8/21/13

Working on Night Moves

Blue Moon Overlook. 11x14"

The past week we had some beautiful warm nights here in Portland and with that has come a few rare opportunities to paint nocturnes: a bridge closure and a Blue Moon rising.

My friend Quin discovered that the St Johns bridge was going to close at 9pm for mantantence and that meant no cars on the bridge. The great thing was that it was still open to pedestrians so Quin hosted a small paint out on the St John's bridge that night.

Don Bishop taking the opportunity for a street scene photograph.


Painting crew Za Vue, Don Bishop and a kind maintenance crewman. 

I have crossed this bridge many times during all seasons of the year and have admired it's view from my car window. I had often wondered how I could access it's grand view for a painting. Not only would it be just too cold or windy, but it would also be noisy and perhaps dangerous. So I jumped at the idea and met up with my 3 friends to paint.
Because I could!

This rare opportunity provided a quiet and panoramic view along with a sense of wonder. I was moved to lay in the middle of the road... just because I could.

Then last night...
Thomas Kittsand Eric Bowman (not pictured) 
Photos courtesy of David Burbach

Eric Bowman called a few artists known for nocturne painting to paint along with him for a "Blue Moonrise" over The Tualatin River Waster Refuge.  (A Blue Moon is normally a full moon twice in one month, but this month it was out 3 times.) Read more about the Blue Moon HERE.

I got there plenty early to warm up and to get my oil palette mixed. Here is my first as the shadows quickly moved across the field.
"Evening's Last Run" 11x14" Oil
My first study of the shadows in the tall grass. 



"Blue Moon Rising" 11x14" Oil
My second piece as the moon began to rise.

When the sunlight was all gone, that meant just one more quick piece with the full light of the moon...as the others enjoyed a bottle of "Blue Moon" brew.
Nocturne painting works best when you have a couple of helpers and an Energizer clip light.  

I like the small Energizer brand clip on lights the best. The light is strong but has a "blue" tint to it and it can bend to aim in the area of your palette or panel. I use a couple of them to give me just enough light to get me through the work. Perhaps not color correct, but it does the trick. I have also used a strapped on head lamp. They work to an extent, but but like a headlamp, it moves with your head while you look up...then down, then back up.  It can be a bit annoying to focus then refocus with a headlamp, so I usually take it off. Not to mention it cuts circulation to that most important part of your painting...the brain!
"Blue Moon over Sherwood" 14x11" Oil
This one was a very quick and final study.

And now for a little video of that summertime song "Nightmoves" by Bob Seger.

5 comments:

Jenny Short said...

Beautiful, soft and colorful paintings. I think you have to work fast. It looks fun.

Diana Moses Botkin said...

Lovely work! It sure looks like you all had fun, too.

Debbie said...

Awesome Brenda! Thank you for sharing your adventures. You captured the atmosphere so well in both Blue Moon Rising and your quick study Blue Moon Over Sherwood. Love it!

Sergio Lopez said...

You guys have the best time painting together! I always tell people the best part about painting up there is the comraderie

B Boylan said...

Hi Sergio,
The community of artists in PDX is huge and that means there are countless choices and opportinties to call on a friend to go out painting from a large lost of plein air enthusiasts. We had loads of fun and was an incredible moonrise. The weather was super good too. Wishing you could be up here this time of year to paint out.