Pebbles on the Edge

Pebbles on the Edge
Lake McDonald, 2014

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Montana Pictures and Plans

High water on Lake McDonald

"...and the trees took the river in their arms." Along the Bitterroot

Butterfly at Lake McDonald

The most awesome day...

Some more pics from our recent trip. I must admit I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I usually do. It was raining most of the time we were there. I did get some really good shots of the Bitterroot, and high water everywhere for that matter, so as soon as I can I'm going to practice watercolor painting some of the scenes and try to capture the essence of being there. I can remember every feeling I had, and the idea of painting is to convey those feelings.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Plein air watercolor painting

Black Butte Resort..nice aspens

Black Butte View: unfinished but enhanced with colored pencils

Billings Farm Afternoon: something kind of magical happened but I can't figure out what...

Experiments in bad taste: Puffs of blue smoke, gumdrop haystacks, flaming trees, striped fields, and blue mountains...Sennelier watercolor. It bleeds! Badly!

Plein air...well, I still prefer my imagination, although the exercise was extremely valuable.

I recently attended a week-long watercolor workshop in Bend (with my mom and sister) which turned out to be rather different than I had first imagined: plein air painting, or painting outdoors from life.

One must possess the correct equipment for this sort of enterprise. When I finally got around to using my cheap and inadequate easel (still holding my palette in my left hand, my brushes in my mouth, and putting my water cup on the ground--unnecessary distractions) it proved a slight boon, but my paintings (studies) were tiny and atrocious just the same and I realized how difficult painting the landscape from life really is. I've been fixing things since.

Capturing a few moments of light is perhaps most tricky, since light moves across the face of the planet with inexorable predictability. By the time one feels he or she has captured the atmosphere, it's gone. Fleeting, light is, which may be why we make art in the first place: to arrest an ineffable moment that in essence is uncapturable.

And that is the very quintessence of plein air: the experience itself, the memory it leaves, the phantom traces in our souls, because our being there, fully present, is the essence of being itself. Presence. Awareness. Paying attention.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Montana pictures

Road trip: racing the cloud-shadows

Early morning mist at Coram

Getting there in green

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Work from the Sketchbooks

Some old stuff, some newer stuff, and some current stuff.



Hamlet's Soliloquy

Miroesque Notan (Kenneth and Elizabeth)

Girl (Lizzy?)

Abstract composition

Negative space

Old Hollyhocks, reworked and considerably improved

I am practicing but my right hand goes numb when I paint, and my left is useless. The colors on most of these are a bit richer than the camera captured. I took them standing on a chair above the dining table.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Home Again, Home Again

What is home? Where one hangs one's hat, or one's heart? Given those choices, it's a no-brainer for me: it's where the heart resides. So we are "home" in Oregon again, from Montana, which  for me, is home and always will be. Here are pictures from our latest trip. I'm still going through all the ones I took so will post over the next weeks and months as I process them.

Aspens in Coram, Montana

Big skies, green fields, and rolling hills in the Flathead Valley

On the Inside North Fork Road. We started at Polebridge. The road was open only as far as Logging Creek due to flooding and the road being washed out.

From the Outside North Fork Road. Still quite a bit of snow on the mountains. Logan Pass was closed from Avalanche to the Jackson Glacier viewpoint.

To be quite honest, we are looking at retiring in Montana someday. To that end, we've begun exploring property acquisition. I've become used to eastern Oregon, but I don't love it. I don't particularly like winter, but I love Montana. So here's to the future, and moving home.