Beautiful San Mateo County Park Posters


Last year was the Parks Foundation’s 25th anniversary and this year, San Mateo County Parks turns 100. In honor of these two significant milestones, the San Mateo County Parks Foundation launched a new program to engage local artists in creating original artwork for posters that capture and celebrate the essence of each park.

We kicked off our new parks poster program with three talented artists who each took on one of our three amazing parks. Bruce Washburn pays homage to the diversity of local flora and fauna at Edgewood Park and Natural Preserve, filling his watercolor with an abundance of park details beyond the famous springtime wildflower displays in the serpentine grasslands. In her watercolor of Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, Sami Chang focused on the community of marine life, like harbor seals, anemone and sea stars, who make their home at the Reserve, while also featuring the cypress bluffs that delight many visitors. Artist Rebecca Holland captured the majesty of the redwoods in her oil painting for Memorial Park, while conveying the serenity of camping at this popular spot. 



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Bruce Washburn, “In the Edgewood Preserve”

headshot of BruceI paint watercolors with a focus on the natural landscapes and distinctive urban settings of the San Francisco Bay Area, Yosemite National Park, and other locations of special importance to me. Watercolor provides me with a perfect medium for rendering what I’ve envisioned and producing works of a type and size that are easy to share with others.  

I was thrilled to be awarded a commission from the San Mateo County Parks Foundation for their ambitious project to create posters for each of the county parks. And I was especially grateful to be given the chance to represent Edgewood Park and Natural Preserve, which has been a special part of my life for over thirty years.  I’ve spent countless hours on Edgewood’s trails and, as part of this project and with the guidance and support of the Friends of Edgewood, have learned much about its extraordinary world. 

Edgewood is many things to many people, whether they walk the trails in solitary contemplation, explore with small groups observing birds and wildflowers, volunteer their time to maintain trails and reduce the impact of invasive plants, or run through its rolling terrain in the early morning or evening.  

I’ve created an idealized view of Edgewood, assembling plants and animals that would typically not be together at the same hour of the day or the same season of the year.  Some of my favorite views have found a place in the painting: an oak along the Franciscan trail that stands apart from others to offer shade and protection, a vantage point on the Old Oak trail looking down at another trail junction, an attentive deer on the Sunset trail, and a pair of kestrels in a madrone scanning the fields below. 

I’ve accounted for some of Edgewood’s notable wildflowers, with springtime arrivals such as Miniature Lupin and California Plantain (with a Bay Checkerspot butterfly floating nearby) on the left, early fall’s Common Madia and Ruby Chalice Clarkia on the right, and the California Poppy thriving across the view.  My education on this topic is informed by the Friends of Edgewood wildflower survey and their careful observations over many years.

I’m grateful to the Parks Foundation for including me in this project and for designing the project as they have. Seeing the unique perspectives of the participating artists will be a wonderful way to celebrate the county parks.

Learn more about Bruce Washburn


Sami Chang, “A Day at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve”

I am a proud East Bay Area native. Growing up, I explored my suburban jungle of a backyard, sketchbook and pens always in my hand, and drew everything I saw. Though art was one of my first loves, I became passionate about marine sciences when I was 12 years old after taking a marine biology and environmental science class. This passion for ocean ecology drove me to pursue a Marine Science degree from California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) where I got to study a large range of marine organisms, from the Humpback whales that visit the bay during the summer months to feed on schools of sardines to the black abalone that hide deep within the rocky crevices of the intertidal to avoid being eaten by sea otters. Since art was still at the forefront of my mind, I went on to pursue a graduate certification in Science Illustration at CSUMB in hopes of educating large audiences on various marine organisms and ecological processes as well as how they are impacted by human interactions.

Like many in the Bay Area, my first time tidepooling was at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve where my fondness for the ocean and all the colorful and interesting creatures that live in this environment grew even more. I wanted to capture this space in its entirety – the journey to the intertidal through the cypress bluffs, the lower tree canopy red from the Trentepohlia algae that grows on the lower branches, along the stairs that climb down the sandstone cliffs, and across the beach, avoiding the harbor seals resting on the sand. I also wanted to illustrate all the treasures that lie beneath the water and are exposed at low tide to show how diverse this intertidal habitat is. From the nudibranchs to the seagrass to the oystercatchers looking for their next meal, this space is home to so many creatures that survive through changes in the tides. I also wanted to pay homage to the sunflower star (Pycnopodia helianthoides), an intertidal icon that was once a common sight at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve and has sadly become locally extinct due to the sea star wasting disease. I wanted to illustrate this space for all the beautiful reasons that many travel far and wide to enjoy.

