Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cherry Pie

The sound of a summer breeze in massive old trees, washing over in rhythmic wave sets, on a hot quiet afternoon, has a nap-inducing effect. This is a nostalgic sound from my childhood as I lay in bed at night, often accompanied by dim distant flashes of heat lightning. Walking by the nearby farms, I watch the water skippers glide like ice skaters on the irrigation ditches. I recollect many quick dips into the canals to cool off during meandering bike rides and the searches for fat pollywogs to bring home in glass canning jars. The trick was to be dry upon returning home to avoid a scolding. The pollywogs weren't particularly welcome either. The only time when I can eat a perfect cherry is when I'm visiting my mother in July. The local bing cherries are enormous, impossible to fit in a cherry stoner, deep deep burgundy, nearly black, intensely flavored and sweet; nothing like what you see in the grocery stores, not even in Whole Foods. My favorite though are the tart Montmorency pie cherries that are difficult to find unless you pick them yourself. Nothing says summer like a homemade cherry pie and hand-cranked homemade vanilla ice cream on an afternoon after a nice nap with the sound of the breeze in the trees.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Three Wipers

A bad day painting is better than a good day ________. Today was an exceptionally bad day, I wiped down three studies after laboring over them. I couldn't do anything right. I felt like I had never painted before. I won't be able to paint for a couple of weeks so hopefully it will be like hitting the reset button.

There is a large Great Horned Owl that sits on the roof of my studio every night. Lately though it has been replaced by a new owl. It has taken me a while to figure out that it is a juvenile Great Horned Owl since it generally arrives after it is too dark to see it well. At first, I thought perhaps that maybe it was a Barn Owl because it has a piercing screech call instead of the typical hoo-s and it is a little bit smaller than the regular owl. But I finally got a good look at it and it is definitely a horned owl. I'll be glad when its voice changes since the all-night screeching is much less pleasant.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hurricane Creek & Sacajawea Peak

I had a good time painting this morning even if my study is horribly overworked; but wow, it is difficult to not overwork a complicated scene when the light is moving fast. I couldn't quite bring myself to wipe it all down, but it was close. I probably need to work smaller again to keep from working them to death. Study 10x8", Oil on Linen.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Snow Runoff

The snow is melting rapidly in the warm July weather, all of the creeks are rushing with ice cold runoff. Study 10x8", Oil on Linen.

Hay Rolls

The late summer has meant that everything is late this year, including the first hay cutting. The air is perfumed with the scent of mown grass right now. I can't seem to drive by a field of freshly bailed hay without wanting to stop and paint it. Study 10x6", oil on linen.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Wheel Line

I painted this study yesterday afternoon and it is a bit overworked. Don't worry, I'll try some different subjects than snowy mountains and farms soon; I'm taking advantage of the snow in the mountains before it all melts since the warm weather is making it disappear rapidly. One of my summer jobs in college years ago was assembling wheel line movers for a farm irrigation company, and I often set siphon tubes, changed hand lines and moved wheel lines. I loved the outdoor work and the rhythmic sound of the sprinklers. Study 10x6", oil on linen.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Summer Afternoon

I painted this study yesterday afternoon. This one is slightly bigger than I usually paint in the field, it is 10x8", oil on linen.

Mountain Veil

I painted this study a few days ago. It was quite challenging because the weather and lighting conditions changed every few seconds. In fact, my umbrella functioned more as a rain shelter than it did to shield the sun. It was pleasant though standing in a summer shower while painting. Study 8x6", oil on linen.