Sunday, December 29, 2013

Over the Foothills

 This was begun during my residency at Brush Creek Ranch in May of 2012. It used to be bigger. During our rainy orientation tour of the ranch, I saw a huge stand of bare cottonwoods that I wanted to paint. Once I could, I pulled out a giant sheet of Yupo and began with watercolors. With a vista, I usually give the sky some intense attention early, knowing it will set the emotional tone of the painting. That went well but those trees resisted all my efforts. With just two weeks to paint in  Wyoming, I set it aside and did a lot of smaller pieces. So a year and a half later now, I cut the painting down saving my 'good' sky, sealed it with varnish, then made a new landscape beneath the clouds in oil paints. This does capture the no-nonsense austerity of the late winter environment I experienced there.
watercolor and oils on Yupo [plastic paper] 12x34

work in my studio

Friday, December 27, 2013

Warme Winterwald and cold Camas fog

                                                                  oil on Yupo 12x12

We waited for my nieces return home for Christmas to celebrate our wedding with my family. The window of opportunity was small so we chose Dec. 26.
Because we didn`t want to make the trip twice in two days we stayed at the Camas Hotel, something I`ve wanted to do for 20 years. It had once been a residential hotel down on it`s luck but recently had been renovated with all the historic character left intact. It was wonderful with terrific views of the paper mill. These northwest industrial complexes fascinate me and I hope to live long enough to paint them. In the morning we walked the dike along the Columbia River in gorgeous sunshine, but after lunch, a half mile north, we took another walk and entered a dense, icy fog! Then some shopping, picked up my Mom, and met everyone at Roots Restaurant for the party. What a great holiday!

available work in the studio

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Rainforest

With the winter rains,  the mosses glow as if electric. In the dim, diffused light, each tree is radiant. Feathery, mint green lichens coat the branches and a few remaining leaves offer some rusty color. It`s downright festive especially with some fog.
This is a thoughtful time of year. The departed start speaking again but it`s hard to listen. Northern civilizations, for millennia, have known that the long dark nights call for companionship, light and celebration.
So, eat, drink and be merry, and peace to men of good will!
oil on Yupo 12x12

available work in the studio

Friday, December 20, 2013

Foglie d`Autunno nel Bosco

A watercolor from last month, one of many derived from the canyon of Tryon Creek State Park.
watercolor on Yupo 6x15.5

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Wetlands Somewhere Redux

Two years ago, as a demonstration painting, I did a huge cloud as an illustration of using the sky as a 'framing' tool. I`ve been painting so many trees lately, I need to get out of the forest for awhile. Space is the great gift of winter here. You can finally, easily see distances. The leaves are down and everything opens up.
oil on Yupo 26x20

available work in the studio

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Another oil on Yupo [ bosque de invierno!]

No title yet on this one either. I appreciate the earlier suggestions but the burden of naming these things is mine. As flawed as the process is.
For example, I may get an inquiry about a 'winter rainforest'? Even though that was my brilliant title, I`m like a deer in the headlights as I stammer 'can you tell me more about the piece?' as I mentally race through the hundreds of paintings I`ve done with those words in the title. It`s embarrassing! and beyond a solution I fear. If I numbered them, I would not remember the numbers. If I tried to be poetic, I`d cringe every time I said or wrote it. If I stick with the facts, which is my preference, there are only so many English words for forest or wetlands.
It occurs to me just now that I don`t have to be limited to English!!
oil on Yupo 12x9

available work in the studio

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Oil on Yupo! - Foret Monique

This came together on Saturday but a title did not. It`s one of the rare paintings I`ve done where I`m working and then suddenly, I`m startled to realize it`s finished. Usually I can see the end coming.
I`m getting so sick of 'rainforest' this and 'autumn' that for titles. Maybe I could use the storm naming idea, and just call this painting 'Monique'. It`s definitely feminine.
I`m on to something with oil paints on yupo. It`s sort of like painting on glass so I`ve tinted the paper with acrylic first to give it a bit more grip and to have something to react to. I know I have something worthy when I want to keep looking at it without any urge to improve it.
oil on Yupo [plastic paper from Japan] 12x12

