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Another day in the micro-studio....

Still painting at the mini table in our "micro kitchen" in Portland. I have a wonderful view of the city, but am painting from photo reference. This time I did something I rarely do. I combined a building from one photo and the landscape from another...the landscape is from around Summer Lake. The house from Klamath County. I guess this painting proves two can combine scenes and have a believable outcome...when you need to paint, you can paint almost anywhere!

I think my morning visit to the museum show of 18th century French art (a la Madame Pompadour) influenced my pallet...there needs to be a small cherub in the sky!
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Remembering Summer Lake

Summer Lake is an alkali lake in South Central Oregon (or maybe South Eastern...depends upon where you put your boundaries). It is my favorite place to paint, and when I am not there I paint from photo reference taken there. This barn, unlike most that I paint was not abandoned. It is part of a working ranch. However, it was old and had a lot of dignity. So I just had to capture it.
So sitting at my mini table in Portland (not in my wonderful studio in Central Oregon) I took out my painting backpack, my guerrilla box, and am painting away. "you can take the painter out of the studio, but you can't take the studio/need to paint out of the painter?" At least in the city I can easily get supplies...think the white (zinc white)should be a more opaque white...Utrecht is a half mile away..I can go shopping!
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Working in the city...

We are in Portland today, but I brought my small pochade box...the little guerrilla. I am not using it for plein air but rather as a portable easel so I can paint in our mini dining area.

This unfinished painting is from photo reference I shot somewhere...I have no idea. I suspect it was east of the mountains judging from the foliage (not enough moss to be west of the Cascades). It is not quite finished...needs a little more spark. But I loved the fact that this old house is nestled into a patch of brambles that pretty much makes it inaccessible. At one time this was someone's home. Wonder what the story was.
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Rendering Skies

Rendering Skies
I will be teaching a class on rendering skies for Atelier 6000 in Bend in April ( and decided to spend the day painting a scene with a dramatic sky. I chose a photo taken about a year ago and took a photo every few minutes while I painted. I took about 20 photos and edited it down to 5. The final product is this painting. (Though I may do some minor edits tomorrow). It was a great exercise as I had to talk (to myself and sometimes out loud) about what I was doing: 1) laying in composition, 2) establishing lights and darks, 3)laying in sky to establish mood, 4)detailed work on foreground and background, 5)finishing sky & adding highlights. This really kept me disciplined...I couldn't jump ahead to things I enjoy...some small details...and it helped me focus on teaching this next month.
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2 for 2

Near I-84 (North East Oregon)
This is my second painting today...I felt that last week, with meetings, working at the gallery ( I just hadn't painted enough. While I am not exactly a daily painter...seem to be a 4-5 painting a week person (if the paintings are small), I am more of a spurt painter. Two days of two paintings and then a day or two down. Down time gives me time to percolate on my painting thoughts...and time to read about other painters and their insights. Recently I have been reading two great books: Oil Painter's Solution Book, Landscapes by Elizabeth Tolly and Traditional Oil Painting by Virgil Elliott. I recommend both to any serious landscape painter.
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Number 1 of 2

Oregon Bad Lands
Another overcast day...cold too. Guess winter is not over. So back to the studio. This painting is from photo reference from earlier in the winter. I was at the Oregon Bad Lands...which are not bad at fact they are absolutely beautiful if you like desert. I did a couple of plein air paintings that day, but earlier, had taken some photos when setting up...It is very hard to actually do a dawn plein air when the light changes in just a few minutes. I have done some...but have to rely on a very quick sketch and memory. (Again this painting was painted over a sanded out former painting. How economical! How green!)
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Foggy Day = Studio Day

South Eastern Oregon
Yesterday was beautiful, but I was in meetings all day. I had been determined to go out and paint today...there is a road off of I-97 where I have spotted a great little abandoned building. However, the day started out foggy and moved on to high clouds. All that flat light was not inspiring. So this is from a reference photo from SE Oregon. I must be feeling very frugal, because I am painting over old/unsuccessful paintings...I sand the painting down and if needed lay in a tinted oil ground. In this case, with the rather dark pigments of the painting I didn't need to do anything but sand and paint. I actually like this ground better than my oil primed linen. It seems to hold the paint better.
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Paint, even if you don't want to....

