Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring Cleaning in the Studio

First Day of Spring

Welcome Spring! It has been a beautiful rainy, blustery day for the first day of spring. I am spring cleaning my studio, very thoroughly. Everything is coming off the shelves and being culled, cleaned, reorganized and re-arranged. I now have a nice little drawing area in one corner. Three more corners and the middle to arrange! After such huge changes these past few years, it was time to go through everything to reflect my direction and focus. Painting has slowed way down at the moment but not stopped entirely. It will pick up with a renewed studio soon!

I seem to be struggling a bit with my painting at the community garden. Part of the reason is I am still trying new approaches. I also realized that I am not used to painting in such cultivated areas. I usually am painting on the beach looking at waves, water, cliffs, and falls. I think it is a very good thing to be working in gardens, orchards, and old farmland too. I want to be more versatile and I know the same principles apply. That said, I am going to bring my sketchbook for the next couple of weeks and get some graphite sketching in before attempting another painting.

Here is last week's attempt at painting. The wind had picked up and it was raining a bit so I set up behind the duck house for protection to paint this old pear tree. It hasn't bloomed yet but is covered with moss and a few ferns in some areas. Quite the character.

Alder Creek Farm Painting in Progress

I thought about wiping this one off the panel. I waited to make that decision after I got home. I still considered it but, as I looked at what still needed to be done and corrected, I decided to keep it and play with it in the studio. I know what I was trying to achieve. It will be a good learning tool to see if I can achieve it in the studio. Working at it this way will allow me to have more success in the future while out in the field.

I will post again when the studio spring cleaning is finished!

Wishing everyone a joyful spring season.


Friday, March 13, 2015

Working the Studies

I have been painting a lot of studies the past few weeks. I am pushing my skill level again. It is always a challenge often fraught with frustration and the appearance of little progress. Perhaps artistic growth follows a different timeline. It definitely isn't a straight line!

I have two works in progress. One was at Short Sands. It was a beautiful afternoon. We have been fortunate to have many of these this winter, if you can call it that. While Eastern U.S. has been hammered with snow and wind, we have had mild days with little rain and much sunshine. It is as if the storms back East have sucked all the water from the west and dumped it, in the form of snow, on the storm weary people and animals there.

I got a great start on a more detailed study but had a small time window to work. I thought I would be able to go back within a day or two but weather and life circumstances have kept me from it. So, it waits. I am hoping there will be an opportunity next week. Here is a picture of the start of the painting:

Short Sands North End-WIP

Short Sands South

I woke up this morning with emails announcing not only a gale warning but heavy rains. I figured I had better get out today before the storm arrives. I just made it. The tide was hitting low when I arrived. It is always surprising how little time the tide takes to come back in. When I left, the waves were coming within a foot or two of my easel. This is another work in progress. I got enough that I will be able to finish this study from memory in the studio.
Calm before the storm, Neahkahnie Beach

Storm Building, Neahkahnie Beach

© 2015 R.L. Delight, Mood Change, WIP, 9"x12", oil on canvas

The day was not sunny but the gray filtered light was bright. It was not hazy though. One of the things I love about gray days are the amazing colors that pop out in the sea. This study still needs work to capture what I was seeing. I put the waves in last so they were done in haste.

The wind was picking up as I was leaving the beach. I had heard the eagles behind me but suddenly one swooped right above my head and landed up the beach a bit. The crows always follow or chase the eagles. This one had a nice tidbit it was eating and as I stood there watching, it finished it off and cleaned its beak in the sand. I did take pictures but the exposure on my cell phone camera went haywire and they did not come out. I always enjoy watching our local Bald Eagles. Such a treat, and a nice ending to the day.

I have big changes happening in my studio which involves a clearing out and re-arranging. It is always a good thing to do as one learns and grows.

Spring is coming!


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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