Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Plein Air Iron Mountain

                                                               Iron Mountain watercolor 26x40

 I was on location painting for two days of the recent Lake Oswego Plein Air Festival. There is an entire culture to painting on site but it`s never been critical to my studio practice so I just do it for fun.
It wasn`t the size of this painting that was so tricky, it was that dappled light falling on the paper as well as the path. The composition was straight forward so I filled the surface with paint and manipulated it as it dried. If something wasn`t working, I`d re-emulsify it and do it over. Revisions are easy with the slick plastic paper Yupo. Still, the light falling on the surface made it confusing and I was about to stop when my pal Mitch objected. That bit of faith kept me going.

                                                                 Before the Park watercolor 12x12

 A couple of days before, I was with Bert Jarvis shivering in the cold as we painted at the edge of Tryon Creek State Park. We saw two other painters on the only day the park was available to the festival painters. Too wet, windy and frigid!
 A reception will be held Oct. 7, 5-7pm at the Museum 510 in downtown Lake Oswego.


 I told him he was on sacred ground. That both Jackson and Lincoln had sat there before him watching me floss. He indicated he understood and accepted the rights and responsibilities of being my cat.

                                                                       Caio Fonseca

 Caio Fonseca is an interesting painter in that he works backwards. With negative shapes. He explains it in this video. I`ve been told this is a sculptural impulse, removing something painted to reveal the image. I do this at times with scrapping. Ciao paints something then paints over it again with flat color leaving behind in shapes, the original painting.

Call me stupid, naive and foolish, but after watching the first debate last night, I think my country is going to get very lucky. Who else could withstand year after year of withering attacks and still be standing? Still willing to fight for what is needed? I don`t think she wants war, I don`t think she`s a pawn of Wall St. I don`t think she`s a pathological liar. She`s tough and effective and I think one day will be beloved.
Be sure you are registered to vote!

This is the last week to see my show "New Landscapes" at the Coos Art Museum on the southern Oregon coast. It ends Saturday Oct. 1.
Thank you to those who saw it!

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Broken Spruce

                                                          Broken Spruce watercolor on Yupo 12x9

 Another on the theme of distance juxtaposed with decay, the mortal and the eternal. Georgia O`Keefe mined this vein thoroughly with her vistas and bones though the oceans in her work were vestigial. The Southwest was once submerged under the sea for millions of years.
The impulse for this came from walking around Cape Arago after teaching last July. The winter storms wreak havoc on the front line of the forest and it often looks like a battle scene. I visited the coast a few years ago after a severe storm and saw a whole hillside of young alders snapped off at the same place.

                                                      Harry`s Sunset oil on canvas 16x20

 The remarkable painter Harry Stooshinoff posted a similar piece on Facebook recently. I told him in a comment I was going to steal it. He didn`t warn me away and I did. Scale is an element he skillfully plays with.

                                                                Three Iris watermedia on Terraskin 13x9

 It was a week of tinkering and repairing as I thought about a big new painting to be. My favorite sort of studio time. Small projects, rescued paintings and ambitious ideas. Please return to my last post with an Icelandic waterfall in Gjain. It finally is right! Here are a couple of other improved older works;

                                                        Riverbank Study 14x11 watermedia on Yupo

                                                         Fiscalini Surf watermedia on paper 20x16

 The great jazz musician Toots Thielemans died in August at 94. His instrument was the harmonica and he could make it say anything! My Dad played harps as well and idolized this artist. He might be best known to the general public for performing the theme to Midnight Cowboy written by the phenomenal film composer John Barry. The melody is plaintive with just a bit of hope. Dad learned to play it for me because I thought it was so moving.
With the passing of Toots last month, many memories of my father and his musical life rose to the surface.
In the late 70`s I was living out in the country in northern New Mexico working at a restaurant that has become quite well known, Rancho de Chimayo. My parents were visiting from California and I took them to the restaurant for lunch. Tiptons are always running late so as we finished eating on the patio, most of the other guests had left. We had that well fed glow. All of the sudden Dad pulls a harmonica out of his pocket, puts it to his mouth and belts out a passionate rendition of Release Me! I remember feeling intense horror, pride and embarrassment all at once! Like a third grader, I wondered what everyone including my boss would think. We are a family of introverts. Friendly, but we look forward to retreating to our rooms. I sat there and wondered who he really was. If a person, even a father, is comfortable enough to be spontaneous with me, I take it as a compliment.

