Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Tale of Two Studies

The storms have passed and the weather continues to be beautiful on the northern Oregon coast. Alas, the states to the north and south of us are not so fortunate. I am keeping family and friends in my thoughts.

Yesterday morning I went out to our beach and did another graphite and gouache wave study sketch. The waves were still quite rough from the storm and they piled on top of each other. The water churned with waves crossing and re-crossing. The sun was out and very little wind so it was a good day to be out sketching. Here is a view looking south down the beach from the foot of Neahkahnie mountain.

Here is the sketch I made:
© 2014, R.L. Delight, Wave Sketch, 8"x10",  graphite and gouache on paper.

As you can tell, I wasn't paying too much attention to composition as I was still trying to get a handle on using the gouache. I am getting used to it but still struggling with it a bit. Overall, I have to say I really like this method of sketching.

Today my mate had a job that was about a 40 minute drive down the coast in Oceanside, Oregon.  I decided to grab my paint pack and go with him. I don't head south to paint very often. The beauty of this coast was out in abundance today making me think that I will have to consider getting south more often. There is so much to paint within a five minute walk or drive of my house that I seldom feel the need or desire to leave the area. Yes, I do consider myself most fortunate and blessed to live here!

There is a nice beach at Oceanside. I didn't get a picture of the village but here is my painting spot for the day:

It was quiet in the morning when I arrived but eventually more people showed up. I usually paint in areas where there are relatively few people but today I had a lot of visitors. I am not used to chatting so much. Here is a shot as I was finishing up:

I will admit that I am out of practice. It doesn't take much to get that way! It feels good to be able to go out again. I took my time deciding what to paint but I did not make a sketch before hand. I didn't know if I would only have one hour or two so I worked as fast as I could. Turns out it was closer to two hours.

Here is the final study:
© R.L. Delight, 2014, Oceanside study, 8"x10", oil on canvas.

This is most definitely a study. I am trying out many of the tips and techniques I was reading about while recovering from a bout with minor illness. The rock color was a bit challenging as it was different from the rock color up the coast. I am not really surprised by that.
Overall, a very satisfying couple of days.
It will be a bit challenging getting out this week as the holidays are ramping up. I am looking forward to a visit from dear friends and music making and celebrating with our bandmates.

Wishing all a joyful winter solstice and holiday season,

The Beauty of this Place

The beauty of this place can be subtle one moment, and then completely bowl you over the next. It leaves an imprint on one's soul.
I am so fortunate and grateful to live here.

To get back into the flow of creating after the past few weeks of absence due to health issues, I am taking a Craftsy class by Edward Minoff. I have admired his work for a while now. The class is called "Oil Painting, Sand, Sea, and Sky."
The first assignment is to create a sketch with graphite and gouache. I have never used gouache before. I do like the effect so I was eager to give it a try.

Yesterday I went out and did this plein air sketch:

The gouache felt a bit clumsy. I can see that it will take a bit of practice. The weather is a bit too unstable to take my painting gear out at the moment so sketching is perfect. I can sketch in just about any weather short of the hurricane force winds and pounding rain. It is easier to use an umbrella when sketching than when painting.
I went out again today:

I love painting at the foot of Neahkahnie Mountain. Often there are cross-waves that crash into the oncoming waves which make for very interesting angles and effects. I am always trying to successfully capture those waves on canvas. I am getting better but haven't been truly satisfied yet.
I have been trying the papers I have on hand. The first sketch I used Fabriano Murano in Storm gray. The second one is Strathmore Toned Gray. I wasn't really happy with either of them. The Murano is too rough for my tastes and the Strathmore has flecks of other colors which I found distracting. I will have to do a bit of research.

As I was leaving the beach this afternoon I spotted an osprey on the beach. A few moments later, two resident bald eagles swooped in and chased off the osprey. The only camera I bring with me is on my phone so the picture isn't always the best. I will finish this post with a final picture:


Friday, December 5, 2014

The Beauty of this Place | Gritty Paint

 Hello everyone, I am trying out a new website and blogging platform. No worries, I will still be blogging here too. For this post I will just be posting the link. In the future I will be posting the complete post.

It feels good to be back to work!


The Beauty of this Place | Gritty Paint

Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Quick Sketch

© R.L. Delight 2014, Neahkahnie Toe Detail Sketch
I was feeling well enough today to be enticed by the afternoon sunlight and hike up the beach to the north end where Neahkahnie Mountain sits in all his glory. I really wanted to paint but realized that I don't quite have the energy for that at this time so I grabbed my sketchbook, and sat in the sun to do a quick detail sketch. Oh! How wonderful it felt to be sketching by the sea in the warmish autumn sunshine.

The colors and light are exquisite this time of the year on the Northern Oregon Coast. Photos don't even come close to capturing it. With any luck, there will be a nice stretch of weather to paint in when I am feeling up to it. I continue to mend, both my ways and in health!
Here is a poor depiction of the beauty of the afternoon:
Neahkahie's Toe

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The First Priority

© 2014, R.L. Delight, Morning sun.
This summer has been an amazingly sunny and dry one for the Northern Oregon Coast. I just couldn't help but feel the need to get out and paint as much as I possibly could. Add to that a happily busy performing season with the band, a town and coastal highway overflowing with tourists, long hours of daylight, and not enough hours of rest, etc., etc. It was gloriously busy...but, I thought it was never going to stop. Every week I seemed to be thinking, "One more week and then we slow down." Finally, in the middle of this month, the last hectically busy week and weekend finished.

No more having 10 minutes to eat a meal in between activities or work, no more late nights and early mornings. Finally time to slow down, catch my breath, take stock and settle into the studio.
The rains hit about the same time. Perfect! Or so I thought. I was exhausted and behind on everything. I slowly started to pick up after the summer craziness.

