Stretching my nerves, 3x3x4

In the studio tonight and I'm straightening and cleaning up my messy spot from the past 6 months. It's my way of calming down, preparing for my long awaited workshop. I came upon 4 small cut up pieces that I nearly discarded from a painting that I once cropped.

The weak colors were interesting and tugged at me. "Color, I need more color...and shape...and...and more contrast." They were calling to me. I picked up a pastel and well, began to try a few strokes on these nearly discarded pieces.

Abstract work has always attracted me because of color or composition as in Casey Klahns' incredible work, but never did I think to try it. So away I went, playing with colors...just experimenting to help me to relax.

All the while wondering what Casey would have done, and asking myself, "why don't I clean my studio more often?"

Collector's Preview Party...and more!

The Pacific Northwest Plein Air 2010 is a highly anticipated, competitive plein air event, where 40 juried artists take in five scenic locations throughout the Columbia River Gorge. I have been selected to participate in this event and I'm really EXCITED! Can you tell? (A little shameful self promotion & horn tooting!) Spectators are welcome to observe the artists at these locations:

  • Thursday, August 26: The Gorge White House in Hood River, OR
  • Friday, August 27: Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood, OR
  • Saturday, August 28: Springhouse Cellar Vineyard in Mosier, OR
  • Sunday, August 29: The Dalles Mountain Ranch at Columbia Hills State Park, Klickitat County, WA
  • Monday, Aug. 30: Downtown Hood River, OR
Anyway, following the 5 days of painting the Northwest's "Barvarian Alps", the artists will be displaying their completed works at the Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River, Oregon. This year's show will be juried by Ned Mueller who is highly regarded in the Plein Air community. The event is highlighted on September 2nd with a special Collector's Preview Party and you are invited to attend! To attend the preview party, click here for reservations.

If attending the Preview Party is not your cup of tea, then come along with me to attend the September 3rd Artist's Reception at the Columbia Center for the Arts from 6~8:00 pm and is free of charge.

So if you love plein air paintings, observing artists at work, and the Great Northwest, then I do hope to see you there!


Green & Blue I & II, 6x6

Green & Blue I, Pastel on sanded paper, 6x6"

Green & Blue II, Pastel on sanded paper, 6x6"

Out and about again this past weekend took me to the Beaverton's Farmer's Market where an artist's eyes can catch the best people watching around. But of course, no one would walk slow enough for me to paint, so I relinquished my folly to the upper horizon of the distant tree line. A plant, tree, shrub, or anything close to green, is such a difficult color to catch. Maybe next time I'll use every color but green to see what I come up with. Anyway, these is a bit abstract, for what it's worth.

Next week I will be taking a long awaited workshop with master pastelist Albert Handell in the Oregon Wine Region. If I'm not too tired, I'll try to post my daily work and learnings as I go along. I can't wait but I am also a bit nervous. Wish me luck!

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Hillsboro Plein Air paint out results.

Corner of Main, pastel on sanded paper, 12x9"

Went out to get some plein air exercise this past Saturday at the Hillsboro Plein Air 2010 event hosted by the Hillsboro Arts & Culture Council. Quick and fun was on my mind, with a nice finish in the end (an artist's reception). The first image is a somewhat abstract view of one of the city's more older buildings. I have never felt that architectual perspectives were in my painting vocabulary especially because I love the organic landscape, but with being subject to the rules and boundaries of the downtown city, this is what I picked. I was attracted by the awning with the wires and supports with the brick and mortar structure. It has a somewhat lefthanded slant to it, being that I'm a strong right handed painter (I'll fix that later).

After finishing this one, I made my way to the Walter's Art and Culutral Center to submit my piece with a lot of time to spare.

Sun Sketcher, pastel on sanded paper, 6x6"

So, I set up on the lawn with several other artists who were painting a Tableau Vivant of a woman sketching who was dressed in vintage clothing. The winning results of the event are posted here.

