Fossil, Oregon, House and Garage

Saturday morning in Fossil, Oregon, I was determined to spend the day in the town, painting pleine aire. I wandered around for quite a while, trying to decide whether to paint the brick museum/IOOF hall, or what I think is the old, old high school, or the big-rooming-house-looking structure that is now the Senior Center. I finally decided on a little stucco house and its neighbor:

Inside its fence, the sheer sparkling paint of the house made a fine incongruity with the hills behind. But, of course, there was more:

Separated from the house by a fence was an ancient bus, sitting cockeyed next to a body shop/garage, with a couple of wonderful ancient cars parked in the lot.

Even more wonderful (to my painting eye) were the big trees that surrounded the house and body shop; clearly they had been allowed to grow into huge sizes. Then they were pruned — or perhaps a better term would be “logged.” So out of the ends of the tall trunks protruded little squiggles of new growth, showing a shy fresh green around the edges of the black stumps. Ah, delicious incongruities.

The painting jaunt was not a total success: first I forgot my camera, so I couldn’t take reference photos. Then a storm blew up and while I sheltered my canvas and self under a thick pine tree, my stool, left behind in the rain, collected a good-sized puddle. When the storm blew over and I went back to try to finish the painting, I got very wet behind. And the painting itself was covered with little water droplets which had to be blotted up, along with some of the paint, before I could begin again. About that time Jer showed up and I talked him into taking some reference photos, and then yet another storm came through. So I packed up and went back to the B&B where I painted in the portico of the church across the street. The unfinished painting of house-and-garage is now sitting on my easel in the studio, awaiting further developments.

And even though it didn’t fit into the rectangle of the canvas, I am sure the painting will include the sign above. –June

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2 Responses to Fossil, Oregon, House and Garage

  1. June says:

    I have seen pollarded trees in Paris (and thought them ugly too), but they were pruned when they were relatively small. This “pollarding” was done on trees that towered over the buildings!

    I still like to think it was an logger, desperate for work, who took on the pruning job. It’s one of my made-up but maybe true stories. But only Fossil inhabitants know for sure.

    It certainly is not the romantic pruning advocated in my gardening books, which is based on British notions and Northwest flourishes of growth.

    Good to hear from you!


  2. Lia says:

    June– that kind of pruning technique has been referred to as “pollarding” by the historical landscape folks from the Seattle NPS office. Seems to be really popular around Dayville and the Cant Ranch, too. I guess it differs from another “technique” called topping in that the pruned branches are never allowed to get more than 2 years old and thus do not get large enough to pose a threat to the tree’s health (or that of the people walking below it). Either way, it seems pretty ugly to me!


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