Wednesday, June 19, 2013


The sunshine has officially returned.

We'll be plein-air painting as often as we can, and out of state company will be coming and going the next few months.

 I won't be back to the blog till the end of the season.

 Have a great summer!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Impression of Laurelhurst Pond

Laurelhurst Sketch - Oil 8 X 10 on panel

This is the oil that got blasted with rainwater last week in Laurelhurst Park.
Although I took some photos there, I went back into the painting relying only on my memory. I finished it outside on my back porch though I don't think that qualifies as "plein air."

We're planning on getting outside to paint a few times this week.  Can't wait. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day

Thank you, Dad, for giving me the childhood you never had.

Thank you, Tim, for showing Alexis how a real man treats his wife.   May she never settle for less.

Thank you, God, for bringing these two loving, decent men into my life.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

City Chicken

I've been working on a few oil paintings as well as inks, and lots of new ideas have been emerging. We've got a small stockpile of canvas boards and larger standard sized stretched canvasses, but nothing too unusual in size. 

  During our weekly romp about town, Tim and I stopped at Muse Art & Design in the Hawthorne neighborhood. 

 Although I was only just looking, I couldn't let go of a 12 X 36 stretched canvas and cha-chinged myself out of there.

Then we headed over to the Lake Oswego Library to pick up this book.  It's gotten glowing reviews by some artist friends.

Before leaving the library, we took a closer look at a presentation being given in the lobby.

Do you know Portlanders are allowed to keep three chickens in their yards?  In the city?!  Growing up in Detroit, the only chickens I saw were at Popeyes and KFC.

I don't know...  Somehow I'm not surprised. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Plein Air - 2

Tim, Joanne, and I packed up and ventured out to Sauvie Island yesterday.  Just north of Portland, Sauvie is home to a wildlife sanctuary and a variety of fruit, veggie and flower farms.  It even hosts a clothing-optional beach (hey, it's Portland).

We met artist David McBride and his wife Char at the general store, and then headed out to a spot selected by Dave.  My camera could not capture the beauty of the landscape.

It had been threatening rain all day, but we knew it wouldn't rain.

Joanne and Tim in the landscape

The cows were relaxed.  This means it isn't going to rain.

Oh, no...  The cows suddenly turned around and headed back to the barn.  They seemed to be in a hurry.  I think this means it WILL rain.

And, boy, did it rain.

Dave McBride held his ground.

Joanne, Tim and I held our ground.

Our art boxes were a puddled mess and our oil paints mixed with water.  The paint would not stick to the canvas.

We packed up.  Our supplies were wet, our easels and art boxes were starting to warp, and we were soaked to the skin.

But Dave McBride held his ground.  I looked at his painting.  If mine looked that good, I would have stuck around a little longer, too.

Then, of course, the sky started to clear.

Sauvie Island asked us not to leave.  Too late!

Well, okay.  I guess we could come back.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Plein Air - 1

Yup, we did finally did it.  We ventured outside to paint yesterday.   Of course, we were in the best of company with professional artist Joanne Kollman, whom we met at Alla Prima Portland.

On Joanne's advice, we headed out SE Laurelhurst Park.  It was a little overcast, but the temperature was comfortable and the park wasn't very crowded.

Joanne & Tim (with his favorite hat)

Joanne's idea - great choice

We each did a few paintings.  I put the first painting aside for an hour or so and started a second so as to avoid my tendency to "beat it to death."

The most curious onlookers were dogs, squirrels (to the delight of the dogs), and ducks.

I don't think I've ever seen a beige and white duck before.

Then, before we were finished, the inevitable happened; it started to rain.

As we packed up, I realized what the advantage of having a panel holder might be and mentally put it on the shopping list.  I don't know if the rain had anything to do with it, but this is what happened to one of my half baked paintings.


Regular oils, as opposed to water-soluble oils, were used.  I hadn't really started building it up; the block-in was still pretty thin.  I'll take it in to Alla Prima Portland on Thursday morning and see what the experts have to say.

Unless the stormy forecast changes, we'll be painting outside on Sauvie Island later this afternoon.

The Weekend

We had a nice art related weekend.

On Friday night, the Lane Gallery in Portland hosted a reception featuring the paintings of Kristina Sellers,  Celeste Bergin,  Joanne Kollman, and a few other very talented artists.
As usual, Celeste and her husband Dave took some great photos which she posted on her blog.

Saturday was the usual lame attempt at cleaning the studio.  I won't elaborate.