Just as I was planning to make an appointment with my naturopath to continue a wellness treatment, I got bit by a spider, or so I thought. First pain and then a welt appeared on my back. It wasn't bad, just inconvenient. The next day another welt, the following day yet another. I tore apart my bedding and washed everything, vacuumed, etc, but the welts kept appearing.

I made my appointment and the doctor took one look and informed me that I didn't have spider bites, I had shingles! After giving me acupuncture and giving me a long list of what to eat and what not to eat, she sent me home with orders to rest and rethink the choice I made to run myself into the ground.

Shingles hurt worse than almost anything I have ever experienced. The lesions are not particularly pretty either. This past week I have done nothing but sleep, follow my list of instructions, read, rest, and figure out what changes I need to make so that I never have to go through this again!

The main cause that triggered my shingles, besides lack of sleep? Stress, major stress. Some of that was beyond my control and some wasn't. I have spent this past week painfully reorganizing my priorities. Would it surprise people, specially women, to hear that I hadn't put self-care as my first priority?

I eat a healthy diet and I exercise but I neglected other areas such as stress reduction and well, enough sleep. It has also been brought home to me in one painful lesson that if I want to be a good artist, and believe me I do, I need to be a healthy strong person first. I thought I knew that! So, deep breath, reorganize my priorities, get the required and needed rest on a regular basis, and move on. I do have a lot of plein air studies to work from this winter in addition to working on improving my drawing!

I had to think a while to decide if I wanted to share this on my blog. This blog is about the journey I have been on as an artist. This is part of it. I consider myself very lucky. I will recover from shingles in another week or so and go on a bit more wisely. Some people don't get a second chance to make life corrections.

So I ask this question: Do you make self-care your first priority? If not, why not? I can come up with a lot of excuses to put other things and people ahead of myself but it just doesn't work. It will bite you in the rear end sooner or later!

To your good health,

P.S. Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. After having chickenpox the virus sleeps in the nerve tissue of the body and may or may not become active again later in life. My mate had shingles at age 28. I am just over 50. There is a lot of info out there on the internet. Some of it good, some of it not so good. I did not get the shingles vaccine as it is not considered 100% effective. I tend be allergic to many ingredients that are included in vaccines. There is no cure for the shingles. I went with a natural care treatment under the supervision of two naturopaths. I am recovering nicely and expect to be up to full health soon.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Challenge End and Beginning

The 30 paintings in 30 days Challenge is officially ended. Strangely enough, even though I got the least finished paintings completed on this challenge, I got the most growth. More than the last two challenges put together. A lot of important things came to light this past month and I will let them unfold over the next few months as they come up.

Today I cleared off my plein air study bulletin board. Here is what it looked like before I cleared it. It was crammed with 40 plein air studies:
© 2014, R.L. Delight, Plein Air Studies
I always pin the studies as they are completed starting at the top left. It is educational and fun to see them all together because I can usually see the progress I make. This is the second time I have filled the board with plein air studies. The first time I had 35 studies. I went a bit longer before clearing it than I should have and was sort of cramming them in.
I paint on canvas that I tape to a panel for my studies. I like doing that because it is inexpensive, I am still painting on canvas, and they don't become too precious. I won't be tempted to sell my reference material either since they are not really in what would be considered a salable form. These are oil sketches, and since I don't use photos, this is what I will be relying on to paint from.
Here they are all stacked up:
© 2014, R.L. Delight, Study Stack
Since I tape them onto a panel, there is a white boarder left when I pull off the tape. Handy to label each painting with the date and other info. There are a few studies that I did on panels. They don't get pinned on the board. All together I have 77 wave studies plus several landscape studies. I haven't counted those yet, either in the wave study count or on their own. I haven't made it to 100 wave studies yet but I am getting there!
So, the board is all ready to fill again. In fact, there are already a few studies on it. You might notice a slight difference now:
© 2014, R.L. Delight, Plein Air Study Board, Fall 2014
 These studies are 8"x10" and 9"x12". Up until recently, my studies have been 6"x8".  I will still be painting 6"x8" studies when the situation calls for it but I will be painting larger studies too.

Speaking of studies, I have quite a few Short Sands studies. I want to paint a few more but my goal is to paint a larger studio painting using these studies this winter when the winds and rains are howling around my studio. I want to do some detail studies and a few more graphite sketches this fall before the weather closes in.

The sketch I posted last time is of Neahkahnie beach. This is part of the beach that is a five minute walk from my front door.  That sketch is the start of an idea for a painting of that area too. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the weather will be as predicted and I can get out first thing tomorrow morning to catch the light on the waves and mountain. It was pretty stunning this morning.
I am going to fill my study bulletin board as fast as I can this fall!


PS, I got too curious and went back up to the studio to count the landscape studies. I have at least 24, there might be a few more stashed away too. That adds up to just over 100 plein air studies, 77 of which are wave studies. Counting the finished paintings I have completed on panels I have my first well over 100 paintings done! I know that is a modest amount for some painters but it is a milestone for me. Hmmm, I wonder if I can paint double that number in a year?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

30/30 Challenge-Day 25:Art Studies and Organizing an Art Life

Neahkahnie Morning After the Storm 
Fall has finally arrived with a bang. The first storm of the season blew in the other day. It has been way too long since we have seen a good rain here on the Northern Oregon Coast. For a place renown for its rainy gray climate, it has been a bit spooky. The upside of all the sunshine is that I have taken advantage of every moment I could to get out to paint. I have neglected quite a few things in the process.

