Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mt Tabor Park Centennial Celebration: This weekend August 1-August 2

Click to enlarge:

This week many of my painting compadres and I will be at Mt. Tabor Park painting plein air ("in real time"). Some of the artists will be demonstrating their methods with complete explanations of what they are doing. There are tents for an art exhibit of our on-the-spot efforts (all for sale). Completely free. Come out and get into the cool shade of the huge pines in 100 year old Mt. Tabor Park!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What a good art filled day!

The day began at O'Connor's with the PPASP weekly art discussion/breakfast meeting. Eileen showed her print that was made with a burnt-lacquered plate. She explained that this process is not done anymore...and that she only made 5 prints of "Winter Pony". Whatever the burnt lacquer process is about--the results were outstanding.
After our meeting Suzanne McKay and I went to Mt. Tabor be part of the week-long organized paint out (for the Mt. Tabor Centennial celebration). We were visited by a slew of youngsters who were interested in seeing our paintings. I painted this big tree trunk on a 5 x 7 panel. Finally, I learned for sure today that I sold seven oil paintings during my month-long show at the Gorge White House! Seven! Hooray!! People are still buying art! (Thank you, buyers...!)

1. Eileen & Ellen at breakfast meeting
2. Suzanne McKay talks art with youngsters
3. My tree trunk painting oil on 5x7 canvas panel

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Plein Air out of my cigar box pochade box

Yesterday I checked out Jef Gunn's plein air demonstration at Mt. Tabor. I sure like how he paints with abandon.  He certainly has an exceptional grasp of what he is doing despite what he describes as a bit of a "seat of his pants" approach. After I watch an accomplished painter paint I try to emulate them to some degree. It's a fun thing to do. I wanted to see if I could simply respond to the scene without a lot of inner gab about specifics. This is the result.

oil on 5 x 7 gessoed hardboard

Sunday afternoon with Mayor Sam Adams

Today I joined a bunch of other creative types in a coffee shop for a conversation about the arts in Portland with our Mayor, Sam Adams. The event was organized by Adrienne Fritze of Working Artists Network.
I wondered what, if anything, would be said by anyone about circumstances that have "embattled" the Mayor.  Answer ....Nothing. Not a word. I imagine that is the best approach...although the old PR person inside of me wishes the Mayor would actually do what Willamette Week suggests and sign the recall petition himself. Seriously, Sam, call a press conference and sign it! --Everyone would respect that and there is a strong likelihood that you'd survive it. Let the people decide!

Well, back to what Sam Adams talked about today. Did you know that the Mayor and CAN kept the arts budget intact in Portland?  I haven't paid very much attention to how our local politics figure into the arts. As an artist I have become fairly accustomed to feeling a little "embattled" myself. Why do we keep making art when the economy is bad...and who is there to help us? I heard a figure the other day that 1/3 of the art galleries in Portland have closed. Depressing! The Mayor explained what types of things we can do and how we should get involved and become advocates for what Portland needs. 

Sam Adams is a good speaker and he comes across as authentically interested in Portland's arts community. Have we had other Mayors who cared?....Our luck! Here is a charming smart experienced Mayor who cares about us.....but there is that uncertainty about his future. In that way he is so much like everyone in his audience today. None of us feel we can forecast our future very well. As artists we just "keep on keeping on".... pretty much like what he is doing.

To become involved in arts advocacy read about CAN (we must improve public funding), support RACC, continue to help fellow artists, and always encourage young people. I do see the value in all of that.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Troweling on the paint

I've missed painting for a few days...working on un-art-related chores ...but tonight I did a small painting (5x7) out of my little cigar box pochade box. I really enjoyed painting this I and felt very freed up to slather on the paint. (Elio Camacho would be proud! He tried to impress upon our class that expressive brushwork is the key to plein air painting). I have taken three workshops in the last year. Eric Jacobsen, Mitch Baird and Elio Camacho are my Gurus! I don't know why they are so good at both painting and instructing...but they are and I feel really fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from them. If you are serious about painting--take a workshop. You can learn a lot from books......but learning direct painting directly from talented artists is a favorable and direct approach!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Visiting with Gabriel Mark Lipper

