She flirted with the Dark Side...

A good block-in for my first oil in 23 years, 9x12"

So I did it! I took the leap and painted with oils, albeit a fun learning experience at that. Now that I have ventured over to the Dark Side, as in Darth Vader and his Galactic Empire, I may be tempted to try it again. "Gulp" This devout pastelist did it and here are my observations from the day:

1. Know the names of paint colors. Pastels are not labeled, so painting with oils alongside experienced oil painters is label work. Veridian? Cad Red light? Whahhh? Not so with pastels. Just pick a color and value, and no mixing! Oils are brain work.

2. Bring tubes of paint that aren't dried out! Being that I painted way back in 1988 (ok, I'm dating myself here now) I still have tubes of paint that are good...so I thought. One huge tube of never opened Titanium White came out to the field with me and when I tried to unscrew the top to squeeze out a juicy dab of oil, it was hard as rock...I mean solid.... as in a brick! Does anyone need a paper weight cuz I got one...and it's free!

3. Find a place to put the piece when transporting it home. See the twigs of grass on the upper left? Yup, I dropped the darned thing in the field and didn't think to bring a box to put the wet painting in. I've heard that Monet had sand on his, so I guess I'm following an oil tradition of bringing the outdoors in.

4. Have a good time! Even though it was a challenge, it was met with a lot of excitement rediscovering the medium. Greasy fingers, a hint of purple on my chin, and a couple of good laughs! Now I'm off to clean my brushes. Ugh!


Last week I was headed out to the Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts to receive a Blue Ribbon Award for "Passing Point" I received the call a few nights before the ceremony and was so excited that I hung up the phone before I found out what piece won the ribbon. So all the more reason to attend this yearly show.

Passing Point, 24x23" Pastel on sanded paper

This Friday I'm off to Caswell Gallery for the First Friday Art Walk and Quick Draw. If you are in the area, come on out to watch 6 artists create a work of art in about 2 hours. Add a glass of delicious Mt. Defiance red any you are good for the evening.


Kaiser Bend, 12x9

Kaiser Bend, 12x9" Pastel on sanded paper. Available
©Brenda Boylan

The summer weather in Oregon is just beginning to bring about my favorite type of clothing: flip flops, tank tops, shorts, and sunscreen. You just can't take the California out of me even though I've lived here for nearly 25 years, officially giving me the Oregonian status with the locals. Today was a beautiful one, bringing about a sunburn on the back of my legs from painting this one just off of Kaiser Road in Helvetia, OR. A lovely day to be out painting indeed.

Last weekend I drove the miles to The American Art Co. in Tacoma to participate in "demo day". I worked on a large piece measuring 24x24" in a 4 hour period...more like 3 after all the snack breaks and visiting with the other artists who participated in this event. The 4 other artists were: Misty Martin, Barbara Benedetti Newton, Neil Andersson and Reni Moriarity.

Painting nearly completed, a real workout at my portable easel...surrounded by incredible art. You can see a bit of the rose colored underpainting near the lower area of the piece.

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Archway to Jackson Bottom, 12x9

Archway to Jackson Bottom, 12x9" Pastel on sanded paper

This week has been pretty busy with wrapping up all the loose ends from my trip to Los Gatos and preparing for more upcoming events. I did have the liberty to go out and plein air paint (this one above) just once more before my kids are home from school for the summer months. At this point in my life, I'm just wishing I had a wife to do all the little things that I'm asked to do while I'm working on my art. If anyone knows where to get one, without all the strings attached, then just holler, wouldja?

On a more serious note, this little colorful one was painted in the thicket of a forested area (Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve) looking out onto a more open area. When I had completed this piece, I came out from under the shadows and the color just blew me away. With all that grey in the sky from the overcast sky, I just had to let the color ride, working mainly with value in mind. A good day was had by all!

This Saturday, I will doing a painting demonstration at The American Art Co from 12-4:oo pm. I plan on painting a large 24x24" from this small study...

Rise From Water, 6x6" Pastel on sanded paper

Upcoming events include a pastel demo at The American Art Co. this Saturday, a solo show at Elsinore Gallery in Salem, OR., a group show "From Sea to Shore" and a Quick Draw (July 1st) at Caswell Gallery. So if you are in the area, come on out and surprise me like some of you have graciously done!