                                                 painting by Miguel Acevedo

Isn`t that a terrific painting! The placement of the clouds seems to compress the focus into a single moment in time!
I love good seascapes!! This seems to be a 'golden age' in this genre. Ran Ortner,  Dion Salvador Lloyd, Zaria Forman, Kurt Jackson,  Hanna Woodman, Ruo Li and many others are doing innovative outstanding work.


For the Lake Oswego Plein Air Festival, I intend to take into the forest a 26x40 sheet of yupo and paint in black and white watercolor. I have never painted anything close to this big on location and I`m excited to try. This will be on Friday the 23rd near the Red Fox Hills entrance to Tryon Creek State Park. I think I have the logistics figured out and will begin around noon. If you`re looking for me, send me a text; 503 380 4731

available work for sale in my studio

"New Landscapes" Coos Art Museum July 9 - Oct. 1

Saturday, September 10, 2016


                                                               Gjain oil on canvas 30x24

 Impossibly beautiful Gjain. It took us four hours to find and it was hard to believe what we were seeing once there. Every fantasy about purity, a nurturing mother nature, or heavenly paradise is embodied here in this small oasis in the badlands of Iceland.
 Waterfalls are so numerous here I`d be surprised if they`re named. Most are rivulets vaulting off the green mountains and visible for miles. But then there are the serious ones like Haifoss, Gullfoss and Skogarfoss. They drop precipitously from an austere rocky landscape completely devoid of trees. Straight off the cliffs naked and exposed with an unusual regal authority.  Oregon is waterfall central casting, but these were unlike anything I`ve ever seen. They were somber, autonomous and powerful.
 This painting took way too long however! A promising start with the far distance and sky and then trapped with the falls and cliff for days! If I didn`t get that  alien Icelandic mood I wasn`t going to be happy. I think it`s the far northern light that gives the pristine landscape such an otherworldly sense.

                                                                 Gjain Creekbank watercolor 6x12

 This too is Gjain. Something about black and white with a bit of color is so suited to landscape. Especially working on location. The Lake Oswego Plein Air Festival is in a couple of weeks and I will be participating again. So much fun and September weather is usually heartbreakingly gorgeous.

 I got what I asked for, God help me.
May I introduce Lyndon!

 He`s only 3 months old but already he`s huge! And with a distinctive sense of himself. He has ideas and values and knows where he`s going in life. I ask you now, what could be better than having a gigantic loving cat on your lap someday?

                                                                     this is what I needed

 My pal Dana Roberts has a show opening at the Waterworks Gallery in Friday Harbor WA on Sept. 17. This is an event, trust me. She doesn`t exhibit all too often. I was an ardent admirer well before I met her and when we were suddenly showing in the same gallery together, I couldn`t believe my good fortune! She is an important painter. If you click her name above and see the photos, read the artist`s statement too. You`ll understand why I love her.

                                                                     Dana Roberts

                                                                  Dana Roberts

 I wouldn`t even try to change anyone`s mind about Hillary Clinton. She is savaged by the left and the right. But read this little vignette in Humans of New York. It returns some of her humanity.

 Speaking of waterfalls, gaze at this one by the Icelandic/Danish artist Olafur Eliasson.

Such a visionary! Look through his website and marvel at his inventiveness. My tubes of paint and brushes are prehistoric in comparison.

 September is a pensive month. The fading light and cooling temperatures are the backdrop to many poignant memories. Beginning with Labor Day, I always think of my Dad who was a Teamster for decades. In his long career of manual labor, the union was critical in giving his family a decent, modestly secure life. I even have straight teeth because of a benefit won by his union. We were always taught to never, EVER cross a picket line and why. What the sacrifice meant and its larger significance politically. The labor movement has suffered terribly in modern times, a victim of relentless conservative demagoguing and of mechanization. Once it was an active element in the country`s political  struggle and evolution. To a lesser degree it still has a role, but as the influence of the   movement has waned, income inequality has reached a shameful level.
Remember what it has achieved;

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