available work in the studio

Saturday, December 7, 2013

From the Beach to the Bluff + Chimayo at Dusk

                                                                  oil on paper 11x11
From my foggy visit to Oceanside last July. This is an example of Tonalism, which was an early love of mine. Here is one from 30 years ago;
                                                                 oil on canvas 30x40

available work in the studio

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Second Growth

That`s a tree stump in the center. As they decompose, they are overtaken by a jungle of new vegetation. Many Northwest children have staged their first performances on these 'platforms' deep within the privacy of the forest. I think those kids are now adults but hopefully there`s a fresh generation creating their own new worlds in there. Or at least playing video games. It`s important to get away from parents.
watercolor on Yupo 12x0

updated available work in the studio

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Minto Brown Tangle

                                                            watercolor on Yupo 12x9

 We went down to Salem yesterday and had lunch with John`s family and then on to Minto Brown Island. It was a normal, partly gloomy, early winter day and absolutely stunning. The entire park is a flood plain with sloughs, ponds, rivulets and swamps everywhere. All with beautiful, surprising color. In the muted light it had such a soulful quality. Take a look;

updated available work

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving - Fog in the Forest

                                                              oil on canvas 40x30
 "This is the day we are given, let us rejoice and be glad in it!" Indeed, Happy Thanksgiving!
I first posted the following poem at Thanksgiving 2009. My Dad had recently died and these words meant a lot to me;
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 [my pal]. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Winter Fir

The Douglas Fir is the iconic tree of the Pacific Northwest. They are the original source of Oregon`s wealth along with the salmon. Even after a couple of centuries of logging, they are everywhere. I have two in my front yard! When left in peace they can become truly massive and are worth the effort to see in the protected groves of the Cascades or on the coast.
watercolor on Yupo 6x6

available work in the studio

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Rainforest Ravine 2

Most of the painting I do is done at night, when I can concentrate. Yet I can listen while I work, to someone else, the radio, TV, podcast etc. Saturday nights used to be a black hole of worthy media relegating the evening to TED talks or silence. Now my local PBS station has the best lineup of the week on this night, including the wonderful show of stories, Snap Judgement. Last night the theme was gratitude. Appropriate for the best national holiday we have, here within days.
watercolor on Yupo 14x15

Available work in the studio

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Rainforest Ravine

I have lots of new work but not much to say. It`s really winter here now. Things are quiet but I hear the rain in the gutters and the nights are blessedly long. We keep tiny Christmas lights on all winter for their cheer and I`m always amazed at how effective they are.
This is the time I wait for and do my best work in. It`s a dark, watery world perfect for painting.
watercolor on Yupo 12x9

available work in the studio

Monday, November 18, 2013

Rainforest Light 2

Kind of spring like but I just did it a week ago.
watercolor on Yupo 12x9

available work in my studio

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Rainforest Light

Accuracy isn`t too important, getting the mood of a place at a certain time, is. When I paint these Dr. Seuss trees, I wonder if people outside the Pacific Northwest understand them? They`re green because of moss and they are distorted for the same reason. Big clumps of moss high up into the branches disrupt the expected proportions and give the trees a truly 'other world' look.
watercolor on Yupo 12x9

available work in the studio

Thursday, November 14, 2013

November Rain

Days are short, it`s wet, but I think this is the most beautiful month in the Northwest.
I thought I had conquered Yupo with a multi-watermedia technique but now I`m finding a lot more possibility with just watercolor. The look is more like gouche maybe, there is plenty of Chinese white involved, but the brilliant white surface of Yupo reflects through anything.
watercolor on Yupo 20x20

available work in my studio

Monday, November 11, 2013

Rainforest Autumn

                                                            watercolor on Yupo 8x6

 My birthday walk, last week in the rain, has proven productive. I`m getting some work I like and it`s fantastic to have some continuity from painting to painting. Stylistically I`m as variable as ever but the theme of the autumn forest binds the work together. Nearly all of the them are watercolors and I`m using some new techniques which take advantage of the 'lifting' properties of Yupo. I`m really having fun and that walk was off the charts gorgeous. Because of the rain, I only saw two joggers, three industrious men with shovels and an ecstatic couple from India. They were so happy to see me, they wanted to exclaim about the beauty. Look what we saw:

available work in my studio

Friday, November 8, 2013

Autumn Sketch 3

I like this new little painting though the actual subject isn`t certain.
Tryon Creek Park, just north of Lake Oswego, is bordered by homes. This is a view from the forest into someone`s backyard where their east coast maples were a blazing autumn spectacle.
watercolor on Yupo 6x6

available work in the studio

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Into the West

Today is my 60th birthday and I finally have convinced my family that I like it quiet, no fussing. At this age, everyone has personally known a life cut short. Our own survival just feels lucky. As on any other day, I will avoid cameras, mirrors and shop windows. Why dent the gratitude with rude reminders? I`m going for a walk in the rain in a forest I love. Like any other day.
watercolor on Yupo 8x6.5

available work in the studio

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Thank You!

We`ve been overwhelmed by everyone`s sweet congratulations, thank you! This is the only time my personal story has intersected with our country`s cultural history in such a dramatic, significant way. It feels like the triumph it is! God bless America!

the painting is watercolor on Yupo 6x6

Friday, November 1, 2013

Randy + Johnny in the Beautiful Autumn!

                                                          when we were young [er]
                                                           watermedia on Yupo 6x6

Love is love. Today I married the man I`ve loved for 14 years, he is the best thing that ever happened to me. Thank you Yahoo! And thank you to all the open hearted citizens of Washington who voted for fairness, inclusion, and decency and made my wedding possible. It was a great day at Fort Vancouver!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Rainforest Spring 2

In this post studio tour, pre-marriage daze, I am getting some painting done. When my focus isn`t on a series or theme, I`ll sometimes paint a previous composition again. Just for some structure, in the painting and in my life.
watermedia on Yupo 20x20

available work in the studio

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Oregon Refuge 3

The bottom painting was my last demonstration painting for the Portland Open Studio Tour. So many demos have turned out well that I was beginning to think something supernatural was going on. This one too began on a promising note but then got bogged down in all that green grass. It was like quicksand in the movies, I was a goner! I gessoed over it after taking this photo, flipped the Yupo over and painted the top image on the other side. This is more of what I was after. Because the Willamette Valley is so wildly fertile it has a benevolent quality that`s palpable. The natives and settlers must have felt it too, they would never starve here. In early June, when I visited the Finley Wildlife Preserve  outside of Corvallis, everything was bursting with new growth and health, the air was clean, and the place was empty. We walked all over that refuge amazed to be in such a generous  beautiful landscape.
watermedia on Yupo 20x20

work in the studio

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Falls Creek - North Umpqua Study

This is a recent piece based on my experience along this creek in 2012. In an easy walk from the parking area, one can see pristine old growth rainforest in a scene of violent geologic activity. The trail weaves between massive boulders that are the remains of a mountain that slid down in an earthquake. It is intimate and pure magic.
watermedia on Yupo 12x12

available work in the studio

Monday, October 21, 2013

Oaks in Ice Fog

My demonstration painting from Saturday`s Open Studio.
I`ve got to get out more or invite the world to my place more often. The last two weekends were just astonishing. It`s a wonderful thing when people come through the door already knowing my work! I heard the most interesting stories and met such sensitive individuals. There were sales and praise and my insecurities have gone dormant, at least for a while. If anyone missed the tour and would like to visit, I`m keeping the display up for the time being. Call or send me a note and we can arrange a time.
watermedia on Yupo 20x20

available work in my studio

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Second Demonstration

This is a closer view of the wetlands painted without a reference. It`s interesting to me that I use my visual memory so much more as I age while the 'real' one is so predictably unreliable. Below is my hardworking intern, Cooper. Portland Open Studios and Portland Community College partnered to give young creative students an opportunity to be involved in the tour. The final weekend begins Saturday at 10. I`ll be demonstrating mixed watermedia on Yupo, the plastic paper from Japan, at noon on both days.

watermedia on Yupo 11x20

work in the studio

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Open Studio Demo - Storm over Minto Brown

Well, it was wonderful experience for me! Many super nice people, some sales and a demonstration painting that succeeded in getting across my techniques. The subject was my beloved Minto  Brown Island Nature Preserve in Salem. And my studio has never been so orderly. Day #2 is tomorrow the 13th.

watermedia on Yupo 15x20

available work on hand