Thursday, May 18, 2017

Sky over Utah


"Sky over Utah", 8 x 10 In, Oil on Museum Board

Sometimes when doing a painting, the simpler, the better. And quit while the bandito is still holding out her arm, showing how far it is to the horizon, before that cranky sheriff comes around looking for evidence of wrongdoing. If only I could do that every time. But it means I have to start without the sheriff standing behind me in the first place.

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Colors of the Reef


"Colors of the Reef", 8 x 10 In, Oil on Museum Board

Have I said before that I keep going back to Capitol Reef? And that the backside of the Reef is a different world? I looked at this painting when I got back from Utah and thought, "Did I paint that? Do I dare show this?" And I think now, yes, it was visceral and visual--one with the brush.

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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Nisqually Color


"Nisqually Color", 10 x 12 In, Oil on Museum Board
This painting was from our annual paint-out to the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge in March. The Nisqually River flows from the Nisqually Glacier on Mt. Rainier, elevation 14,411 feet, to sea level in 50 miles. The Refuge is surrounded by the estuary of the Nisqually River. In 2009, dikes that had been built in 1904 were removed, reclaiming over 700 acres to the estuary. The old barns remain on the land. https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Billy_Frank_Jr_Nisqually/about.html

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Friday, March 31, 2017

Green Dress


"Green Dress", 12 x 10 In, Oil on Museum Board

This is another of the portrait studies I did in early January.

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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Mountain Path - NFS


"Mountain Path", 8 x 10 In, Oil on Museum Board

This painting was an experiment in color, a good way to escape habitual thinking and approach related to a specific element.

NFS

Friday, March 24, 2017

Crystal Cove Tideland



"Crystal Cove Tideland", 8 x 10 In, Oil on Museum Board

This was painted on the paint-out day of the American Impressionist Small Works Exhibition in Costa Mesa, California, March 9, 2017 at Crystal Cove State Park. Some painted along the beach, like me, and others painted on the trail where there were gardens and restaurants. The day was sunny with ocean clouds and turquoise water. This painting was hung on the "wet wall" section of the Exhibition. Striking to me on this beautiful beach, was the amount of plastic and plastic shards and various other forms of garbage. I can't remember seeing anything like it on beach near Westport, here in Washington State, but it is no doubt there, somewhere along the coast.

NFS

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Shadow and Light


"Shadow and Light", 8 x 10 In, Oil on Museum Board
Its difficult to take photos of paintings, whether strong sunlight outside the studio windows or gray fog. The light catches on the brush strokes and the values and colors are never quite the same. Many adjustments can be made in Photoshop to try to make it true, but it seems more or less impossible. Sometime the painting looks better in the photograph, which is a big enough concern, but in this case, I just couldn't get the photograph to do justice to the painting, at least in my eyes. It was one of those fast, "don't think about it," paintings.



Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Clouds over Utah


"Clouds over Utah", 10 x 12 In, Oil on Museum Board
I'm not actually sure exactly where this is in Utah--it is somewhere between Capitol Reef and Escalante. I went through all my photos of the trip, but couldn't find this particular view. So I hope the painting speaks for itself--

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Friday, February 24, 2017

Utah Color


"Utah Color", 10 x 12 In, Oil on Museum Board
I am continually going back to my photos of Escalante and the backside of Capitol Reef in Utah because of my memories of being there. Unlike Bryce and Zion, there were no tourists--just deserts, mountains, canyons, sunlight and color.

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Tongariro Crossing


"Tongariro Crossing", 10 x 12, Oil on Museum Board

In my mind, the name "Tongariro" brings forth a concept of the mythical. But the 12 mile hike itself over the Tongariro Crossing on the North Island of New Zealand was one tough hike--especially the "steps" coming down the far side. No, I didn't take my paints with me--this was a studio painting and a difficult one, because the rocky landscape had neither dramatic values or dramatic colors. So it was a challenge, just as the hike itself was a challenge.



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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Death Valley Winter


"Death Valley Winter", 8 x 10 In, Oil on Museum Board
I don't generally like paintings where the surface has dried and the artist has painted over, sometimes multiple times, building up the surface with paint so the original brushwork is lost. I generally try to finish my painting at once, leaving the brushwork as is. I've always thought there was a sense and feeling of freedom in an alla prima approach. But this painting was different. Even after it dried, I painted over some parts of it, more than once, and when the paint buildup was too much for me, I scraped and scraped and did it over again, more than once. It was an exercise not in trying to make it look like something, but trying to make it work in some other way. I don't know if I succeeded. I don't know why this little painting grabbed me this way, but then its all a big experiment, right?

