Friday, December 19, 2014

'Tualatin Overflow'-O`Keefe Watercolors-the Longest Night

                                       oil on canvas 30x24

  This new painting comes from a walk last week along the Tualatin River. I live close to its destination, the Willamette River. Here it`s at its widest and at this time of year flows with purpose. Yet even swollen with rain and silt, it`s maternal and graceful.

                                        oil on panel 12x12

 Another untitled abstraction, this makes five of these 12 inch squares. I think it`s out of my system now.

  A quest I`ve been on for decades is finding out what kind of paper Georgia O`Keefe used for her watercolors of the 19teens and then getting some for myself. This was in the beginning of her career and I don`t think she could afford hand made imports from Europe. The works are remarkable in their simplicity and eloquence. The colors sit on the surface and sometimes flow into each other. With extreme yet painterly minimalism she suggests vast spaces;

                                 Light Coming on the Plains

                                  Pink and  Green Mountains

                                          Starlight Night

  She`s best known for her giant flowers and New Mexico landscapes but it`s these modest watercolors that get to me. Here she is in a short video.
  I was in I`ve Been Framed recently and thought I might have hit pay dirt. Amid the reams of odd, sometimes unidentified, discontinued and surplus papers I found a legal size document paper that was 100% cotton. Nice texture to it and at 5 cents a sheet, a steal. I bought 20 and tried it as soon as I got home;

                                       Sky and Sea [Tipton]

  Not bad but not as hard a paper as I had hoped for. This took lots of pigment and the washes were absorbed in a less than sparkling manner. The search continues...

                The Longest Night watermedia on paper 12x9

  A few years ago when she was still driving, during a bright and rainless December, my Mom asked me why the sun was always in her eyes. It might have just been conversation, maybe a senior moment, but I didn`t know where to begin with an answer. I thought it was common knowledge how the seasons happen, the tilt of the earth etc. but maybe it isn`t?
  I`m not a pagan or Wicca or anything New Age, nonetheless I think the winter solstice is truly significant. The early Christian Church agreed and placed the birthday of Christ right at this juncture. In the northern hemisphere it meant the return of a growing season, warmth and the chance of continuing survival. Life and Death. The progressive return of the sun, our first god, represented hope itself.
This is the season for light, these are the longest nights.

work for sale in my studio

Monday, December 15, 2014

November Rain 3

                                      oil on canvas 24x24

  This was my oil painting demonstration from last Saturday. I wanted to show how similar the technique was to how I paint with watermedia. They are often mistaken for each other.  Nearly always, I paint flat on the table using Gamsol mineral spirits instead of water and Liquin instead of acrylic medium. I pour washes made by combining the Gamsol and Liquin with color. Often I`ll use gravity to spread the paint by tilting the canvas. The first of these misty forests was watercolor.
  The artist and gallerist Roxanne Clingman came to the demo bearing a gift, a Princeton 'Catalyst' polytip Angle Bright Brush! I will paint with anything but this particular brush is a favorite of mine. How did she know? I didn`t even know the name of it but recognized it at once.
  It took me a while to figure out why, but because I participated in the Portland Open Studios, Gamblin Paints [based here in Portland] gave me a gift certificate for $50! That was nice! Other painters didn`t get one so I was confused at first. Then I remembered I had listed oils as my primary medium on the P.O.S. application. They make excellent oil paints and I`ve come to depend on their unusual, densely opaque colors called 'Radiants'. With my certificate I asked for a tube of Cadmium Red Medium and Cadmium Yellow Light. They were $25 apiece. The red [medium] is so utterly sensual just moving it around the palette is a hypnotic pleasure. It`s perfectly red too, not leaning to Rose like the new synthetic ones such as Pyrol And it has no warm undertone, one can make beautiful purples with it. If I ever give up landscape painting it will be because of red, and Gamblin`s Cad. Red Med. is the best.

