Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Painting at Alder Creek Farm

Lower Nehalem Community Trust
I am very excited this year to join the community garden at Alder Creek Farm/Lower Nehalem Community Trust. This community garden is one of the many examples of the reasons why we love living here and being part of this community. The garden is on land that was purchased by a small group of local people to restore and preserve the land. The garden is worked collectively so instead of small individual plots, we all work the entire garden. The harvest is shared and the extra goes to the community food bank. They donated an impressive few thousand pounds of fresh vegetables and fruit last year.

Tuesday, which was yesterday, was the official first day of work for the 2015 season. I will be working for 3 hours every Tuesday morning. The garden is about 5 miles from my house. I not only packed my garden gloves but a lunch and my painting pack. I spent the morning working in the garden alongside of my fellow gardeners, had a picnic lunch, and then got to work painting.

I decided to paint outside the garden perimeter near a small pond. There was a local herd of elk laying down in the distance. They were far enough away and didn't seem to be moving around much so I decided to go for it.

I got about 1 1/2 hours into the painting when I noticed the elk herd was on the move. I kept painting and kept one eye on the herd. They are big animals and I don't have a lot of experience with them close up. I really did not want to be painting with them grazing around me as I am not sure what they would do. I was just to the point where I could bring the painting to the finish when they moved a bit too close. This time they spotted me and I was a bit disconcerted to see about a dozen elk with heads and ears up looking directly at me.

I slowly started packing up my painting gear. Most of them went back to grazing but there were a couple of elk that watched me. Once I got packed up, I casually strolled back to the barn and garden area. It may take a while for them to get used to me and me to get used to them.
Here are a couple of pictures of the elk herd from where I was painting:

Elk herd approaching. If you look closely you can see them grazing just above the line of bushes at the edge of the pond.

Getting Closer.

So, I did not quite get my painting finished yesterday. Today I decided to finish it from memory. There are a couple of challenges I had with it, besides the elk herd. It has been quite a while since I painted on Gessobord. I have a stack of it I want to use up. I can't say that I like painting on it anymore. I really like painting on canvas panels. I also need more practice painting trees. I tend to paint waves, sand, and stone. I wasn't very satisfied with the cedar tree in the mid-ground. Here is the final painting:

© 2015 R.L. Delight, Alder Creek Farm Pond, 5"x7", oil on archival panel

I plan to paint at Alder Creek Farm every Tuesday afternoon for the garden season, which runs from now until fall. I thought it would be fun to have such a series of paintings. This means that I will be painting them plein air, or plein air plus a bit of studio time like this one was.They might not always turn out to my satisfaction but that will be part of the process and challenge.
Tomorrow I plan to head out to one of my favorite seascape painting spots. I haven't decided which one yet!


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