Friday, December 30, 2011


I was working on a companion piece to this, using a technique she pioneered, when I heard that Helen Frankenthaler had died. It was a tough week for heroes, John Chamberlain also left us. Is it just me or does anyone else think so many great human beings seem to die at the end of the year? Yaclav Havel!

oil on panel 6"x6"

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Night Marsh Studies / abandoned forest

Before Christmas I had become stuck in a large forest painting. It was hard to concentrate and nothing made it spark. So I set it aside and did small things. When I had completed the first study here, I realized that forest was a lost cause but it would be great as an under painting for a large wetland at night. I turned it upside down and began. I`m happy with it`s progress.
The second study was done this afternoon when I returned from the art supply store. The national retailer Dick Blick bought our long time local supplier last Sept. but I hadn`t been in yet. Because I spent so much money at the former business I was recognized as a 'preferred' customer. They gave me a tote bag full of art gifts! Free stuff gets me excited so I had to try some of it out.
The bottom image is the forest I painted over.

oil on panel 6"x6"
oil and oil pastel on canvas paper 8"x8"
oil on canvas 40"x40"

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Oak in Winter

Huge oak trees border Bryant Woods on the west and a meadow to the east, all beautiful and protected for wildlife. I used to drive there until I figured out short cuts from home. Now I can run there and in a fairly small area, see wetlands, a river, the canal that feeds Lake Oswego, a fir forest and the tall grassy field. Lots to work with!

mixed watermedia on Yupo 12"x9"

Christmas Ornament 1992

For an AIDS benefit auction. It was fun to make.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

untitled forest

I was playing around hoping to make another transparent watercolor, but it was not to be. The painting comes first, not the technique. I`ve been looking at traditionally painted watercolors lately and when they`re good, fresh looking, they are a joy.
I`ve set aside my big oil painting for a while, I`m not in the mood for battle.

mixed watermedia on Aquaboard 6"x6"

Saturday, December 17, 2011


I`m closing in on my big forest painting.
Meanwhile, this large piece is about six years old. It`s based on a tiny sketch of the Gorge I did on top of those bluffs 25 years ago. Old sketchbooks can be a source of new ideas.

oil on canvas 60"x48" framed

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Over the Sea 18

I came to think of this series of sea/skyscapes as a tribute to my late brother Gary, yet they also have been my 'go to' motif when I need to paint but I`m empty. Like tonight. When I returned home from taking Mom to the mall, I couldn`t begin to get involved with the big oil painting in process of Bryant Woods, but I wanted a brush in my hand.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Toward Bryant Woods

In my oil painting technique, I use a white and a medium which contain an alkyd which speeds the drying process. Yet because there is usually so much revision, I still find myself waiting for the paint to dry. I truly don`t know how traditional oil painters have the patience.
This down time is when I do small stuff like this one.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wetlands Somewhere

This began as my demonstration painting for the last class I did at the Lakewood Center. I wanted to show how the sky and clouds in particular could be used 'architecturally' to emphasize the subject in one`s painting. The Swiss painter,Ferdinand Hodler, did this routinely to the heighten the emotional impact of his landscapes. It`s a simple thing and is almost always credible.
So in short order I had this handsome cloud and then made some thick random swipes of paint at the bottom which I moved around with a squeegee. When the sky itself is the subject, it just needs to be anchored.
When I brought the painting home, I was in love with my cloud. Since I have been painting the autumn wetlands of late, I thought I could incorporate that subject with this sky. That proved tricky. My live-in meteorologist/art critic said 'those kind of clouds are really rare in [western] Oregon, especially in the fall'. This added to the confusion as I tried to meld the busy chaos of a marsh with a soaring cumulus cloud. This may not survive, it`s against all the rules of painting to 'save' things, the whole should always be in play. It usually is for me but this time I 'defended' a cloud.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Refuge Autumn Study 4

I`m including photos of Minto Brown Island to show how it could leave such vivid memories.