Next demo will be watercolor, Jan. 10, 2015.

available work for sale in my studio

Friday, December 12, 2014

More Abstractions? + March show

  As yet untitled [Theodore, I need your help!], each 12x12,  oil on cradled panel. Randy was on a roll!
  It was a great week until the winds wreaked havoc last night! Yesterday`s wild weather pummeled the whole west coast. It was predicted but seemed impossible at noon. I went for a walk early to avoid it. We`ve had lots of rain and I knew the Tualatin River would be near flood stage.
  With the winter silt, the river turns a gorgeous murky greenish brown. That color is a splendid foil for any remaining fall color.

   I`ve wanted to work with this theme again since doing these small pieces a couple of years ago;

   During the drama last night, we like many others, lost power. As I laid on the bed reading my I-phone in the dark, a memory of a Mary Oliver poem featuring a wild night surfaced.  I found it today;

  She did it! My niece Mackenzie now owns a piece of my work on her skin! Design by RDT, execution by Ian of Hopeless Ink!

  Finally, I will be having a show with the renowned Tom Cramer in March, 2015! He is probably best known for his art cars;

  Since that notoriety, he`s gone on to create intricate and beautiful  bas-relief sculptures. Here is a current piece;

  Tom will also include some new paintings in this show.
  The exhibition is entitled 'Environments', and will be in the Museum 510, a space operated by the Arts Council of Lake Oswego.

 Tomorrow, Sat. Dec. 13, I`ll be demonstrating my oil painting technique in my studio 10-11:30 am. Come by if you`re curious!
5373 Lakeview Blvd.
Lake Oswego OR


work for sale in my studio

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Non Objectives-Coos Art Museum-Big Trees!

                                   oil on cradled panel 12x12

  Although American Abstract Expressionism was an early, exciting discovery, I`ve not done much truly 'non objective' work, painting that has no subject. Aside from portraiture, this is the most difficult painting of all. This may seem counter intuitive, without the constraints of a 'plan', what`s the big deal? sounds like freedom! Well I need some direction most of the time. This usually comes from my experiences outdoors. So my efforts in pure abstraction have been of short duration, but I try from time to time.
  The painting above had two previous incarnations you will see below. Neither were really bad but after a while I realized I didn`t want to look at them. This is my criteria about what can live or die  in my studio. As I get older, what I leave behind is becoming more of a concern. I want my heirs to receive things of beauty and sincerity. If they also have a market value, that would be terrific. So if I don`t want to see them again, it`s time for them to go.
  Many painters would agree there is something deeply satisfying in painting over a previous work. It feels like thrift, revenge and a clever head start. Often something good will happen.
  The untitled painting above captured my attention to the point I can`t stop looking at it. I emailed a photo of it to myself so I could look at it on my cellphone in the bathroom. Vain? of course but this is truly a measure of quality, at least personally.
  How simple, do I want to look at it?

  Here are some abstract painters I`ve discovered recently that I love: Wendy McWilliams who also has a way with words, her titles are inspired! Alexander Kroll is doing strong yet lyrical work and Jeri Ledbetter`s nervous marks on canvas have a raw emotionality I find moving. Check them out.

 I will be having a solo show at the Coos Art Museum July 9 - Sept. 24, 2016!

  Yesterday I was in my old neighborhood in Portland and went for a walk in Laurelhurst Park. This is a place I visited nearly every day for 11 years. It has a dozen or so enormous London Plane Trees I recognized as old friends.
'Trees' doesn`t do them justice, they`re more like 'beings', so magnificent and expressive!

  Baroque music seems especially suited to winter. Here is a piece from Bach`s Cantata #82 that will break your heart. I heard it on NPR a couple of years ago and it stopped me cold. It`s sung by countertenor Andreas Scholl, a dude with all parts intact. Bach`s love of God is absolutely palpable! This is evangelism at its best and most convincing. Scroll down within this link.

