Dec 29, 2012

Lovejoy News for Earlier this Month

The morning is dark, only traces of blue and purple behind the tree in the lot. A jet rumbles across the sky while the shadows of the room stretch and slink out the door. 
It is Saturday, only an occasional car. When a truck goes by the squeak of its brakes lays across the bed with the fragile blue light. The oak holds its curly branches still against the grey while two leaves wiggle slightly in a tiny wind.

Dec 28, 2012

Crow Love Poem 3

The other day I was walking home from the Post Office when I was drawn into the J Rollins Art of Framing shop by some really lovely horse paintings in the window. Inside the shop there were even more paintings by Laure Heinz. I grew up around horses and was really enamored with how Heinz captured their essence while also making really beautiful abstract paintings. The woman running the shop agreed and described them as love poems. If you have spent any time at this blog you can imagine how that description captivated me. I immediately went home and started gessoing little pieces of paper so I could paint love poems to crows. Trying to emulate Heinz turns out to be the perfect exercise for me to work on a painting style that describes tangible things without being caught up in realism. Tree love poems are next.

Dec 27, 2012

Crow Love Poem 2

Acrylic and ink on handmade paper 5'' x 3.5''.

Dec 26, 2012

Crow Love Poem

Acrylic and ink on handmade paper, 4.5'' x 4''.

Dec 19, 2012

Soft News for December 7th on NW Lovejoy

 The streets were empty, one car blinked its four-ways while the driver gathered things from inside. Soon the trucks came to scoop up the wet leaves and sweep the streets. The clouds barreled across the sky. The people scurried across the parking lot. On the corner the rough, red edges of the unfinished building took up too much of the sky and the whole block felt raw. In the courtyard the yellow leaves rattled inside the tree and settled with the rain.

Dec 14, 2012

Treescape 6: Between the Bristlecone and White Pine Trails

I painted this treescape in watercolor and gouache on handmade paper that I mounted on a board and sized with gelatin. It was not my favorite surface to work on. As much as I love this painting, I was having a really hard time focusing when I was out sketching. Always I am torn between wanting to make as realistic a rendering as possible and wanting to do a whimsical painting that express how a place feels. Ultimately I know I want to make whimsical paintings but I feel like I need to master realism first. Maybe there is some middle ground I haven't considered yet.

Dec 12, 2012

Framing Paintings

I've begun framing some of my last series, so far I just have the support frame and hanging wire attached. I still need to photograph them and put a protective frame around the outside. I am probably going to varnish them, too. I don't remember anyone talking about varnish in school but it seems like a reasonable thing to do.
Of course framing paintings makes them bulkier to store so I'm hanging them in the entryway. Its a little art-crowded at this point but soon they will be out in the world finding new homes. I am still considering what the best venue for my work is. So far the one thing I am sure about is that I would like to stop taking things so seriously and do what sounds fun.
I'm a little surprised when I look at the back of these paintings and realize that my last series was finished two years ago...where has time gone?!?! I feel ready to start a new series, it will be fun to see where all the experimentation takes me.
Yesterday I encountered the work of Helen Frankenthaler on-line. I was amazed by her work and puzzled that this was the first I was seeing of it. It was one of those moments of seeing art and feeling, that exists inside me. The odd part to me is that I have that experience with such diverse types of art it seems a little exasperating, I wish I were just drawn in one solid direction! Anyhow, if I could make landscapes inspired by Helen's color palettes and softness that would be just over-the-top wonderful. I'll have to make a trip to PSU soon to look at some collections of her work in print.

Dec 11, 2012

Microscape 3: Kitchen Floor

If you aren't sure what you are looking at, I don't blame you. This was difficult to paint, it's the entry into my kitchen, I have an orange curtain hanging across the door way so I can save a bit on heat.

Dec 7, 2012

Soft News for the Last Week or So.

The grey freeway rushes into the stormy blue, broken by branches.

The tree outside holds one morning star perfectly.

Experiments in Progress

I decided to take a break from my studies of landscape to be whimsical and experimental. I often fall into the trap of believing that my life would be better if I could just be more disciplined and focused. Turning myself into a robot, however, isn't a better alternative to being a little stuck. I sense that if I were more heart-centered I could exercise a light-hearted discipline, aka-devotion, to remedy inertia without turning my art career into a nightmare of pressure and other capitalist demands. I started these paintings by scribbling then looking for a picture in the's how I used to make art before I went to art school. It is really fun and I still get to finish them, we'll see where they end up!

Nov 29, 2012

Soft News Report for the Week of November 20th

Text in above illustrations:

Tuesday, Willamette Valley.
The brilliant sun and heavy rain have been tumbling across the valley for days. No one knows where the misty grey blanket they normally snuggle under has gone.

Saturday afternoon, Pettygrove Street west of 21st.
Three crows look for bugs and such under the wet leaves. All three crows denied comment.

Saturday Afternoon, Lower MacCleay Park.
The creek rushes like a tiny river. The reddish-brown leaves snuggle into the ground, one on top of another.

Toward Winter

Nov 28, 2012

Nov 27, 2012

Nov 23, 2012

New Work

Here is my favorite illustration from my latest poem book, The Wind Returns with Autumn. I posted the whole book and a new acrylic painting, Saint Patefacia on The Weight of a Crow. I hope you'll check them out. I was considering publishing my book through an on demand publisher but I couldn't find the size I wanted available on ecologically sound paper. Maybe I will do a bigger project later. I've also been busy creating a Facebook page and Twitter account to make it easier for people who like my work to keep in touch. Using social media is not really my nature but I have to admit, I'm starting to really enjoy it.

