March at Marquess Barn

"March at Marquess Barn", 12x9" Pastel on sanded paper

Spring is definitely here in Oregon. While me and my family spent Spring Break down at our family farm with my folks, we took the liberty to venture around the Willamette Valley and tour various areas we hadn't considered before. Well rested and time together is always great, but being on the farm is even better because it is so very quiet, fresh, and peaceful. I brought my plein air set-up with me and a time opened up at the end of a day for a painting session. My attention is always directed toward the south where the proud Marquess Barn stands. Year after year, it sits there, beautifully. The family is reclusive, not even my Dad knows much about his own neighbors to the south, but he did tell me that he once toured the "castle" that hides just beyond the hills to the right of the barn (not included in this painting). The prior post of my demo from last week seems a bit overworked because it was painted from a photo, but this one is from real life! Loose, easy, clear color!


The Marquess Barn, 9x12

"The Marquess Barn" 9x12" Pastel on sanded paper

Last Saturday morning I gave a two hour demo at Amato's Gallery and here is what I came up with. Of course, chatting with visitors is my favorite part, but because of the crowd, I chose to wait to finish it up. So I brought it home to my quiet place in the studio to finish. For me, there is no place like my studio to "contemplate the universe" as I work in quiet solitude. Interestingly enough, today I had a discussion with another artist about what we think about when we create. I have never been able to clearly explain what thoughts go through my mind while I am painting, but I think it is sort of a meditation, or maybe my mind is in complete concentration. Whatever it is, I like it a lot and think that it does a world of good.

This barn is the view from our family's farm house in Creswell, OR. This is the Marquess Barn, just south of our property line. Even though Spring is in full force at the time of this post, the photo reference for this painting is of course during the height of last Fall. There is so much beauty in this area of our nation: quiet, rolling hills with an occasional horse dotting the landscape, a broken down tractor or a winding river that divides a farmers land. This is what I search for as we drive home to the farm.

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Demonstrating Pastels~From start to finish

I love to share my pastel techniques! As a matter of fact, it is one of my favorite parts about painting. This coming Saturday morning, March 20th, I will be giving a demonstration of my pastel painting process from start to finish. For those of you who have never seen this process or are simply curious just how to create with pastels, here is your chance...and it's all for FREE!

From 9:00 ~ 11:00 am at Amato's Gallery located at 12320 SW 1st Street, Beaverton, OR. A complimentary continental fare with coffee will be served for those hungry ones. Yummy! So come on out for a "free lesson" and a little bite to eat!

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The start of a new piece, Evening Reflection

"Evening Reflection" 24x24" in process....

Sometimes translating from a small 6x6" study to a larger format is not always successfully done. I've created a few larger pieces inspired by smaller studies and have found it a bit tricky to get the same mood as the study. I have found this happens because the size of the brushes/pastels have to increase accordingly to the size of the canvas/board. Has anyone heard of super-sized pastels? How would I hold onto such a large piece of pigment? So I am reminded that my work is only as good as my materials. I've resigned to do what I can to best capture the moodiness of the original study (below).

"Evening Reflections" study 6x6"


Harbinger of Spring, 12x16

"Harbinger of Spring" 12x16" Pastel on sanded paper

I'm back from chaperoning some 45 teens on a trip to Idaho....crazy, I know. While touring to this location, I couldn't help but notice the difference in the Idaho landscape. The lack of trees, no fir, a few barren deciduous, but mostly the grey hillsides had left me feeling a bit empty. On my return, by way of the Columbia River Gorge, the scenery changed drastically with hints of Spring again. Joyfully, Spring is in full force in Portland with plenty of pink blossoms, budding maples and daffodils. I'm welcoming the change in seasons and the scenery in the Northwest. "Harbinger of Spring" is a Plein Air piece I painted last week at the same location as my previous post.

Coinciding with the Spring season is the Celebration of Creativity Fine Art Exhibit. I will be participating this year with 7 originals, including "Satin Slopes" and "Lily Dance", (below). This is a well organized show with a strong following of visitors that offers plenty of unique craft and artistry. I will be at the Artist's Reception on March 5th, from 7~9pm. More info is posted on the right.

"Lily Dance" 24x24 Pastel on sanded paper