Thursday, June 30, 2011

Streamside / Blog Birthday

Three years ago, Rob Jones suggested I begin blogging. Because I had an interesting project I wanted to document, I began Painter`s Process temporarily. Acting on his advice has proven to be the best career effort I`ve made. Thanks Rob!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dusk on the Channel

This is from 2000.
When I told my brother Gary the title of the piece, he snorted "broccoli on the channel".

Sunday, June 26, 2011


There was a tiny little stream that trickled down a hill at Whiskeytown that fascinated me. This is my second painting of it but it looks nothing like the real place. Competing ideas caused this to go its own way.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Creek Alcove

This canvas has a history. This is the large painting I struggled with throughout the Spring. It began as an estuary in the morning. That wasn`t working out so next it became a view of Government Island in the Columbia River. From memory, which didn`t prove too reliable. So again it evolved into an estuary, without success. Next up was a creek bank that I couldn`t quite tip over into resolution. Luckily, I then went to New Mexico and then Whiskeytown and I found some new inspiration. This is a calm little corner of Brandy Creek. The study worked and I had some confidence it would be a credible big painting.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Brandy Creek

I had to do some business at the White Bird Gallery, so I thought let`s make it a little holiday. I reserved a place at Oceanfront Cabins in Oceanside. Luck was with me, the weather was calm and bright and we would be there during a minus tide the next morning. If they`re 'deep' enough, you can get to places one rarely can. Usually the significant ones are at two in the morning or some other impossible time. This one would start flowing back in at 8:30 AM. Lost Boy Cave is here and only accessible with a good minus tide. Even so, we still had to climb over mussel encrusted rocks, which my middle aged knees were not confident of doing. But we were in that cave at the lowest ebb and it was so worth it. Getting inside had been something I`ve wanted to do for years.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Brandy Creek Dusk

The night before leaving Whiskeytown, I walked up the creek right before darkness. It is rare for me to be outside at that time, I`m usually painting. Having been a waiter for 30 years, I can`t seem to get out of swing shift mode. Which is too bad, walking in the woods in that diffuse light is so beautiful.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Davis Gulch 2 [Whiskeytown]

By all accounts, the swimming here is spectacular. It gets very hot even in this far northern part of California. I would love to return in summer and swim to one of the islands. The lake has so many coves and inlets, it appears that everyone could have their own private beach!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sunlight-Brandy Creek

I`m working on smaller paintings of the Whiskeytown area to send back for display in the visitor`s center.
In a recent comment, 'Moss' asked that I elaborate on the content of the workshop I gave a couple of weeks ago.
Well, it began with an emphasis on seeing. Since we were in a beautiful mountain community, landscape was the source material. I asked the participants to 'dissect' what was before them, then note any emotional response that process produced. I wanted them to respond to the elements that excited them, be it a spatial quality, the unique light, a particular landmark, maybe the textures or something more diffuse;, just the mood of the scene. They made quick sketches then returned indoors to begin. Using their memories and brief drawings, compositions were arranged. Everything that followed was an attempt to help them realize their 'vision' of the subject. The techniques involved different mediums in pursuit of this goal. Traditional watercolor methods require too much planning, any excitement for the landscape can be lost. I showed them strategies I use to keep the work going. Make a 'mistake', paint over it with acrylic. And bear in mind the different abilities each medium possesses and how they interact. Combine whatever it takes to arrive at something personal. Variations of these ideas throughout the day.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Rio en Medio 5

This is the New Mexico painting I couldn`t finish before I left for Whiskeytown. Despite Chuck Close`s famous snarky comment about only amateurs needing inspiration, I think it`s important. A two hour walk in late spring up a tiny canyon in the mountains north of Santa Fe gave me mental images that will last a lifetime. That was a gift.