Archive for the 'Landscape' Category
I have a show of urban landscape paintings coming up towards the end of next month at Brian Marki Fine Art in Portland, OR. I’ve been chained to the easel over the last several months painting for the show. As soon as I have all the details, I’ll post them here. I hope, if you’re in town, you’ll come by and have a look.
I’m now nine months into grieving the loss of my wife and in some ways, it’s gotten lighter. I’m generally hard on myself but I will give myself credit for working hard to try and grow from this experience. As I’ve said before, Leslie died without a second of self pity and that made it impossible for me to slip into that mud, even though it seemed likely, given my inclinations.
I’ve also written before about the courage Leslie showed in facing her death. She accepted it and walked toward it willingly and proudly, knowing she’d lived a wonderful life. She even joked on the way to death’s door. Although the experience was profound, it wasn’t heavy. We shared a lot of laughter during her last days. She showed no fear and, although we cried at our becoming separated, she approached it with dignity and grace. There was nothing sad about her death. It was magnificent and miraculous. It is her absence that causes me pain.
I’m often confused about my feelings and suffer very strong emotional waves. Sometimes it feels like I really can’t endure another wave but they keep coming. I never know when or where they’ll hit. I’ve learned to strap on my seat belt and observe my thoughts as they surge through me. Sometimes the longing to feel loved and connected to someone overwhelms me and I reach out to some unsuspecting friend with a heartfelt outpouring of gratitude and love. I worry that I sometimes overwhelm people with my urgent need for connection. Then, of course, I suffer over that.
In recent weeks, Ive felt myself start to turn away from my reverie over death and try to find something in life that I can engage myself in. I’ve felt some moments of acceptance and even feel satisfied for brief moments. As I turn back toward life, I realize that I have an opportunity to remake my life in any way I want to. Currently I feel consumed with the idea of having my life be used for something worthwhile. I’m aware that I’ve been through these periods before and they’re fragile and shatter easily. I’m doing my best to stay as grounded as I can while still believing in the possibility that I can be useful, maybe even inspiring.
I want to share this poem by the great John O’Donahue, who my friend Eithna Joyce introduced me to.
For Grief ~ John O’Donahue
There are days when you wake up happy;
Again inside the fullness of life,
Until the moment breaks
And you are thrown back
Onto the black tide of loss.
Days when you have your heart back,
You are able to function well
Until in the middle of work or encounter,
Suddenly with no warning,
You are ambushed by grief.
It becomes hard to trust yourself.
All you can depend on now is that
Sorrow will remain faithful to itself.
More than you, it knows its way
And will find the right time
To pull and pull the rope of grief
Until that coiled hill of tears
Has reduced to its last drop.
Gradually, you will learn acquaintance
With the invisible form of your departed;
And when the work of grief is done,
The wound of loss will heal
And you will have learned
To wean your eyes
From that gap in the air
And be able to enter the hearth
In your soul where your loved one
Has awaited your return
All the time.
I went out painting with a friend last week and came across a small herd of cows lounging in the sun. They were the same type of cows that I often see in Roos Schuring’s paintings. She’s a fantastic painter in Holland. I wrote about her back in Aug 2012.
So I decided to see if I could paint these cows ala Roos Schuring.
There’s one more week to catch my show at Brian Marki Fine Art.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by and especially for those who will take home a painting next week.
Thinking back to our family trip to Ireland in 1996. Good times.
Last night was the opening reception for my show of paintings at Brian Marki Fine Art. It was great to see old friends and meet new ones. Thank you to everyone who came out.
Brian did a really great job of hanging and lighting the work. I hardly recognized the paintings.
The most frequently asked question was, why are they called dolphins? To which I responded, why are the sides of a boat called gunwhales? I do not understand nautical terms.
Here are a few pictures from the reception. The show is up until the end of August. If you’re nearby, please stop by and let me know what you think.
A friend and I drove out to Ranier, OR to paint at the defunct Trojan Nuclear Plant (now a park) but there was not much there we were interested in painting so we drove on into the nearby town of Ranier, which is right on the Columbia river. These 2 paintings were done from a parking lot in the town.
I went with a friend to paint at the Portland Train station – Union Station. It was supposed to rain so I proposed we meet there and paint from under the cover of the overpass across the street from the station. It worked out pretty well. It rained hard and I only got a little wet (from a drain in the overpass) This is the resulting painting.
Tags: arts, figurative paintings, gouache, landscape painting, mt st helens, multnomah channel, plein air painting, Portland Oregon, Sauvie Island, Urban Landscape, urban sketching, watercolor, wilamette river
The hunting season is over on Sauvie Island, and I headed over to paint last weekend. Unfortunately, when I was half way there, I realized I had forgotten to pack any panels to paint on. This is the second time I’ve done this. I suppose age is catching up with me. Rather than turn back, I continued on knowing that I had my watercolor paintbox and sketchbooks along.
I went to a part of the island where I haven’t painted for several years and found a nice spot along the Multnomah Channel ( a narrow side channel of the Wilamette River, and started the piece above as several sailboats and fishing boats came and went. While I waited for the colors to dry on this one, I started the one below, of the same subject.
I moved on down the road and did one more from a spot I painted a few years ago. It’s a view of the famous volcano, Mt St Helens, across the cow patures.
I was hoping for some cows but they didn’t show up until later
The weather has been especially wonderful in Oregon this spring. Although I’m tied to my home office during the work week, I’ve stolen enough time to do a few little studies outside. These two were painted from the deck of my office.
