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Up for the Challenge...


I have been invited to a miniature show (June at Clear Water Gallery, Sisters, Oregon)...and in addition to submitting several miniature paintings there is a challenge...to paint something "wild." Now I have given up painting figurative work (even though this was my area in art school), and no more dog commissions---just concentrate on landscapes (after all, there is a lifetime of learning in landscapes)...but never one to pass up the challenge, I did digress and paint this small coyote (painting is 6x8"). I have to confess a love of the darn little beasts...even though they would try to lure my reticent blue heeler away for rather nefarious purposes (doggie lunch?)...They are sort of furry cockroaches...but I still love them. So my wild entry will be this coyote...one I saw earlier this year, with his partner trying to cut out a deer from the herd that lives on our property (and eats anything and everything we try to grow)..."go coyote!"
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Will Winter Ever End?


What is good about these gray, snowy days is that it is perfect weather for the studio....even the light is good for photographing work. Since I have multiple shows coming up, it is a good thing that I am not tempted by a warm day and some plein air painting. (Yes, I know some paint in the snow...but to be sexist, and ageist...I suspect they are 30something males...)
I will be showing at Broken Top Resort with other painters from Tumalo Art Co. in April and need to finish some pieces. This will be one of them. While it is not blazing with romantic color (something that has a higher rate of sales), I felt I needed to do a painting for my soul...and the remote Warner Valley is fuel for my soul...the distance, the solitude...the quiet. I hope this painting conveys those feelings.
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And while I was at it...


Yep, spent more time painting this week than blogging...here is a piece that is for a miniature show next month. I need to complete a few more...but these cows were very accommodating.
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Back to my comfort zone...


While starting work on that assignment...former blog, I am also working on to larger pieces for a show at a local resort. This piece is of my favorite spot locally...Smith Rock. I took the photo reference for this last fall, on one of those bright, clear days...just about sunset...
There are some places that never disappoint. Smith Rock is one of them.

(this painting is 10" x 40")
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A difficult assignment


I was delighted to be selected as one of several artists for a local show. We were juried in based on our work...and the assignment was to use historical reference photos to capture not just the scene in the picture, but to inspire people in the region to visualize a wonderful, exciting future. That seemed difficult enough, but we were also admonished to "stretch" ourselves...and step it up a notch. We were instructed to "not just copy the photos." Now, I looked around the room (at the slightly startled faces)..these were well known artists, who are known for a certain style/voice in painting (generally landscape painters...some figurative painters...all fairly realistic)...and now we were being asked to either move out of that voice...or improve that voice. Strange. Naturally, there was a flurry of emails. I for one decided...hmm...I am most likely not going to try to change my voice for one commission...it is just too difficult to try to pursue what I am pursuing to derail the process...nor am I going to put some gimmick in the painting...
So from the allotted photos (snap shots, really) I chose one based on composition and values...not on historical relevance. I could have course painted this old gas station and hid a new Prius or gas saving car in the distance...to emphasize the evolution from gas guzzling...to a new future. But instead, I am just aiming to let the viewer take a moment and wonder where this was taken...who the indistinct person is...etc. I always like mystery more than the obvious. Oh, well...this is an experiment. And despite the rocky start...it has been fun to at least think about the challenge, even though I will "do it my way." (This is not the finished work...just today's start.)
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Still painting...


I have been ignoring my blog, as I have been really spending all my time in my studio. This year, I took my own advice and worked on a serious strategic/business plan. (Duh...facilitated these activities for corporations for years...maybe I could do it myself!) Well, after my vision, mission, goal statements, etc. I set some targets...get in an additional gallery...get into a specific number of shows, etc. The good news is that I have reached all my targets...the challenging news is that I have to produce! So with multiple shows on the horizon I have been painting away. Mostly large stuff...but found myself a little burned out...and decided to take a break...paint some miniatures (yep, have gotten into a miniature show, too!)...this restful little scene (6"x8") is from last summer...ah, the warmth! Just taking a break in terms of size has refreshed me...will get back to the larger works tomorrow.
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Channeling my Inner "Rock"


Jean LeGassick has always said, "Give me a rock to paint and I am happy." Not so with me...however, I must be changing...looking through some photo reference (it is still too cold here for this fair weather plein air painter), I am attracted to the rocky outback. A little known part of Oregon lies in the far eastern corner of the state...Succor Creek and Leslie Gulch. It is one of my favorite places, probably because of the difficulty getting there...one "earns" the views.
(Once when asking at a gas station/diner/motel (2rooms) if we could get into Leslie Gulch, the weathered, and knowledgeable proprietor said, "Well, you kin get in...but you might not get out until Spring." (It was autumn and a storm was threatening. Not a good time to be on dirt roads with a vertical descent and deep canyons!)
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But I digress..


When I went to the studio this morning, I realized I needed a break from that mountain picture...so I decided to tackle something equally difficult for me...rocks and more rocks. This is a composite from several photos (greatly enhanced) near calamitous raft trip we took over a decade ago...I lost a contact lens (and broke my glasses...resulting in a decision to have eye surgery to get 20/20 visiion!)...we upended the raft...lost lots of gear...the frame...etc...but not the camera and ultimately (when we dried off, made it back to safety, etc....3 days later) had a wonderfully memorable time. So this is a homage to that trip and all the beautiful and remote parts of Oregon. Also homage to Jean LeGassick who paints wonderful rocks!
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Gallery Challenge


Our gallery (www.tumaloartco.com) changes shows each month. For a future show we decided to have all of the collaborative artists interpret one of several works by our photographer--Bruce Jackson. I have chosen one of his dramatic mountain shots. Whew...when translating this beautiful photo to a painting, I am finding it a real challenge to avoid saturated color. My first under-painting looked like something from a paint on velvet gallery! So I have decided to document the process. This would be a very preliminary under-painting. I welcome any and all suggestions!

You can see my work above a not very good reproduction of his wonderful photo.
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