11 x 14 oil on board
Now that Oregonians can safely venture out of their winter shelters, hope for occasional sun, and look through the drawers for the misplaced sunscreen, I find myself hankering to get outdoors more often and to paint outside, too. The above is from a trip to Hood River, a family hike, and while I didn't have time to paint while I was there, I hurried home and went to work on a pseudo plein air, working with reference and memory to try to paint like I would have had I had my pack with me. I have found that there is a big gap between the sort of work I do in the studio and what I do in plein air, and though all the reasons for the difference aren't clear, it may boil down to just needing more practice, getting past the clumsy stage of hesitation and lack of focus.
Hood River From the East Hills
20 x 20 oil on canvas
It's hard not to envy those who live in Hood River for their close proximity to stunning beauty; the Columbia River Gorge lifts up my soul every time I drive through it, my eyes busy soaking it in, my mind trying to imagine ways to stop and find a motif. This is definitely the year for me to get out there more often. Our newly-forming plein air group (LOPAS? Lake Oswego Plein Air Society? We are working on a name, but belonging to a "Society" has a nice ring to it) may want to plan some day trips to the Gorge.
Below is a snapshot of Randall Tipton and Burt Jarvis painting along the banks of the Oswego canal in Bryant Woods yesterday. This is a spot I'd like to have another go at. And it's always fun to have such excellent company on these outdoors endeavors.
12 x 12 oil on board
The above was an experiment on my part to break free just a bit from my constraints and try something that is bold for me. But it left me feeling underwhelmed.
I still can't let a week go by without returning to work on portraiture, and I still have thousands of heads to go before reaching the goal I set for myself. Not being a full time artist, it seems harder to fit in all the studies and sketches and drawing practice and work on large pieces, all the valuable work that coagulates into progress over time. Drawing, especially with charcoal, remains an interest. As does working from life. But without available models to sketch on the spur of the moment when I happen to find time, I turn to the mirror for my most willing subject. This time, tiring of the poor lighting in my studio where I have tried setting up a mirror on my table, I instead moved up to a bathroom with good light, and set up my field tripod with the Joshua Been panel holder.