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

Bats, Butterflies and the Wind - 48" x 60" - original oil on canvas

One dreary morning in January as I sat sipping coffee and flipping through the newspaper, an article about global warming caught my eye. It said flying fox bats were dropping dead in Australia, and butterflies had gone extinct in the Alps. The photo accompanying the article showed a little bat panting in a futile attempt to keep cool. Its little face reminded me of my cat, who’d died two months earlier. I still miss her. She was sweet and gentle and died of kidney failure, through no fault of her own. 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 wondered about all the complexities of global warming, and if it really was causing bats and butterflies to become extinct. And if so, what species was next?

Of course I can’t answer these questions, who can? The only thing I can say is that a painting was born. Painting inspirations are usually elusive and transparent, flowing 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. More often than not they never reach my canvas, expiring instead in a dust-collecting, ever growing stack of clippings, sketches and photos. This one made it to the canvas. It’s close to my heart. 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, no one could. The real question is, can anything save us from global warming? I don’t know. But 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 & the Wind, in honor of my cat, and all the creatures that put their trust in man.

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 on my Art Journey Techniques blog. You can also see some 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!