Another bleak, cold day in Central Oregon. I really didn't feel like going to the studio, but I remembered that my father-in-law who was a professional musician practiced every day, so off I went.

And again I found that just getting in there and starting to work on a painting gets me in the groove. Now, not every painting is going to be wonderful, or even good, but each one is a learning experience. Today, I had good fortune, and left thinking, "I like this little alley study."
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Modern Architecture in Hardman, Oregon

I have written about Hardman is an almost Ghost town in North East Central Oregon...while I completed a couple of paintings there, I also took a photo of this "modern" trailer at the top of a hill...really loved the contrast...the dramatic sky (almost sunset, but the setting sun was obscured by the hill)...glow of metal trailer...the little portholes on its "fins." Very Mid-Century Modern!
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It is another snowy day, so painting from photo reference. This is from Condon, Oregon. I am trying to really simplify...less is more, etc. I took the photo when I was walking our dog early in the morning. These very elaborate silos are about a block away from "downtown" Condon. I absolutely love painting rural scenes in Oregon.
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Peeking Out...

Another day painting at the sitting does have some advantages, it is 8 hours of painting (when we are not busy). Also, customers seem to like seeing a person actually painting while they walk about the work.

This is from a photo I took on one of our road trips. Generally on a painting trip I can complete (mostly)only 2 plein air paintings, so I take a lot of photo reference for studio work during these frigid months. Snowing outside the gallery, so a slow day.
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Painting at the Gallery

Winter Light (Damascus, Oregon)
As a collective member of Tumalo Art Co. (, I gallery sit two days a month. Luckily, this gives me a time to paint. This time I tried out my new tiny Guerilla Box...everything fits into a small backpack. No excuses for not getting out to paint (if it ever stops snowing)! This is from a photo I took last week on the west/wet side of Oregon. This little shed was quite beguiling...all caved in, with brambles...
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Another Little Shed...

Shed in the Desert
I am currently so attracted to these little buildings in the middle of nowhere. At one point this little shed served some least a purpose significant enough for it to be built. However, by the time I visited it, it appeared to be abandoned. I am not sure the electrical wires actually attached themselves to a current power pole. The shed was in northern Nevada.

I have recently sold a few of these little shed/abandoned building paintings, so others must share my sense of romance about the abandoned places.
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Two for Dinner

Two for Dinner
We were out of town so my blog was in hiatus. It is good to be back to painting. Our gallery is having a still life show next month. This is a challenge for me as I focus primarily on landscape painting and the occasional figurative work. But after rejecting painting a picture of a corpse with a toe tag (very still life! I am watching entirely too much Forensic Files!) I took a look at two trout we were planning for dinner. I arranged them on an antique table cloth, poured two glasses of wine (this always helps with painting!) and viola. They were delicious, by the way.
Bet you didn't know I had a little 19th century romantic German painter hidden in my soul.
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First Plein Air of 2009

Yesterday was warm enough to actually get out and complete a painting in the field! We went south of Bend and a little east to the Badlands. The place I actually wanted to go was closed (closed from Feb. 1-Aug 1,for Raptor nesting), but one of the trails through the "old growth Juniper forest" was great...and I set up my NEW little Guerrilla Box....(I now have a backpack, the thumb box and all sorts of stuff that weighs nothing!!!) and painted away. Of course, it being the first time out I forgot to bring some of my favorite all dark colors were done in Ultramarine Violet....(having forgotten any earth tones!)...
This was a great day...painting, walking the dog, seeing a number of other doesn't get any better than this!
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