Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Into Bryant Woods + David Hockney interview

                              oil on cradled panel 20x20

 One of the best surprises we had in moving to Lake Oswego was discovering it`s undeveloped parks. The city was wise to leave several greenspaces alone, just a few trails. Bryant Woods is a small nature preserve near our home that we visit often. It`s especially beautiful in the fall, take a look.

 The heyday of blogging has been over for quite some time, everyone knows this. Yet some of us continue out of habit, vanity, community or increasingly for me, as a journal, a visual record of this time in my life.
 The inspired painter from Montreal, Edith Dora Rey, was an early acquaintance and even mentor, teaching me a lot by example. She loves David Hockney like I do, like the whole world does and she posted a link to a great interview with him recently. He expounds at length about the importance of drawing and how to improve by working from life. In my humble opinion, Van Gogh and Hockney are unequaled in their inventiveness with line. Extraordinary painters of course, but it`s their drawings that astonish me. Hockney`s illustrations for the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales are pure genius. He`s even done stunning works of art on his I-pad.

Check out Danny Gregory`s blog. He asks some provocative questions about the creative process.

work for sale in my studio

Friday, November 14, 2014

Over the Sea 27 and others

                               watercolor on paper 24x18

Like most of the others in this series, this began halfheartedly but became serious. This is a 'go to' theme when I need to paint but I`m too distracted to focus. Before I understood what a complete cliche they were, I used to paint pears for this reason. They have such a curvy voluptuous form and with a jaunty phallic stem, there`s something for everybody! Someday I`ll post a bunch of them.
Here are some earlier pieces from this series. As usual, the 'styles' range from realism to symbolism to abstraction. All are me, sometimes just days apart. All are about remembrance.

                            watercolor on yupo 5x5 [#1]

                            watermedia on yupo 8x8 [#4]

                                   oil on canvas 10x8 [#7]

                                   oil on panel 5x5 [#8]

                                 oil on panel 6x6 [#13]

                          watercolor on paper 12x12 [#16]

Larry Groff`s enlightening web site, Painting Perceptions, nearly closed down this week. It never occurred to me that it cost money to produce. Which is naive because it has a wealth of information about representational painters and painting. He`s a really bright guy and asks thoughtful questions when he interviews an artist. The archives are rich with insightful, wonderful profiles. So when he said he was shutting down because of a lack of funds, I quickly made a contribution through the Paypal button I had never paid attention to. Larry wrote to say he could continue for another year. If realism is your bent and especially if painting on location or from a model is your passion, this site is extremely rewarding. Somehow I started reading it early and saw it blossom. Larry`s own recent work has become luminous and haunting.

Got to love Pinterest! How else would I have heard of Peter Hicks? He looks like a merry grandfather and  his website assembled with a kit, but this man can paint! It seems in Britain there is a respected tradition of landscape painting that is missing here. And watercolor in particular is celebrated. Even Winston Churchill was an active, decent painter! Watch this trailer for a film about Peter which is still in process. I love seeing him tilt and maneuver his support. He will do anything to get it right.

The next open studio/demonstration is Sat. Dec. 13, 10am

work for sale in the studio

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Demo + the long life of a little drawing

                                      November Oneanta watermedia on paper 24x18

This mornings 'open studio'/demonstration was exactly what I wanted. Eight friendly people, good questions, stories, wit and networking. Painting is just too solitary! Unless one attends life drawing sessions, a critique group or some other social yet artistic gathering, it is just too isolating. I`ll continue doing this on the second Saturday of the month as long as it`s fun.
 The painting began as an earnest watercolor but ended mostly in acrylic. Though I`ve painted this gorge many times, working on actual paper instead of yupo was an adjustment.

 That is Carolyn Germane Conoy standing with me. Photos by the award winning Jo Reimer.

