Sunday, June 29, 2014

January Wetland

                                                        watercolor on Yupo 12.5 x 11"

When faced with the massive amount of summer green, I always have my winter references of Minto Brown Island to work with. This is my 'go to' place for color, the wetlands never disappoint.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Marsh in May - Elegy

                                                          watermedia on Yupo 12x28

When I was a resident at Sitka in 2010, I asked a Forest Service biologist if trees had an exact 'time of death'.  They don`t. When a mature tree falls and is left to eventually return to the earth, there is a wistful somber nobility to it, it`s  elegiac. That`s a beautiful word that is rarely used and I never hear spoken. Too bad. I often see these fallen giants on my walks and I`m struck by their dignity in their decay. That is what I hoped to portray here in contrast to the lush new season. This painting is not what I meant so I`ll try again. Got the juicy spring ambiance but not the gravity of those old trees.
Here are a couple of photos I`ve taken of others;

kind of heartbreaking

It`s hard not to see human aspirations in these forms.

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Friday, June 20, 2014

December Forest 3 + Cistus

                                                                oil on canvas 20x16

Nice week! John`s coworkers from the hospital gave us an unfortunately delayed but worth waiting for  party celebrating our wedding last Nov. So sweet of them to see it through!

The next day I spent with my lovely sister in law Norma at  Cistus Nursery on Sauvie Island. I`ve written about the island often, it`s plein air paradise. Quiet and gorgeous with half dedicated to farming and the other set aside as a wildlife refuge. The nursery specializes in exotics, may of them hardy enough for western Oregon. I kept trying to do some large drawings but then the rain would start up. I managed a couple of smaller ones in my sketchbook.

My Pinterest find of the week is Carolyn Case. Her work is complex and colorful and her use of pattern and negative space is inspired!

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watermedia on Yupo workshop, July 19 and 20, Lincoln City OR

Saturday, June 14, 2014

December Forests

Give me a foggy day in early winter when there is still a little autumn color hanging on and I`ll have subjects to paint for the whole, impossibly green summer. Sure it`s comfortable outside, finally, but it`s much less interesting visually. Yet this is when the plein air painters are out doing their work. Me too occasionally, it`s fun to paint with friends.
Fog has been my favorite weather since I was a kid, I revel in it. Where I live, it mostly appears in winter and it`s quite cold. John, on the other hand, grew up in the Willamette Valley and remembers long stretches of it when he would be trapped indoors in deep despair.  Along with the rain, winters in Western Oregon are really tough on kids.
The original and talented Eric Merrel has written a post on color that is definitely worth reading. He`s a plein air painter yet he includes his vision in his location work. What baffles me about much of that genre is the fidelity to perception over personal expression.
Pinterest wrote me the other day and said I was one of their top pinners! I thought "uh oh.., busted"!
 I swear I only look when my feet hurt!

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Monday, June 9, 2014

Iron Mountain Spring

                                                                 oil on panel 20x20

This is my sixth painting of this group of trees. They cling to the side of Iron Mountain in my community of Lake Oswego. This place was the source of the iron ore that built Portland. It was smelted in a blast furnace that still exists on the shore of the Willamette River downtown. All of the trees in the area were logged and turned to charcoal which was essential in the smelting process. Historical photos show an apocalyptic landscape. Because this is Oregon, they grew back quickly and one of the nicknames for the town is 'The City of Trees'. The fertility here is truly stunning.

Watermedia on Yupo Workshop, July 19 and 20, Lincoln City Oregon

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Friday, June 6, 2014

Cold Fog in the Morning

                                                                 oil on panel 20x20

This was once this.
I did my best back in March but it just wasn`t something I wanted to keep looking at. That is a simple standard I can trust for my work, does it hold my attention?
I didn`t really know her writing, but I knew her story. When Maya Angelou died last week I thought "Oh shit, we`re on our own now". She made an art out of survival. It was wonderful to hear the tributes and listen to the excerpts from her readings and speeches. I ran across this little video of a beautifully filmed conversation she had with the comic Dave Chappelle, someone younger but with great moral authority as well.

Watermedia on Yupo Workshop, July 19 and 20, Lincoln City OR

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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Oregon Estuary Rainforest 2 - development progression

                                                               oil on canvas 40x60

 The nature of wetlands is one of dissolving boundaries. The air is so humid, it`s not so different than  the water seeping into your shoes. Solid trees are encased in deep soft moss and things are melting all around in the process of decay and renewal. Right before your eyes!
 On the Oregon coast the rainforest comes right to the edge of the marsh until it can`t tolerate any more saltwater. The road to the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology is bordered by these woodlands between the Salmon River Estuary and the mountain, Cascade Head. Visually, they are as dense and diverse as anything I`ve seen.
 Therein was my challenge, how to depict and contain a scene of constant flux and complexity?
 I hadn`t looked at the photos of the development until now. I wish I had, as I was much closer, much earlier to realizing this image than I thought. In one day, without doing anything to it, I came close to painting over the whole thing with white. Later in the day I decided it was actually pretty good! And whether anyone notices or cares, it`s real emotion. Agony and Ecstasy going on in the basement on Lakeview Blvd. It`s just the way it is. Here`s how I got here:

All but the finished photo were shot casually inside my studio.

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