Monday, March 31, 2014

Over the Sea 26 - class demo

                                                         watermedia on Yupo 20x26

This was my demostration painting from this morning at the Newport Visual Arts Center. I was invited to paint for the Yaquina Art Association members. The site is stunning, perched on a bluff right above the ocean. The classroom has huge windows overlooking Nye Beach and the sea beyond. As I proceeded and explained my methods and intentions, I only had to glance up and out for inspiration. You can see the seascape outside, in the photos below. I had a special visitors too. Joan Corley  and her brother in law Frank Issac drove down from the Hood Canal in Washington to watch! An effort like that means a whole lot to me, I feel like I`m communicating.
Also, I`m working out details to teach a two day workshop in Lincoln City this summer at the Art Center, early July maybe.

available work in my studio

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Oregon Coastal Bog + Magnolias

                                                                 Oil on Yupo 12 x 42

My favorite wet place between the road and the river.
And magnolias from my past, they`re in bloom back home. The first flowering magnolia tree that  I remember was in April 1992 in Astoria, New York City. I was shocked to see something so extravagant in the wet, cold early Spring.

available work

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Edge of the Estuary

                                                                  oil on panel 20x20

I arrived here in Winter and I`ll leave in Spring. One week to go before I go home.

available work

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Rescued Forest

                                                                 oil on panel 20x20

This was a bland mostly black and white winter alder forest just days ago. I was definitely tired of it but before completely painting it out I used my desperation technique. After mixing a translucent pinkish-orange glaze in a cup, I poured it on the panel. Then I tilted it various ways as the liquid settled into the dry brushstrokes and ran off onto the table. Suddenly the game was on again! Something dusky and spring-like was the result.
If anyone interested is in Newport OR next Monday morning March 31st, I`m demonstrating my watermedia technique on Yupo at the Newport Visual Arts Center at 9 am.

available work

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Oregon Coastal Forest Spring

                                                                oil on panel 20x20

I`m working on custom made one inch deep birch panels crafted by Steve Birnbaum at Panel Vision.
They are pure pleasure!
Lots of things in process, not much finished. My time here is also running short. I could do this for much longer than a month if I didn`t have loved ones.  It`s best to leave a place or someone wanting more rather than wishing to get away. And it`s better to have loved ones!
Some of you wrote to encourage me with the narrative landscapes I mentioned when I first arrived. I should have explained myself better. When I was here in 2010, that was what I hoped to develop. I painted recognizable elements of the landscape in a long format and wasn`t happy with the results. Returning, I wanted to try once more, this time painting abstractly. It was a grudge match with myself, and I got it out of my system. Thanks though! Older and wiser I also see how impractical the shape of that image is, a framing nightmare.
April 18 is the deadline for upcoming Sitka residencies. You freezing artists in the East, look at the pictures below. Yes it rains here a lot but those days interspersed with ones like yesterday that are so sublime it almost hurts. It`s hard to remember such a mild, beautiful day on the Oregon Coast and it`s  MARCH!

available work

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Cold Fog in the Morning + a Sitka residency

                                                                oil on panel 20x20

A dark painting of luminous weather. Even though I`ve been interested in it for years and have done some myself, I have a new respect for Tonalist painting. The 'look' is defined by close valued color. Because I paint thin, even with oil paints, I was having to estimate the degree of darkness the paint would dry to. Tricky!

Both of the photos are of Alder trees. If they have enough sunlight they can spread out into the most intricate and beautiful of shade trees. If it`s close quarters like in the grove above, you could almost mistake them for Aspens. This tree is the main reason I wanted to return to Sitka. In Winter and early Spring when you can see the whole structure, they are magnificent. I`m staying on the side of a mountain that juts into the raging Pacific with a gorgeous river and estuary below yet none of that scenic drama is as compelling as these silvery trees.