  "The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it."

updated work for sale in my studio 

studio oil painting demonstration Dec. 13, 10-11:30. Anyone is welcome!
5373 Lakeview Blvd
Lake Oswego OR

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Standing Water - Minto Brown Island Color

                                  oil on cradled panel 20x20

   This one was a struggle. I wish I had documented each fervid attempt to bring it together. Since it was only 20x20, it didn`t occur to me when I began that it would become such a complicated process. All I wanted was a still, late autumn pool. Yet as one week became two, I started to get worried it would go down in flames. With this painting, I had the stark atmosphere in mind but little in the way of a composition. Form, from just feeling is difficult, like painting blind.
  Which is not impossible. Watch Sargy Mann explain. It`s a beautiful thing that his 'standard' of measurement is derived from his wife`s body.

  Our Marion County excursion last weekend did include a lovely morning on Minto Brown Island. The color, both subtle and bright, was sensational!

   Other than when I went with friends to paint here, I`ve never seen another plein air painter. The place is active, I know the locals love it, but where are the painters?

   Autumn where I live, ended abruptly and rudely with freezing rain and howling winds. Some years it can linger into January as the warm rain falls. Now is the time for a different beauty, more graphic, brittle and linear. Throw in some snow and it`s a black and white world. Bring it on!

              Fallen Leaves-Mossy Rock oil on paper 10x8 2009

updated work for sale in my studio

oil painting demo in my studio, Dec. 13 10-11:30 am.
5373 Lakeview Blvd. Lake Oswego, 97035




Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving with Winter Rain

                 Winter Rain on the Slough oil on cradled panel 20x20

 At dinner tonight I asked John what he was thankful for. He gave me a baleful look and said "Don`t start". I was kidding as I know how much he dislikes seasonal piety. But after a pause he began to list them and I was included. Such a simple thing to just stop and think of the good stuff. Yet I don`t often enough.
Once a year we`re collectively called upon to do this. Let`s give it some attention, let`s remember to do it.

 When I posted the following poem in 2009 my father had recently died and my brother the year before. So had Maureen`s. I posted it again last year and now once more. She crafted this tender poem that assures us families remain families.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving-Rain in a Coastal Forest 2

For those families once whole with the living, my friend Maureen Doallas has written a poem. Republished with her permission;

Thanks Given (Poem)

Thanks Given

We were nine.
We were eight.
We are seven.

We were together.
We are apart.

We were mother and father,
five daughters,
two sons:

Together. One.


In Virginia and Florida,
New York and Tennessee,
in Georgia

We were a family.

We are a family
come together
with spirit,
with ghost

Eyes looking down,
looking up,
looking out

To a hillside in Arlington,
to a headstone in Venice:

Two to make
seven into nine.

Lips pressing thank yous
on shadows of air
breathed in breathed out

To save
for blessings
round tables


As one.

Copyright © 2009 Maureen E. Doallas. All Rights Reserved.

On Saturday we`ll drive south to visit John`s parents as we usually do after the holiday. We always include a visit to Minto Brown Island. This incredible combination of nature preserve, wetlands, dog park, farm, playground and bike trails is the crown jewel of Salem. Its good citizens appreciate it too! I`ve been here in some truly inclement weather and still found it hopping. It`s big enough for everyone and I hear it will soon be directly connected to downtown by pedestrian paths and bridges. Our modest state capital is getting sophisticated!
Oregon dreams big. A hiking trail is in the works to connect Portland to the coast 90 miles away! Two things unite everyone in this state no matter the political persuasion, income, ethnicity, location, age or occupation. Everyone really loves nature and being out in it, and everyone gardens. Everyone. Walk into any nursery in April and it`s a frenzy of activity. Get this, there is an organization that will come take out your lawn, turn the yard into a vegetable garden, maintain it and give you some of the harvest. The rest going to the food bank! Thank God for Oregon, IT is something I`m grateful for!

The new painting up at the top is of Minto Brown. Here are some others, I`ve done many.

                        Cold Fog on the Slough oil on panel 12x12

                     Minto Brown March oil on canvas paper 16x12

              Storm over Minto Brown watermedia on Yupo 15x20

                          Edge of the Marsh oil on panel 8x8

updated work for sale in my studio [38 additions]

open studio/demonstration Sat. Dec 13, 10 am to 11:30. Oil painting, which is nearly identical to my watermedia technique.
5373 Lakeview Blvd
Lake Oswego OR

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 surprise 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