Sunday, June 30, 2013


On Saturday I had the treat of painting plein air in a beautiful garden as part of the Hardy Plant Society's garden tour.  The Bates garden has developed over 70 years.  My favorite feature was a whimsical sculpture of a hummingbird towering over an "island" of plants including lilies and poppies, surrounded by a smooth lawn where I painted in the shade of an oak tree.  Both oil paintings are 8" x 10" on canvas panel.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


A quick oil sketch on 9" x 12" canvas from a photo I took on a recent hike to Bridal Veil Falls in the Columbia Gorge.  Below the falls, trees are covered in moss, backlit on the sunny day.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

High Desert

Smith Rock is a beautiful state park in Terrebonne. The weather was perfect, I enjoyed the paint out and took many photos for future reference.  I painted High Desert with the Crooked River in the foreground on an 11" x 14" canvas board.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Smith Rock

Practicing for the Smith Rock Paint Out this Saturday, June 22, I tried to complete a painting in about half an hour, from a photo.  I spent about 45 minutes before calling it quits for the night, then could not resist just a few dabs in the morning light.  The oil painting is on a 10" square wrapped canvas.  Smith Rock State Park is at Terrebonne, Oregon, near Redmond and Bend.  Selected paintings from the paint out will be on exhibit at Redmond Municipal Airport June 25-August 18.  I'll be there with my sister, Valerie Smith, also an artist!  For more information, see www.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Plein air

A lovely day was spent at Peninsula Park in NE Portland, a stately garden celebrating its 100th birthday this year.  At first glance the climbing roses were white, then revealed soft colors of peach and yellow.  The white ones are called Sally Holmes, the bright orange ones Nina Simone.  I imagine Nina singing with Sally on this Spring day.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Plein air with oil!

On a sunny day last week, at a pond found off an unpaved road on Sauvie Island, I attempted plein air painting with oil paints and found some differences from my past experience with acrylics. Instead of fighting the paint drying too fast and becoming sticky, oil keeps on flowing.  That makes for nice blending and subtle colors, but it's still wet when it's time to leave and must be handled carefully without smearing.  Also I tried painting the tree foliage on top of the still wet blue sky, and it all blended together.  I finished the two trees later in the studio, with some of the texture of earlier painting showing through.  Oil paint goes on thick, with textured strokes.  I managed to just get in the basics of the composition when the heat got to me, despite my hat and parasol, so I moved to a shady spot.  But that's part of the adventure of plein air: heat or cold, rain, wind, bugs, and the unexpected!  Sunny Spring Day on Sauvie Island is 11" x 14" on canvas board.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

It's a Gift

It's a Gift will be displaying some of my paintings this month, with a First Friday reception this Friday, June 8th, 6 -8 pm.  The Montavilla First Friday includes food, music, wine, and fragrances on several blocks along SE Stark.  It's a Gift, a delightful shop with mostly locally made crafts,  is located at 7910 SE Stark, see  I will have gallery wrapped canvas squares of 6", 10" and 12" for sale, mostly water, rocks, and my favorite subject, Columbia River waterfalls.