I have also taken advantage of these rainy days to work on correcting my discovery that this challenge has unearthed. To refresh the memory, I discovered at the beginning of this challenge that I did not have my life organized to focus on art full time. It was a bit of an eyeopener to me. I am correcting that this month. It has not been an easy process for me but little by little I am making progress.

I have using the time spent inside due to the stormy weather to get a few basic life systems in place to free up more time. One of these is food and cooking. Good healthy food to nourish the mind and body without taking too much time away from the day. Being organized is not exactly a natural state for me but I have seen the necessity for it.

It hasn't been all chores and organizing though! I have also been putting in time for study, sketching, and building my drawing skills. This morning during my morning walk I took my sketchbook and spent a bit of time sketching out an idea for a painting. Here is the sketch even though it is more of a road map rather than picture book. It is the beginning step of this piece.

© 2014, R.L. Delight ,Neahkanie Fall Light sketch, water soluble pencil on paper
I am taking this painting through a deliberate process. I will be elaborating on the process and painting in a future post.

I have been studying the Hudson River School painters. I have always loved Luminism style of painting that this particular group of painters were known for. The landscapes they painted were majestic and rather romanticized. I don't feel called to paint in exactly the same manner but would like to get my colors as luminous as theirs and some of the detail. It is their art process that I find particularly interesting.

At the moment, I am reading these two books that I got from our library system.

The first book is the older of the two. The pictures aren't as nice but I am finding the text more informative. There is a section on each of the Hudson River School painters along with associated works. The second book has stunning pictures but doesn't delve into each artist in depth. I am learning a lot about how these artists worked from the first book.
Since I left school I have been busy not only teaching myself how to paint but how to paint en plein aire. It has been a struggle at times, but I am always wanting more! I have neglected my drawing and sketching a bit but not entirely. I need to bring that back into balance and push my drawing skills further. This month I have been remedying that. It doesn't make for interesting blogging at this point but I will talk about it more in the future.

Saturday is forcasted to be partially sunny. I plan to get out and paint if the conditions allow.
More on the above topics to come!


Saturday, September 20, 2014

30/30 Challenge: Day 20: Wave Study #77?

Wave Study #77?, 9"x12". oil on canvas
I have lost track of what number wave study I am on! Part of the problem is my wave studies and coastal/beachscape studies sort of blur the lines. I do consider a painting that only has waves a wave study. Others that have wave and rocks I determine by the intent or focus. I will have to check a bit more carefully and give the official number of this wave study later.

We had a wonderful few days this week enjoying the company of a dear visitor whom we have not seen in many many years. I took yesterday to regroup after our visitor left and we took a rare morning this morning sleeping in a bit. It was too late to get out to get the morning light as it hits the waves so I decided to go for an afternoon painting.

It is the last day of summer and unusually warm here on the northern Oregon coast, again. I went down to the beach at 4:00 pm to paint and there wasn't any wind. It was beautifully warm and misty. The waves were fairly large, 7.5-8 ft. I had a brief moment of deciding between painting Neahkahnie mountain or the waves. Neahkahnie was obscured by a bright mist so, waves it was. The waves probably would have won out regardless as they were quite stunning.

Color is a bit challenging to see as the sun sinks behind the waves. I also didn't have much time to get this wave and spent about an hour and a half on it. Tricky lighting. As I was working with a 9"x12" canvas, I had to work pretty fast. There are several things I am not exactly happy with. I didn't quite nail the atmospheric effect the warm sun was causing. I also didn't quite get the dazzling bright light on the water to my satisfaction. The wave shadows were quite dramatic and the color and tone is not quite right. The edges also need to be softened.

I am pleased that I captured enough of the scene to give me good information for future use. I am fairly happy with some of the detail elements too in spite of not really having time for much detail. I had fun experimenting with subtle color in the shadows and I am enjoying working in the slightly larger format.

The tide had turned toward the end and was coming up at a rather alarming rate due to the large waves. The tide and light pretty much limited the length of painting time. What a beautiful day!

Painting afternoon at Neahkahnie Beach

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Day 13: 30/30 Challenge

It was a beautiful day to get out and paint. It wasn't as hot as the last day I painted at Short Sands but it was still quite warm. I used my easel umbrella as there was no wind until the end when it started gusting. I just closed the umbrella while I finished that last five or so minutes.

This is an hour and a half study. The shadows change so dramatically in such a short time. This is not a great painting and I would certainly not consider this a finished painting. It is a good working study. I also learned quite a bit. I was working on not only catching the stunning shadows and rock shapes but starting to get a bit of texture and form. Here is a close up photo and then a photo of it on my easel.

 The last picture was taken as I was packing up. Note the difference in the shadow shapes between the painting and the actual scene in the background. Please ignore the drawing. It was heading south as I was struggling to nail the shadow shapes and keep them there in my painting. I was working so fast that when a trio of gentlemen came over and asked if they could peek, (I said of course and explained that I was just starting the painting out), I never saw what they looked like as I never took my eyes off the scene I was painting!

Short Sands Study, 9"x12", oil on canvas
Short Sands Study Shadows
I used larger canvas size than I usually paint on. I want to try painting a little larger plein air studies too. I am actually liking the larger format. It will take a bit of adjustment though.

To finish up my post about my road trip to the Coos Bay Art Museum I will say I had mixed feelings about the exhibit. It really was educational to see other work up close but I was a bit disappointed. I have had the opportunity to see the work of a few artists that I admire tremendously. My goal is to get to the same level of skill and quality that they are. I will note here that I am not trying to copy their style. They have worked at art much longer than I have and worked hard. It shows.

