Sunday, April 27, 2008

Woodland Tulip Fields

Woodland Tulip Fields - 11" x 14" - original oil painting on panel
done En Plein Air - what is plein air?
On Saturday we finally got a break in the weather and Allan convinced me to set up my easel at the Woodland Tulip Festival. Ordinarily, I'd be hesitant to paint in a place where there are so many people around, but we left early in hopes that we could get in and out before the Saturday crowds arrived.
The day was perfect! We were there about two hours, and during that time I managed to finish this painting, even though there were quite a few visitors milling around and watching me paint. But everyone was very nice and complimentary of the painting, which gave me confidence that I can set up and paint even with people around.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Water Lilies at Lake Sacajawea

Water Lilies at Lake Sacajawea - original oil on canvas - 24" x 36"

Last summer I wandered around Lake Sacajawea taking dozens of photos of blossoming water lilies. Almost one year later the inspiration to make a Monetish water lily painting grabbed me. I set my Claude Monet coffee table book opened up to one of one his water lily paintings on the floor next to my easel, and proceeded to try and emulate his colors and brush strokes. But alas, my painting did not turn out anything like his! Allan says it is antiseptic. I agree. It's too perfect! I wanted that loose painterly style, but the more I tried to capture it, the more it eluded me.

My plan was for this painting to hang in my office, but I've changed my mind. I'm going to give it another shot (being as I have another canvas the same size) and this time I'll try to loosen up! Seriously.

Water Lilies - original oil on panel - 5" x 7"
This is the little companion painting I worked on at the same time. I used it to test out colors and shapes. I actually like it better than the big one! I might frame it for my office. It's a teeny bit closer to Monet!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Painting in the Gorge - and more Wind!

This is me painting at Horsethief Butte in the Columbia River Gorge today. It was a lovely day, with a little wind, but blue skies and a clear view. This is about the fifth time we've painted at this location.

Here's the painting I did. I tried to capture the blueness of the sky and contrasting warm shadows and shapes in the bluff. Afterwards, we had lunch at Los Reyes in Bingen, Allan's favorite place to eat.

The day started out with our plan to visit a soon-to-be-opened gallery in Hood River. In the process, we discovered the quaintness of Hood River. We stopped in a cafe to get a coffee, and the barista told us that lots of artists were having a "visit the studio" day.

So we got to wander through a big old building full of artists' studios! In particular, we met two artists whose work I have admired many times in Portland. It was inspiring!

Then we found the Benjamin Benjamin art gallery storefront. It isn't open yet, but it seems like a good place to hang paintings. Recently, the gallery owner asked if I'd like to show my paintings there. (I haven't actually met her, but we've corresponded via the Internet.)

So that was the real reason for our visit to Hood River, but getting to see the artists' studios was an unexpected bonus! A long time ago Allan and I spent a night at the Hood River Inn, but I'd forgotten how nice a place it is.

This is the little wind painting I did on Saturday. It didn't turn out exactly as I'd planned - that's what I get for having a plan! But I did get more of a feel for the guoache.

It was a very nice weekend. I hope we get back to Hood River soon!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Coal Isn't the Answer

Coal Isn't the Answer - 8" x 10" - goauche

I've been wanting to try watercolor again because it's so much easier to paint with on location than oils. So I had to dig through all my old watercolor stuff and put together a carton of supplies. While I was doing that I discovered my stash of goauche paints that I used to paint with years ago. I was amazed they hadn't dried up. I love goauche because it gives you the best of both worlds. You can get transparent effects like watercolor, or opaque effects like acrylic.

The I discovered I didn't have the right kind of paper. I've always loved the hot-press watercolor paper because paint just sits on the top and you get brighter, clearer colors. So we had to make a trip to Portland for supplies. I picked up a block of 9" x 12" Winsor & Newton hot-press paper and Allan got some larger blocks of cold-press paper.

Of course, the weekend's weather was so nasty there was no way we could paint outside. We'd talked about visiting the tulip farms in Woodland but the wind and hail were blowing like crazy. So we stayed home and I tried out my long lost goauche on this little painting. I did the turbine with opaque white so I could get the shape correct but the rest was done with lots of water. I didn't plan it, just gave myself one hour to see what happened. In fact, I fit a load of laundry in between one layer drying. I ended up with a black blob on the right and I turned it into a coal plant. It must have been my subconscious expressing how much I think a coal plant in Kalama is wrong, no matter what kind of fancy name they give it.

I wish more people belived in wind power. I think it is really important. The answer my friend, is blowin' in the wind. And it isn't coal!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Art in the Blogosphere

I don't have an artwork to post, just an observation about art in the blogosphere. Last week a colleague who is the art gallery director at Lower Columbia College forwarded me a blog posting written by Eva Lake, a Portland artist, mentioning Lucinda Parker's artwork at the Laura Russo gallery in Portland.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Lucinda Parker, she's the artist who was commissioned through the Washington State Arts Commission to create the mural that is installed at Lower Columbia College's new Rose Center for the Arts. It's a wonderful and magical interpretation of the coming together of many waters, symbolizing the many rivers that converge in and around Longview, Washington.

Since I always try to visit a cadre of galleries on First Thursday, I stopped at the Laura Russo gallery (which is outside my usual route) and had the most unexpected pleasure to meet and chat with Lucinda Parker. She's a charming lady, and talented artist.

Lucinda told me her experiences in creating the mural, and how she researched and developed the concepts by visiting the Cowlitz County Historical Museum, where I live. I saw all of the studies she did for the commission, and she explained the development of each and how they were received (and interpreted) by the panel who ultimately selected her for the artwork

To sum it up, this shows me just how powerful art news in the blogosphere can be. The happenstance of receiving an e-mail about an art blog, which led to me visiting a gallery I would not ordinarily have gone to, followed by the discovery of another artist (Eva Lake) who displays in a Portland gallery, was totally random, and yet each occurance has a unique and personal connection to my own artistic life.

I subsequently visited Eva Lake's blog and discovered she's a Portland artist at the Augen Gallery, and her most recent blog posting covers the opening at the Rake Gallery, of which I'm a member! Most likely Eva and I were both at the Rake Gallery on Thursday night at the same time, yet totally unaware of our connection via the blosphere!

Small world!