Today I got to visit with Gabriel Lipper at Inside Out (5th and Couch). This is a very nice spacious gallery and Gabriel has a working studio space set up right in the gallery in the back. I noticed his caulking guns of Classic Artist Oils! "Yeah", he said, "Classic oils have totally changed my life". I feel the same. I just bought three large tubes of Classic and I am seriously thinking of transitioning into a large system like Gabriel's. Gabriel's figurative paintings are fantastic. He has a workshop next week --and you can learn about it here.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Opening Reception, Art & Labor at Olympic Mills

Elio Camacho workshop Last Day, Benson State Park

Friday, already! We met at the Vista House, a beautiful place..but this morning it was already buzzing with a gajillion tourists and we knew it was going to be another hot day without shade. We decided on a Plan B, Benson State Park. Elio conducted his final question and answer session. There was questions about triangulation, varnish and a fair amount of discussion about "80/20" composition. I decided to sit at a picnic table to do just a small color sketch. Elio showed me a book about a painter named Eustace further explain how 80/20 can mean 80% dark and 20% light (and visa versa).
The entire week was just outstanding. Elio never loses his enthusiasm for answering questions and his knowledge about artists past and present is admirable. He talked about ideas for how to explain more things to us next year. I'll be there!
(My color sketch/painting):

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Elio Camacho workshop Day Four, Edgefield McMenamins

Today our workshop group met at Edgefield McMenamins. Elio started the session giving us a lesson in "envelope drawing" and "triangulation." Specifically, triangulation is a method for checking your drawing against what you are observing for accuracy. He also talked with us about composition.."the most controversial subject in painting." Elio drew out some thumbnails in paint, describing several compositions and how all of them are valid. It depends on what the artist is trying to convey, he said... some paintings are considered to be good despite compositional flaws. That's art! After this talk we found our places and painted for a couple hours until lunch. Lunch was exceptional...we shoved together three picnic tables and ordered food from the very good restaurant. After lunch Karen and I went to the gift shop and tried on hats. I bought a KimberlyKentMichaelOrwick style straw hat and Karen got a floppy hat that has a touch of a 60's feel. Buying hats! Such a resorty thing to do. We painted buildings today and I had my usual battle with the foliage. I had to leave early I missed Elio's late afternoon demonstration. Tomorrow is our last day...we'll be going to the Vista House.
(My Painting):

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Elio Camacho workshop Day Three, back to Rooster Rock Park

Because it was going to be a blistering hot day it was decided that we would return to Rooster Rock so that we could have lots of shade. We assembled on one of the frisbee golf holes. This decision caused two frisbee golfers to ask: "Hey! Who is in charge?" Jan directed them to Elio. I was out of earshot, but I imagine Elio handled it diplomatically. In the morning session Elio answered specific painting questions and we were sent off to consider the dappled light. I wanted to be sure to put down much more paint than usual, but doing so presented new challenges for me. Elio mentioned that impasto medium might be a route we could take...just to experience painting thickly (without the expense of wasting paint). I'll try it!
At noon Elio did a demonstration, painting some tree trunks in the shade. He painted it onto a dark surface (a panel he had used earlier in his question/answer discussion). It looked like a so-so painting for the longest time and then...BLAM! all of a sudden it looked exactly right. Later Elio reminded me to slow down--he said: "When I am doing a demonstration it may appear that I am painting fast when in reality I am very much taking my time." What he is expressing is that we need to make definite decisions about the work, before we start and as it progresses. All the elements of the painting have to be mentally handled at the same time, with regard to tone, composition, shape, form and color. It is so much to do, but if you lose your concentration..if your mind wanders (off the painting)'re sunk.
(My painting):

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Elio Camacho workshop Day Two, Corbett, OR