There was good work at the show, again by artists who have been working a long time. I was disappointed because it was pretty obvious that all most of the work was painted from photos. I have mentioned before that I believe that using photos as reference is a personal choice. I don't use them because I love painting from life and I believe I personally paint better when I am responding directly to my subject. To me the paintings made from photos looked, well, like photos, rather flat. They also looked too stiff.

I don't know exactly what I was expecting but I did think there would be some plein air paintings and paintings made from life studies, etc. That said, I came away with a few important personal observations. I also enjoyed looking at the art. That all makes it completely worth the trip!

One more unusual week to get through and then hopefully settling into a routine. I am working hard on getting a routine down and am determined to make good progress in my skills.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Road Trip!

I am back from a wonderful thee day,  two night road trip. I wanted to see the Maritime Exhibit at the Coos Bay Art Museum put on by the American Society of Marine Artists. I missed the international one that came through last year. This year is the regional one. I am pretty isolated up here and it was good to get out and see what others are doing.

Coos Bay is about a 5 or 6 hour drive down the Oregon coast from Manzanita. I decided to make a couple day trip of it so I could check out the coast with an eye for good painting spots and also to have a chance to do a little painting as well. I stayed two nights in Yachats, one of my favorite little towns on the central Oregon coast. All of the Oregon coast is beautiful but I find the central coast particularly so.

I took a scenic detour on the way down and swung by Pacific City which is off of Hwy 101.

The Beach around Pacific City
 My next stop on the way south was at Boiler Bay which is on the north end of Depot Bay. I had an unexpected treat as there were migrating gray whales passing by. I was in no hurry so I spent a while watching them swim by. They were so close you could hear them spouting.
Thar be Whales at Boiler Bay
A close up view of Boiler Bay
Hotel fun.
I made a few more stops along the way but finally arrived at my destination, The Fireside Hotel in Yachats. I got the least expensive non-view room but I could still see the ocean from the side of the front window. The rooms were clean and comfortable. I would recommend this place to stay.
It sits, along with other hotels and houses, right on the bluffs above the ocean. Beautiful!

Beach in front of hotel.
I had a nice long walk before dinner along the historic 804 path. The path is dotted with memorial benches and tables to enjoy the view. It was quiet at night and I slept well, lulled by the familiar sound of the sea.

The next morning I took another walk as the sun rose over the coastal mountain foothills. The moon was still hovering over the ocean as the sun came up.

The start of a beautiful day.

I left at 8am and drove down to Coos Bay. I got there just at the museum opened and enjoyed looking at the exhibit all by myself.
The exhibit was very educational for me. I will talk about it in a bit more detail in my next post.
After I spent a good long time at the exhibit, I drove a little further south to meet with a friend and classmate I haven't seen in 30 years! It was quite a treat and we had a good time trying to catch up.

On the way home, I started having car troubles. A radiator leak to be exact. The engine was starting to run hot. I stopped to get gas and then pulled over to have a look as the gauge was starting to look alarming. What a mess! It wasn't at critical yet so I nursed it along to the nearest Fred Meyer store where I was able to buy radiator fluid, and a stop leak additive. I must mention, I was also on the phone to my mate periodically who talked me through the whole thing. I added some fluid to the overflow tank which the car manual said to do. The sun was going down and I didn't have time to wait for the engine to cool down unless absolutely necessary. I decided to make a shot to get back to the hotel room which was about 18 miles or so up a winding, narrow coastal road.

I managed to nurse the car along with one eye glued to the heat gauge and another to the sinking sun. Both eyes on the road of course! Yes, I know that makes four, I got out the spare pair. : )

I made it back to the hotel room not long after the sun went over the horizon. It as a bit tricky through some spots. Needless to say I was very relieved and exhausted too. I got back a little before 8 pm.
The car cooled overnight and this morning I added all the fluids. I had planned to paint this morning but the car was too much of an unknown factor still. I was completely distracted and I knew I wouldn't be able to concentrate due to worrying about the drive home. I packed up and left.

It was a very hot (for the coast) and beautiful day. I stopped at an auto part store to pick up radiator hoses as we figured they needed to be replaced anyway.

The car ran fine! Apparently the stop leak additive worked like a charm. I made another stop at Boiler Bay to enjoy the migrating whales and then headed north again to home.

It has been an enjoyable little trip overall. I am disappointed I didn't get to paint as I had planned but I will just have to go back. I did achieve my main objective of the trip and got in several bonuses too. It has been a grand little adventure and I have a lot to think about.

Here are a couple of parting pictures from Yachats:


A touching memorial for two strapping young men swept into the cold water by a waist high sneaker wave. They were dead in three minutes. The memorial beseeches one and all to respect the power of the sea.

Sunset at Yachats

Goodnight all. I will be heading out to paint first thing in the morning!


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Challenging Lessons

Painting at the foot of Neahkahnie Mountain
Here it is, only Day 7 of the challenge and I have learned more than any of the other challenges put together. Of course, with each challenge I am in a different place so it would make sense that I would learn different lessons.

I think the biggest lesson I have learned this week is this: Much to my chagrin, I have come to realize that  I currently do not have my life set up to paint everyday or even as often as I would like or need to. I will say right here, this needs to change because I understand the value and necessity as an artist to having ones life set up to revolve around the creation of art.

This seems like such a simple and obvious thing, but it isn't really. Like so many people, I have a busy life. On taking a good hard look at where the time goes, I have come to the realization that I really need a system to manage my time more efficiently, or a ritual.

I have to admit, I don't seem to be able to keep to a highly structured ritual. Life seems to throw in extra goodies such as the peaches at the Farmer's Market on Friday. How do peaches disrupt a schedule? Well, peaches are tricky to come by here on the coast. At this Friday's market, someone brought flats of organic peaches from their farm. We bought two flats, which meant I had to can and freeze them before they go bad. This all came to an unscheduled task tacked onto a long day, leaving me exhausted today after working at the store all day. I can hardly see straight, let alone think straight enough to paint at the moment. This also explains my not-so-polished off the cuff blog posts too by the way!