 The remarkable Linda Robertson came by the other day to watch me paint and to coach me on Facebook, promoting and mailing lists. She had been a visitor during the Open Studio Tour, then wrote a post on her blog about our meeting which resulted in a sale.  Linda lost a close friend recently to brain cancer at an unacceptably young age. This woman`s sister in St. Louis saw Linda`s blog and her link to my website. One of my paintings reminded her of the hikes she did with her sister and she bought it. Sweet story.
 Linda asked that I demonstrate on paper, so I obliged. She wanted to learn anything she might apply to her encaustic process. Because I think photography is way overused as a reference source, I like to work from drawings or memory if possible. I took out an old pocket sketchbook and worked from a sketch I did sitting on the edge of an overlook in Ecola State Park. That drawing had been the source for this painting;

                                         Cove and Headland oil on canvas 48x48

It was directly behind me in the studio but I only referred to the drawing [1995];

This is the watercolor I did with Linda;

                                            Overlook watercolor on paper 16x12

work for sale in the studio

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Small Abstractions-tattoos-monthly demonstration

 These are visual daydreams I make between projects or when I can`t face another tree.

In 2004, the day after the election, I awoke with true despair. How could George Bush be returned to office? The insanity was crushing. To pull myself together, I went for a run in the cold along the Springwater Corridor.  As I crossed the bridge over Johnson Creek, I looked down to see a young man in a tiny kayak paddling from bank to bank gathering up trash. He was deliberate and thorough. He was making his corner of the world better.
I don`t follow any religious tradition, I choose like Iris Dement 'to let the mystery be'. Yet I`m not an atheist either. The sight of that citizen cleaning up the creek was meant for me. To give me hope, and it did.

Speaking of spiritual matters, the Huffington Post ran an essay on Christian credibility recently that gave me insights and even gratitude for my own religious upbringing. It`s a good read with compelling ideas.

Now that the Supreme Court has decided money is speech, consider this; if individuals made contributions to the poor and disadvantaged rather than to political candidates, wouldn`t our voices be better heard? By someone who cares? Rather than purchasing a nanosecond of an offensive television commercial? The late David Kuo made this point after resigning as the director of President Bush`s Faith Based Initiative in disappointment. Makes sense to me and I became a supporter of the Oregon Food Bank.

My beautiful niece Mackenzie asked me if I would design a tattoo for her of a tulip. She wants to wear my art on her forearm and I am honored. Years ago, for just a moment, I thought I should become a tattoo artist and cash in on the wave of interest which was clearly visible. Then I thought 'do you have a tattoo?' no 'do you want a tattoo?' no, OK then. Not my culture! However I`ve sure come to appreciate the good ones and the colors available now are delicious. She chose #4 with the leaf of #2 but on the right side of the stem. Done. She`s going to be looking at it a long time.

I had recently discovered the work of Lucie Bray, an intrepid plein air painter in England, when I learned of her death.  She had a fresh take on landscape painting that was both thoughtful and spontaneous. Take a look, her seascapes are especially spirited. She would pitch a tent on the beach and paint in all weather. Until the sea took her. The work deserves to be remembered.

The first of what I hope to be monthly demonstrations, begins this Sat. at 10 am in my studio. If the conversation is stimulating and the experience fun, I will be doing this on the second Saturday of every month. Anyone is welcome!
5373 Lakeview Blvd
Lake Oswego OR 97035
parking in my big driveway or next door at the clinic

work for sale in my studio

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Tryon Creek + alcohol inks!

                                                        oil on canvas 48x36

                                                             oil on paper 7x4

                                                           oil on panel 12x9

                                                        oil on linen panel 6x12

                                                      watercolor on Yupo 10x8

  These are all 'summer' creeks and that season has now ended. Adios summer!   Tryon Creek State Park is wonderful at any time of year but in the summer it`s a cool damp refuge from the heat. Where the vegetation meets the water is particularly interesting. It smells funky and fresh, it`s private because of the sound of the flowing creek, it`s shaded with stark sunny highlights and this is where you`ll see the wildlife. Everybody needs a drink sooner or later. I have walked this park dozens of times and I still find corners that are new to me.
 The rains have returned and life seems more 'real' now. This is the northwest I need, this is when I work best. The ridiculous short day is good for exercise and some shopping, then the long dark night is perfect for uninterrupted sessions in the studio. It`s exhilarating!

