Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Continuing with nonobjective work, this is a re-post from the summer of 08. It was commissioned by my brother Gary just months before he died. He wanted something with 'hot' color, probably for an icy day like today.
David Levine left us yesterday. He was famous for his caricatures but what an accomplished painter! Somehow he merged fine art and journalism. He was an unknown mentor who showed me early on what watercolor can do.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Silk Road

This is one of the occasional paintings I like to do where there isn`t a subject.
Still seems like a landscape though.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Backwater Shore Study

In late November I revisited Minto Brown Park/Nature Preserve in Salem. This time it was sunny early in the day and later becoming overcast as I prefer. The place is teeming with colorful wetlands. I collected lots of source material that I`m just now studying. This is my first new effort.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Steigerwald Study 3

Someone famous said 'I can`t paint what I want, only what I would have wanted, had I thought of it first'. Yes, each painting takes on it`s own life no matter what is in the mind. When I was working in the Steigerwald National Wildlife Refuge last month, there was a place near the river that was pulsating gold. The wind was blowing and everything was moving. All of it yellow; grasses, trees and earth, with a morning blue mountain behind. It seemed ephemeral. Here I try to give form to feeling.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fog on the Mountain1

One of a couple of larger pieces coming from my walk in the rain on Thanksgiving.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Steam and a Mill

The industries on both banks of the Willamette River in Oregon City look bustling. Visually, they`re extremely complex with great gusts of steam obscuring, then clearing from the view. It`s noisy, damp and busy. And then barely beyond the factories upriver are the Falls. In winter, they are an arc of glorious tumultuous water. Just fascinating. I`d like to focus my work here someday.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Fog on the Mountain Study

Thanksgiving morning we climbed Mt. Talbert in the rain. It only takes about an hour. The mountain was completely engulfed in a cloud. Very poetic and very wet.

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.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Corner of the Park

I have a larger Steigerwald canvas in process but it is not coming together. After giving up for the day, I got involved with this little painting.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Steigerwald Study 1

Yesterday morning, just before the storm blew in, I was all over Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Even got a run in, camera in hand. The sky was wild and the cottonwoods were being stripped of their yellow leaves by the wind.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

November Leaves

Suddenly and unexpectedly I`ve been accepted into the Daily Painters group/website! I applied long ago when I was focused on small work. With my house for sale and a move hopefully imminent, this is a good time to return to that practice. Though I use a squeegee often, it`s mark is usually not so noticeable. Here the look seemed to suggest the ephemeral nature of late autumn so I kept it. It`s an inane title I know. Sometimes that chore just baffles me.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


I`ve never had enough red. Even landscape painters that take liberties with perception, like me, can`t get enough.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Camas Meadow

I can`t just stop painting even if I`m selling a house. That quickly became apparent. I managed to complete this last night. It`s of an odd meadow with stunted trees above Lacamas Creek.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Untitled Lily

Another older flower study while I work on my house.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wind through the Magnolia

Everything has aligned, we`re putting our house on the market. God help me. We want trees and a place to walk and I need a bigger studio. I doubt I`ll be painting much for awhile, which of course, lights a fire. The ideas can wait for big canvases painted in the new studio.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Magnolia Open to the Sky

Another closeup, 1997.
watercolor on paper 22x30

Saturday, October 24, 2009


After creating it and updating it dutifully for years, John has had it with my web page. So I hired help. In organizing images for the new site I found this. Every once in a while I like to paint something close up. This is from 2001.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cold Fog on the Slough

I`m still painting from memory the late fall watery landscapes of last year. Something about the decay and smell of humidity is so exciting. The colorful leaves remain far into December. Those atmospheric scenes will be visible again soon.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sauvie Island Field

Last week when my friend Lake was visiting, we went out to Sauvie Island with my sister in law Norma. Both are manical gardeners so we stopped at the amazing Cistus Nursery. Their specialty is hardy exotics and there were many. The drive was gorgeous. I don`t think there is a more spacious place in Western Oregon. The area set aside for farming is all vast fields with magnificent banks of cottonwoods in the distance. It`s almost unbelievable how pastoral it is. In a twelve inch square, I`m trying to suggest such space.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


From my biomorphic abstraction period ten years ago. I`m wrestling with some small oil on panel landscapes at the moment. I will prevail.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Late Summer Creek

Last weekend the family gathered on Lacamas Creek to disperse my brother`s ashes into the water. Ritual usually annoys me but this was moving. We pushed Mom a half mile in a wheelchair on a dirt trail to get there. Gary left us too soon.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Oneanta Gorge [2002 and 2009]

I hope to walk up this amazing 'slot' canyon this weekend. There is a huge logjam at the mouth but beyond, it`s an easy stroll through the water. My old friend Lake will be here for a visit. She was 28 and I was 19 when we met. Now she`s 64 and I`m 55. I wonder if we can get over those logs?

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Most painting bloggers I suspect, feel a mounting impulse to post something even if there isn`t any newly complete work. It`s been a week.
This is a couple of years old now and it was painted from a tiny sketch I drew while visiting the redwoods and the Northern California coast in 1988. Even something small and half hearted can bloom into a more realized painting many years into the future.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Slow creek in Summer 5

This is the elongated canvas I`ve been working on. It may be finished but I`m sure there will be some tweaks.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Bosque and Moonlight

That`s Spanish for woodlands and it`s what the beautiful groves of cottonwoods along the Rio Grande River are called. The nocturne is a tricky beast. When successful, think Whistler and Ryder, they emit a subtle radiance. Miscalculate the values and they can suck in light like an imploding dwarf star.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


I had been working on a long horizontal canvas, another effort to develop a 'narrative' landscape, when my father died. This idea has merit. I want to paint something long and narrow with so much activity, one 'reads' it. I`m not at all sure what that will look like. So until I complete it and/or photograph another new piece, here is a watercolor from 1990.

Monday, September 7, 2009

my father is gone

Joseph Tipton July 29,1922-September 6, 2009. A kind, compassionate man.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

December Fog

The weather in Western Oregon is of course, notorious. As I was preparing to move here from New Mexico, everybody asked me 'what about the rain'? I answered that I craved it, belonged to it, almost like a racial or ancestral memory. This has proven so true.
In between storms in early winter a very cold fog can settle in for days. It is thrilling.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Snowfield-Auke Bay

Joan and Frederic are tough to follow.
Here is an oil painting based on a sketch I did on a ferry in Alaska [2000].

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Both of these paintings have been particularly important to me. I discovered them years ago while young and formative and still refer to them for instruction and pleasure. Cotopaxi [1862]by Frederic Edwin Church is an ultimate example of a narrative landscape. He packed his paintings with so much information and scope they`re practically cinematic. And what an apocalyptic view! The abstract piece by Joan Mitchell, La Ligne de la Rupture [1970], is actually much larger yet it`s strength lies in it`s intimacy. It has always felt to me like a suspended moment of summer. A pulsating landscape of grasses, sky, sun and water. I tore the image from a magazine in 1976 and it has given me comfort and hope.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Summer Field

This was painted after a beautiful walk in the Steigerwald National Wildlife Refuge with my niece Mackenzie. It`s a protected floodplain along the Columbia with expansive grassy fields and massive stands of cottonwood trees. It was a perfect summer morning; cool, sparkling sun, breezy and humming with life.