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“Ospreys in the Afternoon”
(Elbow Lake, Oregon Coast)
Oil Sketch on Centurian Oil Primed Linen Panel
4" x 6"
All good things must come to an end, they say, and so after eleven nights at my Coast Range Campsite on the end of a spur ridge above an old clear-cut, and thus having a view, and with the clear-cut itself on the slopes below my ridge, so as not to be truly noticeable other than allowing that view, I bid farewell to the creatures and flowers and trees with whom I had shared a home for that little while. They were sad to see me go, I’m quite sure, as together we had shared pristine warm days and crystal cleared nights and mornings above a sea of fog; a thirty-six hour rain when afterwards the mists arose to blend with the low cloud arising in turn, and with the sun shafts breaking through to finally dissipate the last remnants in a golden end of day; and they had watched me draw and paint, no doubt with bated breath, as they waited to see how they turned out.
But the time came to leave, and so I thanked them for sharing their space with me, as I slowly headed back along the spur ridge, and down into the valley of the West Fork of the Millicoma River. I had studied my maps and it appeared that there was a back way through to the Drain/Reedsport road that would allow me to explore new territory. Alas, t’was not to be, as about 11 miles up the river I came to a locked gate preventing any further progress. So I retraced my steps, took a different road up and over the ridgeline road that I normally take to my campsite, proceeded down another road I had wondered about, which took me out to Hwy 101, further North; an alternate way in on future trips to this area.
I picked up a couple of necessary supplies in Reedsport, and then up and over the big hill north of there. At the bottom of that hill Elbow Lake appears on the coastal side (left); the big multi-armed Lake Tahkenitch is hidden off to the east of the highway, and was seen from the top of the hill as I proceeded north from Reedsport. On the way down 12 days before, I had noticed a hidden pull-in very nearby Elbow Lake. I passed it by, turned around a bit further on, and approached it from the North and backed into it. One could easily spend the night here, and few would notice, but it was really close and possibly buggy. Strolling south to the lake taking photographs, I spotted a short lane down to the lakeside. I retrieved the SUV and drove down there and discovered a small turnaround and space enough to camp. After a short exploratory and photographic stroll I set up to paint.
The purpose of this Oil Study originally was to paint looking into the light and catch the sun sparkles on the water. But this is a good example of how these little Plein Aire paintings can progress during the course of the work. While painting away, I noticed an Osprey land in a tree top across the lake, and later circling around to take up different vantage points from which to observe the water. I dabbed him in landing on the tree in which I had first seen him land; there was a nest there at the top of the tree. I also added him I flight nearby, and so this painting became not only a study of sun sparkles and light, but also a memory jogger that here there be Osprey(s). The next morning during a breakfast lengthened by watching the Osprey, I discovered that there were indeed Ospreys, as I eventually realized there were three of them … probably a pair and their juvenile. I took no photos of the Ospreys as they never were close enough to get a reasonable shot.
Imprimatura: None on this one. I thought about a pale Yellow Ochre one, but since I was beginning this study in mid afternoon, I decided to forego the time it would take.
Drawing/Block-in: Cobalt Blue.
The Pigments used were: M. Graham Hansa Yellow Pale; Winsor & Newton Cerulean, Cobalt and Ultramarine Deep Blues, Cremnitz & Titanium Whites; a very small amount of Rublev Blue Ridge Yellow Ochre.