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Los Gatos Plein Air 2011 recap

Garrod Stables, 8x10" Pastel. ©Brenda Boylan Sold

Back home and finally rested after a whirlwind of plein air painting Los Gatos, CA. My traveling buddy Thomas Kitts and I left on Sunday at 4am so we could get a couple of days to search and find that 'perfect' scene. There sure was plenty of it, but funnily enough, we Portlanders brought some sprinkles down with us too. The first couple of days were spent touring around and even though it was not officially time to start painting, we couldn't help but stop in our tracks and paint at a location called Garrod Stables, a family ranch built in 1894 that even had wine tasting. Just what a traveler needs... a little vino, huh? And if I was dreaming, please don't wake me up because the artistic subject matter of this place was plentiful.

'Garrod Stables Pathway', 8x6 Pastel ©Brenda Boylan Sold

More times than not, I finished my work well before my oily painting friend Thomas, so I'd just go off and find something else to paint. Oh, the beauty of pastel. I painted this quick scene of a path that wrapped around the backside of one of the many barns. That evening after a great dinner, we decided to try our hand at the Theatre.

My time spent was not as successful as I had wished, but it was a great attempt nonetheless. Possibly I will make this one a studio piece when the winter months keep me indoors. Our early arrival helped us to narrow down those painting locations so our time would be productive painting instead of searching. By registration on Wednesday, we were ready to begin our work.

After registration on Wednesday morning, Erich Nuebert, Robert Frank, Thomas and I sweet talked our way onto the La Rinconada Country Club's golf course...in blue jeans (a no no at the club). All I can say is a little honey goes a long way. This was my first time, and probably my last to drive one of these little guys. It was fun though and the painting turned out pretty nice too.

'Hole #14 at La Rinconada', 16x12" Pastel (available) ©Brenda Boylan

That afternoon while it rained, Mr. T and I decided a drink and draw was a great way to wait it out...so why not? The Black Watch is the local watering hole where stories are shared and kamakazi's are the fav. I chose a different route with a tasty tequila. If you look closely, you will notice my drink is covered with a napkin to keep the dust out of it. All I can say is this was a first!

'Drink and Draw at the Black Watch' 10x8" Pastel (available) ©Brenda Boylan

I wasn't too thrilled with the piece, but I was told that the folks around here love the place, so why not celebrate it! After the rain, we wound our way up past the many mansions to find Paul Masson Winery. What a beautiful area this was....so California!

'Masson Vineyard Slopes', 8x10" Pastel (available) ©Brenda Boylan

Up early the next morning we attempted these majestic eucalyptus trees at Vasona Park. The early golden light was changing long before the park opened. I started this one at 8am and finished by 10. The light was blue and overcast this day, we began to wonder if we really did jinx the week. By this time, the skin on my fingers was wearing off. So I made a make-shift finger cot with masking tape to protect my right thumb and ring finger. Ouch!

"Good Morning Eucs' 16x12" Pastel (available) ©Brenda Boylan

Painting with newfound friends Ursula Hennessy and Tonya Zenin at Vasona Park

'June Shadows at Vasona' 16x12" Pastel ©Brenda Boylan Sold

...and more Eucalyptus at Vasona Park...they were so graceful, like ballerinas posturing to the music.

'Day's Last Stand', 10x8" Pastel (available) ©Brenda Boylan

Then after all the painting, it was time to frame and go to the Gala. Here is my signature piece from the 3 days of painting and no sleep...my eyes just about swelled shut from the hard work, but boy was I happy!

Wishing I had more photos of the Gala and all the kind folks who came out to support the cause. Great food, great people. After the gala, a few of us artists went over to the McSorley's to do some more celebrating.

Thomas Kitts, Jane, ?, Debbie Gualco, John and Sue McSorley, Robert Frank, and Sterling Hoffmann.

After a short night's rest, say, 4 hours, I was up again to hang and sell during a record Californian downpour.

The grassy ground was like soup, but the crowd still came despite it all. Next time Brenda, don't bring the raincoat to jinx the weather, eh?


Then a funny thing happened on our way back home...

We had a terrific time at the Los Gatos Plein Air 2011. Both Thomas and I were pleased with the overall economy of the area and event coordination of the Los Gatos Morning Rotary Club. I sold 3 paintings and left contact for 2 commissions, so I'd say it was pretty successful! I hope to return again for a some more great painting and adventures in 2012.

One more event coming this Saturday evening at the Elsinore Gallery in Salem, OR. Details on the right...

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