Saturday, March 22, 2008

Plein air - Tree Reflections at Lake Sacajawea



Tree Reflections at Lake Sacajawea - oil on panel - 11 x 14

This is the painting I did this morning. We painted at the Japanese Gardens at Lake Sacajawea. I was looking south towards Nichols Boulevard The water was still and clear. By the time I finished in two hours, a slight breeze had come up and the reflections disappeared.

Allan painted the little Japanese shelter and trees close to where I was painting.

In the afternoon we went to the opening reception at the Columbian Artists Annual Show. I was surprised to learn that my plein air painting of the Community Church won an honorable mention. We had a nice time looking at all the paintings. It was a nice day.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bats, Butterflies & the Wind

48" x 60"
original oil on canvas


One dreary morning in January I sat sipping coffee and flipping through newspapers. An article about global warming caught my eye. It said flying fox bats were dropping dead in Australia and butterflies were going extinct in the Alps.

The photo accompanying the article showed a little bat panting in a futile attempt to keep cool. Its face reminded me of my cat who died two months earlier. I still miss her. She was sweet and gentle and died of kidney failure.

Seeing that little bat face, with its uncanny resemblance to my cat, made me feel sad for all the helpless creatures who find themselves at the mercy of forces greater than themselves. I often wonder about the complexities of global warming. It is really causing bats and butterflies to become extinct? And if so, what species is next?

I can’t answer these questions and I don't know who can. The only thing I do know is that a painting was born that day.

Painting inspirations are elusive and transparent. They flow through my mind while life happens. Sometimes they manifest in pictures and clippings from magazines or quick sketches I tear from the corners of notebook paper. Many never reach my canvas, expiring instead in a dust-collecting pile of clippings, sketches and photos.

This one made it to the canvas! The little bat faces that remind most people of Dracula or late-night horror movies, are like cries for help. Their little faces remind me of my cat, who trusted me, right up to the end. But I couldn’t save her.

The real question is, can anything save us from global warming?  


I labored on this painting from January until March while my life unfolded in a whirl of unexpected complexities. During that time, as always, my painting kept me grounded. Here's my painting: Bats, Butterflies and the the Wind, in honor of my cat, and all the creatures that put their trust in man.


About My Palette

This is my palette. The colors were bright, primary and intense.

During this time I moved my studio. You can see this painting in my new studio.

You can also see  photos of the preliminary composition.

I hope you find a connection to this painting like I did!

Sincerely, Marie

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Plein Air - Yellow Iris Stalks at Lake Sacajawea


Yellow Iris Stalks at Lake Sacajawea - oil on panel - 11 x 14
Saturday, March 8. We painted at the south end of Lake Sacajawea, near 15th avenue. There are some nice concrete benches there, and a platform overlooking the water. Allan painted the view, but I liked the reflections in the water around some yellow iris stalks. They will be blooming with yellow blossoms in about three months.
The paint is very thick. It was cold and sunny. Many walking enthusiasts strolled by. Lake Sacajawea is a nice place to paint !

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Plein Air - Longview Community Church Reflection

Longview Community Church Reflections - 11" x 14" - oil on panel.

Saturday, Feb. 24. From the west side of Lake Sacajawea in Longview; we could see the reflections of Longview Community Church in the water. I have always wanted to paint this view. But it was cold and I'm not sure I captured it in just 1 hour and 45 minutes.

This is my second plein air painting in 2008. Allan gessoed our panels. You can see the painting he did that day on his blog.

I did the whole painting with a palette knife. The paint is really thick and still not dry. I think I am getting better. I love the squishy quality of paint on a knife. It was fun!