A contemporary artist whose work impresses me is Jerry Van Megert. Last year I posted about him here on the 2Blowhards blog, and two of the photos below are from that article.
As I mentioned on 2Blowhards, I could find little about Van Megert himself, and that remains the case. He was born in Oregon in 1938 and educated there. His main work is portraiture, but I haven't yet found any example of this on the Web.
The Lodge at Pebble Beach. That's a Van Megert painting on the far wall.
This image of the Pebble Beach landmark is from the web site of Coast Galleries, which offers Van Megert's paintings and prints.
Van Megert's color scheme -- can I call it "clay-like"? -- isn't exactly locked into what an artist or even an ordinary viewer is likely to see when visiting the stretch of the California coast running for 60 or so miles south of Carmel. This frees Van Megert from the iron grip of the powerful California scenery that usually forces California landscape paintings to look somewhat alike no matter who does the painting. So what we see above is definitely California and equally definitely Jerry Van Megert.