Monday, April 28, 2014

Spring Storms and Vegan Art Supplies

© 2014 R.L. Delight, Devil's Cauldron on the Northern Oregon Coast
One of my favorite ways to celebrate a birthday is spending time with my mate playing out in nature. We drove about 5 minutes up Hwy 101, parked and bushwacked on an old elk trail through neck-high Salmon Berry bushes and over-the-head Salal to reach this viewpoint. The picture isn't the best quality as I took it with my phone. One has to be very careful around this area as there are no fences and the cliffs are high. There would be a long time to scream on the way down before plunging into the sea.

There was a high surf warning out and for good reason, the waves were at least 20 feet high on this day and rather violent. I stayed off the beach during this time. To be honest, it wasn't because I was worried about staying safe. I have a lifetime of experience around the ocean, as well as a deep respect, and am very careful. I knew that there would be people not paying attention on the beaches that weekend and I just couldn't watch. Sure enough, I am still hearing stories, some frightening, and sadly, a few tragic.

We have had several stormy spring days and I was not able to get out to paint. The winds were fierce at times, with hail and torrential rain. Not a good time to be out painting. I know from personal experience how much that hail hurts and there is nowhere to hide! I spent the time doing some much needed cleaning and organizing so I can be ready for the next stretch of good weather. I have also been studying the book I mentioned in my last post. This week should be a good week to get out and paint. I can't wait!

I do get out and walk on the beach in all weather. There has been a lot of debris washed ashore from the recent storms. This is a plastic pallet, heavy and home to much sea life. The next day it was resting in one of the runoff creeks. I found a bit of rope and was able to pull it higher up the beach so that hopefully it can be picked up and disposed of rather than washing back out to sea.
© 2014 R.L. Delight, plastic debris after the storms.
There has been a lot of plastic and glass bottles, foam and plastic fishing floats, shoe soles, light bulbs from ships, and many other man-made items washed ashore. The birds have been enjoying eating the sea life that is often attached to these objects.

I have all my supplies in hand for an upcoming workshop I will be taking with Kathleen Dunphy. I am very excited about the workshop! I will be posting about it so keep an eye on this blog. The workshop is in the middle of May, which will be here soon.

I have mentioned before how much I enjoy and learn from the wonderful podcasts at Artists Helping Artists. I recently listened to an interview with the artist Iain Stewart. He mentioned a certain brand of sketchbook he likes to use. I am always looking for good sketchbooks that don't use animal products. A lot of papers for artists use gelatin to size the paper. He mentioned these sketchbooks by Stillman and Birn:
Stillman and Birn Sketchbooks, Alpha Series
Iain gave such and enthusiastic endorsement I decided to check them out. I contacted the company by email asking if they used animal products in their papers. I received an e-mail within minutes of sending my inquiry even though it was evening! Viktor from Stillman and Birns told me that I was the third request for such information and fortunately he had an immediate answer for me. He had contacted the mill and they replied that they do not use animal products in their process.

Needless to say, I ordered two new sketchbooks from Daniel Smith and they came today. It hasn't even been a whole week since I listened to that interview! The sketchbooks are well made. I got the lightest weight paper as I usually use graphite with a light wash with a Niji pen when I sketch. I will be trying them out this week if the sunny weather forecast holds true.
It is always a pleasure to be able to add a new resource to my list of vegan art supplies. I have free samples of the various weights of papers coming too.
Keeping my fingers crossed that the weather cooperates as promised. Check back soon for updates on the sketchbook and painting!


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Rogue Wave!

