‘Adventurous artist’ Tilden Daken to be subject of SCC talk

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The Sonoma Valley Historical Society will continue with their presentation of their “second Saturday” lecture this weekend, on Oct. 12 at the Sonoma Community Center, despite the recent power outages.

Bonnie Portnoy will share information about her grandfather in “Tilden Daken: The Man Beneath the Paint.” Famous in his time, Daken was one of the most adventurous artists of the American West. Born in Illinois and raised in California, he is best known for oil paintings of the redwoods, the High Sierra, Marin and Sonoma Counties, as well as the sunrises and sunsets of Southern California. He also painted in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, Hawaii, Mexico, Baja, and the East Coast.

Mastering what few artists in history have even attempted, he painted scenes beneath the sea in a custom-built diving bell. His insatiable appetite for nature and adventure shaped a lifetime of painting en plein air.

Bonnie Portnoy is a Marin County native who has worked for 20 years on her legacy project for Daken, a friend of Jack London, Pancho Villa, Sophie Tucker and other contemporaries. More information about the project and Daken is online at

The lecture will be Saturday, Oct. 12, at 2 p.m., in room 110 at the Sonoma Community Center, 276 E. Napa St. Admission is $5, free for Historical Society members and docents.

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