This is the Boyden Studio where I`m painting. It`s named after the visionaries Jane and Frank Boyden who founded the Sitka Center. In the summer, this huge room is full of happy students here for workshops of all sorts.
The deadline for applying for a residency is April 18. If you`re a serious painter who could possibly leave your life for a while, being here is an experience like no other. If you`re a landscape painter, this pristine environment will bring out the best in you. Three things are necessary as I see it; a coherent body of work, a couple of credible references, and a good idea for using the time. They prefer those who can stay for a three month period but they will work with those that can`t. Like me. And now, the Ford Family Foundation is even awarding nice stipends to Oregon artists who participate! Your spouse is even allowed to visit! Overnight! That`s unheard of in most programs.
Just do it!

available work

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Oregon Estuary Rainforest

                                                                  oil on canvas 36x36

I could get obsessed with this area, this composition. It`s a small place where the fallen trees, boggy water, old grasses and vibrant mosses just seem perfect. That I was drawn to this same spot at the side of the road the last residency too, is somehow significant. In 2010 I hiked out onto Cascade Head when I first arrived and photographed it along the way. I had never been there before. Several days later I hiked it again with John, in the rain again with my camera, and I noticed later I had photographed many of the same areas both times without knowing it. Not obvious scenic views  but places that had a certain configuration of branches, tree trunks, clumps of moss etc. An 'architecture' of sorts captured my attention. I love trees like everyone does but some of them grab me.

available work

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Over the Sea 25 + Bog Forest Study

                                                          watermedia on Yupo 20x16

This was my demonstration painting I did at the Lincoln City Artists' Studio Association. The Sitka Center asks its residents to do some sort of community outreach. I contacted them and inquired about doing a demo with a casual class to follow. They were agreeable. As I`ve done many times elsewhere, I showed them a complicated mixed watermedia technique that allows for more versatility. Yupo was the 'paper' and I explained why one would go through so much trouble. Or why I do.
                                              watercolor and water soluble graphite 12x12

I`m working on a large oil painting of this boggy area close to the estuary. I did one of the same place in 2010. The depth, reflections,  textures and sense of vitality come together beautifully in this tiny spot.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Late Winter Alders

                                                           watercolor on Yupo 26x20

Usually, when I can`t tell if something is good or bad, it`s most often terrible. But there have been  many paintings I`ve destroyed that I wish I hadn`t. With some time, the problem with the piece can become obvious and it`s sometimes a simple thing to resolve it. This is one of those, I can`t tell yet but I don`t know what else to do.
The alder groves are just beginning to bud but all the limbs and branches are still visible and dense. My intention here was to create a busy 'ambiance' of this moment in the forest cycle, rather than something with a clear focal point.
One of the nicest things about a residency at Sitka is how welcoming they are to partners and spouses. John spent the weekend here and we had a lot of fun hiking in the rare winter sunshine and then in rain and cool fog. Here are some pictures from this morning.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

'Narrative Landscape'

                                                            watermedia onYupo 12x42

In 2010 when I came to the Sitka Center, I wanted to develop the idea of a narrative landscape that wasn`t perceived as a whole but 'read' left to right. Like a Chinese scroll, though I think they unfurl in the opposite direction. The best ones looked like murals which was not what I intended. With limited time here and a real compelling landscape just beyond the studio, I decided to suspend the effort. Four years later I`m back, a more mature painter, and think this matter is best attempted through abstraction. The little 'Birth of Hawaii' series I began before ever visiting that state, opened up this new avenue. This piece is still in process but I`m happy to return to this place and to this idea. At least for this painting. It`s raining a deluge out there anyway so I`ll walk the magnificent landscape later.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Over the Valley

                                                             oil on paper 15x22 1995

 The cloud is New Mexican and the land is the Willamette Valley. I was new to Oregon in the nineties and feeling my way through this new landscape.
 For the month of March I`ll be painting at the Sitka Center on the coast. The last residency I had there I was so intent on making the time count, I didn`t cook and turned feral eating just peanuts and cereal. I`m going to try to slow down, look around Lincoln City, drive up the highway and check out wetlands and beaches I`ve never walked on.

available work