I could go on to list all the wonderful and not so wonderful things I get to do in this life but I think I made my point. Change is needed.

Yesterday morning I had a wonderful two hour online seminar which dealt with what it takes to create a successful art career. I know, there are a lot of these but this one was given by someone with the experience and track record to back it up. The seminar also brought home to me some of the issues and obstacles I have been discovering during this challenge and gave me a good roadmap to overcome them. Coincidence? Maybe but I think more like synchronicity.

I am not going to go over all two hours point by point but will start with just one, time management so I can paint.

The challenge continues of course but will shift. I started out with painting everyday as my goal. That is still my goal but in a broader sense. My challenge has been refined to creating a lifestyle that puts painting, drawing, and artist related activities into a daily practice.

I feel that I am putting this so poorly. It reads a bit like a cliche to me but that could be my tired mind and body. I will stop here on this topic and leave one last fun tidbit .

I am going on a short artist road trip! I will be leaving this week for two days to go down the coast to visit the 21st Annual Maritime Art Exhibit at the Coos Art Museum in Coos Bay, Oregon.
I will be staying at one of my favorite spots on the central Oregon Coast, Yachats (pronounced Yah-Hots). I will be taking my painting pack of course. I will also have time to think, plan, and reorganize so I can be on my way to having consistent time at the easel and continue to build skills and a body of work.

If you made it this far through a somewhat rambling and personal post, thank you! I promise I will have some fun things, and paintings, to share this week too. Here is a bit of the beauty that inspires me to keep at it.
Short Sands of course, as the tide is receding.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Day 5: 30/30 Challenge: Hot Sands!

"Hot Sands" work in progress
The unusually hot weather continues and I did indeed go to Short Sands. I went in the morning and took a liter of electrolyte enhanced water with me. It wasn't as windy at Short Sands as it was a couple of miles down the road where I live. If I would have known that there would be almost no wind, I would have taken my plein air umbrella. More about that in a minute.

This is a work in progress. I was already quite warm when I got there, set up, did a few sketches. When I started painting I soon had rivers of sweat running down, all over. It was hot. We are not used to heat here. I know many artists live where it truly gets hot but then I usually read that they either go out at the crack of dawn or stay in a cool studio. Judging by the temperature reports coming in from folks around here, I am guessing it was in the 90-95 degree (F) range. The sand and surrounding cliffs were also radiating heat. I was sorely tempted to plunge into the ocean but did not relish the hike back through the forest and drive home in wet clothes. It might be worth taking something to swim in if I find myself heading to Short Sands in the heat!

I only lasted two hours. Which was OK as the light had changed too much to continue. I had drank all of my water and was starting to feel ill from the heat so I packed it in. I have decided that I will work on this tomorrow and try something I have been meaning to try for a while now. I think I will work on this, from memory, and push it around a bit. You can learn a lot from playing around with a painting. I meant this to be a study anyway so it is done on a canvas sheet. I might ruin the painting but that is OK. Maybe I will take pictures of the progression.

I have a BestBrella plein air umbrella which I have written about before. It is a decent plein air umbrella but it just wasn't made for coastal conditions. Most of the time it is windy or we get sudden, unpredictable gusts and gusts that change direction from one minute to the next. My BestBrella lasted two weeks before a one of those sudden gusts of wind hit me and sheared off the brass connection. They were made from a granulated rather than cast material. At the moment I have Tinkertoys holding the connections together and I only use the umbrella where I know there will be no wind, such as the last workshop I attended in the Sierra foothills. I am learning to compensate for not having my panel and palette shaded. Unfortunately, there is no shade available at Short Sands on the beach. Turning into the sun usually means putting your back to the sea, not a good idea. Any other shelters I have though of have similar drawbacks to the umbrella or will not let me see well.

Tomorrow I have an online art seminar and I will work on the painting above to see how far I can push it. I also just brought home veggies, two flats of organic peaches, a 1/2 flat of raspberries, and several local pie apples from our Farmer's Market. I will need to get them either canned or in the freezer. Life is good!


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Days 3 and 4: 30/30 challenge

© 2014, R.L. Delight, "Red Flag Morning", 6"x8",  oil on canvas panel. SOLD! Thank you!
I painted yesterday after work but I didn't feel the progress was worth posting for Day 3. Today, Day 4, is a different story. The weather conditions here can change so fast that I have signed up for email alerts and warnings so that I can be informed when I am planning my day, a shopping trip up the coast, or a day painting on the beach for example. Last night a red flag warning popped up. The red flag warning indicated a dramatic shift in the weather that creates extreme fire conditions and increases problems for existing fires. That all translates into a hot dry wind.

This morning was incredibly clear and golden so I went out to paint on the beach that fronts our little town. I went, of course, to my favorite wave painting spot at the foot of Neahkahnie mountain. Sure enough, there was a warm offshore wind from the southeast blowing the waves around. The spindrift was flying off the waves as the wind pushed them around, and the morning sun was hitting the face of the waves. The ocean colors were breathtaking. I sat for about 20 minutes watching the waves with my sketchbook in hand until I formed an idea of what I wanted to paint.

The wind was so erratic I filled my tripod bag with rocks and hung it from the tripod center to keep it from being blown over. It worked but I had to hold onto my paint brushes as the wind tried to send them flying.

