Art, gouache, Landscape, Painting, Portland, Study, Urban Landscape, watercolor

Mixed Media


“One Dolphin” 14″ x 10″ watercolor, gouache, ink and water soluble crayon


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.

Art, Landscape, Life, oil painting, Painters, Painting, Portland, Portland Open Studios

Thanks to all who visited my studio

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:

‘Mooring Dolphins’ 24″ x 48″ oil on canvas

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.

Art, Landscape, oil painting, Painting, Portland, Portland Open Studios, Urban Landscape

Mt St Helens from Kelley Point Park

Mt St Helens from Kelley Point Park 36″ x 72″ oil on linen

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.

Art, gouache, Landscape, Painting, Portland, Sketching, Urban Landscape, watercolor

New bridge construction sketch

I visited the construction site of the new Portland Milwaukie bridge, which will be for light rail, cyclists and pedestrians.

9″ x 11″ watercolor with black and white ink

Here’s a link to details about the bridge

They have very cool time lapse videos of the entire construction process at this link

Art, Landscape, oil painting, Painting, Portland, Sketching, Urban Landscape, watercolor

Fremont Bridge studies

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.

“Under the Fremont Bridge – sketch” 5″ x 7″ watercolor and ink



“Under the Fremont Bridge – value study” 9″ x 12″ oil on panel


Art, Landscape, oil painting, Painters, Painting, Urban Landscape

Mooring Dolphins


‘Mooring Dolphins’ 24″ x 48″ oil on canvas

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.

Art, Landscape, oil painting, Painters, Plein Air, Plein Aire Painters

Pacific NW Plein Air 2012

I love (/hate) plein air painting but consider myself a bit of a hack at it. I have lots of excuses and I wanted to use many of them over the last 5 days, as I tried to paint some good paintings in Hood River. This is the first time I’ve participated in a plein air competition and I really enjoyed painting with a group of extremely skilled plein air painters.

‘Nothing Runs Like A Deere’ 9″ x 12″ oil on linen panel

This is one of my entries, painted at the beautiful Sakura Ridge Farm and Lodge, above Hood River. Please don’t judge the place by this painting. The views of Mt Hood and the valley and the lodge were amazing.

Click   HERE   for more photos of the paint out at Sakura Ridge.

The opening reception is this coming Friday, Sept 7th at the Columbia Gallery of Art in Hood River from 4 til 9. If you’re in the area and want to see some extraordinary plein air paintings, please stop by. The show runs through the month of September.

Art, Landscape, oil painting, Painters

Roos Schuring

Sometimes I come across painters who make me want to rush to the easel and paint. Dutch painter Roos Schuring has that effect on me. Her paintings are such fun to look at and say so much with seemingly so little. I get the impression that she produces her paintings in 3 masterful brush strokes.

Roos Schuring Landscape Spring #26 Changing Light

Roos’ blogsite is packed with information including several very informative video clips showing her tools and methods. She paints under some pretty uncomfortable circumstances and has valuable advice on how to survive cold, wet and wind.

Roos Schuring Seascape summer # 18 Lucky day white parasol

I’m saving up for a Schuring of my own.

Art, Landscape, oil painting, Painting, Portland, Urban Landscape

Red Cadillac II


18″ x 24″ oil on linen panel

Another painting of this old Cadillac. This is the largest painting I’ve done in a long time. I’m working on another that is 24″ x 48″. I’m enjoying working larger. I like the gestures I need to make to paint this large but I’ve had some difficulty getting used to mixing enough paint for the 24 x 48.


Art, Landscape, oil painting, Painting, Portland, Urban Landscape

Red Cadillac


“Red Cadillac” 9″ x 12″ oil on linen panel

I’m not sure exactly what year this is – late 60s early 70s Coupe Deville. This place needed some classin’ up and the Caddie fits the bill, don’t you think? It’s appropriately parked next to what I believe was once a gasoline pump.

