability to articulate the reason for my reaction, they got it. They all silently moved away...(thankfully). But I'm sure they are all still thinking about it today.