Vicki Zimmerman and I carpooled to Corbett today. We were a half hour early, but as we pulled into the parking lot we saw painters already set up. Soon we realized that these were the painters in our workshop taking advantage of Elio's offer to paint with him before and after the workshop everyday. Mike Orwick was in the early painters and already had one entire sun-up painting all finished. Vicki and I felt like total slackers. Elio did 4 or 5 paintings between the last time we saw him and this morning (!).
Today Elio talked to us about design principles, more about color temperature, dynamic brushstrokes, center of interest, underpainting, highlights, transparency vs. opacity, perspective, edges, "catalogs of color"--well, you get the picture, he gave us a thorough crash course on oil painting. (Elio is first rate at explaining things, demonstrating physically precisely what he is describing verbally).
It was a different type of day than yesterday. It wasn't as easy to find a good spot to set up and the tourists were swarming! I set out to be deliberate with values and also to paint thickly. I think I managed good values, but I didn't manage to paint thicker. I wonder why that is such a challenge. It's only paint! Well, three more days to go--I will have plenty more opportunities to try again.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Elio Camacho workshop Day One, Rooster Rock

Starting at 9am we watched Elio paint a large painting. He talked throughout and answered questions. He spent a lot of time reminding us about the importance of color temperature, but most of all how we must continually look for the relationships between everything. What is this compared to that? What is that--in relationship to this? Elio is known for his clean, fearless interesting color and dynamic brushwork. Watching him knock his demonstration painting out was entertaining and helpful. I love how he uses so much paint and the brushwork "radiates" from the most interesting part of the painting. He is very deliberate about that radiation-thing and it really works. After we watched him we did our own paintings. The time really flew! I did four small paintings that all looked very much the same. Elio thought I did alright--but he recommended that I work on more variety in brushwork. I have that tendency to use a similar stroke throughout the whole painting. Tomorrow I will definitely try to mix it up more. I feel really fortunate to get to take this workshop. Check out this great new article in Southwest Art Magazine about Elio Camacho.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Helping with installation

I had a good time today (clowning around) and also helping install at the Olympic Mills Commerce Gallery. What a nice place for art. I got to help Chris Haberman suspend art with wire from the steel bars. Lora and Chris have put together a beautiful exhibit. See you Friday at the Reception!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

George.....Living the Artist's Life

What artist hasn't dreamt of chucking convention and living where there are few distractions--so that they may paint sun up to sun down and concentrate soley on their art? That is just what my artist friend and "former" gallery owner George Broderick is doing. I caught up with him today at his house in Rainer. What a cool place! Holes in the walls and the smell of oil paint in the air. George is talking about having a get together at his house for all his artist friends. It is an hour drive from Portland. I hope he does that so you can all see his place first hand! Check the view from his that interesting or what? He has incorporated a ship into his newest painting. I can't post it publicly, because it isn't done yet. I try to get George interested in blogging..but he is too busy. He tells me that he peruses art books every day and that he never turns on the television. You really can't get more arty than that.

Monday, July 6, 2009

I have been selected to be a Guest Artist for Art & Labor, the Labor of Art at Olympic Mills: 

Opening Reception:
Friday, July 17, 6 - 10:00 pm. Event is free. All ages welcome.

Olympic Mills Gallery/Olympic Mills Commerce Center 107 SE Washington Ave., Portland, Oregon 97214

New summer exhibit at Olympic Mills Commerce Center Gallery, 
featuring guest artist Gwenn Seemel with renowned regional and national artists Mitch Baird and Christopher B Mooney

Allen Schmertzler • Celeste Bergin • Anthony Lazorko, Jr • Susan B Schenk
Tom Virgin • Shelley Radovich • Patricia Gifford • Eugene Rodriguez •
David Burbach • Dawn Roscoe

The exhibit explores issues of labor, reinvention, and the rich creative opportunities 
emerging in the U.S. during these economic 'hard times'. | standstalldesigns(at)

Sponsored by Portland City Art  503.317.8368
John Graeter, Director,
Chris Haberman, Creative Director

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Three paintings SOLD!

These are the three paintings sold today during my artist's reception at the Gorge White House. 1. Dark Creek, oil on 8x8 canvas panel, 2. Stevenson Sunset, oil on 8x8 canvas panel and 3. Hood River Afternoon, oil on 8x8 canvas panel
Thank you so much for purchasing my paintings & supporting regional art, Barbara & Michael Masterson, Lenny & Beth H!