Time

With the holidays and a new year, I always find myself thinking about milestones: what has happened in the last year? What will I remember? What have I already forgotten as significant? Where do I think I’m going?

Possibly coincidentally, one of the interesting things about putting up a website is the notation of the passage of time. As I’m going back and trying to find significant art milestones and achievements, separating old art pieces into categories, and generally tidying up what I want to show the world, it keeps hitting me far I’ve come.

In November I went to the Audobahn Society of Portland’s Wild Art Festival, which is probably my favorite event of the year. Each year for the last few years I have submitted a piece to their 6×6 art project. If pressed, I would have said I had done this for two or three years. But when I was at the event I saw a poster from their 2008 event and I realized I’ve been submitting for 6 years. As I looked at my earliest pieces (sorry, I didn’t take a picture and I couldn’t find on on the internet) it struck me again how far I’ve come.

In 2009 I submitted a painting of a hummingbird and did not attached it to the provided canvas. I remember coming by on Sunday and looking at its lonely, forlorn self sitting alongside all the other 1″ thick canvases. It was a big step on my learning curve: always see how everyone else is submitting their stuff.

In 2010 I submitted a watercolor of a pelican. This year it was adhered to the canvas.

In 2011 I submitted a painting of a song sparrow. Adhered to the canvas.

In 2012 I submitted an acrylic (my first) of a fox sparrow.

Fox Sparrow

Fox Sparrow (acrylic)

And this year I submitted a watercolor pencil piece (my first) of a hummingbird.

2013 Hummingbird (watercolor pencils)

2013 Hummingbird (watercolor pencils)

I wish I had been able to find a record of all my paintings in this series because I was able to trace my progress in them. Each year I saw better lights and darks or painting application or design.

When putting up this site, I saw the same sort of progress as I put up series of horses or other subjects that I come back to repeatedly.

Today I’ll announce to my friends that this website is up. I hope they’ll enjoy looking through my past as much as I’ve enjoyed organizing it.

I hope they’ll continue with me as I keep painting.

Bright Day

On this bright but cold day, the birds were definitely out in force at Canemah.

Fluffed up song sparrow

Fluffed up song sparrow

At one point along our walk I simply stood and marveled at the little flocks of sparrows, towhees, junos, kinglets, and chickadees that fluttered near the path. Their noise provided a perfect soundtrack to the day.

Ferns and sunlight

Ferns and sunlight

Pattern and Light

Today (written 1/1/2014) as we were walking through a foggy Canemah park, it was unusually quiet. The birds, which provide most of the interest this time of year, had obviously found somewhere warm and try to hole up.

As we walked, I got to thinking about light and dark. In the Pacific Northwest we are blessed with a lot of very soft light. Unlike in Arizona or Greece, where the light provides true whites, in Oregon we have a lot of grey. Yet when I look at this seed pod, I am fascinated.

Blackberry seedpod up close

Blackberry seedpod up close

That got me thinking about pattern. I’m drawn to it, but don’t often use it to its fullest extent in my paintings.

Maybe I should work on this in 2014.

Winter in Canemah

Today (written Sunday, 12/29/13), in between dropping things off at the gallery and battling with this website, I took Finn for a walk in Canemah. It’s always amazing to me that this little stretch of “wilderness” is right here in the city. It’s not really a park, more like habitat; in fact, Canemah contains a variety of Northwest habitats: oak savannahs, Douglas Fir stands, madrona woods, and wetlands.

Almost any time of year a hike provides tons of “salient detail” as an artist friend of mine once said. In addition to the natural areas, there is an old pioneer cemetary and before that, the terrain has been shaped by years of cultivation by Native Americans. In the spring the camas coats the terrain and summer provides stretches of fresh berries, igniting my imagination about foraging off the land.

This time of year the landscape is more barren than usual, but walking through it is still an adventure. The birds challenge with their calls, a few early chorus frogs warm up their vocals, the trees bend and creek a greeting.

Dead tree bark at Canemah, 12/29/2013

Dead tree bark at Canemah, 12/29/2013

Textures are more apparent than in the spring. Nothing here is smooth; everything is dry or crinkly, twisted or broken. But that doesn’t make it less beautiful. Today a new tree had come down and its bark and moss were starting to dry out. The color is amazing, pale yet distinct.

Tree bark with moss, 12/29/2013

Tree bark with moss, 12/29/2013

A little further I saw a madrona leaf that had clearly had an interaction with something, but I don’t know if that’s a food trail or a path.

Madrona leaf with trail, 12/29/2013

Madrona leaf with trail, 12/29/2013

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