Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Fanno Creek Marsh and renewal

                                  Fanno Creek Marsh oil on cradled panel 20x20

  I`ve only seen a small section of Fanno Creek, it suddenly is visible then disappears into suburban neighborhoods. Still feeling like a newcomer to the westside, there are many things that remain a mystery. The part I do know in Tigard, is lovely. This time of year it is flooding its banks just before joining the Tualatin River. This marshy area isn`t real accessible but wonderful sights reward those willing to get their shoes muddy.
 Complete in one day because I was excited, inspired, and bolstered by my trip to California. This is such a tangible benefit to travel! Given a different perspective things make more sense, priorities become clearer, decisions are made, resolutions are committed to and if it was fun, we return to our 'real' lives enthused and refreshed. This is so predictable for me, I try to go somewhere else whenever possible.
 This is how I did an oil painting in one day; first of all, I paint thin and in layers. If I can get into the studio in the morning, using Winsor Newton Liquin, mineral spirits and Winsor Newton Alkyd White in my process, I can lay down an atmospheric color base. Alkyds are quick drying and compatible with standard oil paints and mediums. After a walk, when I return to the studio, my under painting is nearly dry. Now I add some shapes and a few marks that look good to encourage my resolve. They are usually temporary. When I finally have a big block of time in the evening, again it`s a tacky dry which is my favorite consistency to work with. Now come a bunch of little experiments with  most of them removed. Often it`s just a small stroke or a random color that unlocks the image and it soon unfurls into being. If I`m lucky, like with this one.
 Here`s what I use;



 Lots of house painter brushes for blending, many tools for removal such as Q-tips and scrapers and little bowls to mix liquid color for pouring.
 Here are some more Fanno Creek Wetlands;

                                                    oil on canvas 30x48

                                                    watercolor on Yupo 26x20

                                                           oil on paper 9x12

 The abstract expressionist/color field painter Barnett Newman once said sculpture was something you bumped into as you back up to look at a painting. It is ironic that he created the 20th century masterpiece, Broken Obelisk.



 Sculpture usually doesn`t draw me in unless it`s made by a genius like Calder or Martin Puryear.
Take a look at Puryear`s 'Greed`s Trophy';



 This is in MOMA, it`s huge and delicate and commands your attention as it flares out from the wall. He was a Peace Corp volunteer in Africa and learned traditional craft techniques that he uses in his poetic modernist work.

 I was looking for new checks the other day and found a stack of drawings some co-workers at Assaggio did of me. Waiters are a talented bunch of people who have to keep busy even in the down time. Only one was an artist. My temper, sexuality and dislike of heat are duly noted.



 I thought this little interview with the legendary Joan Mitchell was terrific!

 My beautiful husband [!] turns 50 on Monday!





 work for sale in my studio

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Winter Oneanta - California - I-pad!

                                                         oil on Yupo 12x9

 From January.

 It`s interesting returning to my home state of California and seeing what it has become. Always the model for the rest of the country, technologies, ideas, and politics get tested here first.
 The air was so bad when I left in 1972, it hurt to breathe. Mountains just a few miles away were invisible unless the wind howled. Very bleak. Then they tried bold strategies involving auto emission standards to barbecuing regulations. It got cleaner!
Even with millions more living there now, it`s a much better, nicer place.
 This was a rare and perfect time to visit the central coast. It had rained. Once predictably annual in winter, it is now very special.  Enough had fallen for the landscape to become green;





                                                        Marcia Burtt`s ranch

 We saw some unusual landscapes;

                                                         Eucalyptus Forest

                                                             Lagoon

                                                          Coastal Marsh

 My friends were well and generous with their time and attention. California suits them and they deserve its pleasures. My plein air adventure with Marcia Burtt was fun though we did more talking than painting. This is defensible, she is quite interesting and artists are alone so much of the time. This oak tree is almost, but not quite complete;

                                                        Unfinished 21x20

 What really got me excited was the progress I made in understanding the painting app Art Rage for I-pad. I played with it on the plane and finally made some sense of it. Ever since seeing David Hockney`s efforts, I`ve been intrigued. If he can do it, so can I. There are probably newer and easier programs now but this is the one I have. Making the abstract 'painting' below had me transfixed from San Francisco to Portland. It`s just a doodle but I learned how to use some of the tools.


 The portability and convenience make this so appealing! I could sit comfortably in my lawn chair while everyone struggles to unfold their French easels in the proper sequence.

 In April, we`re going to spend a night here. I`ve always wanted to just stand in a houseboat. This is going to be fun!




 Wouldn`t you love to hear what he made that thing do?





work for sale in my studio

next studio demonstration is Sat. March 14, 10 am

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Oxbow Slough-demo-SLO

                                                 Oxbow Slough 20x16 oil on canvas

 It was a good week for wetlands! It really hasn`t rained much but the Tualatin River is in flood stage and Minto Brown Island is a swamp. This isn`t good at all, it can only be snowmelt. The weather has been so mild and the freezing level so high, the snowpack is 15% of normal. There will not be anything wet by summer. And the party of climate change deniers won even more seats in Congress. What a world.
 I had business in Salem this week. The gallerist Mary Lou Zeek invited me to be part of her pop-up show 'Blink'!


