Sunday, May 20, 2018

May in McMinnville

 Rebecca's Flowers
painting in progress

I was invited to paint plein air in front of the RJ Art Gallery in McMinnville as part of the regular "3rd on 3rd" art walk/wine tasting event.  However, the annual UFO Festival sponsored by McMenimin's Hotel Oregon was also taking place, so there was a spooky, fun, alien feeling atmosphere, with lots of people, some with green faces!  Did my painting of the lovely floral arrangements by Rebecca Mitchell absorb some strange other-worldly vibes?

Also on that 3rd Friday in May, I brought in some of my favorite paintings for a one day show, including these of the Columbia Gorge:

There are 8 of my paintings on display at the RJ Gallery through September in McMinnville, a charming historic town in the Willamette Valley wine country.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018


 Steigerwald Refuge, plein air 9" x 12"
 Steigerwald Refuge, plein air 8" x 8"
Gibbons Creek, 5" x 7"

It was the official first day of Spring and National Happiness Day, so I did what makes me happy:  plein air painting!  This was my first time at Steigerwald Nature Refuge on the Washington side of the Columbia Gorge, a wetland with a trail called the Gibbons Creek Wildlife Art Trail.  Perfect!  It was lovely, quiet except for the sounds of birds.  Huge flocks of geese floated overhead.  I finished two plein air paintings, then walked further up the trail to Gibbons Creek, almost to the edge of the Columbia River, took photos to paint from later.  The first painting included a view of Mt. Hood squeezed into the far right side, which did not look right back in the studio, so I wiped it out.  Aha!  Mt. Hood must be the star of the show, or not be there at all.

Early March

 Powell Butte View of Mt. Hood, Spring plein air 9" x 12"

Powell Butte, View of Mt. Hood, Spring 5" x 7"

It felt like Spring, anyway there was some sun, so I went out to Powell Butte for plein air painting.  The view of Mt. Hood was inspiring, but it was so windy that I had to hold on to the easel with my left hand and both feet while painting!
Naturally, that meant I could not step back periodically to check the composition from a distance.  So I painted fast, packed up and went back to my warm studio!  The second, smaller painting has a tighter composition without the distraction of every branch and tree, and more texture which I think conveys the brisk atmosphere of the day.

Monday, February 19, 2018


Some of my favorite little paintings from the January Alla Prima daily painting challenge.

Still lifes have never been my favorite subject, but when it's January the winter weather forces you to stay inside and find something interesting at home to paint.  When I went grocery shopping, I selected vegetables based on colors, and bought flowers to create cheerful, colorful displays. Sometimes in the past I've done that and the veggies get eaten and the flowers wilt before they get painted.  But in January I was motivated!

With these radishes, I enjoyed the red reflections in the green bowl, and the green reflections on the wood table.

Three onions and a garlic, a study in composition.
Beets with their greens, complementary colors, rich winter roots.  A composition of three things again, somehow that just works.
Three daisies in green and blue glass bottles.
Not completely symmetrical composition.
 Bunch of daisies.
 Cowboy boots, old and worn, but still kickin'!
Hat with poncho, old and ragged.

January 2018

As part of the Alla Prima January daily painting challenge, I worked on several self portraits in oil and colored pens.
One was based on a self portrait by Rembrandt, in similar colors and wearing a white cap.
January seemed the perfect time for introspection, staying indoors and looking inwards.  Who is the real me?  Colors were based on mood, not "flesh" tones.  Who decides what "flesh" colors are anyway?  Why not have blue hair?
Self portrait in faux leopard skin.
Self portraits (nor photo "selfies) are challenging in many ways. As in any portrait, the question is to try to create a true likeness or to be flattering, magnified by ego when the artist and subject are the same person.  Then there is lighting which can create dramatic shadows or make the face look old and dreary.  Physically, it is difficult to hold a pose while looking in a mirror and then moving back to the painting.  And I wear reading glasses while painting but not while posing so I can't really see the details of my eyes!
Self portrait in straw hat, colored pens, based on a self portrait by Van Gogh.  Love his complementary colors, vigorous line work and intensity!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

December Big 500 2017

Some of the 8" x 8" paintings I submitted this year for the 10th Annual Big 500 which is held at Pioneer Place Mall Atrium through December.  500 artists, about 10 paintings each, over 5,000 paintings with $10 from each going to the Oregon Food Bank!  It's a terrific deal, and a wonderful variety of art.  As of my visit to the galleries yesterday, most of my paintings were sold.  I thank all my collectors and hope my paintings will add enjoyment to their new homes. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Fall 2017

 Arboretum Maple Trail

Laurelhurst Pond Reflections

Two paintings from this fall, both started plein air and finished in my studio.  We were fortunate in Portland to have a long, mostly dry fall season with lots of color before the leaves fell and turned brown.  I spent several hours at the Arboretum at Forest Park along the Maple Trail.  The colors were so dazzling, it was difficult to choose a location, it was beautiful everywhere I looked!  In November, I strolled around the pond at Laurelhurst Park on a late afternoon.  While I was painting, the sun came out at a low angle, illuminating the gold and orange leaves and the warmth of the tree trunks.  Mallard ducks floated by, rippling the water.