Sunday, April 26, 2015

Canyon Pool and other New Watermedia

                                                    Canyon Pool watercolor 14x11

                                                End of Winter Study watermedia 8x8

                                                  Feuchtwinterwald watermedia 15x9

Soon I`ll be an oil painter again but I spent another week with watermedia. It always seems like a 'lighter' cleaner process appropriate for Spring.

work for sale in my studio

Monday, April 20, 2015

New Watercolors-Spillovers-Cooper Mt.

                                                   Tualatin Flood Study 6x6

                                                         Blue Tree 7x5

                                           Stream to the Sea Study 5x5

 Lots of paintings have left my studio bound for galleries and the summer season. There`s a bit more to do but for the first time in quite a while, I`m not busy! This is what I strive for, a slow simple life. What a luxury not having a pressing daily agenda! I love it and this ease is conducive to painting. My best days have a puttering quality as I work on several things throughout the day.
 Just for the change,  I did a couple of watercolors after concentrating on oil painting for months.

 Browsing my archives, I found these 12x9 watermedia  'Spillover' studies of Sauvie Island as the winter floods were receding;

These were mostly more successful than the larger oil paintings they were preparations for, though #4 translated well;

                                                      oil on canvas 36x36

 An exhibition of Rick Bartow`s work opened last Friday at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon through Aug. 9.
 This terrific painter is Native American though I rarely think of it. His work is teeming with totemic animals but somehow it`s just the animal personalities that come through, not human involvement with them. He is very adept with color and is inventive in his painting methods. I can`t wait to see it. Look at this;

                                                           Rick Bartow

 Are you sad? Emotionally conflicted? Worried about our world? Listen to 'Lacrimosa' by film composer Zbigniew Preisner. It is a section of his 'Requiem for my Friend'. This piece was featured in Terrence Malick`s visually stunning but odd 'The Tree of Life' during the birth of the cosmos sequence. This is sung by Elzbieta Towarnicka and she`ll break your heart open if you give her some volume.

                                   After the Wet-Echo Island by Elizabeth Cummings

 Isn`t this a wonderful painting? She conveys the vast spaces, heat and aridity of her native Australia through dense, monochromatic, agitated marks. I couldn't find the dimensions but because it`s a diptych, I imagine it`s huge and easy to wander through. In nearly all her work she uses a very warm palette that seems inspired by India.

 Locals will remember the levy we passed a couple of years ago authorizing Metro to purchase open space for it`s preservation and our recreation. We visited a new one yesterday, Cooper Mountain Nature Park. Unlike other preserves, this one wasn't mostly forested but had lots of meadows, gravel [dry] trails, enough shade to survive the return uphill, and beautiful views. We thought with its southern exposure, this would be a great destination in winter. When a big blast of light would be especially welcome.

 The park is in southwest Beaverton and knowing that mysterious city is known for its great ethnic hole-in-the-wall restaurants, we went looking for one. Yelp showed us a five out of five stars Mexican-Italian place near my art supply store so off we went. We had maps and GPS and circled the suburban parking lot over and over without any luck. Then I seemed to see signs indicating a mall behind Powell`s Books. We set off on foot and found a completely hidden, tiny mall with Paradiso Encantador in the food court. Its name is more than ironic as it looks exactly like a fast food joint. It wasn`t quick but smelled so good it was an exciting wait. Now I`m always really relieved when I see an actual Hispanic person in the kitchen. If it`s a woman, even better. God knows this isn`t fool proof but seeing people who look like me making my tacos is very discouraging. As a native of California, I am bestowed with ultimate authority on the quality of Mexican food in Oregon. Need I recount the years of disappointment? This was fresh, delicious and served with kindness and charm. Also inexpensive. We had to have dessert! Switching countries, we ordered the Tiramisu and it was outrageous with a coffee intensity I`ve never experienced in other versions. We were so happy when we finished! Why oh why can`t Lake Oswego attract this kind of talent?

work for sale in my studio

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Demo-Sauvie Island + sketches + affordable frames

                                          Sauvie Island watermedia 18x18

 The last studio demonstration for a while was yesterday. I had floundered so at the last one, I needed to succeed. So I chose a 15 year old sketch to work from. It was so safe, my demo was about to conclude after just a half hour. And it was boring, which is unacceptable. Only when I was ready to fail did anything interesting happen.
 Chris and Tim Lally were there and she documented the process and my messy studio in a sweet tribute.
 I once was adamantly opposed to using photography in my process. I thought it was obvious when someone did. Young people can be so principled! I think it may be part of identity building. We often know who we`re not before we know who we are.
 When digital cameras became the norm, I learned a bit about Photoshop and saw that I could manipulate a photo any number of ways, including illuminating the shadows! The ease of cropping an image led me to slowly adopt this into my practice. Eventually, I realized this was a much more productive use of my time than sitting in a lawn chair sketching. Like many people, I don`t particularly like to draw even though I think it`s critically important. Working from a live model is the most fun I`ve had drawing and that may be because I had no agenda for those drawings. Or it may be because I was drawing naked people. With the tiny landscape sketches, they were for basic compositional purposes. I needed them! Now I`ve come to believe that drawing and memory are closely linked though I don`t have any data to support that. I think all the drawing I`ve done allows me to paint now with minimal references.
 Here are some of the minuscule landscape drawings that became the source of much larger paintings. The first was the one I used yesterday in my demo;