 I first heard of this temporary exhibit idea as the Great Recession took hold. It`s clever, resourceful and such a good use of vacant property!
After delivering work, I had to go see the Minto Brown wetlands nearby;



The next day I walked through the fog along a bit of Fanno Creek. It was ethereal and gorgeous;



 This walk became the basis of my monthly demonstration painting this morning;

                                           Tigard Wetlands 12x18 watermedia on paper

 Tomorrow we`re off to San Luis Obispo to see my long time friend and glass artist, George Zarolinski and her husband Steve. They relocated after 40 years in Chimayo New Mexico. I need to see their new lives!
 While we`re in the area, I`ll finally meet my internet friend Marcia Burtt. She paints large, bold landscapes on location using quick drying acrylics. We`re going to paint together out in the hills! I was going to do my usual, crude watercolor plein air routine which is basically a lawn chair with the paper in my lap but thought differently after thinking about her offer. She had extra French easels, plenty of paints and brushes so I decided to act like a Roman in Rome. I`m going to paint vertically while standing up! Like she does!
 Here is a vibrant painting of hers I just found on Pinterest;






Sunday, February 8, 2015

Winter River-re-do`s-Oregon City

                                                  Winter River  oil on canvas 24x24

 In January I happened to be walking in Brown`s Ferry Park along the Tualatin River on a gorgeous mild sunny day. The park has plenty of paved walkways but also a muddy path right along the water`s edge. In the low angled sunlight the bare branches had a golden glow that reflected in the flat glassy water.

 Almost ready for our show in downtown Lake Oswego! My pal Tom Cramer will be showing his relief wood carvings and pointillist paintings.
 In assembling my work, I could see a couple needed new attention;

                                          Rainforest Clearing  oil on cradled panel 20x20

 This was first painted last year at Sitka and looked like this. Not bad but I think I was too persuaded by my reference photo. In reworking it, I just relied on memory.

                                             Oswego Creek Spring oil on canvas 30x24

 This has been a favorite but something I couldn`t identify was off. Finally, I could see that the shoreline was too hard. Now it is softer.

 Last night Roxanne Colyer Clingman`s relocated gallery, In Bocca al Lupo, celebrated its new life in historic Oregon City. The place was mobbed and there was genuine excitement that a 'real' gallery was joining the community.
 I tell anyone who will listen that this town is almost ripe. With the huge redevelopment of the Blue Heron paper mill and access to the falls a certainty, this town is going to mega blossom! The Willamette Falls Legacy Project is doing this right. Lots of public input, sensitive to the native first inhabitants, the courageous early entrepreneurs, its industrial heritage and the unique natural beauty, the whole downtown area is poised to become something wonderful. Even better than it is now with it`s friendly funky atmosphere. Mark my words, in 10-20 years, OC will be renown as an arts center. The New York Times will have features on the best galleries and restaurants. Artists know these things, pardon my immodesty. I had a studio in the Pearl District of Portland before anyone ever called it that. The reason is simple, artists want and need affordable studios in interesting and/or beautiful places. Often these neighborhoods have been mostly abandoned. Artists come in because it`s cheap and eventually gentrification begins. This doesn`t have to be a negative development. With oversight and careful zoning, a diverse, dynamic community can evolve. That`s the plan in Oregon City. I`d love to live here if I could talk John into leaving Lake Oswego.
 When I lived in Portland, I was shamefully ignorant of Clackamas County. What was there to know? Who cared? Portland was so eccentric and fun and beautiful and it was even affordable. As long as you were renting. We were hesitant and skeptical new residents down here but it had everything we had prioritized at a price we could afford. I`m happy we came.
 Here are a couple of photos of the industrial core of OC;





Finally this joyful painting from the late Norbert Schwontkowski. Quiet and exuberant!




work for sale in my studio








Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Oregon Rainforest Morning-another paper-L K Price

                                                 watermedia on paper 14x11

 Because I`m surrounded by unfinished oil paintings intended for a show of oils opening in March, all I want to do is play with watercolor. It`s discouraging being human.
 I had a marvelous walk around Cook`s Butte the other morning in the fog. I can`t explain why it is so exciting to me but it really is. Everything looks better in the mist! I went down into the studio, looked at the unresolved, uncooperative canvases then over to some paper I haven`t had a minute to try. I found the time. I know from years of hiking that coming in from a rich experience in nature can turn to gold if I can just start painting. I used to think this was just ordinary inspiration but now I think it`s more complex, 'emotional' memory is involved. It can guide the painting without any reference. First I did the study below. The paper was simply called Multi media/Aquarelle. 100% cotton, heavy sizing, 140 lb. cold pressed and inexpensive! [New York Central Art Supply]

                                                watercolor on paper 7x5

 I felt so confident, I thought I`d document it;




 And these were my tools;

 

