I find myself drawn again and again to the river for inspiration, and I have to admit that a great many of my paintings are either of the Willamette River (as above) or its tributaries, like the Tualatin or Oswego Creek. The mood is always different depending on the light or the atmosphere and in the cold of winter, it can sometimes be bleak, but most often the light is remarkable in one way or another. I never tire of it. It is constantly inspiring and exciting to the senses.
It has been hard to find time to keep at a schedule of painting with the holidays and the eating and drinking that go along with it, but this morning afforded me a nice long walk along the banks of the Willamette at Mary S. Young Park, and the following sketch was a result. We watched for quite some time as a sea lion lifted his head above the water and trashed a big steelhead again and again, whipping his strong neck so as to rip bite-size pieces he could swallow, slinging the fish several feet away. Seagulls harrassed him, hoping for some scraps. A bald eagle drifted overhead observing it all. That, and a foggy light - who could ask for more? These first two paintings are 16 x 20. The one below took just over an hour, and I still need to figure out how I can slow myself, and spend more time on a painting. Careful intention has a place in my painting that I am displacing with the rush to achieve other aims, and having no instructor standing behind me, I need to learn to direct myself better. But I still feel I got what I was after in this painting, sketch or not - the feeling of the special light on the water and in the atmosphere. I intend to do a larger version of a recent painting, and the sheer size of it will require more of me.
I am not done with the recent painting "Below the Powerhouse"and there were several things about it that bothered me, so I did another version of it, but rather than doing it in a larger size, I did the opposite, and made it smaller, 11 x 14. I am happier with the composition, but the original version may have captured the feeling a bit better in its somberness.
Lastly, a portrait sketch for making myself get to the easel, to warm up. If nothing else, it is drawing practice, and I think there can never be a point at which one no longer needs to be concerned for drawing.