Sunday, Tim and I headed out to the Broderick Gallery in Rainier, Oregon for an afternoon reception featuring the paintings of Kristina Sellers, Celeste, and Kay Elmore.

I was the navigator and became a little nervous when I noticed we were crossing the Columbia River and got a glimpse of Mt. St. Helens.  Oh, oh...we're in Washington.  

Luckily, we were actually on track.  About an hour later, we crossed back over into Oregon and arrived at the gallery.

Broderick Gallery

The sound of the festivities wafted out into the street, so we were eager to go inside and check out the party.

Kay Elmore and George Broderick

Kristina Sellers, the lady of the hour

Celeste Bergin

George Broderick, the gallery owner, is actually a fine artist.

Well, all I can say is that George is an incredible host because I forgot all about taking photos.

We stayed longer than we had intended, and were happy the CRV knew its way home.

Friday, June 7, 2013

My Dad

My father, somewhere in Germany.  I'm so proud of you, Dad!

Yesterday's national commemoration of the allied D-Day invasion of France has lingered with me.   I still think of my dad, who proudly served in World War II.  Like many veterans, he rarely spoke of the war, but every now and then he'd let a few things slip through.  

My dad was one of the brave Americans who stormed the beaches of Normandy.
He said the minute his boots hit the water, he accepted that this would probably be his last day on earth. He was 21 years old.  Thankfully, my dad survived, but over 9,000 soldiers were either killed or wounded during the invasion.

 Dad was a medic and didn't carry a gun.  Instead he was provided with an abundant supply of morphine to ease the pain of the dying during their transition to a better place.  He said it was an honor to comfort and tend to a wounded soldier.  Sometimes a heartfelt word, direct eye contact, or the mere squeeze of a hand was the best medicine.

So what does this have to do with art?  Well, my dad went to art school in Chicago after the war.  Supporting a new family, however, became a more realistic concern and he was forced to get a "real" job.  After retirement, my dad began painting again, but health issues eventually got in the way.

I wish I could have had the opportunity to paint with my father.  He died a few years before I took my first painting class.

You know, it's funny that I can still hear my dad's voice.  If I get tempted to "borrow" a really good idea from another artist, I get the "do the right thing" lecture.  When I become discouraged, I hear my dad talk about having to pay our dues.  But, best of all, I often hear him whisper that he's so proud of me.

And it doesn't get any better than that.

Thursday, June 6, 2013


Claude Monet, Self Portrait 1886
Although I'd be inclined to buy a landscape painting before any other, I've never been much of a landscape painter.  I really don't know why.

Most everyone in the Alla Prima Portland group paints plein-air landscapes.  Earlier this week, I thought I'd whip out a couple of warm-ups before next Wednesday, when the outdoor fun officially begins on Sauvie Island.

Well, I have a new respect for landscape painters.  Unlike most still life paintings or portraits, landscapes challenge the artist to edit out more information, to incorporate both aerial and linear perspective,  and to paint the transitory effects of light.

So, unbeknownst to my plein-air companions, I plan on being a sponge - watching, listening, and absorbing every bit of knowledge I possibly can.

Knowing these generous artists, though, I don't really have to observe in stealth.  They give willingly.

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Few More Inks

Here are a few more of my beginner alcohol inks - still learning the "feel" of them and still enjoying them very much.

I miss the smell of oil paint, so it's time to head down to the studio.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Ah, the Weekend

Troy Laundry Building
Artists Studios

The weekend got off to a great start last night when we attended Troy Studios Spring Open House.

The building is in SE Portland and is on the National Register of Historic Places.  It used to house a large, mechanized commercial laundry in the early 20th Century.  Lucky us, because now it is occupied by local artists.

We visited the studios of printmakers, encaustic and fiber artists, sculptors, and painters (loved Joanne Kollman!).  While we weren't able to photo any of the artwork, we took a few pics inside the building.

Beats painting at the kitchen table...

This morning, we popped out for coffee at our favorite spot in Lake Oswego, a neighboring community.  Lo and behold, their Farmers Market was in full swing. 

I think Farmers Markets, in and of themselves, are works of art.

When we got back home, we dove into yard work.   
We cleaned up our landscaping, which had been artfully planted by the previous owners. 

Later I get to artfully fold some laundry, and then cook some dinner and make an artful presentation.  

So... even though I won't be painting today, trying to live an artful life makes things I choose to do a lot more fun and makes things I HAVE to do a lot more fun!

Hope you have an artful weekend.  See you on Monday.