Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sunday, June 15th

The sun rises early in mid-June in northeastern Oregon. To catch the early morning light, one must be willing to get up about 4am. Fortunately for me, I can seem to make myself do it. The Pacific Northwest has had a very long winter this year so it is only now late spring here. Late daffodils were still in bloom a week ago. Everything is lush green and there is still plenty of snow on the mountain tops, and the creeks and rivers are rushing with snowpack runoff. The whitetail bucks still have velvet on their knobby antlers, the elk have headed for the high country, the foxes have kits in their dens, and the yellow-bellied marmots are out sunning themselves on the rocks and woodpiles after a long hibernation. The air is intensely perfumed by the profuse number of lilac bushes that grow everywhere because the deer don't eat them. Unfortunately, the unusually long winter has wreaked havoc on the morel mushroom season. So far, it has been a paint-mixing exercise, getting used to the local colors and light here, so I've needed a few warm-up paintings. I'm mixing fresher and richer greens than I've seen for a while. And it is taking awhile to get to know the area and to scout some locations.        
          In the first study, the color in the snow doesn't really come through in this image, and I'll probably crop it at some point. I had a dozen young bucks in velvet walk through while I was painting this. This is a location that I painted last year in the snow. The view in the second painting is only a few feet from the first painting, the tree fringing the first study is this cottonwood tree.  I composed a little too tight here and ran out of room.  

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