Tuesday, August 30, 2011
I submitted my "June Pasture" piece into the OPA Western Regional Exhibition this year and it was accepted. The show will run from October 8th - October 30th, 2011 at the Lee Youngman Gallery in Calistoga, California.
I just returned from a week-long hiking and painting backcountry trip in the eastern Sierra. This year we chose the Chickenfoot Lake/Gem Lakes area of the John Muir Wilderness, up Rock Creek, between Mammoth Lakes and Bishop. The elevation was around 10,500 feet or so, high enough to make my face puffy in the mornings. The area was amazing with a wonderful diversity of painting subject. It was a little overwhelming at first, it always takes me a day or two to settle in and not scrape everything down. There were ten of us in all -- 7 oil painters, 2 pastel painters, and one photographer: Ernesto Nemesio, Bill Cone, Paul Kratter, Jim Wodark, Timon Sloan, Robert Watters, Terry Miura, Daniel Aldana, and Michele de Braganca. We were packed in by the Rock Creek Pack Station and fed by Gene, one of their excellent cooks. Great weather, superb company, yummy food, and beautiful views. Paradise. I have posted 10 studies that I finished while on the trip. I have a few more that I didn't finish, that I may post later if I can finish them from my photo reference.
I liked the way a thin swath of sunlight came through the gap between two mountains early in the morning. I roughed in this study one morning and finished it a couple of days later. When I came back to it with fresh eyes, I found that a lot of my color was way off, not sure what I was thinking at the time. Sometimes all it takes is having one off color that everything else starts keying off of and suddenly the whole piece is strange. This view was painted from the meadow by Chickenfoot Lake, a few steps from our campsite. The mosquitos were particularly fond of this time of the morning before the sun hits the meadow. Fortunately though, the mosquitos were more fond of Ernesto than they were of me. At one point I had at least 8 mosquitos embedded in the painting and about 20 on my palette. Study 10x8", Oil on Linen.
This study was painted along the creek that flowed between the Gem Lakes. I need to refine some of the shapes of the creek and boulders, but I was happy that the clouds were obliging that afternoon. Study 10x8", Oil on Linen
The light was very flat at noon and I was struggling to find something I wanted to paint, so I decided to try to do a quick study of one of the mountain forms and snow patterns. It was also nice to have some cloud shapes to play with. It is usually wise to have a tube of grey paint when painting all this granite or one spends a lot of time mixing greys. I was standing next to the uppermost Gem Lake, the lake in the basin above this near ridge is Treasure Lake. Study 10x6", Oil on Linen
Terry Miura and Paul Kratter had already painted this view before I did and I loved both of their studies so I wanted to try it too. The lake in the background is Chickenfoot Lake. The fields of snow coming down to meet the water are beautiful elements to paint, but are intimidating to design around. The blues tend to go a bit electric when digitally photographed, so this looks a little off in color from the actual painting. Study 10x8", Oil on Linen
I painted this study the first morning of the trip, not really sure where the sun was going to shine when it rose. It was a nice way to get familiar with the local colors in shade. Study 10x6", Oil on Linen
I kinda rushed this study because I was standing in a rather swampy area thick with mosquitos. I liked the nearly symmetrical composition of the scene, reminiscent of a cathedral in nature. I could almost hear the Palestrina. Study 10x8", Oil on Linen
One of the mornings was quite windy. I chose to paint this little scene near our campsite largely because it was in the lee of a hill and relatively calm. The sunlight hitting the jewel tones of the water was also very appealing. Study 10x6", Oil on Linen.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
I painted this study yesterday late afternoon. It certainly was breathtaking to be looking down upon the Imnaha River like this. This viewpoint on Grizzly Ridge is more than 3000 feet above the canyon floor. The temperature was in the 90's on the floor and about 70 degrees on the ridge. This is the view looking north from Hells Canyon through Imnaha Canyon toward Imnaha and the Big Sheep Canyon. The ridge on the other side of the canyon is called the Sheep Creek Divide. The road up here is a narrow single lane gravel road with a few turnouts and lots of washboards on the steeper sections. The drop offs on the side of the road are impressive; if a car went off the road it may never be found in some places. I would also like to paint the view looking south if I can get back up this way again soon. Study 10x6", Oil on Linen.
I painted this view this morning a couple of steps from my tent while camping in the Hells Canyon Recreation Area. The elevation is about 6600 feet or so according to the Forest Service topo map. It was a lovely view to contemplate while drinking my morning coffee. The wind was howling most of the night on top of this ridge (Summit Ridge), but it was fairly calm this morning. This view is looking east into Hells Canyon; in the first draw runs Saddle Creek while the Snake River is down there somewhere in the main canyon area. The mountains in the distance are the Seven Devils in Idaho. Makes me wish I had a trail horse and a pack mule to explore the area. Study 10x8", Oil on Linen.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
This was the first study I painted yesterday while out woodcutting. There was a large wildfire in this area a few years ago, and combined with the white pine beetle infestation, there are quite a few bare areas on the mountains. It was fun to compose around the quickly moving cloud shadows. As I was walking along trying to find a view of the mountains to paint, I probably spent more time picking and eating huckleberries. It is still early in the season for them, but I probably found enough for some pancakes. I love listening to (and seeing) the goldfinches in the trees. Study 10x6", Oil on Linen.
Yesterday was firewood cutting day in the mountains. I took some time out to paint a little bit. One thing about painting as a side project is that you paint what is there rather than going out and looking for something. The choices are limited, but in some way it makes the process easier. This is what the scene looked like when I started the study, but within a few minutes I was repositioning my umbrella for rain rather than sun. Then it started pouring, accompanied by dramatic lightning and thunder. I was able to keep my painting dry, but the result was the rain flowed off the umbrella straight down my back. I called it close enough when it started to hail. Study 10x8", Oil on Linen.
Early August summer days are some of my favorites; with the sounds of grasshoppers and crickets in the fields, and the cottonwood fluff floating in the breeze. The days are warm, but not too hot. As soon as it gets just a little bit too warm, the thunderheads build and the rain is refreshingly welcome. There have been quite a few dramatic thunderstorms lately. This was a small quick study and yes, I was good and drenched by the time I decided it was finished enough. Study 8x6", Oil on Linen.