Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Stumps and Dead Wood

"A Forest Clearing"
(near Union Creek & the Rogue River, Oregon Cascades)
Oil Sketch on Fredrix Canvas Board
5" x 7"

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A very strange day … generally sunny with big clouds passing over, but even when no cloud was above me there was fine precipitation going on much of the time while I was painting; almost a mizzle, which is finer than a drizzle, but there was no mist, and not heavy enough to be a drizzle, but it definitely could be felt and seen as tiny droplets would land and slowly deploy on the palette, the painting and me.  This fine, extremely light precipitation occurred even when no big cloud was directly overhead – very strange.   I never really got wet, and I managed to dry the minuscule droplets from areas of the palette with judicious paper towel use, and the painting itself never accumulated enough in its vertical position to be a worry, but as it was about 35º F, not far above freezing, it offered enough annoyance that I didn’t develop the Study as much as I might have done; but that was probably a good thing, since the intention was to study the stumps and logs, and subdue the rest – as it was I probably did too much on the background.  This Study, however, did serve its purpose, as looking hard at a bit of Nature and transcribing in paint what you see sears it into your mind, and that’s what a Study is all about.  Imprimatura: Venetian Red.  Pigments: Rublev Blue Ridge Yellow Ochre, and Italian Burnt Sienna, Lead White #2, and Winsor & Newton Cobalt & Cerulean Blues & Venetian Red.

I spent a couple of nights in this camp off of a forest road a couple of miles from Union Creek on the Rogue River Gorge, and about 17 miles from the Crater Lake Rim.  The nights got down below freezing into the 20s Fahrenheit, but no problem for this Minnesotan.  My second night here was crispy clear with the Moon out and it was lovely taking a stroll for a mile or so, in the moonlight along a frosty forest road, keeping my bear spray readily available, should some wild beastie care to debate with me the finer points of nighttime wilderness strolls; none cared to discuss such, save the odd comment from a Great Horned Owl off in the forest.

This was my campsite.  The trees are predominately Douglas Firs; there are others.  My portable loo seat, complete with legs is shown with my trusty shovel.  Morning ablutions off in the forest, below freezing and even with a light snowfall, has surprisingly not proved to be a hardship; rain, even with warmer temperatures, is something quite different altogether, and I choose my moments in such weather.  Before the acquisition of my portable loo seat (with legs), morning ablutions were hard on the knees.  Tools never to forget are T.P., hand cleanser, shovel, bear spray and revolver … one hopes no necessity arises to discuss territorial imperatives with the local residents at such moments, unless they are disgusted rabbits or squirrels; Jays & Ravens have come to satisfy their prurient curiosity at times, usually loudly announcing their discoveries to the world at large, after which they, especially the Jays, seem to laugh uproariously as they fly off … daft buggers!

The Rogue River Gorge
a couple miles from my campsite.

On the way to Crater Lake,
Only a few miles up the road.

I had been up to Crater Lake the day before, experienced a brief 5 minute blizzard, in the overcast that obscured the view, although the surface of the lake could just be made out through the cloud, a thousand feet below at the base of the cliffs.  I had intended to go up again today, but remained near camp and painted the Sketch at the top of this Post instead; tomorrow.

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