PNWPA 2011 Recap

Just returned from the 4 day Pacific Northwest Plein Air event in the beautiful area of the worlds best windsurfing destination, Hood River. Met many new friends and renewed friendships with others. The event is organized with recommended painting destinations, while I did a few of them, I mostly went off with a few others to explore different locations and subject matter. Part of me says I should have stuck with the program and the other part says "why not?" I came out of the event with 3, maybe 4 strong paintings out of 8, every one a delight to work on. Evenings I spent exploring the urban sights that continue to spark my interest. Read on...

Me with David Burbach during orientation at the Gorge White House.

This is my first painting (after a quick warmup) set behind the Gorge White House that is trimmed by railroad tracks and fruit warehouses. I deleted the train tracks for a better composition.

"Behind the Tracks" 16x12" Pastel on sanded paper ©Brenda Boylan

On the second day, I split from the group and joined up in the early morning with talented watercolor artist Mike Kowalski to paint the backside of the fruit warehouse just beyond the Gorge White House. I worked very hard on getting my angles right, if I ever did here.

"Fruit Depot" 9x12" Pastel on sanded paper

In the afternoon I took a small break and then got in the car and drove 20 miles west to Cascade Locks to join up with artists Anton Pavlenko, Scott Gellatly and Kat Sowa. My work suffered from fatigue from the heat and wind so no painting to show here, but this is the scene in which I was most attracted to....and yes, that is an eagle's nest atop that tall tree!

Cascade Locks

Then onto the evening I ventured for a walk downtown to see the afterglow of the day on more urban subjects. This one shot could possibly be a studio piece when the winter months keep me indoors.

View of Sherman Street looking easterly in the evening.

Urban distractions...a nice composition and possible painting. Looks like Anana's needs a few extra fuses for her neon.

The next day the artists all headed up to Mosier Bluff, an area preserved from development with outstanding views of the Gorge and wildlife. I chose this road less traveled instead of the view of the gorge and cliffs. A stern Forest Ranger came out to shoo us all off the property because the heat from underneath our cars could catch the wild dry grass afire. That warning made me rather nervous... but I was able to plunk out one 12x9".

"Road to Mosier Bluff" 12x9" Pastel on sanded paper ©Brenda Boylan

So then on down the steep drive to Mayer State Park for some respite from the sun and cool from the water. Temps topped 92.

Me with painters Michael Orwick, Kat Sowa, and Sergio Lopez.

Several artists came out to Mayer State park to cool off next to the water and protected by the trees for the afternoon location. That night we all gathered at the Taqueria for some grub and a drink, then off to a nocturne in the urban glow of the neon.

Painting this nocturn neon was the highlight (no pun intended) of my trip out to Hood River because I don't often get the opportunity to go out at such hours because of my young family. It's amazing how difficult yet a thrill at the same time it is to paint in the dark. The values rule in this arena, but colors work just as hard here. Didn't get this one in the show because I had no frame for it, so I am bummed I couldn't show it at the Gala this coming Friday night. A dark red underpainting set this one off in the right direction.

"Street Talk" 8x6" Pastel on sanded paper ©Brenda Boylan

The next day I framed and turned in my work early and headed out towards the next destination atop a winery overlooking the entire gorge, but by the time I reached it nearly everyone was out to lunch and went their separate ways. From then on I took it easy because I was beginning to feel a bit ill from a possible exposure to gluten from something I must have ate. The temps were still hot that made for fatigue. I decided I'd leave for home early the next morning having completed 8 works with 4 in the show.

The view from the car of I-84 driving west with the oncoming cool rain clouds. Yes, that's Portland summer weather for ya!


Rise From Water, 24x24

"Rise From Water" 24x24" Pastel on sanded paper ©Brenda Boylan

I have been in the studio a bit on and off, and have finally pushed to finish the demo piece that I started at the American Art Co. back in June. My summer painting practices have been rather slow at best, and it frustrates me a bit because this is the best time of year to be out painting. (school starts in a couple of weeks, YEAH!) I guess I have been saving up for the big push of 5 full days of plein air painting in Hood River, OR. in the Pacific Northwest Plein Air Event. The adventure starts tomorrow, bright and early, and hopefully I can paint a couple of good ones to share for my next post. Yeah!