Marine Air oil on canvas 18x18

  This is a painting from that time [2000ish]

Jackie McIntyre told me about them a few years ago and she was right, they are affordable! The Canvas Place makes very attractive floater frames at a great price. There is one catch whether you want canvases or frames, they come in multiples. I recently bought some 12x12 black frames and they were a bundle of six for $62. I think if I had taken a painting that size into some of the frame shops around me, it would have cost a magnitude more than $10.50. I guess there are actually two caveats, the other being the buyer must attach the frame themselves. That meant a learning curve for me but I suspect most people could figure it out quickly. This company has even developed a floater frame for panels 1/4 inch or less. This was a response to the daily painter movement and the demand for something suitable for all those 6x6 squares! Great company, I`m even buying canvases from them now. Check it out.

Have you ever seen anything this beautiful? This marvel of geology is recent, accidental, growing rapidly and is on private property in a remote part of Nevada. It`s a 'fly geyser'. More pictures and the story here. Go to the end to see an astonishing aerial video.

 Robert Gamblin has been making high quality oil paints in Portland for years now. He is a gentleman. When their line of 'radiant' colors came out, I assumed [wrongly] they were like interference colors or opalescents. A gimmick in other words. Since they weren't too expensive I bought a tube of radiant turquoise. It was so opaque it radically altered anything I mixed it with. Even though transparency is a hallmark of my work, I`ve come to depend on it. I use it in small amounts and especially like to have it on my brush with some other color. The stroke is then two toned. The white is just dazzling and I use it whenever the brightest value is called for. I find it indispensable. 

Two days left to apply! $10! Going to be fun!

Four days left to apply for this opportunity of a lifetime!

no more studio demos for a while, I`ve revealed everything!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

MB Spring Tangle - Sitka Center - a daughter`s memories

                                                       oil on canvas 20x16

 When derailed, I find it helpful to paint a successful painting again. To feel competent and on track. It`s best to keep working and this ends the anxiety. I want a brush in my hand when the 'spirit' moves through.
 A painter needs to be in motion for anything worthy to arrive.

 We spent the weekend near or on Sauvie Island. Since moving south to Clackamas County, I don`t visit very often. First we had a houseboat experience that was a little underwhelming. It was almost perfectly stable and I expected/wanted much more movement. The home and the location was beautiful and cozy however. The next day we walked toward Warrior Point and after, paid a visit to Howell Territorial Park and the historic Bybee House. Years ago, I spent many sweet summer days here painting with friends. Always exactly how the season should be; warm with cool breezes, thick deep grasses, far away views, clean and healthy smelling with a sense of timelessness and plenty. Although Saturday was only April 4, it was all there in the orchard;

Here is a study of this orchard from 2001;

A larger [24x18] watercolor of the back of the orchard;

and a small watercolor study of the nearby Kruger Farm;

 The deadline to apply for an artist in residency at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology on the Oregon coast is fast approaching! [April 17] Apply for god sakes! This place is heaven! Big airy studios, a comfortable apartment, the most pristine piece of coastal real estate imaginable and the priceless gift of time! You deserve it, you know you do!

 At first I thought it was ridiculously indulgent but John didn`t ask for my approval. Paying to have someone read stories to you?! He said try one! I did and it was a revelation. It was not like how I would read to a child, stumbling over words and yawning. The books were read by the most gifted, sensitive, inventive actors I`ve ever heard! Paul Hecht reading Annie Proulx`s 'The Shipping News', was truly astonishing. Every character had it`s own voice and none of them seemed forced or off. What a rich experience! Cleaning the bathroom? Invite Bernadette Dunne to join you as she reads 'Wild'. You will feel lucky to be scrubbing the bathtub instead of lugging a giant backpack over the mountains! I guess I never fully understood the art of acting. These amazing voices bring the books to life. I am a complete convert and feel justified because we are supporting the literary arts!
 But, 'Moby Dick' is also unlistenable.
Many are available through libraries or at Audible.

 Once again, my champion Maureen Doallas, takes to cyberspace words of praise for my work in her 'New Artist Watch' feature at Escape Into Life.
Also, scroll through her blog and read her powerful poems. Many of them just make me stop.

And here is a charming account of growing up as Richard Diebenkorn`s daughter. The video is an hour long and well worth it if his work moves you. I feel he is as influential a painter as any. The raw honesty behind the color and searching brushwork is humbling. Gretchen Grant shows the master to be human.

work for sale in my studio

And the last demo in my studio for a while is this coming Saturday at 10 am.
5373 Lakeview Blvd. Lake Oswego OR 97035