Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sonoma Plein Air 2014

 Sonoma Skies (8x10)

Just back from Sonoma Plein Air 2014 and what a beautiful place to be and not just to paint; perfect sunny weather and gorgeous landscape and coast to explore. Here are a few of the dozen or so pieces I did there...

 California Cloudscape (8x10) SOLD

It was also great to see and paint with some friends that I only get to see a couple of times a year at events like these -- these are "my people" who understand the artist in me the most, who face the same trials and tribulations that creatives have to deal with...

 Moonlight Drive (12x16) SOLD

So while we encouraged one another, we commiserated some too, to vent our frustrations and compare notes on what's not working and what is...

 Silver Sonoma Coast (6x8) SOLD

But the best parts were sharing the excitement of caravaning thru the pre-dawn hours to reach the coast and capture the first light on canvas, and spontaneous dinner parties at the end of long days painting to share fun stories of triumphs and failures -- camaraderie among artists is a very special and needful experience (and it also elevates the homesickness I often feel away from my girls back home).

 Summers End (8x10) SOLD

This piece (above) was the first of mine to sell on Saturday and was painted on the Annadel Estate Winery where I was given full access of the grounds, and a complimentary glass of award-winning Chardonnay before I left (thank you Abi!)...

Bodega Rocks (8x10)

At Bodega Head on the Sonoma Coast there were dozens of paintings in every direction; zero wind, zero clouds, zero crowds -- just nature at it's finest! I only wish I had more time to explore better compositions, but the richness of the day will last me for months to come. Can hardly wait to get back next year, but what a way to close out the summer -- thank you everyone at SPA for a great time and to my host, Bev Raaka for another comfortable stay!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Double Exposure!

I have an 8-page, step-by-step "how to" article in the October 2014 issue of International Artist magazine...AND am a featured artist in the "Artist To Watch" section of the October 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine -- On news stands now! 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Pacific City and the Dorymen...

 Minus Tide (8x10)

We've been having a really nice summer here in the Pacific Northwest this year (doesn't always happen) we headed back to the beach and found some great weather there too (which is also "iffy" when it's warm inland). I spent several sessions painting at Pacific City's Cape Kiwanda where the famed Dorymen launch their boats...

 Dory Rocks (8x10)

For more than a hundred years in all kinds of conditions, dory boats have gone to sea from the shelter of Cape Kiwanda. There is no other harbor, port, or fishing fleet anywhere in the world exactly like this. 

The dory's origins come from the turn of the 20th century surf dories and Nestucca River gill net boats that sold their fish to the salmon cannery established in 1887 near the mouth of the river.

After 1927,  commercial fishing was only allowed in the open ocean. Since the Nestucca had a shallow, dangerous bar accessible only at flood tide, a new larger surf boat was needed to be launched in the lee of Cape Kiwanda.

Cape Kiwanda Morning (8x10)

 When ocean conditions allow, Pacific City dories fish the waters off of Cape Kiwanda, launching from, and sliding back up on the beach in the lee of the Cape.

The dory fleet is renowned for its incredible safety record. Dorymen are often the first responders to distress calls and other marine emergencies. In 100+ years only 6 known dorymen have lost their lives at sea, making the Pacific City dory and the men and women who sail them some of the safest mariners in the marine environment.

North Side Cape Kiwanda (8x10)

 In 1996, the Dorymen's Association was founded; a non-profit organization with the primary mission to preserve and protect the historic traditions given to us by the pioneers of this fleet. The Association supports Oregon's public beach laws and regulations and works with local, state, and federal agencies.

Monday, August 18, 2014

New Stuff...

 The Mystic (16x20) linen

 Passing By (8x10) o/c

 Daisy (16x20) o/c

Garden Path (8x10) o/c

Monday, August 11, 2014

Asymmetry Rules!

 "Library Creek" (9x12)

Nature is chaotic, yet there is "design"...I know, it's an oxymoron of sorts; creation exists within certain laws and conditions, but there seems to be little oversight from an artists perspective...and I like that.  I like asymmetry too. I also like random patterns (another slight contradiction in terms) where your eye can wander throughout a scene of similar yet slightly different directional shapes, find interest and still have a way of escape...

"Oblique Floaters" (6x8)

A lot of times, painters are concerned with a focal point -- this is good, but it's not the entire goal of a good composition. The best landscapes have a focal point, or maybe even two or more that are arranged in a hierarchical manner with one being dominant. However, I have found it beneficial to also balance those areas with passages of respite along with an exit strategy. 

Troubling compositions are those whose focal point ends in a cul-de-sac, trapping the viewer.  Better compositions have a balance of action (or focus), tranquility and a clear exit (a lead-in/ lead-out pathway). This can often be accomplished with a large mass of little detail that borders one side the picture plane. Asymmetry (an unbalanced divide of proportions or information) can often create this as a bi-product via an interesting visual arrangement of shapes. 

As children, we often start out drawing pictures that are symmetrically balanced (for comfort and security I suppose) but shaking things up a bit by shoving everything to one side or the other can be a lot of fun too...

As Ed "Big Daddy" Roth once said, "Asymmetry Rules!"

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Recent plein air work and a beach trip...

 Yamhill Evening Colour (8x10)

Been having great weather so far this summer! Found a new area to explore in Yamhill county, about 30 miles west of our place with plenty of hidden valleys and mostly oak covered hills (which is a nice change from the pine trees) ....and kind of looks like northern California...

 Nestucca Moonrise (6x8)

This was a last minute quickie as the light was going fast on my way back to the beach house. There was a new observation deck built overlooking a nature preserve in the Nestucca Valley about a quarter mile in from the beach facing east...

 Arcadia Monolith (12x16) oil on linen

This was done at Arcadia Beach, a nice spot just south of the town of Cannon Beach. The base of the bluff is to the right, but I wanted to focus on the interesting shape and size of the large vertical rock formation...

Painting on the beach at minus tide...

Was able to actually drive south down the beach (just north of Pacific City) for about half a mile...painted these rocks during a very low tide, but the terrain was very flat so the tide could rise quickly...kept the keys in the ignition just in case, and it wouldn't have made for a bad Subaru commercial either!

Thankful again to visit the lonely Oregon coast -- a wonderful place to paint and recharge...

Monday, July 7, 2014

Landscape Variables:

 "Harmony in Silver" (12x16) oil on linen

This piece was painted in Spring near our home in Oregon just before a late afternoon rain storm hit (from behind me). Some of the best 'sky-drama' is right after or right before a storm; clouds are moving, colour is changing -- the design of the sky can determine your entire composition, and often become the focal point of it...I packed up and ran to the car just in time!

 "Sonoma Sunrise" (6x8) oil on panel

This little sketch was painted at dawn (and sold) during the Sonoma Plein Air show in California last October. I knew from the previous morning where the sun would hit first, so I was already set up before light. The intense blue is due to the moisture in the valley and made for a stark contrast of temperature as the sun hit the hilltop -- a very fast, but rewarding execution that I would never have captured with the same spontaneity from a photograph...

"Oak Cluster" (9x12) oil on canvas

This one was done on my way home from the beach in Oregon wine country (not sure what town it was closest to). Early in the evening, I was fortunate to find a spot to pull off the road where usually there is none (as local farmers like to plow every square foot of soil). This was last summer when the sun was low and colour was most intense. Setting sunlight on a subject can make for a more interesting composition with long-stretching shadow patterns like these...