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Rising Mist, 12x12

Rising Mist, 12x12" Pastel on sanded paper SOLD

Early in the morning, long before my family wakes, is the only time I've found this summer when I can get out and paint the color and atmosphere of the Great Northwest. Today I was out the door at 5:45 to pick up painting buddy and neighbor Michael Orwick. We headed out to our newfound and favorite place to paint called the Tualatin Wildlife Refuge in Sherwood, OR. that is only a 10 minute drive away. We like it so much that we have returned to it 4 times now. In the mornings there's always this low laying fog cover that breaks the sun's light into millions of prisms and creates a glow that is not captured on the lenz of a camera. These early mornings give me ample time to produce a stunning mess of color long before my children wake for the day, giving me much satisfaction for the rest of the day.

Here are some photos I took this morning, albeit not the "real" color our eyes can see.

Next week I will be participating in the Pacific Northwest Plein Air 2011 event held in Hood River for 5 days. Last year was my first time in this event and it was such a blast painting with some very talented artists and living the artist's life of non-stop painting and discussions about art. I can't wait to reconnect with old friends and meet some new ones too. The Gala opening is Friday Sept 2nd, so come on out if you can. And if you want to see the artists at work, here are the paint out destinations:

25 - 29 Thursday - Monday: Paint-Out & Write-Out Sunrise to Sunset 25 Thursday: The Gorge White House - orientation starts at 8:30am for both painters and writers Hood River Valley

26 Friday: Pebble Beach, Stevenson, Washington
http://www.portofskamania.org/StevensonLanding.htm 27 Saturday: Mosier Plateau - Friends of the Gorge Property, Mosier, Oregon
http://www.gorgefriends.org/article.php?list=type&type=57 28 Sunday: Gorge Crest Vineyards, Underwood, Washington
http://www.gorgecrest.com 29 Monday: Downtown and Marina, Hood River, Oregon

Also, this past week I received notice of my Signature membership with the Pastel Society of America. I had put off applying to the Society for a long time because they only worked with slide submission, but now they have gone digital and so it is. I guess that makes me a real pastelist or a real procrastinator? Whoopee!


It's Not About Color!, 9x12

"It's Not About Color" 9x12" Pastel on sanded paper SOLD

Converted to B/W to see if my study was on track

The source photo.

Today I held a private lesson with my student and we were going over the study of values and their importance over color. It's a difficult thing to get right even for the more experienced artist and that is why I continue to work on them every so often. I find them really exciting, full of odd colors but as well as a playful way to break out of a creative block. The first image is what I created followed by the b/w conversion (to check for accuracy as well as the source photo.

I select 12 colors ranging from a scale of 1 to 9 on the value scale. I take the 12 colors and set them in groups of 3 each, giving me 4 overall value blocks for my composition. From there I start with my darkest darks and then gingerly add my lightest lights to establish my value range. The rest is just juggling and comparing the values back and forth with each area until it all comes together. Kitty Wallis teaches this in her workshops and it is one of my favorite studies to do. "Value does all the work and color gets all the glory."

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Curbsides headed to New York, NY!

"Curbsides" 12x9" Pastel on sanded paper ©Brenda Boylan

I've taken on a sort of self imposed break from the studio these past few weeks, even though I've been working on a few demanding things that are not so visual. I received notice a few weeks back that my piece "Curbsides" was accepted into the PSA's 39th Annual Exhibition.
I'm thrilled to be considered for this prestigious show held at The National Arts Club close by the Gridiron district in New York City. Maybe a flight out would be appropriate? Hmmm. we'll see. So, I've been preparing my shipment that will be headed across the US as well as framing and delivering plein air artwork for another show coming up at the Caswell Gallery. A lot of busy work and no time at the easel...bleh! And to top it all off, the weather is wonderful and the kids are home begging to do something interesting! It's a balancing act I tell ya! I"m also preparing for my return trip to the Pacific Northwest Plein Air Event in Hood River later on this August. Just hoping to get out into the great weather for a taste of more plein air before long.

So, here is my accepted entry "Curbsides" that is headed to Manhattan that I painted earlier this year, posted HERE. Enjoy!

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