Saturday, August 28, 2010

"Nature's Call"
Soft Pastel
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
Soft Pastel

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 RiverFeast Art

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

Lower Deschutes River

"Canyon Cathedral"
40 x 30 Framed
Soft Pastel

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

Pine Tree With Flicker

"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

Osprey Catching Fish

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.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Cranes in the Marsh

"Soul Mates"
Soft Pastel
22 x 26 image

Sandhill cranes are so beautiful. Their white feathers show up so gracefully against the colors of the marshlands they're found in. These two remind me of a comfortable married couple, just going about their day.

This painting will be in my show "Walk Softly" with sculptor Kim Chavez opening June 4 at Tumalo Art Co. in Bend. Kim is premiering a larger than life sculpture of two intertwined herons, so this will be a nice compliment.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Fly Fishing in Eastern Oregon

"Spring at
Lake At The Dunes"

28 x 12 image
Soft Pastel

Every year my husband goes to "Lake At The Dunes" in eastern Oregon to fish for the large trout that have been planted in the series of small lakes. I was struck by the line of trees reflected in the still water, whose bare branches give the stunning color to this painting. The barren hills have the first blush of green grass, soon to turn brown, and a lone fisherman disturbs the reflections with his cast.
This painting feels softer than usual to me, probably because the art spectrum paper I'm using has a light tint. I usually use the darker tints because I like the background color peaking through giving the color a bit of something to bounce off. But, for this piece,with it's delicate yellows and peaches, it feels like the right choice.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

McKenzie River Trust Living River Exhibit

"Rainbow Magic" will be in the Mckenzie River Trust Exhibit—"The Living River" at Jacobs Gallery in Eugene, OR opening April 2-May 1, 2010. I was excited to see that they used the image on the show postcard!

Trout Catch & Release

"Sweet Release"

soft pastel
20 x 13
30x 23 Framed

I've been wanting to paint this for quite some time. It's referenced from a photo by Tim Pask (with his permission) showing a rainbow trout the moment it is released. There's so much energy in the photo and the colors of the fish are bright turquoise, blue and purple. The water is amazing. I hope I've captured that drama. All along I wanted to paint this very large and so am working on a big acrylic canvas at the same time. It seemed like it would be fun to do one in each medium. I also love the natural abstraction of only seeing the fish's tail...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

OPB Oregon Art Beat segment

Oregon Art Beat

I had the good fortune to be interviewed by KC Cowan from OPB for Oregon Art Beat last spring and the segment aired last week.

It was very strange seeing and hearing myself onscreen, but in the end I felt it was a good portrayal of my work and thoughts about what's important to me about doing art. So, I just feel thankful to have had the opportunity!

To see the segment go to:

Summer on the Lower Deschutes River

Summer on the Deschutes
18 x 24 unframed Soft Pastel

The photo I worked from for this painting was taken last summer by my nephew David James Higdon on a fishing trip to the lower Deschutes river with my husband Tim and son Jackson. I asked him to take some photos showing the warm reflections of the surrounding canyon walls in the water. Tim informed me that the poplars on the right are not indigenous, but were planted near a homestead. There is nothing like the canyons of the Deschutes on a warm summer day...and this brings back that feeling.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Large Trout Art

"Big Boy"
36 x 18 Acrylic on Canvas/wrapped sides

This nice, fat rainbow is from a couple of photos that photographer Tim Pask sent me. Crystal clear water and incredible reflections combined with the pebbles in the streambed frame the fish and create lots of interesting things to paint. The fish has lots of spots. Spots are the hardest part of the fish to render. I'm not going for a photographic image, but an impression, so I dab them on, wait a minute and then wipe them off. This seems to give the best indication without getting tight and obsessive.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

High Cascade Creek

revise of "Cascade Zen"

Creative block is not a fun thing. It often happens around the holidays. My studio is full of wrapping paper, my head is full of lists and the bank account is dwindling. Not really conducive to spending time at the easel.
But's time. I get my body into my studio and sit on a stool. I get out photos that have inspired me, consider mediums and substrates. I decide "Cascade Zen" really should be painted over because I need the canvas. But, I've always loved one part of that otherwise somewhat problematic painting—the reflection of the trees on the right hand side. All of the sudden the light goes on and I wonder if I can turn it over and let those trees be at the top. I flip the canvas. It could work. My paints came out. It's fun. It's the most fun I've had in a long time. The block has a hole in it and I can see light.