Art, Landscape, Life, oil painting, Painting, Urban Landscape

Track Hoe

We’ve lived in our house for almost 30 years. When we moved in it was a quiet semi-rural road. Our property and the two on either side of us are large lots and have not changed much, over the years but further up the road, new developments have been built which has made the surrounding area more suburban, the road busier and that semi-rural feel has faded.

The road we live on has become more hazardous to walk on, as traffic has increased. There are no sidewalks and very little in the way of shoulder. So, the new project installing sidewalks on one side of the road is welcome, however, it is another step in the suburbanization of the neighborhood. They removed all the trees along that side and the road will feel wider and harder.

I’ve always loved this comic by Robert Crumb. I think it expresses my feelings well.

On Saturday, I set up my easel in the front yard and sketched one of the construction vehicles parked along the road.

Track Hoe   11 1/2″ x 11″ oil on linen scrap

Art, Landscape, Life, Plein Air, Portland, watercolor

July Evening at Jamison Square

Gail Vines and Don Colley

I haven’t been out sketching in a while but I joined my friends, Master Draftsman, Don Colley and Gail Vines, one of the founders of Portland’s independent art supply store, Art Media, on a beautiful July evening at Portland’s Jamison Square for a couple of hours of sketching and dinner.

7″ x 10″ ink and watercolor

Kids and dogs were splashing in the tidal pool and everyone was enjoying a perfect evening. We wandered over to Oba for dinner where we attempted to solve what’s wrong with the art today and on the walk home Gail demonstrated her tap dancing abilities.

Landscape, oil painting, Painting, Plein Air, Portland, Sauvie Island

Plein Air Landscapes


9″ x 12″ oil on linen panel

I spent several hours with these cattle last Saturday.  The last time I was here the entire field was flooded and there were a couple of guys in the middle of it with waders and fishing poles.

12″ x 9″ oil on linen

I forgot to look closely but I believe this is an Oregon Ash.

Art, Landscape, oil painting, Painting, Portland, Sauvie Island

From the Dike


8″  x 8″ oil on linen panel

This painting is actually OF Rentanaar Rd, which is just a little gravel path back to the dike and the marshy lakes and cow pastures in the interior of the island. In the winter this area is closed to everyone except bird hunters. There are black tail deer on the island. I don’t know if they’re hunted or not.

This view is from the top of the dike looking back toward the Wilamette River.


Art, gouache, Landscape, oil painting, Painting, Plein Air, Portland, Sauvie Island

Plein Air to studio

In my last post, I wrote about a plein air painting session on Sauvie Island. I started a second painting, while I was there and have been playing with it in the studio since then. I tried to push it in the direction I’ve taken other paintings, lately by indulging in a similar kind of mark making. I think I took it a bit too far, to the point where the scene was lost to the marks.

9″ x 12″ oil on linen panel

So, I decided to walk it back a bit and ended up with this:

I like the composition and seem to be convinced that there’s a painting in here, somewhere but have not found it yet. I decided to leave it alone for a while but, taking up some gouache I found myself at it again.

Sometimes I have an idea of what I think a painting should look like and I have to let go of it and allow it to be what it is.

Art, Landscape, oil painting, Painting, Plein Air, Sauvie Island

Day two at Rentanaar Rd

My last post was of a few watercolor studies I did at Rentenaar Rd on Sauvie Island, here in Portland Or.

Sauvie has been a favorite plein air painting spot for generations of local painters and is a common meeting place for local plein air workshops. It’s so great to have this very quiet and beautiful spot so near the city.

I returned to the same place the next day and did a couple of oil studies. I parked my car under an osprey nest and was able to watch as the parents hunted and returned to feed their chick.




You can see the chick’s head peaking out of the nest in the picture above.


Here is one of the parents returning with a snack. They seemed to travel together and the other one circled my suspiciously as I took this shot.

I also saw a few bald eagles both days I was there.

Here’s one of the studies I did.

 6″ x 8″ oil on panel

Art, Landscape, oil painting, Painting, Portland, Study, Urban Landscape

Work in progress


8″ x 10″ oil on panel


Again this is Kelly Point Park.  There is a bridge that goes across the river bank to a barge which is tied to the dolphins I’ve been fascinated with. The study above and the one before are two sections of this same small bridge.


