waterfalls, sunsets, and the high desert

Jun 26, 2012

Portland transplants complain about the gray skies, but I don't mind so much.  The gray, after all, is what makes it so green here.  Living in western Oregon, you quickly learn that activities can't be planned around good weather (i.e. predictable weather).  Otherwise you'd rarely get out of the house!

Yesterday, we took a trip to Silver Falls State Park, which is about an hour's drive from Portland. The forecast was rain with thunderstorms.  With five kids in tow, I figure all the rain would just add to the adventure.

Silver Falls is the largest of all of Oregon's state parks.  There are trails for hikers, horses, and bicycles.  Our crew was committed to hiking the five mile loop that leads visitors past seven waterfalls (there are a total of ten waterfalls at the park).  For many hikers, the highlight of the trail is when it winds behind two waterfalls.  In one of the photos above, you can see the kids reaching out to the cascading water. 

The sun decided to show itself the last 30 minutes of our stay at the park- just enough time for our girls and their friends to wade in the stream and for me to soak up some vitamin D. It's actually been quite damp in the valley the past week, but the wet summer weather has made for some spectacular rainbows and sunsets. 

At my home studio, drier climate has been my inspiration.  My latest art work is called high desert. It's currently available here.

summer hike

Jun 18, 2012

My memories of summer vacations as a kid usually entail road trips to national parks with my aunt, uncle, and cousins.  We have been to at least nine national parks together, including Glacier, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Mesa Verde.  This photo of me was taken over 25 years ago in Grand Canyon National Park.  (I'll be the first to admit that nothing says awkward more than a middle school kid.) 

We hiked to the bottom of the canyon that day and saw an amazing electrical storm at night.  I have countless memories like these spending my summers out in nature.  Sure, I can also recount the long, hot car rides and gagging on cornmeal mush for breakfast.  But, that's all part of great summer adventures. 

Now that school is out, I want our girls to spend their summer out-of-doors as much as possible.  We already have eight mini trips planned, including one to Olympic National Park.  The reality is, I need this time in nature just as much as the kids.  After a crazy busy year of life in general, I need some open space to reflect, breathe, and be inspired.

new work: summer hike

working with new materials

Jun 12, 2012

new work: Mountain View

I'm not much of a chemist, but, as a mixed media artist, I am curious how materials work together.  A good part of my creative week was spent experimenting with new combinations of materials, including a client project that involves painting on polyester film and adhering the design to the wall.  Exploring new project ideas can be a little tricky, and there always seems to be a surprise finding.  I never thought, for example, that I would end up using Mod Podge for a client project!

On my latest trip to the art store, I picked up an eco-friendly paint board.  Although I love painting on wood panels, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to try out a new "green" art product.  The board, made by Fredrix, is surprisingly very light.  Its base is made solely from vegetable-based and recycled components.

The Nature Core boards are not ready-to-hang like the wood panels I use, but I found the rigid surface very easy to paint on.  I would definitely consider purchasing more in the future.

Another material I ended up experimenting with this week was Gamblin's FastMatte Alkyd Oil Colors.  I actually love working with oil paints but have found acrylic to be more conducive to my painting style and routine.  I recently heard about FastMatte's rapid drying quality (for oil paint, mind you) and was excited to test it out on a work in progress.

Remember this piece that I had deconstructed (via chipping and sanding) and created a new landscape scene on top of it?

I ultimately wanted more of a monochromatic look, so  I used FastMatte Phthalo Green and Titanium White to create different tones of mint green. 

The painting is much more soothing and calm now, don't you think?  It still isn't finished, but getting there.

Like its name suggests, the FastMatte collection dries to a chalky matte within a day's time.  Because of this quality, artists use FastMatte colors for underpainting.  Just a few weeks ago, Gamblin announced an expanded palette of 24 colors.  The 16 new colors are sure to please all the plein air artists out there!

I want to thank all of you who stopped by my show at Buy Some Damn Art.  I'm thrilled that four of the six paintings sold the first day of the show.  Sleeping Mountain (shown above) is one of the two works currently available. 

My paintings on Buy Some Damn Art

Jun 5, 2012

I'm excited to announce that I'm the featured artist this week on Buy Some Damn Art!  Six new originals are available for purchase here.  Plus, there's an accompanying interview with photos.

The six works were inspired by photographs I took on my travels.  Can you guess the place that inspired Lake Ridge and Mountain Rim?

my week

Jun 4, 2012

dusk in portland
25 feet of backbreaking work // now onto our next project - painting our house black!

So we bought a used car, built the rock wall, and I finished the collection for tomorrow's online show [more on that in the next post].  No wonder I'm beat. . . but no rest for the weary! Gotta finish one more interview, upload a painting or two into my shop, and start another project for Prana. And that's just my to-do list.  Add the kids' end of the school year events, and we've offically got mayhem.  At least I don't have a classroom to put away for the summer.  That was my least favorite task as a teacher.  Nothing like cleaning up after 180 kids.  

This is my latest work in progress.  I deconstructed a 18" x 18" oil painting I started several years ago and used oil pastel over it to create a scene of the Columbia Gorge.  I'm at one of those stopping points when you just stare at the art work for an annoyingly long time and chant, what to do, what to do

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