Sunday, April 28, 2013

New Spring Forest

For the last class in the series I`ve been teaching, I demonstrated rescuing a failed painting from mediocrity. I had a ten year old watercolor of trees and rocks in the Columbia Gorge that wasn`t terrible but it was really boring. After showing them the 'before' painting, I quickly painted over the whole thing with a yellow-green acrylic glaze.
I run by this beautiful rock all the time and the other day it was isolated in sunlight with the forest behind it dense with dark tree trunks and the new leaves lit from behind. I took a picture, but it was a clear distinct memory when I went to paint it for the class.
watermedia on paper 24"x18"

available work

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Toward a Clearing

Finally something new and better than I was expecting! There is so much revision, over painting, and scrapping in my work that the process seems completely incoherent at times. With this piece, a change in one small passage made me realize I was finished. The struggle was suddenly over.
oil on canvas 30"x22"

works in my studio

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Spring Orchard New Mexico

I`m surrounded by less than successful new work so here is my take on spring in Chimayo New Mexico from 25 years ago. At that high elevation, everyone is so ready for some warmth and something green.
I painted at Bosky Dell Natives today with my friend Ruth. She got a gem and I did a dud. Oh well, the day was sparkling and sitting along the creek in deep conversation was what I really needed.
Her recent post about the 'career' of an artist is worth reading.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Distant Peak

Once again, the demonstration painting from today`s class. By restricting the color to only one, value [the degree of light, dark and in between] becomes all important. I read on someone`s blog, that color gets the credit but value does the work. Without the concern for color and therefore realism, a painter is free to emphasize something else. I think with less choice, something more pure in one`s intention results. Some simple, atmospheric work was done this morning.
watercolor on paper 17"x14"

available work

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Camassia Winter

This painting comes from a walk through the ice fog last January in the Camassia Nature Preserve. I had just been on the newly reopened bridge between West Linn and Oregon City, drawing the view of the misty Willamette Falls for a future painting. On the way home, I decided to check out the meadows up the hill. Everything was frosty, intricate and extremely delicate. Until the sun came out.
oil on canvas 20"x20"

available work

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Kauai 6

The hills and mountains behind the town of Hanalei. There was always serious weather  going on up there.
oil on cradled panel 20"x20"

Saturday, April 13, 2013


The demonstration painting I did for the watercolor class this morning. I asked everyone to bring in something to paint. Since it`s April, we all brought flowers. I set a sprig of camellias in front of me and drew a quick sketch of them in water soluble graphite. Then I began adding color. In short order I was at the classic dilemma, the figure ground relationship. Leave everything empty and white except the flowers? Or try to integrate those blank spaces into a relationship with the subject? That is easier said than done. Working light to dark in transparent watercolor, I think it`s best to begin much bolder than comfortable, knowing the white surface is distorting. If something unequivocal is laid down early, it can set the tone for the whole process. Determining values becomes much clearer.
watercolor, acrylic and ink 13.5"x13.5"

some available work

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


This was the demonstration painting for the class I taught last Saturday. I asked everyone to work from a drawing. I chose one I did last year in California. After walking on the bluff above the ocean, I came indoors and did a sketch imagining the cliffs from out in the water. I believe when I draw my subject first, there is often more insight and understanding of it when I begin to paint.
This coming Saturday we`re going to work from something actual, like a flower or some other still life. We all have great cameras in our pockets with our smart phones. I`m very grateful for this but there is a real risk we won`t slow down enough to closely study something.
watermedia on paper 20"x16"

available work in my studio

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Minto Brown March 2 - Reed Canyon Spring

Two different moods seven years apart. The Minto Brown stuff is ongoing, and the somberness of those wetlands is the thing that attracts me.
In my former neighborhood, I often went to the Reed College campus to hang out in the improbable canyon which cuts right across the school. Crystal Springs originates here and it`s the last free flowing spring in Portland. The place was an oasis for me and many paintings resulted from my visits.
I sold the painting to a senior woman who drove out from Boise ID, alone, to buy it in between kidney dialysis appointments.  It was a humbling compliment.
oil on paper 16"x12"
oil on canvas 48"x36"

available work

Friday, April 5, 2013

Minto Brown March 4

I`m teaching at the Lakewood Center for the Arts this month, a watercolor class. So, I practiced with this. As usual, lots of acrylic got involved as I groped for something interesting remembering the wetlands from a month ago.
watermedia on paper 12"x9"

some available work in my studio, 
new additions on the bottom rows

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Marsh in March

I`m sitting with this one for a while. It`s either exuberant with winter funk or way too busy and muddy. This comes from my plein air outing in early March. While walking around to warm up, I got some photos of incredibly dense tangles of swampy trees. So far I have done five paintings of the wetlands since then and two painted at the site. It`s good to get out there and paint with friends, it can lead to productivity.
oil on cradled panel 18"x24"

available work in the studio