                                                alcohol ink and oil on Yupo 5.5x8.5

  On the last day of my Open Studio, Christine Lally and her husband Tim came by for a visit. Somehow we got to talking about alcohol inks. I`ve been hearing so much about them, especially when used on Yupo, the notorious plastic paper from Japan. I went to buy some recently but was put off by the names of the colors; Bellini Peach, Sunset Orange and Sail Boat Blue. I wondered if they could possibly be lightfast with such frivolous names. The Dick Blick employee could not help me with that question so I took a pass. When Chris and Tim heard I was curious about them, they disappeared for a couple of hours and returned with a box full of inks, yupo, tiles, frames for the tiles, gloves, solvents and tools. They then proceeded to demonstrate. I painted the landscape above on one of their tests. Without question the colors and the way they mix are completely seductive. There is a richness to them that is unseen in pigments. Yet they seem impossible to control, maybe because of the squirt bottles they come in. Unless chance is a major component of your work, it`s hard to think of how to incorporate them. A couple of days later, I found my bamboo pens and was all set to try to draw with them until I opened one and saw that squeeze tip. I could have dumped the ink into a small cup my pen could reach but getting it back into the bottle seemed daunting. Then, I tried them in combination with watercolor which was a non-starter. They wouldn`t mix at all. Next came oil paints and that was somewhat more successful.
  That box of 'everything I need to play with alcohol inks' was one of the coolest gifts I`ve ever received. Thank you C and T, my explorations have just begun!

I stumbled on this little interview with Duane Keiser, the founder of the Daily Painting movement. His work is truly remarkable not the least because he`s been doing those small exercises for so many years now! And they just keep getting more inventive and witty and gorgeous. It`s well worth the time to scroll back through his blog and get an understanding of his visual intelligence. He`s got young children and teaches at a college too!
How does he do it??

Carol Marine shows how! Check out her book on Daily Painting.

Thank you to everyone who came to visit my studio during the Portland Open Studios Tour! I had fun and you made me feel important!
For anyone interested in watching me paint. I`m having an open studio demonstration on the second Saturday of the month beginning this Nov. 8th at 10 am. I hope to get my teaching urges met without any accountability. Come by, I hope the conversation is lively.
5373 Lakeview Blvd
Lake Oswego OR
close to I-5
parking in my big driveway or next door at the clinic

work for sale in my studio

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Out from the Forest

                                                    watermedia on Yupo 10x8

 I managed just two small paintings all week. The Open Studios event takes lots of planning, cleaning, schmoozing and demonstrating. When it`s over, there is a real vacuum. I filled it with puttering, walking, sleeping and cookies. Andrew Wyeth said he did more work when he wasn`t painting than when he was. I think he meant that he was so preoccupied with visual matters that painting was just the physical expression of this reality. I get it. People always say how prolific and disciplined I am. My view of myself is easy going and forgiving. For not being more ambitious and for avoiding the distasteful promotional efforts to be more successful. But I am always, without any conscious decision, thinking about how things look. I always take the 'temperature' of my visual surroundings. How I would paint what I`m seeing, how it would translate through me? Discipline isn`t a factor.
 The stream is the tiny, delicate, and rare Rio en Medio north of Santa Fe New Mexico.

work for sale in my studio

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

New Mexico Mountains

                                                          watercolor 14x11

 For the last demonstration of the studio tour I chose to paint a view I saw daily in New Mexico and painted repeatedly. Not too many watched me for this one which was lucky, I was lost for a long time.
 I mentioned it to some of my visitors and another time on this blog but I`ll announce it again. In lieu of teaching, I`m going to be having a demonstration/conversation in my studio on the second Saturday of the month at 10 am. I do have technical information I`d be happy to share and opinions aplenty. If you`d like to see how I do things, come on by. The first is Saturday Nov. 8.
5373 Lakeview Blvd
Lake Oswego OR 97035

Here are more paintings of this view from different vantage points.

                                                       oil on canvas 48x70 1987

                                                      oil on canvas 20x20 1988

                                                 watercolor on paper 36x48 1989

And a hero of mine, George Bellows, painted it too nearly a hundred years ago. His visionary late landscapes are some of the most feverish and emotional I`ve ever seen. They give me chills!
All of his work can be seen here.

work for sale in my studio