Summer ends and Autumn is ~

Orchard Home ~ watercolor

Orchard Home watercolor, painted at Hummingwood Farm during Paint the Town plein air painting event in August 2015.

It’s been a while since I last posted anything on this blog. This past summer was eventful, and it didn’t stop…. Partly because the warm, dry, summer weather spilled into autumn and now, suddenly, it’s almost Thanksgiving, and it’s just beginning to feel like fall is actually upon us. I live in Oregon, and we’ve had one of our overall hottest summers ever, with more 90+ degree days on record than any other time in recent history. Finally, as the days started getting shorter, the evening temperatures cooled down enough to relax in comfort. And yet, there are flowers still blooming ~ in November!

Pinot Vines in Summer Haze - acrylic

Pinot Vines in Summer Haze – acrylic. Painted during Paint the Town event at Ankeny Vineyards, during a smoke-filled, hazey, summer day. 2015

In my little corner of the art world, I had quite a few opportunities to paint in the heat and I placed two of my plein air paintings in the annual “Paint the Town” show which ran through the month of October at the Elsinore Fine Art Gallery, in Salem.

 

 

 

Qick Draw - Westminster Fine Art Festival

Qick Draw – Westminster Fine Art Festival

 

Simultaneously, I had several paintings in the Westminster Fine Art Festival, which lasted three days, from October 8-11. I also participated in the one and half hour “Quick Draw” painting session, which was a scholarship fund raiser for high school students planning to study art in college. The paintings were auctioned off in a silent auction after the event.

Grape of the Vine - Acrylic

Grape of the Vine – Acrylic

Recently, I’ve been commissioned to paint a triptych painting (one painting on three canvases) for a couple who just bought a new house, in nearby Silverton, Oregon. The painting is going to hang on the wall over their living room sofa which is about 10 feet long and the ceiling is quite high. So I bought a set of three canvases, each one is 30″ w. X 40″ h.  and one and half inches deep (gallery wrapped). The imagery they requested is an impressionistic scene of Provence, France. So I have gathered several photos showing the French countryside, and I am creating a scene with a shady garden landscapes in the foreground, a small villa in the distance, and lavender fields in between. The size of the finish triptych will be about 9 feet long and 40 inches high once it is hung with space between the canvas surfaces. Once I have things going, I’ll add some photos of the progress.

In the meantime, I wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving holiday!

This is what I live for!

The month of June is one of my favorites. I was born in June, and every time it rolls around, I get the feeling my year is just starting. It’s a time of hope and gladness for better weather, longer days, warmer nights, and strawberries ripening. The season just begs me to spread my wings and fly!

I  spend time outdoors, as much as possible, walking, gardening, painting, and so much more. The smell of BBQ briquets starting to smolder, the taste of spring harvest ~ new peas, strawberries, fresh herbs, and rhubarb picked in my garden. And the many delights from the Saturday Market overflowing with fresh, local produce.

Getting together with family and friends after a long cold winter of hibernation,  to bathe in the hot tub by moonlight, run in the park by day, soak up the sun. This is what I live for ~ the beginning of Summer!

Paint the Town will be starting up on the 8th of June. I won’t be able to attend the first session, as I have other invitations that day, but there will be many sessions throughout the summer months, that I will go to. This is my favorite all-time event in Salem, sponsored by Artists in Action, a non-profit art group I belong to and have been involved with for many, many years. It’s exciting to gather with other artists at a location and spread out over the landscape, so each artist can paint what intrigues them. It’s fascinating to see all the different compositions that result.

I plan to enter the upcoming show at the River Gallery – “Hot fun in the Summertime!”

The deadline for entry is July 7th, so I need to get started!  I’ve been thinking about what I want to portray for the theme ~ something that I love about summer. Like working in the garden, which is fun for me! Sunhat, work gloves, hoe in hand. Lots of lush flowering and fruiting vines and plants growing all around. That’s what I’m thinking about painting. Another thought: Sun glasses, Adirondack Chair, and a tall ice tea or chilled glass of chardonnay, just basking in the sun next to the garden; gloves and hoe on the ground nearby … also a thought.  So many possibilities for this topic!  Each to his own. (Hmmm ~  this could be a self portrait if I do it right.)

I’m also painting a series of paintings for a solo show that I’m planning for July 2014. Yes, it’s over a year away, but I intend to have enough paintings with this particular theme for my show at Roy John’s studio ~ All new, never before shown anywhere before. I figure it will probably take a year to complete.  I think it’s good for me to set a goal and work toward it, putting my best efforts into it, and making it my own.

So, now ~ along with all the summertime activities, places to go, people to see, things to do ~ I shall venture forward and begin my journey into the world of painterly practices.
I will make headway just as the sprout pushes it’s way above the surface of the soil to find the sun.

Remember:

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. It’s about creating yourself.”
George Bernard Shaw

NOTE TO READERS:  If you have any comments you’d like to add concerning my thoughts and rambling about life, or my love of art and nature, or anything else related to art that might be a topic of discussion, I’d love to hear from you!   Also, if you are a Word Press person and can give me advice as to how I can filter my replies, please let me know. I’m fairly new to Word Press.  If you are responding with comments, perhaps in the subject line we can use a code, such as “Art Matters:” followed by your topic ~ then when I go through all the responses, I will know who is responding to my blog post rather than “spam.”

 

The quest for painting en plein air

Metolius-plein air

Metolius River en plein air

The weather is getting warmer here in Oregon, and lately we’ve had some record-breaking temperatures for this time in May. I took advantage of the dry weather this past weekend to paint Gesso onto some one-eighth-inch hardboard panels I purchased at
Home Depot. I bought a large sheet of the hardboard and had them cut it up into
24- 12″ x 16″ panels, and 3- 16″ x 24″ panels.  I painted them and let them dry in the sun, then sanded them and painted over with a second coat.  They are now ready to use!

I picked up this idea from the speaker at our last Artists in Action meeting, Mike Rangner, who is an excellent plein air painter.  It’s a fantastic idea!  I can take them with me easily,  since they are small and fit perfectly into one of my cloth carrying bags. (I place cardboard in between each panel for protection.) They are inexpensive, so I can do many quick, loose paintings, not worrying over the cost of materials. Loosening up with increasingly frequent painting experience, and more opportunities to interpret the light, shadows and forms is what I need to do, if I am going to achieve the freedom of expression I hope to attain with plein air painting.

plein-air | ˈplān ˈe(ə)r | adjective [ attrib. ]
denoting or in the manner of a 19th-century style of painting outdoors,
or with a strong sense of the open air, that became a central feature
of French Impressionism.

ORIGIN from French en plein air ‘in the open air.’

I plan to use several of the panels, when we go to Maupin — a small, high-desert community in North Central Oregon — for a weekend getaway. The weather is generally several degrees warmer there, and dry. Maupin is situated on the Deschutes River as it flows through the canyons to the joy of white water rafters and fishermen. It  borders the Warm Springs Indian territory. There are beautiful rock formations – some still have petroglyphs visible, Salmon steps, and log homes and structures along the cliffs and waterways. I’m looking forward to the inspiration it might give me to paint and soak up the contrasting shadows and light.

I also hope to paint in my own back yard this summer, where I have my garden “sanctuary,” of blooming flowers, greenhouse, bird bath, vegetable garden, and a red Adirondack chair waiting for me.

Another opportunity is “Paint the Town” which starts up in June. As a group of artists, we go to several locations in and around the Salem area to paint outdoors for hours at a time. Summer is a plein air painter’s wonderland, and I plan to make the most of it this year!