Nov 22, 2012

Treescape 5/100: Off the Wild Cherry Trail

I believe I have moved from avoiding painting leaves to going through the motions of painting leaves. A slight improvement but I need a little more focus to paint more than yellow blobs. Another mystery is creating more of a sense of background and foreground. I learned some tricks in school but I haven't employed them too successfully. That means it's time to go look at what other artists have done.
Composition-wise I shouldn't have included the red branch in the foreground but I am so interested in what trees really do, it breaks my heart a little to think about rearranging things to make a better painting.

Nov 20, 2012

Soft News Report for the Week of November Thirteenth

Text in paintings (roughly):
Tuesday Morning, NW 20th Ave and Lovejoy.
One crow sits alone and completely quiet in the top of a birch tree. He preens.

Tuesday afternoon, Wallace Park.
A boy looses most of his banana while running to catch the bus. He has not taken one bite of the banana, clutched upright in his hand, as if that first bite is simply on pause. The exposed fruit breaks unnoticed and leaps onto the sidewalk just under a little girl's gait. Miraculously, she passes over the banana without incident. The boy looks down at his banana mid stride, looks behind him, registers the facts and runs onward. Unfortunately, a well-meaning mother picks up the fallen banana and calls to the boy. He hesitates, halts, does as he was taught and the banana ends up in the trash.

Wednesday morning, Wildwood trail, Hoyt Arboetum.
Two birds fall out of a tree together. The tree was a cacophony of little song birds, something crashed through the leaves...two birds, intimately twined fell through the branches flapping their wings just enough to drift down slowly and land gently on the ground. The bounced apart from each other then, but immediately got back to whatever it was they were doing. I assumed it was spring and when I realized it was Autumn I realized a great truth about birds that fluttered in my cheeks like the glowing leaves around me.

Thursday afternoon, the west end of Lovejoy street.
The leaves are all in their places on the ground lounging in their pungent memories of summer. A jay sings in the top of the maple.

Nov 14, 2012

Treescape 4: a Loose Interpretaion of NW 21st and Overton

This painting seemed especially challenging and I'm not sure if it's because I was lazy when I was out sketching or if it's because I didn't start out with a line drawing under the painting. I opted not to paint the cars, buildings and street signs. I included them in my first sketch but I wanted to capture the foresty feel of the neighborhood and all that stuff made for a cute but frenetic city painting. It does look weird to have empty streets more thing to figure out.

Nov 13, 2012

Phone Photo 2, aka Human Habitat Microscape

I have to admit, I have a secret mission with these phone photos. I feel like a mouse attempting to scale Big Pink or some other monstrous skyscraper, but what better place to attempt grand feats than on Blogger?
My mission is to encourage people to see their lives through the eyes of an artist or photographer so that they might have the freedom to enjoy their current existence as it is without feeling the need to improve things. I'm not at all against improvement but there are plenty of images out there showing us the way to improvement and inciting us to feel inadequate with our current situation. My secret mission is no new notion, but I have no idea what sort of images I personally can make that will inspire people to see the beauty of their own lives. Also, I want to be for a positive current instead of against a negative one and I have no training in such things. Hopefully I will learn as I go, here's a picture of a cupboard in my kitchen.

Nov 10, 2012

Cumberland: Treescape 3/100

I painted this from the bench on the Cumberland trail. I had the most fun walking up the staircases into the west hills to this trail. It was just after Halloween and there were some amazing decorations out, skeletons in shabby attire hiding around corners, spider webs, witches in striped socks. Of course all the changing trees were just as mesmerizing.
I could use more work learning to paint fog and ferns but I really like this piece as a whole.

Nov 9, 2012

Treescape 2/100: Behind the Winter Garden

Treescape number two...Oddly I don't like to paint outside, I make sketches and then come home and use them to make the painting. It was hard to see what I was drawing because it was raining out and hard to see through the water drops on the plastic over my sketchbook. I love being outside in most weather so this wasn't really hardship for me.

I'm posting the sketches for anyone who denies themselves the pleasure of sketching because they think everything has to be a beautiful drawing to be valuable. I felt that way until I looked at Bonnard's sketches. I was mystified by how scribbley they were and it freed me up to see sketching as a way to collect information and learn rather than a quick form of drawing.

Nov 6, 2012

The Smoke Tree and 99 other Treescapes

I was out sketching the smoke trees in the arboretum the other day when I caught myself pretending the tree didn't have leaves. The leaves were all these amazing, iridescent shades of Autumn and I am just hacking away at the structure of the trunk and branches. the obvious then occurred to me: I avoid painting things I don't know how to paint and the only way to learn how to paint something is to paint it. So I decided to get to work painting 100 treescape paintings with leaves, underbrush, complicated backgrounds, evergreen boughs...all the things I avoid.

These are the three different versions I did of the smoke trees, in reverse order. The middle one I painted right on top of my field sketch and I like it the best.

Oct 28, 2012

Phone Photos

When I first got a cell phone with a camera on it I could not stop taking pictures of the landscape around me, whether it be shadows on the concrete or an odd corner of my apartment. I was enamored with how a limited frame can make any old thing into an amazing and beautiful composition. My phone quickly filled up and I had a small urge to post them all on-line as an art project. Two things held me back. One, I don't feel like having the visual detail of my life on the net. Two, there are an overwhelming number of photographic images out there. While there are plenty of skilled photographers making amazing art worth looking at I am not one of them. As an experiment I decided to paint one of my photos. Can you even tell what it is? If not: I am looking down over my knee at the sidewalk.

Oct 20, 2012

Sep 28, 2012

Red Tails

charcoal, pencil, watercolor and gouache on paper. 12'' x 9''.

Sep 26, 2012