Photo Bomb Today

I realized summer was moving ahead quickly and I need to get lots of photographs to carry me through the next winter’s painting.  Sort of like getting all the fruit made into jam and cucumbers pickled. So Terry went with me to Baskett Slough (is there any where else?) with our three cameras and we began foraging for beautiful landscape reference photos.

The grasses are mature now and different wildflowers are thick everywhere — summer is very different from spring. The oaks were stalwart as ever, no change in their color for a few more months.

At one of the ponds we found a hardworking heron, busily hunting whatever looked delicious. His mate was nearby in the thick grass, probably watching the young. As he worked the pond from both sides I suddenly noticed in the viewfinder that I’d been snapping photos of a quiet doe passing through the scene. Nice to have a deer and a heron in the same shot!

Here are some of my pickings today. Now I can look forward to winter–sort of.


Painting in the backyard today

It was a lovely day but I didn’t have time to drive off somewhere to paint plein air, plus the roses in the back yard were calling. We planted the roses last year — they are called Amanda Lambert rose, and they are really fantastic. So many blooms. The painting is only 8×10″ so ships easily — click here for information.

Earth Day and oil painting


Earth Day is this Sunday, April 22. I remember collecting roadside trash as a high school project on the first Earth Day, in Deary, Idaho. Long ago, yes. But — we still have trash. More trash than ever. And now that I live on the coast I recognize the new research pointing to plastics as a real threat to the oceans and beaches. Little micro-bits of plastic are on literally every beach in the world now. They shed from plastic packaging, and also from synthetic fabrics (micro bits wash out in the laundry and end up in the ocean).

So I am wearing my badge as an oil painter with special pride this weekend. Oil paints are still made from ground pigments (that means dirt, basically) mixed with oil made by pressing seeds or nuts. Acrylic paints, however, are made from plastic, and are basically plastic mixed with water. When you wash your hands or brushes in the tap water, you wash tiny bits of plastic into the waterways.

Today’s oil painting technique–cleaning brushes with vegetable oil and painting with walnut oil medium–is pretty clean and innocent when it comes to toxicity. Yes, I use paper towels (made from recycled paper). But I paint on cotton cloth (canvas) stretched on wooden frames. I prefer to use brushes made of animal hair (sometimes a synthetic bristle brush, though, I admit). So there it is. Oil painting is not very harmful to the eco-system. And a painted landscape can make you even more appreciative of the natural world. Just my thoughts about products and the planet.


A New Challenge: Plein Air Yaquina

Today was my first day painting outdoors (plein air) this year, because it was our FIRST really nice day here. Sunny all day. No rain. I had entered the “Plein Air Yaquina” competition, which involves painting outdoors in the Yaquina River watershed. I have until August 1 to paint an entry for the show, which will be juried and held on Labor Day Weekend.  It’s a community effort in the little town of Toledo, here on the coast. And it’s an excellent motivator to get out and paint.

Terry and I drove along the river and found several possible sites. Finally I just stopped and set up. An hour later, I had a good study done. It was just heaven, with NO WIND. You read that correctly. So different from the actual beach areas where the ocean breeze is continual and wildly punitive to anyone with an easel  and a palette loaded with wet piles of paint.

It was so nice listening to birds chirping like crazy, ducks beating the water with their wings, and watching herons looking for their brunch along the water’s edge.  I’ll be painting at my studio in the Lincoln City Cultural Center over the weekend, but Monday morning, it’s back to the river.

New Art

I’ll be at my studio in the Lincoln City Cultural Center today (Friday) till Sunday. 11 till 3 daily. Tonight is the big reception for the Chessman Gallery opening at the Center, and I’ll have my studio open to visitors, too! Stop by between 5 and 7 pm — wine, goodies, and lots of great art.

Here are two new paintings I’ll have on display, plus several still drying. Check out  my website for information about purchasing, or stop by the studio.


Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge,  24″ x 36″  $460 Oil on stretched canvas, with black pine gallery style frame


Heron Waiting  24″x48″   $560   Oil on stretched canvas, with black pine gallery style frame.