18″ x 26″oil on linen

The second painting is larger than I’ve worked in quite a while. I’m still worrying it. – slowly.

I’ve found myself looking at the work of Ilya Repin and William Merrit Chase, as I work on this. They both commonly included figures in their landscapes. I think, for me, the dolphins fill that role.

Art, Landscape, Painters, Painting, Plein Air, Workshop

And now for something completely different …

It’s been a long time since my last post and, in fact a long time since I touched a paint brush. I’m having my studio space expanded now and therefore have no where to paint for a few weeks but I hope to start back painting on a regular basis very soon.

In August I attended a week long workshop on Orcas Island with Jordan Wolfson and a small band of other painters. This workshop was different from others I’ve participated in. Although it was billed as a plein aire painting workshop and we did indeed paint plein aire, we didn’t focus just on capturing form and color as it appears in life. We did start out, as most workshops I’ve done, trying our best to paint what we saw but, as the week progressed, Jordan introduced exercises that encouraged us to be more interpretive of the landscape.

I didn’t really do anything close to a finished piece but several starts of an hour or two.

Most of the paintings are 8″ x 10″ and all are oil on linen panels. Click on them for a larger view.



On the third day of the workshop, we did an exercise in which we did a sort of wire frame of the scene.


Next we did a sort of combination of the first two days work by painting from observation but introducing lines and marks that searched out how the scene was constructed. I found myself thinking about painting, not just the objects in front of me but the air between me and them as well.


On the last day, Jordan encouraged us to be really expressive and experiment with any kind of mark making we could think of.



I’ve admired Jordan’s work for a long time and I was interested in working with him because of his ability to work across a spectrum of realistic to fairly abstract imagery without leaving representation completely. I’ve been trying to move myself in that direction and I enjoyed spending a week with Jordan and other serious painters who were also interested in exploring similar ideas.

This work is very different from what I’ve done in recent years and I enjoyed stepping beyond my comfort zone. I’m looking forward to getting my studio in order and seeing where this leads me.

For more pictures of the workshop and information about Jordan, check out Jordan Wolfson Workshops on Facebook.

Art, Landscape, oil painting, Painting, Plein Air, Portland, Urban Landscape

Return to Kelley Point Park


I returned to Kelley Point Park last week for some Plein Air painting but could not get near the vantage point I drew from before because the River is running so high. In fact, there was hardly any beach area at all.

8″ x 10″ oil on panel

The painting above was done mostly plein air at the park. Even though it’s almost July, we’ve had very few sunny days here and this was no exception. This park is a bit depressing anyway and the lack of sun had me feeling pretty low, as I painted this.

9″ x 20″ oil on mounted linen

The second and third paintings were done from studies I’ve been working from, some done on site a couple of years ago.

9″ x 15″ oil on mounted linen

I still feel like I’m struggling to decide on a direction style-wise, torn between pushing the work farther toward or away from my observations.


Art, gouache, Landscape, oil painting, Painting, Portland, Study, Urban Landscape, watercolor

More studies


10″ x 12″ oil on linen panel

This painting above is the same one from my last post, but taken a bit further.

6″ x 6″ oil on linen panel

These others are efforts to leave the reference behind a bit and lose myself in what it is I’m drawn to in the scene. They seem a bit self conscious to me, like I’m pushing them for no good reason. Like I’m faking it. Of course, I am faking it, at this point.

6″ x 5.5″ watercolor, ink and water soluble crayon on paper

Art, Landscape, oil painting, Painting, Portland, Urban Landscape

Kelly Point Park oil studies


5″ x 10″ oil on linen panel

10″ x 12″ oil on linen panel

I’ve always liked the sketches I did at this park back in 2009 and posted  HERE and HERE and have intended to get back here to paint more.

According Wikipedia, the site of this park, at the confluence of the Wilamette River and Columbia Slough, was named for New Englander Hall Jackson Kelley, who tried, unsuccessfully, to establish a city at the site in 1834.  The surrounding area is pretty industrial, with a Port of Portland Marine Terminal right next door.