Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Evening in the Coast Range

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"Evening in the Coast Range"
Oil on RayMar Portrait Quality Linen Panel
6" x 8"

Click here to make this your Own

At the beginning of July I downed tools on the two large commissioned Oils I’ve been working on and headed down to the coast to deliver the three paintings that are included in the Coos Art Museum 22nd Annual Maritime Show (here).  I usually camp on private property outside of Bandon, 25 miles further on than is Coos Bay, but as I approached Coos Bay, I decided there was no point in going further, just to retrace my steps in the morning to make my delivery; thus I headed up into the Coast Range and found a likely spot a few miles in.  After supper I enjoyed the Sunset, and later in the gloaming I watched Venus and Jupiter sinking into the west, while the full Moon rose to my left in the east, and a few bats flitted about enjoying their insectoid suppers.  I had been much taken by the evening colours as the sun fell through the trees and especially after it had set, so I thought I might delay my week of painting on the Bandon Coast, and return up here in the Coast Range to paint after I delivered the paintings to the Coos Art Museum.  Watching the mist rising in the valleys in the morning confirmed my decision.

I drove a roundabout route to the Museum, via Silver & Golden Falls State Park, as I had never been there before, although I had thought about it from time to time; well worth it, even though one has to walk further these days to view the two falls, since one must park much further away nowadays.  Silver & Golden Falls are not easily photographed, but I managed to get enough working shots, for future reference.  The views I would most like to paint are also footpath blocking spaces, so I will have to work from photos for these at some point; there would be several places to paint sections of the base of the falls, and maybe I will sometime.  I had to do some desperate bushwhacking scrambles around Golden Falls to get some of views I photographed, but that is many times de rigueur in my game, both for taking reference photos and for painting.  There will come a time when I will not be able to do this … but not yet.

After dropping off the works, in Coos Bay (the town), I drove back north through North Bend (not Bend across the Cascades in the High Desert 200 miles distant), and across Coos Bay (the water) over the big bridge, turned right onto North Bay Road, and before again turning right and heading back on the forest roads into the mountains, I stopped to take a few photos of North Bay in the late afternoon light; North Bay is an arm of Coos Bay.  I enjoyed another evening similar to the night before, but this time I got to see distant fireworks through a notch in the hills across the valley.  This was quite unexpected as it was only the 3rd of July, but I enjoyed the display, and they were seen best through my binoculars, and heard a lot of their thunder, even though they were about 9 or 10 miles distant.  Of course I only saw those that were shot into the sky, but I always prefer those to any those that are at ground level anyway.

With this painting I used a split palette, painting the evening sky with the more modern and brighter colours and darkened ground vegetation with the earth palette I’ve been using most of this past year.  I also applied my imprimatura only to the lower half of the panel, thus reserving the white of the ground to reflect the brighter pigments used in the evening sky.

Imprimatura: Venetian Red.

The Pigments used in the sky were: Winsor & Newton Cerulean & Cobalt Blues, Cadmiums Yellow Pale, Orange, & Red, Rose Madder Genuine, Cremnitz and Titanium Whites, and a bit of Venetian Red to mix with Cobalt Blue for the subtle pale purply greys in the clouds.

And for the ground Rublev Blue Ridge Yellow Ochre, Italian Burnt Sienna, with Winsor & Newton Cobalt & French Ultramarine Blues, Venetian Red, and Cremnitz White were the usual suspects.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Winter Recap

I know … I know it’s been a month since my last post!  I had hoped to have this post prepared and posted shortly after the last one on June 28th, which presented my last Oil Sketch from my High Desert Winter’s sojourn.  Since then I have sadly been back in “civilization,” working on a commission for two medium large, detailed Oils for Royalty; no, not British Royalty, and I am not at liberty to divulge anything further in print, as it is stipulated in the contract not to do so.  I also desired to have them finished before the heat of the Summer set in, but I expect not to reach completion until September’s end.  This is also why I have been drawing out the posting of my Winter’s story, and as I have said I hoped to have this posted shortly after my last post, as it would have neatly tied up that story, before I took a break by going down to the Central Oregon Coast, and attending the opening of the Coos Art Museum 22nd Annual Maritime Show.  The postings for that interlude will begin to appear shortly.

Winter in the far “out” High Desert of Oregon was a most interesting and eye opening experience, and it was indeed “far out,” in two senses of the word; far out, as in time and space, and far out, as in “really out there, man!” as in somewhat surreal.  I have discovered that from the point of view of where the bulk of Oregon’s population resides (that is between the Coast Range and the Pacific Ocean), when I mention Winter Camping out in the High Desert, most persons have immediately thought of around the Bend area, which is really just the beginnings of the High Desert.  But when I tell them that no I was further out and east of Lakeview, those that know where Lakeview is (and many in civilized Oregon do not, it seems), say, “Oh … you were really out there!”; by which I take them to mean in time and space, and perhaps for some a surrealist tinge as well.  It was all those things for me. 

From the Portland area, I was roughly three times as far out there as it is to the Bend area (and with still a lot of miles to go before reaching Oregon’s eastern border), and thus farther in time taken to get there, before even considering that you feel you are in a different, more distant time as well … past … future … who can say?  And surreal, too!  I suppose what I really mean by surreal is a feeling of being touched by the inimitable, under these broad skies and vast landscapes; a lecture on surrealism at the Tate Gallery in my early days in London, comes to mind, where the lecturer defined the term as super realism.  I have felt this before in the all the wild places I have experienced; all day alone, drawing on a rugged North Cornwall beach, not another person to be seen; ten miles from the nearest road in the Highlands of Scotland; every time I’ve gone into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Northern Minnesota; inimitable … surreal … super real.  Perhaps that this is relative, and for those few souls that reside out there, it is just part of their everyday existence, its specialness not to be noticed.  But I doubt that not to be true for most of those, even if such terms as surreal, inimitable or super real, are not familiar; they will have different words, maybe, but the feelings will be the same, save for such that are totally insensitive.

Besides learning more about the variety of colour mixed from my severe palette, and the way the paint handles on the surfaces of the various panels I used, there were specific lessons assimilated … such as which Winter roads to avoid (see, Mud, and the few posts thereafter) … and if I go down the wrong road, that I don’t panic and thus have a better chance of getting myself out of what I got myself into … that there is more to the High Desert than a boy from the Northwoods of the Great Lakes, ever considered … such as more wild life than expected, even unseen (witness all the tracks in the snow) … the severe beauty of this landscape, which I have only begun to touch.  In short … more time will be spent coming to terms with this inimitable landscape; with painting, and observing, and taking the time to let it all wash over me.