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Saturday, August 28, 2010
26 x 17
Going through photos taken at Trapper's Creek of Kokanee going upstream to spawn, I was struck again by the patterns of color and shadow. The stream is crystal clear and the fish hang in relief over a pebbly bottom. That autumn day was magical at Odell Lake....the campground was closed for the season, but there were people quietly observing, not the fish, but the eagles in the trees waiting to pounce on the fish. For me, it was all about the fish. At first you don't realize that there are fish everywhere and then you see them. It's amazing and so pretty. And very quiet. These landlocked salmon don't die after spawning, but will return to the lake to repeat the cycle.
This is the kind of painting that paints itself. I just start and it flows. The deeper you look the more color and nuance you find. I would like to do this super large in acrylic. Oh, that would be fun.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
15 x 11 image
When I first started painting fish underwater I went and took photos of them at the High Desert Museum near my home. The shallow streams and a pond brought the fish into close view. Recently I rediscovered the delight of seeing the fish and being able to take photos of their movements and observe their behavior. The brook trout are beautifully colored and smaller than the rainbow trout. The colors of the rainbows and young steelhead are more muted but they look like velvet in the water. I love the way they seem suspended in the crystal clear water. The pebbles of the streambed are like little gems.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Mirror Pond Afternoon
24 x 12 soft pastel
I recently finished this painting for the Deschutes River Conservancy RiverFeast event this August 14. This was painted from the riverfront property where RiverFeast will happen. Since it's a summer event DRC likes the art to look summery, but I was starting the art when the trees had not even leafed out. We had a late spring this year, so the colors were still quite wintery. The view looking SW has the iconic Mirror Pond footbridge in it and initially I tried to paint most of the span of the bridge, but it was feeling static and overly "done". I had a couple of false starts, until I landed on this view, where the reflections are the main part of the composition with the bridge very loosely rendered just barely in the frame. Rooftops peaking out of the foliage give it some interest too. The birch and willow trees have an ethereal look. Painted on a dark terracota pastel paper and letting lots of that color stay contrasts and is complementary to the greens.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
40 x 30 Framed
The lower Deschutes River threads through a long canyon from Warm Springs through Maupin and beyond on it's final run to the Columbia River. It's a desert river surrounded by high rocks topped by rattlesnack rock. The color and formations of the rock change around every turn throughout the day and is always awe inspiring.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
"Life in the Pines"
30 x 24
Acrylic on Canvas w/ 2.5" wrapped and painted sides
This pine tree is right outside the window where I sit and have coffee in the morning. It changes all day long, in every season, as the light angles move. I'm thinking of painting it at different times of the day like Monet's haystacks.
The flickers come back in the spring and can actually be quite a nuisance. Once they start pecking on your house to try to make a hole for a nest, they're almost impossible to divert elsewhere. When they peck on our chimney it echoes through the house! But, they're beautiful when they fly and have distinctive markings. And they love digging for insects on the pine trees.
This painting is in my show at Tumalo Art Co. starting June 4!
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
12 x 24 acrylic on canvas
My nephew, David James Higdon, took these amazing photos of osprey last year while visiting us in Bend. He went down on the river trail near our home and positioned himself to where he could see the nest and capture the osprey coming and going, feeding it's young.
I wanted to keep the details of the osprey very loose and focus on the power and grace of the wings. I have a long way to go painting these dramatic, fierce birds.