Monday, October 1, 2018

September paint out

 Powell Butte, 11" x 14"

Last Thursday was sunny at Powell Butte Nature Park, with a large gathering of Alla Prima Portland painters fanned out around the park.  Mt. Hood was barely visible, a pale blue snowless triangle against the slightly hazy sky.  I chose to compose my plein air painting around the contrasting dark firs and light walnut trees, the dried grasses glowing gold in the sun.

Monday, September 17, 2018

September plein air

On sunny afternoons, I've been setting up my easel at Mt. Tabor, near an off leash dog park and playground.  The low angle of the sun in the west back lights the trees and creates dappled shadows on the grass.  I've been painting daily for the Strada Easel challenge.  A lucky winner will receive a Strada Easel, which would probably be a big improvement over my battered gear.  I intend to return to this place at different times of day, and later there will be more Fall color.

September Big Paint out

 Sauvie Island Dike, 11" x 14"

The first Thursday in September was the Alla Prima "Big Paint out", where we brought larger than usual canvases or supports.  Mine was 14" x 18" instead of the usual 11" x 14", but I had no trouble filling in the space and completing in a few hours.  (I intentionally left some of the orange toned background unfinished).  The morning started out gray, cold and windy, then partly cloudy for a moment, then boom, clear and sunny! It was also a big paint out in terms of attendance, over 30 artists on the dike on Sauvie Island, close enough to the dog kennel to hear the barking chorus.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Summer Plein Air

 Summer Meadow, Powell Butte
 Sauvie Island Wetland
 Columbia Gorge at Rooster Rock
Villa Catalana Pond

This summer I have not been able to paint plein air as much as I'd like for a variety of reasons, although it is always such a pleasure and challenge!  These are a few that were completed this summer.

In May I painted at Powell Butte Nature Park, beautiful at all times of year even when views of mountains are obscured by clouds. 

I've also painted at Sauvie Island and the Columbia Gorge at Rooster Rock State Park.  The painting of the Gorge is currently on view at Oregon Society of Artists, then will move to Rose Schnitzer Manor at Cedar Sinai Park after September 9.  

In August I painted at Villa Catalana as part of their annual Art in the Garden.  I completed a painting of the stone villa started the previous year from the same location, then turned my attention to the pond with water lilies and lotus flowers.  It was like a vacation in Europe in Oregon City!

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.