When I started painting the wind was mainly from the southeast and smelled hot and dry. It would come blowing a wall of sand and I would have to duck and hold onto my hat in spite of a tightened  chin strap. There is a bit of sand from the northern Oregon coast included free of charge in this painting!

One of the hazards of plein air painting that I hadn't considered before presented itself today. There are often dead birds and other sea life on the beach. It is sad but part of the cycle of life. I had carefully placed myself upwind of a dead pelican, where I also couldn't see it. Unfortunately, the wind shifted around to the north and I would get the occasional odor of death wafting over me now and then. I toughed it out but would have to occasionally cover my nose with my arm when it got too bad.

It was a beautiful day today and I am glad I got to paint the morning waves. Tomorrow I hope to head to Short Sands in the morning.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Day 2: Painting at Night

I worked at the store today. Usually by the time I get home, make dinner, clean up, and finally sit a bit after being on my feet all day, I don't want to move. It is even hard to get up and get ready for bed.

Today I also had to paint. At first, I didn't want to and my mind raced to find an excuse I could live with. I honestly couldn't find one I could live with. So, I got up and climbed the stairs to my studio. My mind kept saying, "I don't want to do this" or,  "you are too tired so you will probably have to wipe it off anyway." My body kept setting up to paint. It only takes a minute as I am using my plein air easel in the studio to make it easy to just move aside.

I started to paint. An interesting thing happened. My exhaustion receded, not entirely, but significantly. My mind snapped into creative problem solving mode, and my very tired feet forgot they were tired for a bit. Ahhh, much better. I ended up painting for just a little over an hour. An hour was all I was really hoping for.

I did discover that I really don't like painting at night. I much prefer the daytime.

So here is a work in progress. There is a story behind this still life which I will tell as the painting progresses. It isn't a fancy painting but will actually work as a study for a larger painting that I have in mind.

This a tiny part of the painting, which, as I mentioned above, is a work in progress. I am starting with a color block in for this one.
Day 2: WIP (work in progress for those folks who are not familiar) 1 hour 20 minutes..
Here is the first part of the story behind the still life:
The beach along the Oregon coast is a magical place. It is always changing, never the same from day to day. There is a particular beach on the Northern Oregon Coast that is, in my opinion, more magical than most. I go there a lot to paint, draw, and sometimes just hang out. There are a few creeks and small rivers that find their way to the mother sea and they carve channels into the sand on their way to rejoin the salty ocean. At one end, there is a waterfall that cascades onto the rocks, or into the waves, depending on the tides.
The sand shifts and can quickly cover a rock formation or build up into banks. It can all be washed away the next day and expose new rocks and sometimes remnants of human artifacts.
One day, near the spot where the ashes of my dog Twill are buried, the ocean left me a gift...

Both still life and story to be continued!

I work at the store again tomorrow. We shall see if it gets easier to do my stint of painting.
Please forgive any errors in the above post. I am cramming this in before hauling myself to bed.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Twisting a 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge: Day 1

Prepping panels for painting
I am once again participating in Leslie Saeta's 30 paintings in 30 days challenge. Leslie is great at encouraging everyone to make it fun and change it to fit ones needs. I decided to do just that. First, let me back up a tiny bit before describing my challenge.

It has been a very busy summer with music, work, and painting en plein air every chance I get. The summer has been unusually sunny with very little rain for the Northern Oregon Coast. The visitors have flocked here and it has left many shopkeepers, and us employees, grateful for the customers but a bit frazzled.

Labor Day, which is today as I write this post, officially ends our summer season. The kids will be heading back to school and summer vacations are ending. Things will be slowly quieting down around here. I must admit, I am breathing a huge sigh of relief. It has been a bit too crowded and hectic for my introverted tastes.

Last September I did not participate in this challenge as I was recovering from surgery. My attempt at January's challenge did not fly as I suddenly went back to work a few days a week, to pay off the surgery bills! So here I am again.
I decided to do a few things differently this time around as I am in a different place in my drawing and painting now. Here is what I propose for myself for this challenge:

I work two days a week in a women's clothing store in our tiny little town. There are two such stores dedicated to clothing, in addition to a couple more stores that have a bit of clothing for sale, and they are both a destination for many out-of-town shoppers.
Did you catch that introvert reference? I like people, honestly, but they exhaust me and I need a lot of down time and solitude to recover after each work day. I have felt too tired to do much of anything when I get home from working at the store all day. I want to try to change that. I will not be completing and entire painting on my store work days, but I want to get into the habit of painting everyday.

So the first part of this challenge is to do just that, paint everyday even if it is for an hour. I have been building a daily drawing habit for a while and I want to continue to do that and solidify it.
The second part of this challenge is to focus on a particular skill building area. I have decided to focus on composition. I have been so busy building up skills piece by piece, that I have neglected the whole. It is time to put it all together.
A found item I won't be painting at this time, Velella,velella. A sea creature of the jellyfish persuasion.

Leslie suggests having a theme. I decided my theme is "Found". I will be using the many intriguing items that I find on the beach in various still life paintings. I am also including "found" beach scenes as I will continue to paint en plein air.

Given all of this, I probably won't have 30 completed paintings. I am not sure how many I will have. I will put any painting that I think worthy up for sale. Most of them will be small and will be $100 for the challenge month. 

I promise I won't be writing such a long post each time either! I am also asking Please, no critiques of the paintings, constructive or otherwise, at this time. They will be critiqued privately. I need the space to experiment, grow, and make a mess. I am willing to share the process but process is not perfect or perfectly finished paintings all the time. It is going to get messy!

Here is Day 1:
"Summer Green", 6"x6", oil on panel. Plein air still life, pyramid composition. Bottle, including sand, and floats found on beach. NFS

Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

And the winner is...