Next weekend, my work will be at the Hughes Water Garden Invitational Art Show located in beautiful Tualatin, OR. The ever-so summery Garden Party is on Friday July 23rd from 6:30 till 8pm. Bring your sun hat!

On Saturday July 24th, I will be at the Beaverton Farmer's Market painting with the Artists' Against Hunger. 30% of all art sales benefit the Oregon Food Bank. So get your fresh summer grub and feed the poor at the same time!

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Bastille Day 'Etudes and other news

Thought I'd post what I did at the Bastille Day festival since I was blogging about it in my last post. It was a fun event and saw many artist friends and familiar faces.

After I set up my pochade box I always seem I get hungry, so I downed my sandwich and apple and then got right to work. From where I set up, I viewed this colorful scene of a tapestry vendor selling fabrics from Provence. I didn't really get this one right, and after fussing with it for so long and many interruptions, I decided that I'd just do quick 5 min studies from then on out.

Funny, once I began to focus, the crowds stopped talking to me and began watching from behind. I really enjoyed the quickness and freedom to just make a quick gesture without trying to make a "piece". Sometimes, I get so hung up on making a piece of art instead of actually just working on creating. The fine line gets thinner every time I go out to plein air paint.

While I took on a more focused approach, I noticed that I stood with my legs standing apart, solid on the ground, my left hand on my easel (I guess to support my stance) and my eyes steady on either my subject or my color selection.

Some of my involuntary models knew they were being observed. One woman asked if I were an artist. Oh, I don't know....

Anyway, reporting from the field...
Bastille Day is officially on July 14th to celebrate the French Revolution.

This coming weekend paint-out will be in Hillsboro at the Walters Cultural Arts Center from 9:00am till 3:00pm. Judging the event will be Thomas Kitts and $1000 in awards will be presented as well as door prizes. You don't have to be an artist to enjoy this event! The public is welcome to come experience the creative process in action! See you there!


Bastille Day Bistro, 7x5"

"Bastille Day Bistro", 7x5" Pastel on sanded paper

I've been preparing for my most favorite event in Portland to plein air paint the crowds at the annual Bastille Day festivities in the Portland Pearl. By and by, I will be serenaded by French food and music, dazzled by ballet dancing, tempted by vendors, and seduced by the language...all without the jet lag, passport and expense! I simply can't wait!

I have to admit I am not much of a figure painter, and I highly respect those artists who practice the subject, but I think for once I was able to at least get the gist of these figures. Possibly the biggest test for me will be at the Bastille Day event...Lord knows there will be plenty of figures to paint!

This little piece was cropped from last years 'visite' and will be matted and packaged for sale at the event. I hesitate to sell it, all because it reminds me of the fun I had painting there last year, but I have way too much art on my walls to call it mine. C'est la vie.

Bastille Day info posted on the right.

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Beaverton Creek Waterway, 16x12, and summer distractions!

"Beaverton Creek Waterway" 16x12" Pastel on sanded paper

I've been saving this piece for a couple of weeks to post when I got too busy to paint! I can't imagine not painting for any stretch of time, but as my summer schedule has been playing out, I knew there would be a week or two of no painting time. This one was painted at the same location as Beaverton Waterway a couple of weeks back but with a different perspective.

What has been taking up my time? My summer has a number of Saturday paint-outs and a workshop scheduled (cancelled!) and a few shows to hang, but what has been consuming most of my time is the kids...AND, we are hosting an exchange student from Spain for the month! Because of the additional visitor, there are many fun distractions that have pulled me from studio and plein air work. What I enjoy most is the evening conversations over dinner. We have introduced her to junk food and sugary children's breakfast cereals...we plan on spoiling her with all American hot dogs, cracker jack and a pro-baseball game. I'll probably make some jello and top it off with whipped cream. Yuck! The fourth of July, shopping, parties with other exchange students...all fun, but consuming of time. You get the picture.

When July is over, I think I'll collapse!