This studio painting was painted from sketches I’ve done over recent years. Montgomery Park dominates the night sky with it’s neon sign. It is a landmark that can be seen from many view points around the North West neighborhoods of Portland.
This relatively new neighborhood sprung up seemingly overnight on the South West shore of the Wilamette River in Portland. The most prominent resident is the Oregon Health Sciences University Hospital. The main hospital is on a hill overlooking the river and the two campuses are connected by a tram (not pictured here).
I’ve done some sketching from the upper campus, looking down to this one. Here is one I did in 2010, when there were fewer buildings.
The old building in the foreground seems to be one of the last in the quickly gentrifying Peal District of NW Portland.
Feeling a pull to the dark side with this one.
I spent 12 days in Kauai with my family. It was great to get away and spend time together in beautiful Kaua’i. The cones of my eyes are now so used to bright sun and saturated colors that everything looks one color now that I’m home in the grey Pacific NW.
I slipped away to do a little bit of sketching but I really wasn’t prepared for the intensity of the sun when I wasn’t in the shade.
This was done in Hanalei, near the north end of the island. It’s a surfer beach, I forget the name of this particular one.
I never figured out the name of this mountain in Anahola on the east shore. I found a nice shady spot at the dead end of the road to do this one.
There was a large vacant spot, between resort condos, on the beach near Kapaa on the east shore. The beach was quiet and I was pretty much on my own here. If you didn’t look back to shore, it was easy to imagine being on a deserted island. This is the view in the opposite direction.
When I turned around toward the ocean, this is was the view:
Alex, if you’re reading, I tried to answer your email but my reply was returned. You may have mistyped your email address.
This old Montgomery Ward store was converted, years ago, into Montgomery Park and is now used as office space and convention center. When it was built, in 1920, it was the largest building in Portland.
This neighborhood market, at the corner of NW 23rd and Thurman, is one of the last buildings, in this neighborhood, that has not been gentrified. It was kind of a seedy area, when I first moved to Portland, about 30 years ago. Most of the street is now lined with boutiques and restaurants and in my landscaping days, I worked on some of the properties here. There’s a great breakfast place across the street called Besaws, which is in a building that goes back to 1903. The market building looks to be of the same vintage.
This is a scene at the Vigor Industrial Shipyard on Swan Island in Portland. I’ve had fun experimenting with different ways of applying paint. I used a brayer, strings soaked in paint, spatula, various knives, a whisk broom, etc. I did not use brushes very much on this piece.
I’ve been painting larger pieces on linen tacked to my wall. I leave a 4″ border around it for attaching it to stretcher bars. Once I get to this point, the border becomes distracting and I need to take it down and stretch it to really see what it looks like and to make sure the image fits the stretcher properly. I may change it after it’s stretched.
I’ve had this one on the easel for quite a while but I think I’m done with it now. What caught my eye was the interlocking shapes of the upper part of the building with the shapes caused by reflections in the lower part. It was a lot of fun to paint and I’m kind of sorry I’m done with it.
Continuing with studies for a large oil painting. It’s raining hard outside and I’m very happy to have this to do in the studio.
I’ve been doing studies for some larger oil paintings. I always seem to work more freely with watercolor and I’d like to learn ways to incorporate some of that into the oils.
Thanks everyone who traveled out to the western frontier of the Portland Open Studios tour, over the last 2 weekends. Although I didn’t get as many visitors as I may have gotten, were I more centrally located, I got the sense that many folks who came by did so because they’d looked up my website and liked what they saw.
I also had the opportunity to meet some followers of my blog, which is always great.
A few paintings found good homes, including one of my favorite recent pieces:
I’d have to say that the most popular work I had displayed was my sketchbooks. It’s always fun (and a little nerve wracking) to share them because they’re so personal. Here’s a panorama of the sketchbook table.
Thanks again to Portland Open Studios and all the art enthusiasts who visited.
I’ve been working on this painting for the last several months. I’m declaring it finished, even though I could probably go on tweaking it for another couple of months. It will be in the studio during the Portland Open Studios, over the next two weekends.
I visited the construction site of the new Portland Milwaukie bridge, which will be for light rail, cyclists and pedestrians.
Here’s a link to details about the bridge http://trimet.org/pm/construction/bridge.htm
They have very cool time lapse videos of the entire construction process at this link http://trimet.org/pm/construction/bridgecams.htm#
I went for a walk in Hoyt Arboretum today and took some time to do this sketch. I haven’t been doing much drawing lately.
I’ve always been a seat of my pants kind of painter and enjoyed just starting in on a canvas without a plan and allowing the painting to become what ever it will. But, having struggled to complete two large paintings without a real plan, I’ve decided that it’s probably a good idea to do some studies before launching into a big project so that I know what I’m trying to accomplish. Maybe I’ll have a better idea of when I’m done, for one thing.
Here are a couple of studies I’m considering for a larger piece.
This is the largest painting I’ve completed in quite a while. It’s a favorite subject of mine. I don’t know exactly why I’m so fascinated by these mooring dolphins but I love painting them. This is another view from Kelley Point Park, looking across the Columbia River toward Washington.
Although I enjoyed painting larger, I really struggled to finish this piece or rather to decide when it was finished. I’m still not completely sure I’m done with it. Finishing is always tricky and I often decide that my energy would be better spent moving on to the next piece and trusting that it will build on the last one.