© 2014 R.L. Delight, Painting at Short Sands
I am very careful choosing a spot when setting up to paint next to the ocean. I never paint with my back to the sea and I am pretty good, that is experienced, at judging the tide line and allowing for sneaker waves. I always check the tide tables, in fact, one of the saving graces of a smart phone is that I have tide charts and surf reports at my fingertips on the spot.
All that said, sometimes the unpredictable happens, even when allowed for! The tide was way out when I arrived at Short Sands Beach yesterday morning. The day was beautiful, and there were only three other people on the vast beach, no surfers in sight. I decided to take the opportunity to paint the waterfall from a closer vantage point. A slightly divergent note here, the beach is never the same from day to day. The sand shifts and new rocks are exposed. I hardly recognized the area on this morning. Here is what it looked like when I set up:
 © 2014 R.L. Delight, Painting at Short Sands
I circled my easel in red to make it easier to see. Scale is always challenging to show in these pictures. The cliffs and rocks are huge. The waterfall is also quite large. I have to stay back a ways to be able to take the whole thing in at one glance. I was set up on the ocean side of the long rock in front of the easel. I usually find a nearby place up high to put my gear but there wasn't one close enough. The rocks were covered with sea life so I didn't want to put my gear on them and squish them. I rested my pack, easel umbrella, shoes, and panel carrier on the sand next to the rock. I carry my good Bogs boots in on the hike in and change into them once I am on the beach. There are creeks to cross on the hike up the beach.
I figured I had about two hours to paint before I had to move due to the incoming tide. I actually figured right but was not able to take into account the erratic waves on this day. I have been watching when seemingly regular small waves suddenly build and become large, violent, and erratic. It can happen from one moment to the next. Incoming storms can affect the waves a couple of days before making landfall.
So there I was, an hour into painting my study. There were two families with small children exploring the waterfall and caves around me when suddenly I sensed a sneaker wave approaching. I was about to grab my gear when I saw a little boy who was closer to the breakers get swept off his feet and pushed against the rocks. I started to run to him but his father also saw him and leaped to his rescue. I just had time to turn back to grab my pack and easel umbrella and toss them up on the rock. My shoes started to float. I grabbed one but the other went around one side of the rock, while my wet panel carrier floated around the other side. The carrier is made of corrugated plastic and I hadn't painted on the panels stored in it yet so no damage was done other than being damp and a bit sandy.
People around me were squealing and shrieking but no one was hurt and my easel held in the 8" or so deep water. I didn't even get wet but my shoes were soaked. Here is part of what makes it tricky to predict:
© 2014 R.L. Delight, Painting at Short Sands
The rock on the upper left of the picture is where I was painting a few moments before I took this picture. This area of the beach is particularly tricky for surfers due to the rocks and the way the waves bounce off the cliffs and funnels onto the beach. The channels increase the speed and force of the water.
Needless to say, I broke off my painting, grabbed my gear, and moved up to higher ground to dry off and pack up. Unfortunately I had to go. I wished I had packed a lunch and rearranged my afternoon plans as it would have been the perfect day to stay all day and paint!
Here is the study, an hour into it. I was just about to put in the foreground rocks then start adjusting the values of the surrounding rock and greenery.
© 2014 R.L. Delight, Short Sands waterfall study, one hour, 6"x8", oil on canvas.
I will be painting several more studies of this area of the beach. As I have said before, I could spend a lifetime painting here. I haven't even scratched the surface of areas to paint on this one beach. I would need several posts to show in pictures the whole beach too.
On a final note, April is my birthday month and I bought myself a present which arrived yesterday. More adventures in painting to come!
Alla Prima II by Richard Schmid. Can't wait to get my teeth into this one!
Hope everyone stays safe and warm!


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Two Studies

© 2014 R.L. Delight, Wave Study #74, 6"x8", oil on canvas
I have been so busy lately with music and family that I have not had a chance to post my latest studies. Above is Wave Study #74 painted at my usual spot at the foot of Neahkahnie Mountain. The sun has been visiting off and on here on the Oregon Coast. I have been playing with mixing different colors and trying a few different ways to handle the brush.
The next study is a coastal landscape study done at Short Sands Beach today. You could not ask for a more perfect day. It was a balmy-for-here 72 degrees, light winds, sunshine, and warm, warm, warm. It felt delicious! Being a Sunday and all, Shorty was pretty crowded with surfers and visitors. I rather like the surfing crowd at Short Sands. They seem to be a cheerful lot, probably because they are doing something they love. There are always a lot of dogs running around and it gives the spot a friendly festival feeling. The beauty of the area is superb as well.
Here is my study from today.
© 2014 R.L. Delight, Short Sands Study-North, 6"x8", oil on canvas
This one did not exactly go smoothly. I was again trying different approaches and color mixing so it was a bit of a struggle getting this one to where I was somewhat satisfied. This is very much a study so I will leave it at that. I have decided to do many studies of this waterfall at the north end of the beach. I would like to eventually do a larger studio painting of this area based on my studies.
Here are a few pictures that do poor justice to the beauty of this beach. I think you all might understand why I can't resist painting here. It is a short 5 minute drive from my house. I could spend a lifetime painting within a ten mile radius of where I live. Lucky me!
Short Sands Beach. You can see my painting easel toward the left at the base of the diagonal rocks. 
My office. Truly a perfect day in paradise.
There were many surfers today. View looking south toward my town.

A final view of my office.
I am working hard and will be posting more soon!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...