I am still here and still painting! My schedule has been a bit overstuffed so I am woefully behind. I will also blame my lack of posts a bit on my introverted nature too. I just needed to be out of touch for a while. I even cut back on posting on Facebook a bit.

This is going to be a quick post! I am just going to post the pictures of today's studies and one or two others for your viewing pleasure. I will be getting back to the storytelling over the next few posts.

First of all, the weather on the Northern Oregon coast has been stunning. I think I have forgotten what rain is like! It has been very warm but thankfully not as hot as many areas.
Here are the studies from today:
"Neahkahnie Morning", 8"x10", plein air wave study #75, oil on canvas.
It has been a while since I have painted a wave study as I have been painting other scenes. This is Wave Study #75!

"Shorty South", 8"x10", plein air study, oil on canvas
I decided to focus on Short Sands beach this summer. Short Sands is a five minute drive up the road from where I live. It is part of Oswald West State Park. It is also a well known surfing spot so there is usually surfers and dogs on the beach and in the water. It was crowded today as there are a lot of summer visitors in the area.

"Waterfall at the North End", 8"x10", plein air study, oil on linen panel
This isn't a great photo but this was painted at the end of June.

I will get busy and round up any other paintings I have done. I had a long break at the beginning of July due to work and family obligations. I was getting quite cranky from the lack of painting! It feels good to be back at work.

Finally, several months ago I announced that the wonderful people who purchased a painting before my painting workshop in May would be eligible for a drawing to win a free painting in July. Here it is the 31st of July! I went to and entered in the names and randomly generated a list. The winner of a painting is my lovely and wonderful cross-the-street neighbor, Karen!

Congratulations to Karen and many thanks to all who purchased a painting.
I haven't put up any paintings for sale recently as I am working on studies and to create a body of work. I will be returning to selling paintings in the Fall and Winter!

More painting adventures to come,


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sketching the Bones

The weather and my work schedule finally fell into harmonious synch and I got three days in a row to paint and sketch. I spent a day at Short Sands beach tackling the waterfall cliffs again. This time I went ahead and went through the new process with only slight progress. It was only that night that I realized I forgot to do one of the most important techniques, SQUINT! I know better too. My only excuse is that my head is filled with trying to remember the new process that I sort of let some of my old basics slide. Next time I will set my timer to remind me to squint every 10 minutes or so until the habit returns.
Here is the painting I did at Short Sands a couple of days ago.
© 2014 R.L. Delight, Short Sands Study- WIP, 8"x10", oil on canvas
This is essentially a block in with very little detail. It took me 2 1/2 hours. Slow going. I noticed a few issues with my subject matter. First, there is a lot of complex detail not only in the rock but the shadows, which move constantly. I did pretty good at not moving the shadow shapes around once I got them in but then I saw others I liked better. I didn't move them around but I sure wanted to make another painting. It was a bit too late to do that so I made note of the time and hope to hit it right next time.
The other issue that I need to get the hang of is coordinating the light and the tides. It isn't as easy as it sounds. This day I got there at low tide and the tide was coming in, which I wanted. One other issue I need to solve with this area is getting the underlying architecture of the cliffs. It can be challenging to see what is going on with the dramatic lighting obscuring the rock.
With that in mind I decided to go back the next day, yesterday, with my sketching pack. I keep two art packs ready to go, one is my plein air painting gear, the other contains sketching materials. I spent a couple of hours yesterday trying to get shapes and proportions down. The following sketch can be a bit tricky to read as I focused pretty much only on the cliff, not the trees and greenery above or the water and sand below.
© 2014 R.L. Delight, Short Sands Sketch, graphite on paper.
I know, it is hard to make sense of when the drawing subject is out of context but when I put it next to my Short Sands studies I have done, I can start to see the reason for the shadows and shapes.
I am obsessed with painting this area some reason. I really want to get a good painting that captures what I see and feel at this spot, and believe me, the feeling is strong. I will keep going back and painting studies until I have it down and have enough to paint a formal studio painting along with any decent plein air paintings I can get out of it. There is a lot to paint there in addition to this one area.
Today was a bit of a rest day and catching up on a few chores. However, this afternoon I went back to Devil's Cauldron to do a bit of sketching there too. We had a bit of a time constraint so I decided to sketch rather than paint. The afternoon was beautiful and I pulled out what is quickly becoming my favorite sketching materials, my water soluble graphite pencils, ArtGraf water soluble graphite in a tin, and Niji water brush. The water soluble graphite allows me to create something between a drawing and painting. I am having a lot of fun with it although I can see I need to refine the technique a bit. Here is the drawing I made at Devil's Cauldron today:
© 2014 R.L. Delight, Devil's Cauldron Sketch, water soluble graphite on paper
The values in the ocean and distant cliff behind the tree stump are way off so it is hard to tell what is going on there. I need a bit more practice with the stuff. This is the first time I used the ArtGraf tin.
I did remember to squint today!
I am also starting to consider what I want to take away from the workshop I recently took and what I want to leave behind. I am getting a good idea and I think I will know after another few sessions. More on that to come.