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Monday, February 6, 2017

Tumbledown Mountain


"Tumbledown Mountain", 8 x 10 In, Oil on Museum Board
Years ago we flew by helicopter into the Selkirk Mountains in British Columbia. We could only take a few pounds of luggage with us, so I fashioneded a small pochade box out of a tin box for kids' pencils. It was one of my best painting trips--hiking the rugged trails from the lodge. As I am still drawn to that experience, this painting was from a photo of the mountains during that trip.

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Monday, January 30, 2017

Utah Light


"Utah Light", 8 x 10 In, Oil on Museum Board
Here in the rain of the Northwest, I am thinking about Utah and the warm colors of Escalante and Capitol Reef which I'm picturing in my April of this year.

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Friday, January 27, 2017

Girl in Blue


"Girl in Blue", 14 x 11 In, Oil on Museum Board

The other day I was out where there were crowds of people, which is not particularly comfortable for me. I like to go to places like Escalante, where I head out in my 4-wheel drive with my artist friends and we never see another soul. But I can get along in most any situations if I can find a definite purpose, and in this case, it was surreptitiously taking photos of the many faces for portrait paintings. This painting is actually from a photo from long ago. And yes, I would rather have a live model, but in the end, its all about letting go and taking liberties--the more, the better.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Utah Sky


"Utah Sky", 8 x 10 In, Oil on Museum Board
I'm hoping to go back to Utah in April to paint again. There are so many places to go in Utah, but my favorites are the backside of Capital Reef and the Grand-Staircase Escalante. You definitely need a 4-wheel drive and a good map.





Friday, January 20, 2017

Rocks and Waves


"Rocks and Waves", 10 x 12 In, Oil on Museum Board

Sometimes I struggle with a painting. This one I did twice, thinking the second time I could resolve the problems, which mainly had to do with basic lifelessness. But the second one was just as bad. So I got mad. I took my #10 brush, loaded it up with paint that was not at all the color I had thought was the right color, just sort of random color that was on my palette mixed with other random color, and with abandon randomly painted over what was there, sort of with my eyes closed--metaphorically speaking. I let something else "decide." And it was surprisingly much better! The next day there were a couple of things I thought I would "fix", until I realized that was the whole point. This must be a metaphor for a certain attitude toward life, but I admit I can't quite make it out--how random it actually is.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Quinault River



"Quinault River", 10 x 12 In, Oil on Museum Board
I painted this last fall with artists from Plein Air Washington on one of our trips that focused on the National Parks. Each river valley in the Olympics and Cascades is unique and this one, in August, was filled with color. I grew up hiking in the Olympic Mountains.

Please read about the Quinault Indian Nation from their own website: http://www.quinaultindiannation.com/

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Monday, January 16, 2017

White Dress



"White Dress", 14 x 10 In, Oil on Museum Board
I am fascinated by the portrait, maybe because I find it so difficult. With a landscape you can smudge around--change the design and look to harmony without having to put a structure called a nose in approximately the right place. You can make the sky bigger or move the tree to the left or the right. But maybe, in the end, it is a good strategy to think of a portrait as a landscape--just another interesting set of shapes and planes and darks and lights.

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Columbia


"The Columbia", 10 x 12 In, Oil on Museum Board

This was another painting done near The Dalles looking down on the Columbia River last August during the Pacific Northwest Painting Competition in Hood River. I live in Western Washington, where everything is green--giant firs and cedars surround my house. But on the Eastern side of the Cascades, the beautiful warm colors of the land contrast with the blue of The Columbia.

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Friday, January 13, 2017

Golden Hills


"Golden Hills", 8 x 10 In, Oil on Museum Board
This was painted near The Dalles looking north across the Columbia River on a warm day last August during the Pacific Northwest Painting Competition in Hood River. The Columbia River is so iconic for anyone growing up in the Northwest--as very young children we learned about the "Mighty Columbia" and sang "Roll On, Columbia Roll On." Its hard to remember exactly where all the imagery comes from--the grandiosity and the mystery of such a river and it has never really occurred to me before to even ask the question. But since childhood it has included all the stories of Lewis and Clark and the Grand Coulee Dam and the Columbia Gorge and the Vantage Bridge. This is a simple painting--a sketch of a moment on the River.


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