 Nothing too unusual. A natural sponge for pre-wetting and later lifting. Lots of Kleenex for blotting, Q-tips for drawing through wet paint making a soft fat line, a silicone spatula for drawing with a sharper line, a piece of mat board with a bevel edge for scraping like with a squeegee, cheap house painter brush for blending and then the watercolor brushes. Note those at the top have extra long soft bristles. I`ve come to prefer this type because you can really load them up yet they`ll also come to an edge or point. I`m using a bristle filbert that is extra long for oil painting too. Then there is the angle brush up above. I love these because the double as a wash brush but also can be used for line.
 On bigger paintings I`ll use a much larger assortment. Often I`ll stop in my process and look over the choices to choose the best one for the task at hand. I feel like a surgeon sometimes!
 I did this one today before returning to my 'real' project;

                                          watercolor on paper 8x8

 Studio envy. We all have it, it`s rude but no one has the perfect work space they so deserve. Even though mine is huge compared to the gross carpeted bedroom I used before moving here, I thought big windows would have been nice. Then I got a National Geographic quality view at Sitka when I was a resident last year. I was constantly fooling with the blinds, moving my work out of the sunlight and coping with the glare. I`d do it again in a heartbeat but I returned to my basement very grateful for the controlled full spectrum lighting I had installed. Now it`s running water I yearn for. Here`s a great feature from Hyperallergic on reader submitted art studios. There are lots of them, look for the links.

Finally. my newest Pinterest discovery, Leslie Kenneth Price of Arcata Calif. Although he`s an abstract painter, his immersion in the landscape is obvious. I`d love to go on a hike with him. Isn`t this stunning? So lyrical!

                                              Leslie Kenneth Price


watercolor demonstration in my studio Sat. Feb. 14, 10 am
another demo March 26, 11 am at Museum 510 in Lake Oswego



Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Papers! Watercolors! Northwest Skies!

                                                            watercolor 17x14

 This is a plein air watercolor done on Second Beach on the Olympic Coast in 1986. I`m posting it because the paper was one I had used, literally for decades.
Meridian 100% Rag Drawing Paper by Pentalic was thin, tough, heavily sized and took watercolor beautifully. Until it didn`t. The formula was changed and it became more like blotting paper. This tragedy sent me on a long lonely search looking for something comparable. I discovered Yupo in my wanderings. Daniel Smith sent me lots of samples to try but none were right. I was like Odysseus just trying to get home.
 Last month I posted some of Georgia O`Keefe`s watercolors and mentioned my interest in the paper she used. Local artist Betsy Chang wrote to say she had been curious too and had asked the Museum of Modern Art for information. She got a boat load and passed it on the me. Mystery solved! It was cartridge paper, whatever that was?! Sarah Fincham of the UK stumbles on my blog, reads my question and writes to say;

 "Cartridge paper is what we use for drawing here in the UK, it comes in various weights and is usually sized for wet media, these days at least. And yes it does take watercolour pretty well, depending how heavy it is. You get a lot of granulation and it is good for wet in wet I find. Also good to draw on over the colour.

Often it is named for counties - for example I use Norfolk cartridge 210gsm - and it's named like this because originally it was used to wrap gunpowder for muskets, and would have presumably been made locally.

As for what it's made of - well these days I don't know if it can be made of linen fibres but I doubt it, it's usually made of rag and wood pulp, and is inexpensive for that reason.Texture wise it's almost the same as what is described as vellum in the USA."

Then she sends me some!! And a couple of others as well! What a love!
First I do a test;


 Seems very promising! Then I do a 'real' painting;

                                             watercolor 11x7.5 [Norfolk Cartridge Paper #3]

  I like this paper! Yet I can see it is not going to take a lot of reworking. Best used in simple compositions in a very straight forward manner. Like O`Keefe`s beautiful Evening Star series. Then I try Sarah`s other gifts;

                                                   watercolor 8x6 [Khachi Smooth Rag]

 This one is so sumptuous, I barely do anything and I`m seduced by color and watercolor magic and just stop. Going to get some more of this! 
Next I try a rough handmade little sheet;

                                       watercolor and oil pastel 8.5x6 [Hahnemuhle Bamboo]

 All these papers trigger my fetish so then I go online to see what I can find. A paper with the weight, durability and texture of American currency has been an obsession for quite some time. In the New York Central Art Supply paper pdf catalog I think I may have found it. Ruscombe Mills began in Britain 25 years ago and have since relocated to France. They specialize in handmade [and expensive] papers made from cotton and flax like those from earlier centuries. Creamy colored crisp sheets like Turner would have used.

          watercolor 7x5 [Ruscombe 'Machine Age' Compatible Cold Cream Wove]

 This little piece below, from last year, I include because it`s painted on a new American paper called 'Fluid'. It`s acid free and neutral ph but not rag. It`s cheap, loves watercolor but has a limit as to how long you can work it. Much like cartridge paper but USA made!

                                                                watercolor 6x6

This is blooming in my yard and it smells like heaven, anyone know what it is?