So now, a couple days of working at the store and then off to paint again

Summer is nearly officially upon us!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Kathleen Dunphy Workshop

Well, I can sum up the entire workshop in one word, Fantastic! I arrived back home last night and went out painting today, but let me back up a bit.
I traveled to Murphys California over two days by car with an overnight stop at Ashland, OR.
I arrived the day before the workshop started and met several of my new classmates for dinner in Murphys to get a chance to get acquainted. We arrive at our classroom in Douglas Flats, just down the road from Murphys, which was literally an old school house. A charming old school house complete with bell.
Douglas Flat School
The first morning was spent eagerly soaking up instruction from Kathleen. She had good handouts for all of us and, after lunch, she turned us loose to paint. It was very hot the first day and not just for this Pacific Northwest coastal painter.
Kathleen's approach to starting a painting, brush size, limited palette, brush work, and paint application are different than mine. From the very first, I decided to leave behind what little I know for now and embrace what she teaches. I plan to keep working in this way until I become competent with the method and can then decide what to keep and what to let go.
Well, some of you know that means I make a huge mess and take about ten giant steps back in proficiency. I decided to start from the beginning and work on just starting.
Here is my day one painting and start.
Day 1 study, 6"x8", oil on canvas panel
As you can see, I didn't get very far. I gained a tiny toe hold with this one though.
On to day two!
We met an hour earlier, 8:00 am, to beat the heat a bit. The day wasn't quite as hot as the previous one but no one seemed to mind getting an early start. This one started with a Q and A and additional talk to fill in all the odds and ends of information. We headed out to the road to watch Kathleen paint a demo for us demonstrating all that she was talking about. She painted what is known as the "Italian Store."
Here is a picture of this interesting building:
The Italian Store, Douglas Flats, CA
It is always good to see a demonstration of the principles given in a lecture. After the demo, I had a quick bite to eat and joined my classmates out in the surrounding area to paint. I found a spot I liked around the back to paint. Here is the first Day 2 study:
Day 2 study: Back wall of The Italian Store, 8"x10", oil on linen panel

Here is something I don't have to worry about here at the beach!

We didn't encounter any but did sign a waiver stating that we had been warned and were responsible for not provoking any rattlers we found!
Late afternoon we had a choice of continuing to paint on our study for the day or to go paint at a local winery down the road. Most of us chose to go to the winery. Twisted Oak winery to be exact. The winding road up to the wine tasting room was peppered with humorous signs that made me burst out laughing each time I encountered one. I don't want to add to the length of this post too much but here was the final sign, which seemed appropriate:

Twisted Oaks Winery

Twisted Oaks welcoming committee
The picture above is of the welcoming committee at the entrance and a view of the area.
We only had about two hours to paint before we had to leave as the winery closed at 5:30. I decided to visit the gift shop, do a quick wine tasting, and then paint at the entrance in front of the gate. Now, I must say here, when I say quick wine tasting I mean it. No swirling of the glass, loud sniffing of the fumes, witty comments, etc. I literally took a tiny sip and dumped the excess and moved on. I am sure the young woman behind the counter serving the tasting wine looked a bit bemused. I didn't want to have the wine interfere with my painting. Drinking and painting is not a pretty sight to behold! I quickly made my wine selection, bought a few gifts, and went to my chosen spot. A couple of classmates and I spent a few hours painting and reluctantly put down the brushes about 7 p.m.  Day two was a long day, working from 8am to 7pm. I went back to my hotel room tired, hungry, and very happy to be at at the workshop. Here is the second study I painted on day two.
Day 2: Twisted Oaks Winery Study 6"x8", oil on canvas panel
Our final day arrived alarmingly fast. We all met up at Ironstone Vineyards at 9:00 am. Well, some of us were there a bit earlier. I forgot we were meeting at 9 instead of 8 am, but that was just fine. It was a beautiful morning and I enjoyed exploring the area. It turned out that I wasn't the only one!
Kathleen painted another demo for us to explain painting reflections in water. We all fell to work as time was short.
Painting at the pond at Ironstone Vineyards
The day was cooler still but nicely warm for me. It felt wonderful. Here is my final workshop study:
Day 3: The pond at Ironstone Vineyards, 8"x10", oil on linen panel
There wasn't much time, only about an hour and a half but my starts were getting quicker and I was able to get in a bit more detail, if you could call it that.
We all gathered and caravaned up to Kathleen's studio to have a final critique and wrap up talk. Murphys is a beautiful place and Kathleen's studio is a pleasure to visit. We had our critique surrounded by many of her beautiful paintings.

The workshop went so fast and left me wanting more. I felt like I was just getting warmed up!
Now I have to add a little note here. My sharing of my work process is hopefully neither narcissistic or masochistic. I share the good, the bad, and the ugly in an attempt to show what goes into building art skills, and to possibly encourage others who may be struggling too.

Kathleen gave us many wonderful quotes throughout the workshop. One of my favorites was from Barbara Kingsolver, who is a favorite author of mine too. Barbara would tell and encourage her children with the following: "You can do hard things".  Painting isn't easy and it helps to tell oneself "I can do hard things" when faced with the frustration, which Kathleen assures us is the constant companion of most artists. If anyone is considering taking a workshop with Kathleen Dunphy, I highly recommend it. Her teaching style fit my learning style perfectly. She is warm, smart, funny, and encouraging. I will probably take one more workshop from her, the "No whiners" 5-day workshop. I will have about a year to continue to build my skills and get out to paint before that one.

As I mentioned at the top of this post, I went out painting today and went through the same process. It was sunny but windy. It was too windy to put an easel umbrella up so I painted in the sunshine. My painting is too dark and too intense but I did go through the process and am able to get a tiny bit more. In spite of my two layers of fleece and a marine coat, I was shivering by the end and the wind gusts kept blowing my hand around as I would try to paint. I got a good two hours plus in. Here is the study. I painted at Hug Point as there was a minus tide today. I can see plenty to tweak as well as finish. That square of sky for one!
Hug Point Plein Air Study, 8"x10", oil on linen panel
Alas, I work the next few days. However, I had plenty of time to think and plan on my drive home. I know what I want to achieve and what it will take. I have a lot of work cut out for me but I wouldn't want to do anything else.
This will be a fun post to revisit in a year!


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