Learn more about Sami Chang


Rebecca Holland, “Morning in Memorial Park”

headshot of RebeccaI have lived in the woods for 60 years. I always loved being in the woods. I remember as a child the freedom I felt while playing in the creek, picking berries and playing with crayfish and banana slugs. I still feel the awe and the magic of the huge redwood trees each time I see them. Scarred by fire, standing straight up over 300’ tall, they are survivors; they have been on this planet for 200 million years. They are inspiring and very, very beautiful.

I started my artistic career early, drawing and painting everything I loved–horses and fields and trees–especially redwood trees. I have been spending time with these trees and painting in oil on canvas for 70 years. It is a great honor to have been able to create an image for the San Mateo County Parks Foundation’s anniversary poster. When I spent a lot of time in Memorial Park recently, I was so happy to see all the people there, both young and old, but especially the children. Their enthusiasm was infectious. It looked to me that they were on the right path towards the future, a future where we work together to protect our natural world. 

When I thought about the most important message the Park had for us, I thought about the spiritual feeling, the golden light streaming down through the trees, and the healing power of nature…and so sun rays went into the painting. When we asked Park Ranger David Vasquez what was the thing most loved about the Park, he said, “for sure, camping”. So, of course, there had to be a tent in the painting. The trunks of the trees show the fire scars from years past; they are a sign of good planning on the part of the trees, of their resilience and survival. The hope is that this painting of “Morning in Memorial Park” will call more people to spend time in the park, time for reflection and fun in this beautiful and very special place.

Learn more about Rebecca Holland


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Artwork Commissioning Process


We released an open Call for Artists in early summer 2023 and received 29 applications. We were very impressed with this talented group of artists. After interviewing finalists, we were excited to have found our three artists who were just the right fit for each park.

At the outset, each artist spent considerable time researching the flora, fauna, history, use and particular features that characterize each park. They spoke with park rangers, members of the local Friends’ groups and user communities, and Foundation staff. With this information as their foundation, they each set about composing their artworks in different ways. We loved getting a glimpse behind the curtain as they shared the photographs, watercolor studies and pencil sketches used in developing their compositions.

Left, Rebecca Holland’s easel with a photo composite at top, pencil sketch, another study photo and her painting in progress; middle, Sami Chang’s test painting swatch for her Fitzgerald Marine Reserve watercolor; right, one of Bruce Washburn’s early sketches for his Edgewood Preserve watercolor

Throughout the process, we benefited from the guidance and expertise of the professionals on our selection jury:

Cindy Abbott has been engaged with “Creating Community through Art” at Sanchez Art Center in Pacifica, since 2012.  First serving as Board Treasurer, she was selected as Executive Director in October 2015. Ms. Abbott is an ocean, beach and parks enthusiast, also serving on the City of Pacifica’s Parks, Beaches and Recreation Commission.  

Rob Cala is a Photographer, Videographer and San Mateo County Park Ranger who creates a wide range of images focusing his lens on the often-unseen elements of the natural world. Mr. Cala produces educational, informational and travel documentaries and his visual portfolio has been used in print and online to highlight the diversity of life that colors Northern California and beyond. 

Rebecca standing in the creek taking photos

Rebecca Holland taking study photos

Robin Rodricks recently retired from being the Executive Director of San Mateo County’s Office of Arts and Culture. She took on that position in June 2021 after volunteering for eight years as a San Mateo County Arts Commissioner. Previously, she was a Marketing Manager at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Robin works to build community through arts and culture for a healthy, vibrant San Mateo County. 

Carla Schoof is San Mateo County Parks Department’s Communications Manager and part of her job is engaging diverse stakeholders in park planning efforts like Reimagine Flood Park. Prior to this role, she was a senior public affairs representative for Kaiser Permanente and a Program Coordinator for the City of Palo Alto.

Beverley Talbott hikes frequently and enthusiastically throughout the Bay Area and this led her to join the San Mateo County Parks Foundation board of directors in 2019. Before retiring, she held principal technical editor positions at Apple, Microsoft, and VMware. Ms. Talbott’s artwork has appeared in juried shows at galleries in San Francisco and elsewhere.

Thanks also to our printing partners at JP Graphics, a woman-owned, certified green small business in Santa Clara; and to our graphic designer, Kathy Switky, for the beautiful layout and text design.


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