Friday, October 2, 2015

Blood Moon (but not exactly)

 Tualatin Moon (8x10) oil on linen

In anticipation of the Super/Blood Moon; a "super moon" (full moon closest to the earth) and a "blood moon" (lunar eclipse) combo a few days ago on September 27th, several artists friends set up our easels at the Tualatin Wildlife Refuge in Tualatin, Oregon where we would have a nice, long-range view. 

We waited and waited for the first glimpse of what was supposed to be a spectacular sight, but what happened was rather anticlimactic; the moon was already in lunar eclipse before anyone could make it out about three fingers above the horizon...
Pearl Moon (6x8) oil on linen

Apparently, there was just enough haze in the sky that the pink atmosphere of sundown melded with the orange shade of the eclipse and made the "Blood Moon" barely perceptible... Only the star gazers who also showed up with their telescopes and zoom lens cameras were able to get a nice close-up view. 

At any rate, the light was quickly fading and I had already sketched in everything but the moon in my two small paintings. The simple compositions were designed to focus on a prominent moon rise, but since no "prominent" moon was forth coming, I improvised and went with just the Super Moon look (much more dramatic than what we actually saw) but then only you who read this blog will know what really happened.

Still, fun was still had by all including my wife and daughter who came along with our neighbor from across the street -- it was a rare event to behold and a good memory was made as summer changed to autumn in the Pacific Northwest.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Northern California and Sonoma Plein Air 2015

 "Autumn Morn" (18x18) oil on linen SOLD

 Just got back from Sonoma Plein Air -- had a wonderful time painting surrounded by rolling hills of undeveloped land -- what Orange County used to look like back in the 60's...beautiful coast there too!

                                             "The Scarlet Conclusion" (9x12) oil on linen

 Had the opportunity to paint with friends, which was a real treat, and it only rained half of Wednesday but the rest of the week was perfect weather. Looking forward to going back next year!

                                                     "Blue Sonoma" (6x8) oil on linen

 "September's Glow" (crop 12x16) oil on linen

"California Road" (8x10) oil on linen

Monday, August 31, 2015

Back to Sonoma Plein Air!

Summer Dusk (6x8) oil on linen

Looking forward to participating in the Sonoma Plein Air festival again next month! The event runs September 14-19, and this will be my 6th year. I love the landscape there, connecting with my California roots and painting with friends to benefit art programs in the local schools!

Down Comes the Night (12x16) oil on linen

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Thru rose-colored glasses...

"Rose Colored" (12x16) oil on linen

The smoke from recent fires in the Pacific Northwest drifted over our area creating a filter for a couple of days, colouring everything pink and orange. Anything in sunlight seemed more intensely warm, while the corresponding shadows were cooler and more colourful than usual. I noticed the effect on our (white) fence that morning as it had an amber tone to it and the shadows were a soft, warm pastel was a very unusual, but beautiful and eye-catching effect.  I never before said, "Hey, look at the colour on that fence!" or, "Wow, check out the shadow on that driveway!" Everyday objects suddenly had a superficial interest they never had before...

It was kind of like what I imagine a colour-blind person seeing full-spectrum colour for the first time would feel -- as if a new hue was suddenly added to the natural range we're used to; yet this wasn't a new hue, but one short range of hues (red to yellow) being turned up above the others... While the sunlight was more unifying, it was also weaker (or limiting) in it's range because of the filtering smoke; much like a photographic range is unified or limited by adding a filter to a camera lens...

I imagined a "colourist" like Henry Hensche (1899 - 1992) and his students appreciating such exaggerated hue, and went to a nearby park to paint the effect I was seeing. It was hard to not overstate the candy-coloured bubblegum effect and keep the intensity in check, but I did like the fact that the filter was making colour choices easier by limiting the range of both hue and value.  Local objects were tinted as well as middle-distance objects, while the furthest forms seemed to have a bit more colour than usual (or at least they appeared warmer than normal) and contrast was reduced as well... 

Interesting conditions,  but considering the cost of what caused it, I'd rather things go back to normal ASAP.  God bless those who have lost homes and land to the fires this year -- for them right now, life is certainly anything but "rose-colored"....

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Old School Waterman

 Old School Waterman (24x20) oil on linen SOLD

This year at Plein Air Easton I decided to find a model to pose for me for a figurative piece... After spying a "waterman" with this epic beard, I knew that was the local subject I needed; waterman are the fishermen, crabbers and oyster harvesters who have worked the Chesapeake for decades. They have lots of character and everything an artist desires to make an interesting picture. 

Painter, Charles Hawthorne was the subliminal inspiration for this one. The model (who chose to remain nameless) sat for about two and a half hours, after which I tweaked it a little more from memory. The buoys I found down the road hanging on a shed and sketched them in my sketchbook to add later in the background, as I did also for the crab baskets at the bottom which were painted from life on a fishing dock close by.

Boat House Nocturne (16x20) oil on linen

This shed was located in Claiborne, not far from my hosts house where many folk reside who make their living on the water. I added the small boat on the side, but everything else was there. I have come to really love painting the rich history and culture of the Chesapeake Bay and it's residents and hope to return next year for more...

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Plein Air Easton 2015

 Point Pleasant Poem (16x16) oil on linen

Had a wonderful time returning to Plein Air Easton last month (my 4th time) and the beautiful landscape there. Surprisingly this was NOT the hottest week of the year as is usually the case; still there were plenty of bug bites and lots of humidity, but that gets forgotten in the midst of all the camaraderie and great events the PAE organizers put on...

Made in July (9x12) oil

I was able to stay with a painter friend afterwards for a few days and tour the Smithsonian Museum of American Art where they have several Thayers, Benson's and Tanner's that were all amazing to see in person (especially the Thayers)! We even stumbled upon a William Wendt that was being cleaned in their restoration room. Good times again in Maryland -- hope to return next year!

Monday, July 6, 2015

There Was a Crooked Man...

"There Was a Crooked Man..." (16x20) o/l

This is a recent plein air painting done in Yamhill County, Oregon... Nice old lady was out tending her garden and gave me permission to paint her dilapidated barns. Everything looked old there -- might have been a "century farm" but before I finished my painting and could inquire about it, the old lady disappeared! 

Sometimes it's that way out in the country you know; folks are a little skittish (and indeed it was a 'crooked' mile to get there)...

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Fall Workshop Announcement:


Registration is now open for a Studio Landscape Painting Workshop this November  (2015) at Sequoia Gallery in Hillsboro, Oregon. 

I will be teaching an in-door 2-day class, sharing what I know via demo and lecture regarding painting the landscape in oil from photo reference, while exploring and developing your own style... Class size is limited to ten -- hope you can make it!

Please visit the link and scroll down to Event #134 for more details: