Monday, November 16, 2020

Landscape Award Received.

A Miniature Oil of mine has received the Ampersand Sponsor Award for Landscape at the Parklane Miniature & Small Works 2020 show ... very pleasantly surprised!


C1699

“The Long Shadows of Evening”

(Oregon High Desert)

 

Miniature Oil on Richeson Gesso Panel

Image: 3” x 5”

Outside Frame: 5” x 7”

$600


Visit Awards Page at Parklane Gallery here.

 

There are certain campsites that are not particularly spectacular of themselves, but which will reward you, if you keep an eye out through the hours of the day. This was one such place, where the rewards came in the various lightings of the landscape that occurred, such as here as afternoon showers give way to the long shadows of evening.

The sponsor Ampersand is a manufacturer of Artist Panels with various surfaces for use with a variety of mediums. I have used them and have some in stock at present, although I generally tend towards panels with a linen or cotton canvas surface. I am happy with the fact that I painted this on a rival company's panel, and that did not prejudice the award. Funnily enough, I just remembered that the panel I painted this on was part of an award I received in a Parklane Miniature Show, some years ago! 

I grew quite familiar with this landscape, as I camped here a lot this past Spring, Summer and Autumn, and was able to see this view in various seasons, lightings, and times of the day. This is where the male Western Tanager sat on my knee, and the Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel, "the Big Fella," and his relatives would enjoy the strawberry and avacado remnants that I left out for them. To remain in one spot for awhile and become part of the landscape, offers you the opportunity to experience things you otherwise would not, if you were to only stay a night or two. This is why I never seriously contemplated any of the long distance footpaths, in times past ... thought about them as a challenge, on occasion, but knew that they would not be in any way satisfying as an "in the wild" experience. I'm all for as many people as possible to experience the long distance trails, as that means I'm less likely to run into anyone in the wild places I camp. I do wonder how much a person remembers of any particular place, when hiking day after day. I suppose my year long journey from Minnesota to Oregon in 2017/18, is kind of similar, but I rarely camped only one night in any one spot, and mostly three or four days at a minimum. Thus I remember every one of them, and even the one-nighters, because they were so few. 

So ... had I stayed only one night, or even two or three, in this spot, I may have never experienced the lighting effects depicted here in the above little painting.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Parklane Miniature & Small Works 2020 Exhibition Kicks off.

 The Parklane Gallery Miniature & Small Works 2020 Exhibition kicks off today (five days later than earlier stated), and I've sold two works on opening day. The following link will take you straight to my seven; four Miniatures & three Small Works:

See my works in the show here.


Click the above link to see them in the exhibition or to make one or more your own. I am also displaying them here as a reminder.


C1698

“Orange Moon Rising”

(Oregon High Desert)

 

Miniature Oil on Richeson Gesso Panel

Image: 3” x 5”

Outside Frame: 5.5” x 7.38”

$500

 

Camping and painting since April 1st in the Wild places of the Pacific Northwest, has allowed me to experience the rythms of Nature, among them cycles of the Moon. The atmosphere determines the colour of each rising; here a storm passed away to the east, and the Moon rose orange through the remnant vapours, as the sun set behind me.

 

*****

C1699

“The Long Shadows of Evening”

(Oregon High Desert)

 

Miniature Oil on Richeson Gesso Panel

Image: 3” x 5”

Outside Frame: 5” x 7”

$600

 

There are certain campsites that are not particularly spectacular of themselves, but which will reward you, if you keep an eye out through the hours of the day. This was one such place, where the rewards came in the various lightings of the landscape that occurred, such as here as afternoon showers give way to the long shadows of evening.

 

*****

C1700

 

“Early Morning Reverie”

(Reflection Lakes, Mt. Rainier NP, Washington Cascades)

 

Miniature Oil on Pannelli Telati fine Cotton Panel

Image: 4” x 6”

Outside Frame: 6.13” x 8.13”

$650

 

Breakfasting here in the pre-dawn, while awaiting for reflections to appear, gave way to a different experience of cloud and mist arising in the dawn light. And while watching the subtle light show a Grey Jay landed on my foot, stretched out upon a rock, and had a conversation with me.

 

*****

C1701

 

“Slot Canyon Afternoon”

(Mount Rainier NP, Washington Cascades)

 

Miniature Oil on Pannelli Telati fine Cotton Panel

Image: 4” x 6”

Outside Frame: 6.5” x 8.5”

Sold

 

Slot Canyon is reminiscent of a millrace, in its straightness, and width ... of course its depth is quite a bit more! Not only is this natural phenomenon highly accessible ( the road passes over it), but one may see Mount Adams to the south from here, and a stroll of a few yards to the north brings one to this great view of Mount Rainier.

 

*****

C1703

 

“Last Light on the Mountain & New Moon”

(Mount Rainier NP, Washington Cascades)

 

Small Oil on Pannelli Telati fine Cotton Panel

Image: 4” x 6”

Outside Frame: 5.5” x 7.5”

Sold

 

A wonderful evening stroll, up near Sunrise Visitors Center, brought me this wonderful experience ... worth getting back to camp after dark.

 

*****

C1659

“Voices of the Ancients ”

(Hovenweep National Monument, Utah)

 

Small Oil on Pannelli Telati fine Cotton Panel

Image: 5” x 7”

Outside Frame: 8” x 10”

$425

 

Hovenweep, is worth a visit, for the interesting set of 800 year old structures built by an outlying community of nearby Mesa Verde. The main unit features a two mile circular walk, with many interesting ruins.The keen, such as I, should visit every unit of the extended Monument.

 

*****

C1665

“Evening Gold in the Valley of the Gods”

(Utah)

 

Small Oil on Centurian Oil Primed Linen Panel

Image: 5” x 7”

Outside Frame: 8” x 10”

$350

 

One of several colourful sunsets experienced in the Valley of the Gods, Utah; on the horizon can be seen several of the monumental buttes at Monument Valley, 20 miles away in nearby Arizona.

*****

Enjoy!

Friday, October 23, 2020

All Seven Paintings accepted into the Parklane MiniSmall 2020 Exhibition.

My last post was three weeks ago, in which I mentioned framing Small and Miniature paintings. They were for the Parklane Gallery MiniSmall 2020 Exhibition up in Kirkland Washington, a satellite town or suburb (I don't know what they consider themselves as), of Seattle. At that point I had sorted frames for the seven paintings I was to submit, and temporarily placed them in their frames to photograph them for submission online. Normally with a Miniature Show, you send the originals in for submission, so they can be judged, but this is a Miniature & Small Works show, so, I guess that made it too difficult to accept the original Small Works. The problem I had was in the photography of the framed works, since the paintings were a bit washed out in colour, when including the frame. I ended up pulling an all-nighter, working on the images in Photoshop and getting them submitted before the deadline the next day, all the while hoping the images would be acceptable to the jury. Evidently they were, as all seven (the maximum allowed), were accepted into the Show, which kicks off on the 1st of November. Once they were accepted it took an inordinate amount of time to actually frame them and get them ready for shipping. Since then I've been working on another Miniature that I had intended to submit as well, but which remained at the drawing stage, by the time the submission deadline rolled around ... I cut it fine as it was. Thank goodness that no one else was camped at the picnic table site, even though it was hunting season, as I definitely needed that table for the framing!

 

In times past Parklane Gallery has held their exclusively Miniature show in the Spring, but that pesky virus has had an effect on just about everything. Thus the gallery combined the Miniatures with the Small Works show this year. They also reserve the right to change the category of a work, from Miniature to a Small Work, for example. So, you may find that the categories I have listed below have changed when viewing the exhibition.

 

The exhibition may be viewed online at: ParkLaneGallery.org

 

*****

 

Here follows the photographs of the framed works I submitted to the show.


C1698

“Orange Moon Rising”

(Oregon High Desert)

 

Miniature Oil on Richeson Gesso Panel

Image: 3” x 5”

Outside Frame: 5.5” x 7.38”

$500

 

Camping and painting since April 1st in the Wild places of the Pacific Northwest, has allowed me to experience the rythms of Nature, among them cycles of the Moon. The atmosphere determines the colour of each rising; here a storm passed away to the east, and the Moon rose orange through the remnant vapours, as the sun set behind me.

 

*****

C1699

“The Long Shadows of Evening”

(Oregon High Desert)

 

Miniature Oil on Richeson Gesso Panel

Image: 3” x 5”

Outside Frame: 5” x 7”

$600

 

There are certain campsites that are not particularly spectacular of themselves, but which will reward you, if you keep an eye out through the hours of the day. This was one such place, where the rewards came in the various lightings of the landscape that occurred, such as here as afternoon showers give way to the long shadows of evening.

 

*****


C1700

 

“Early Morning Reverie”

(Reflection Lakes, Mt. Rainier NP, Washington Cascades)

 

Miniature Oil on Pannelli Telati fine Cotton Panel

Image: 4” x 6”

Outside Frame: 6.13” x 8.13”

$650

 

Breakfasting here in the pre-dawn, while awaiting for reflections to appear, gave way to a different experience of cloud and mist arising in the dawn light. And while watching the subtle light show a Grey Jay landed on my foot, stretched out upon a rock, and had a conversation with me.

 

*****


C1701

 

“Slot Canyon Afternoon”

(Mount Rainier NP, Washington Cascades)

 

Miniature Oil on Pannelli Telati fine Cotton Panel

Image: 4” x 6”

Outside Frame: 6.5” x 8.5”

$700

 

Slot Canyon is reminiscent of a millrace, in its straightness, and width ... of course its depth is quite a bit more! Not only is this natural phenomenon highly accessible ( the road passes over it), but one may see Mount Adams to the south from here, and a stroll of a few yards to the north brings one to this great view of Mount Rainier.

 

*****


C1703

 

“Last Light on the Mountain & New Moon”

(Mount Rainier NP, Washington Cascades)

 

Small Oil on Pannelli Telati fine Cotton Panel

Image: 4” x 6”

Outside Frame: 5.5” x 7.5”

$500

 

A wonderful evening stroll, up near Sunrise Visitors Center, brought me this wonderful experience ... worth getting back to camp after dark.


*****



 

C1659

“Voices of the Ancients ”

(Hovenweep National Monument, Utah)

 

Small Oil on Pannelli Telati fine Cotton Panel

Image: 5” x 7”

Outside Frame: 8” x 10”

$425


Hovenweep, is worth a visit, for the interesting set of 800 year old structures built by an outlying community of nearby Mesa Verde. The main unit features a two mile circular walk, with many interesting ruins.The keen, such as I, should visit every unit of the extended Monument.

 

*****


C1665

“Evening Gold in the Valley of the Gods”

(Utah)

 

Small Oil on Centurian Oil Primed Linen Panel

Image: 5” x 7”

Outside Frame: 8” x 10”

$350

 

One of several colourful sunsets experienced in the Valley of the Gods, Utah; on the horizon can be seen several of the monumental buttes at Monument Valley, 20 miles away in nearby Arizona.

*****

Regular readers will have seen the last two before, but before framing. They were presented in this blog back in 2018 on my year long journey from Minnesota to Oregon through the Southwest. Evening Gold is signed with my monogram rather than my “S.T.Johanneson” signature.

Again, the exhibition may be viewed online at:  ParkLaneGallery.org

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Miniature Watercolour “Late Afternoon Light at Delicate Arch” receives Award.

 


C1673

“Late Afternoon Light at Delicate Arch”

(Arches National Park, Utah)

 

Watercolour on 140-lb., Hot-pressed,

Saunders Waterford Watercolour Paper

2-1/8” x 3-5/16”

My Miniature Watercolour “Late Afternoon Light at Delicate Arch” (Arches National Park, Utah), has received a second place award in the Landscape category, at this year's Show of the Miniature Painters Sculptors and Gravers Society of Washington DC. The exhibition begins on November 22, 2020, and will be online, with all works for sale; currently only the award winners are on their website, which is: www.mpsgs.org. This is an international exhibition.

 

Delicate Arch is one of the finer arches in the National Park, if not the finest and is very popular, in spite of the strenuous, uphill and lengthy hike to get there. I went up there twice, a month apart, and both around the full Moon. The first time was in November and was cold and windy, while the following month, in December, the weather was warm and calm. That second time I strolled all the way down the hill in the Moonlight, never turning my headlamp on once; it was magical. A distant view of Delicate Arch can also be seen from the end of an access road, and a short walk to the viewpoint. It is not a spectacular view, but at least you can say you've seen it, if you're not up to the other hike. From up by the Devil's Garden, I have spotted it way down below across the Salt Valley ... binoculars were needed to confirm it.

 

Those of you with long memories, will no doubt recall that it was the MPSGS Exhibition, back in 2008, to which I submitted my very first Miniature Watercolour and received the first place in the Landscape category. So remember to go visit the Miniature Exhibition on the 22nd of November. Of course all you historians out there will have no trouble remembering this date as it was also the completion of the encirclement of the German Wehrmacht's 6th Army at Stalingrad, by Soviet forces in 1942, during the Second World War ... spooky;)

 

*****

 

My last posting on September 17th, which featured my Watercolour of Sandymouth in Cornwall, was posted, while I was in Bend, Oregon for supplies ... a horrendously smokey day. The funny thing was that as I made my way back to camp, in the dusk, it was still very smokey within a few miles of camp. After that I couldn't tell how bad it might be as it was getting quite dark by then. In the morning it had been about a third what it was in Bend ... still bad. Anyway, by the time I had rearranged the truck for bed, and had a cup of hot chocolate, the stars were shining brightly, and for the first time in a long while, quite low down towards the horizon. Since then, over two weeks ago now, there has been very little smoke at my campsite ... more clear days than those with a little smoke.

 

I moved camp back to where I was in April ... the one with the rough-hewn picnic table ... and last night (October 1st), was absolutely magical! T'was a full Moon, and, after some chill nights, the temperature was warm enough to sit with the car door open, and with my sleeves rolled up above my elbow, until I turned in at 10:30 pm. Crazily enough, no moths came to bother me ... will wonders never cease?

 

*****

 

During the Summer at this picnic table campsite, some campers have had a go at beginning to civilize the resident Chipmunks. I was at the table sorting out some Miniature Oils with their frames, for a Miniature & Small Works show up in the Seattle area, when a Chipmunk came bouncing up onto the table, bold as you please, and without a ‘by your leave,’ I might add. I saw him off in short order, but he and a couple others kept coming back ... no doubt they've been given handouts. So far they've not tried to i lnvade the truck, as I've been leaving the doors open during these warm days of Indian Summer. There is also a Nuthatch flitting about, taking an inordinate interest in the truck as well ... can't quite figure that one out.

 

*****

 

I heard coyotes yipping, two nights back for the first time all Summer.

 

*****

 

This morning I have been filtering my melted ice water, in preparation for going to town for supplies, and to post this to my blog. There is always a bit of spillage in setting up the filtering process. While having breakfast I noticed 3 chipmunks clustering around the nud formed by the small spillage, and realized they were extracting moisture from that mud. I wonder if they do that after a brief rain shower, too small to leave any puddles?

 

*****

 

Once I reached La Pine today I noticed Aspen leaves changing to gold. Eight days ago, when in Bend, I noticed none. Autumn is showing herself more obviously than back in August. Nice to see the Aspens, as where I'm camped are only Ponderosas; of course there's Bitterbrush,  but they are not very showy.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Mid-Winter Afternoon at Sandymouth, Cornwall

C1283

“A Fine Winter’s Day at Sandymouth”

(North Cornwall, England)

 

Watercolour on 140-lb., Not,

Saunders Waterford Watercolour Paper

9” x 22-1/2”

 

Available ... email me.

Sandymouth? Where is Sandymouth?” I wondered, as I looked at a small painting in an exhibition. I had been in Cornwall for 15 or 16 years and hadn't heard of it, much less been there. I finally found it on my Ordnance Survey Maps and the mystery was solved ... it was found at the join of two maps, and so I had overlooked it all those years. It was just a few miles north of Bude. Eventually I made it down there, and quickly decided that the off-season was the best time to go, like most places in Cornwall. Not because of crowds, in this case, but because of having to pay to park in a private field; something as a Cornish resident I felt shouldn't apply.

 

The tides on the Cornish coast are large, even at neap tide, compared to Oregon ... I don't know why that is. Beaches, however, vary in how the tide acts. As an example, Sandymouth is what I call a “fast tide beach”. As you can see in the Watercolour above, the shore is covered with rocks and pebbles, and intersected with volcanic dikes, from the cliff bottoms on the right out to the level sands on the left. At high tide most of this is covered, and it takes awhile for the sea to drop far enough to expose the sands. At low tide on a spring tide the sea recedes much farther out than seen here and you can walk a long ways on the level sands. Every so often a larger wave will break and will come farther in on the sands than you might expect. But the exposed sand doesn't last long, and soon the tide turns and relatively swiftly the sands are inundated by the sea. Even on a spring tide you have maybe an hour to hour and a half. Thus I have coined the term “fast tide beach” for such. Tregardock Beach, south of Trebarwith Strand and Tintagel, is just such a beach. It's not that the tides are any shorter in time between low and high, but that the sands are so level that when the sea recedes, a great distance is exposed, and when the tide comes back in it seems that it comes in faster because so much ground is being covered.

 

In the above Watercolour, it could be we are at low tide on a neap tide. But if it's a spring tide then the sea would either have a long ways to go farther out, or be on its way back in. Without referring to old tide tables, I couldn't say which. During the course of the year, the sands also shift so that in this painting more of the sand is in amongst the rock, making it easier to reach the level sands to the left. Sometimes it's a real pain clamboring over the rocks to get there. I did another painting from the other side of the sea stacks, seen here, looking south on a low spring tide which shows the extent of the sands. That painting won the St. Cuthberts Mill Award for the best work on paper in the 1999 exhibition of the Royal Society of Marine Artists, in England.

 

 

*****

 

A Rufous-sided Towhee came into camp, and pecked around for a bit. It's a bird I am quite fond of, with its red breast and black head with garnet eyes; a secretive bird given to rummaging around in the undergrowth. I didn't expect to see one out here on the edge of the Ponderosas.

 

*****

 

While still smokey, it has thinned out the last couple of days, as the wind has been coming from the southwest, and the fires in that direction are further away. Only an easterly breeze would really clear the air, however.




Monday, September 7, 2020

Bodmin Moor Snow

C1172
“Bodmin Moor ... Snow”
(Cornwall, England)

Drawing in Sepia & Black Chalk heightened with White
on 90-lb., Not, Turners Blue-grey Watercolour Paper
from Ruscombe Mill
6” x 9-1/4”



Still in Poldark Country, as we have been since the end of July, and with this work we are now on Bodmin Moor. This is also Jamaica Inn territory, which has been made into a film a number of times, my favorite being the one with Jane Seymour. Here we are looking north from the Logan Stone on Loudon Hill to the southern prow of Roughtor (pronounced Row, as in argument, -tore), the Second highest of the two Cornish mountains, the other being Brown Willey, out of view to the right (a mountain in England is a hill over a thousand feet). A logan stone is a balanced rock like that in the foreground; usually, if you can get on the thing, you can rock it with your weight alone. Between here and Roughtor, which is about a mile or so away, are to be found many bronze age hut circles, and remains of small field walls, like those to be found on Dartmoor to the east.

Thinking of Claude Lorrain again not only of his Liber Veritatis, but of the whole of his work, I give the following quote from CLAUDE LORRAIN: PAINTER AND ETCHER by George Grahame, writing at the end of the 19th century (this biography of Claude is found in the Delphi Classics series volumes on Artists):

“The eye gradually accustomed to the Claudian world, bewitched by its sunlight and its atmosphere, begins to dwell with pleasure on the ruins and the marble palaces, the wooded hillsides crowned with convenient towers, the meanderings of impossible rivers. You have but to surrender yourself to the charm of this unreal world to lose sight of its unreality and live in it as one lives in a dream. The artist gives us the “great key, To golden palaces, strange minstrelsy, Fountains grotesque, new trees, bespangled caves, Echoing grottos, full of tumbling waves And moonlight; ay, to all the mazy world Of silvery enchantment!” We are carried far away from this workaday world of ours into an ethereal domain whence all toil, distress, and terror have purposely been banished by the painter. The inhabitants of this ideal world are as gods. Its skies are all but cloudless. All the rough places in it are made smooth. Such is the Claudian landscape, the quintessence of reality distilled in the alembic of a poet’s soul. Surely only the sternest moralist will condemn its charm. When at last you close the book and turn from this world of Claude’s to nature, you feel for a moment like a man who steps from a concert-room, where he has been listening to the music of Beethoven and Mozart, into the din and glare of the street.”

Looking through the Liber Veritatis or a series of his paintings, we are entering a world that never was ... but I for one would like it to have been. Consider strolling about in a pastoral & mythical Arcadia รก la Claude, happening upon, nymphs & dryads, the odd satyr, joining in with a dance of villagers and mythical demi-gods, hoisting a flagon of wine, or three, with Bacchus and his merry retinue, having a chat with the local river god on a golden afternoon, as he lugubriously takes his ease beside his cooling stream on a golden glowing afternoon. My preferred mythology, of course, is the dark and wild mythologies of my Norse forebears, and the Ring Cycle, but there is something to be said for taking a break, now and then, from Brynhilda's Hel-ride, the slaying of Grendel, or raiding the tomb of Angantyr the Berserker for the cursed sword Tyrfing, and repairing to the sunnier climes of the Arcadian southlands to kick back for awhile.

*****

Nature story ... A Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel was nibbling on a strawberry remnant, when a chipmunk came up behind him and nipped the base of his tail, and ran off, chased by the ground squirrel; the ploy didn't work, however, as the ground squirrel got back to the strawberry first. "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”, as a little known Bard once said.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Blue Seas ... White Surf.

C1092
“Blue Seas ... White Surf”
(Cornwall, England)

Watercolour on 140-lb., Not,
Saunders Waterford Watercolour Paper
8-1/2” x 12-3/4”


[Note: “Not”, in the Media description above, means “cold pressed” ... that term is used in Britain, cold pressed over here.]

Still in Poldark Country, as we have been since the end of July, and with this work we are now down near Lands End. Here we are at Cape Cornwall looking out to The Brisons, islands just off shore. Out of view, to our left a couple of miles, is Sennon Cove, and there the shore turns 90° to the right, and a mile or two along the coastal footpath will bring us to Lands End, the westernmost tip of Cornwall, and England for that matter. From there, once past the Scilly Isles, twenty something miles offshore, it's next stop America.

The Sea around Cornwall is unlike any other I have experienced in the rest of Britain. This in fact may, or may not, be true; perhaps if I had experienced other coasts year around, they might have proved to be as interesting and variable. But I do think those Seas around Cornwall are special. In Summer they can be downright tropical in colour, with greens and turquoises to rival any found in lower latitudes; and then the grey and greens of Winter, when a lowering sun breaks through the cloud and illuminates the thin turn of a cresting wave from behind, turning it into a stained glass of grey-green-gold, just before it breaks; and the next day the grey green has metamorphosed into a blue so deep, it brings tears to your eyes. In the Watercolour above it is late September, and somewhere far out to sea, some hundreds of miles away, a storm has sent big swells rolling onto Cornish shores. There is an offshore breeze, but not enough to change the blue to green or grey; and being protected by the cliffs behind, the breeze only begins to really affect the breaking waves out by the Brisons, and beyond them, blowing the spume seawards. I've only witnessed this effect a few times, where the colours are predominately ... Blue Seas & White Surf.

*****

The birdlife around camp has slackened off compared to what it was a few weeks ago ... another sign of Autumn? The Western Tanagers seem to have moved on about three weeks ago. I did see a Bald Eagle yesterday, and that was a nice surprise. The Hummingbird is still about, Northern Flickers, the Nuthatch, and Woodpecker, are still residents. Oh, there are still birds about, but not a many, and a lot of them are LBJs (little brown jobs), that I haven't been able, nor had the time, to identify.

The eighth day of San Francisco smoke, was last Saturday, the 29th, but by late morning the wind had shifted around to the northwest, and pretty much cleared it away. There were occasional drifts coming through until the next evening when it got really smokey  about 5 pm. The wind was then from the northeast so I reckon this was smoke from thirty to forty miles away, up in the Ochoco National Forest. The moon was a deep red orange, low in the east when I spotted it in the late twilight. The wind shifted again overnight and since then has been generally good. This morning there is a slight smokey haze across the flat to the east ... the respites have been welcomed (the day did turn out to be pretty smokeless, and an enormous full Moon rose as twilight deepened).

*****

And just when I said the birds have thinned out (which they actually have), the morning of 2nd September has been quite entertaining with birdlife. The Chickadees were out in force, loads of LBJs, mostly warblers of various types, were flitting about the truck, looking in the wing mirrors, and taking special interest in my water filtering bags hung in a tree filtering my melted ice water, and generally doing birdy things.

There is a Douglas Squirrel, that I've seen hardly at all, that today was up in the small tree eight feet to the left of my vehicle. It cut off a cluster of pine needles, letting it fall to the ground, and then climbed down and ignored it. Later one of the Golden Mantled Ground Squirrels came along and nibbled on it ... wonder what that was all about?

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Sun Setting over Fox Cove.

C1276
“March Sunset from Fox Cove, #2”
(North Cornwall, England)

Watercolour, Gouache & Sepia Ink, with touches of Pastel
 on  90lb., Not, Turner's Blue-grey Watercolour Paper
from Ruscombe Mill
5” x 7”


[Note: “Not”, in the Media description above, means “cold pressed” ... that term is used in Britain, cold pressed over here.]

A mixed media work like this begins with a sharpened stick, a twig really, dipped in  sepia Acrylic Ink, and the cliffs and rocks were broadly blocked in. The acrylic ink was used as it is waterproof, once dry. Many times I use Walnut Ink, even though it is not waterproof, but not when the paper will be saturated with Watercolour washes. In that case I might outline the forms in pencil first, then lay in my Watercolour washes, and then work in the Walnut Ink over that, and then continue working with Watercolour and Gouache, with a not quite dry brush effect ... you might say a dry wash; the ink might bleed a little, but not a lot ... then true dry brushing to finish off. I have digressed from the description of this work where I used Acrylic Ink, straight off ... I probably began with a light pencil line to place the horizon. Once the ink was dry, Watercolour and Gouache were used for the painting. Much of the inkwork would have been supressed by the opacity of the Gouache, so some of it would be re-established with the stick and Ink again. Finally some judicious touches of Pastel were used in the sky.

Arriving back in Treyarnon Bay, Cornwall to sell my little flat, after my first four months in Oregon, this was my first sunset. We are standing at the head of the cove looking down the length of it. The view in the the last post, “Blustery Day at Fox Cove,” was from down the left side looking across the mouth of the cove to the promontory on the right. The spine of rock in mid-cove, in this little study, was out of view to the right in that larger Watercolour. You will see that it is #2, in the title above. Number one is in Helmsley, Yorkshire, with JackFineArt.com, and can be purchased there, framed. The above work is unframed. In the other one, the sun is just at the bottom of the bright orange strip of cloud above the horizon. In the image above, the sun has just slipped below the bright yellow edge of cloud below the orange strip, so that it is behind the light blue clouds just above the horizon. These light blue clouds have a number of openings allowing light to glow through, and the sun may briefly shine through one of these before it disappears below the horizon ... or it might not ... that is part of the enjoyment of a cloudy sunset ... will it show through, or won't it ... will there be good colour, or will it fade away as a grey bland evening. In this case the colours never got any better than this, and once the sun actually dipped below the horizon, that was pretty much it, but it was good for this little while.

*****

Bitterbrush leaves are on the turn. About the end of the first week of August, the first yellow leaves appeared. At first I thought they were late flowers until I took a closer look, and saw they were leaves; now about 10% of the leaves are yellow. There is another bush, related to tha gooseberry, that is even further into the yellow. Autumn is here already, even though the days are still getting into the high 80s, and low 90s.

The Seasons come and the Seasons go. The weathermen and the newscasters will tell you, for example, that the 21st of June, the Summer Solstice, is the first day of Summer. Shakespeare would disagree, and so would I ... it is Mid-Summer's Day, not the first day of Summer ... Mid-Summer ... the longest day of the year, and thus the shortest night ... A Mid-Summer Night's Dream. Summer begins six or seven weeks earlier. In Padstow Cornwall, Summer begins on the 1st of May, and is celebrated as such. I celebrated 23 Maydays in Padstow, and I sang the Mayday songs with them, and I fully agree with the them ... “them Padstonians is right, Bey!”. Thus Autumn begins in early August, and the Autumn Equinox in September, the 23rd I believe, when the night and the day are of equal length, is not the beginning of Autumn ... It is the middle of Autumn, as the leaves are telling me now. Of course the Seasons are not to be pinned down to a particular date; they vary with the climate and latitude, and even altitude, but for England, and Oregon, and even in the Upper Midwest, where I grew up, it generally works that way. Midwinter ... 21st of December ... the shortest day of the year ... snow lay heavy on the ground, when I was a boy living outside of Lake Nebagamon in northern Wisconsin ... not the first day of Winter ... Mid-Winter.

*****

Since last Saturday, the 22nd, there has been a smokey haze over the landscape from the wildfires around San Francisco 500 miles to the south. Friday night, the stars and the Milky Way had been glowing at their best, but when I awoke and looked across the flat, to the hills, a mile or two away, there was what looked to be a mist and a positive fogbank. The fogbank soon burned off with the sun, but the mist remained and as the day progressedprogressed got thicker. I couldn't smell smoke and I saw nothing to indicate it was close by. I'm not convinced that the fogbank wasn't just that, a fogbank ... it acted like one and there has not been one since; only this continuous smoke haze. Anyway, that first night I could see no orange glow in the sky in any direction, so I reckoned there was no fire close by. I was still not certain that it was smoke. I have no cell connection in camp, and my car radio died some time ago. The next day I went to town for supplies, I was able to get internet radio a few miles from camp, so I heard about the smoke from the wildfires around San Francisco. The fifth day of smoke, Wednesday, it was almost clear in the early morning,  but buy evening was the worst day yet; reminiscent of the Montana wlidfire smoke I experienced, when camped on Brooks Lake, north of Dubois, Wyoming, back in  ‘17. Last year was good in that I had no smokey days all Summer long, except for the second time, in ten days, that I passed through Crater Lake National Park; that smoke was from a wildfire way to the west near I-5, I believe. I wonder how long this smoke will last?

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Blustery Day at Fox Cove.

C1269
“Blustery Day at Fox Cove”
(North Cornwall, England)

Watercolour on Saunders Eaterford,
140 lb., Cold Pressed Watercolour Paper
12” x 18”

Available ... email me.

My usual walk out to the sea-cliffs, from my Treyarnon Bay abode, was to proceed south along the country lane for a couple hundred yards, then turn right onto an even smaller lane. This took me about 600 yards straight out to the cliff tops, the last hundred yards or so through the fields. On the way I would pay attention to see if the local Mr. Badger had recently crossed the road on his accustomed route, or if Master Fox had  deigned to make a recent appearance. Once through the fields and onto the cliff-top, and the coastal footpath, you would be at the head of Warren Cove. Now between Treyarnon Bay to the north and Porthcothan Bay to the south there were six smaller coves: from Treyarnon south being Wine, Pepper, Warren, Fox, Minnows, and Rowan Coves.

So, now being at the head of Warren Cove, if you turned right  (north), and proceeded onto the promontory between Warren and Pepper Coves, you soon would come to the earthen ramparts and ditches of an Iron Age fortification. From here if you looked across Pepper Cove to the next promontory, and then beyond Wine Cove you could make out further ramparts in line with the ones you were standing on. It is my theory that these three now separate lines of fortification were once all connected as one line of ramparts, and that during the intervening 2000-2500 years has seen the sea eroding the coves deeper into the land, thus separating the single line of ramparts into three. Originally this rampart probably would have had a timber palisade on top and a fortified gate. Inside the ramparts, further down the promontory between Warren and Pepper Coves, are the remains of a fogou, or souterrain, as it is known in Scotland. This is a short tunnel excavated out of the rock. Although there are many theories, no one is really sure what they were for. For me this one was dug so that millennia later I would have a place to shelter from passing showers ... well that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Back at the cliff-top at the head of Warren Cove, and turning left instead, within yards the footpath crosses over a Bronze Age round barrow, some 3000-3500 years old. Who was buried here, I wonder? We'll never know. Pausing for a moment and looking south towards Porthcothan, a mile or so distant, other round barrows can be seen. Proceeding around the wide promontory, between Warren and Fox Coves, will bring you to the north side of the mouth of Fox Cove. This is the headland, in the Watercolour above, with the wave smashing against it. Just to the right of where the wave is crashing is a steep path down into the cove, making it accessible at low tide; and at the lowest tides the water's edge is almost out to the tip of the promontory ... you wouldn't think that you could walk down there, looking at these rough seas in the painting; but you can. The difference between the lowest and highest Spring Tides of the year, on this coast, is about 27 feet. Here on the Oregon coast it is just a few feet ... not impressive at all, and I have no idea why the tides on the two coasts should be so different.

Fox was my favorite of these little coves; Fulmars nested there in Spring. In the painting you can make out the Quies (the distant islands) beyond the tip of the promontory. To their right and out of sight, you would eventually spot Bull Rock, just off Trevose Head, where the lighthouse is (see the post before last and the one before that). In the Watercolour, we are on the south side of Fox Cove on another wide promontory between that cove and Minnows Cove, another accessible cove with a bit of scrambling.

*****

A Hummingbird flew into my truck a couple of days ago. “Yes, yes, we've heard this before,” I hear you say, but this time it was in for about five minutes! At first he was just checking out any red items in the truck, paying especial attention to the rolled up top of a bag of tortilla chips, which must have resembled a large red flower ... he kept going back to it. Eventually, while checking out items on my dashboard, he decided that there was nothing for him there, but was stopped from flying off by the windshield ... just like a big old fly, he tried it several times, before settling on a brush case to think over the situation. He sat there cocking his head, no doubt thinking “I can see where I want to go up there, but something invisible keeps interdicting my flightpath ... maybe it's a force field.” Quietly I told him it wasn't a force field, but only glass, and that there were open doors to fly through, but would he listen? Noooo. A couple more attempts at the windshield were made, interspersed with sitting on the brushcase and philosophising about Life, the Universe and Everything. He looked very bemused ... yes, a hummingbird can look bemused. Stop philosophising, I told him, and just fly out one of the doors. Show me you're smarter than a fly. But he was determined to test the laws of physics. Finally, being afraid he was wasting too much energy in his abortive attempts to pass through the force field, I went outside and waved a hand on the outside of the windscreen (that term is for my British readers), and a moment later out through the door he flew. That's all there is to it, I shouted after him. That proved he was still smarter than a fly, since when I do that to them, the flies just buzz to another part of the windshield/windscreen, and/or hide in the crevices between the objects on the dashboard ... fly out the open doors? “Doors ... whut doors?”, the flies drone in inquiry. And that's my Nature tale for today.

By the way, the Hummingbird was back the next day checking out my red tail lights. Also he wasn't bashing into the glass, as his wingtips were brushing against it first and he kind would lose power, before trying again.