Painting Expedition etc. #5

We are back home. To our comfy bed. To our good coffee. And to our working internet.

While we did manage to put out blogs in our travels, it wasn’t easy. One internet connection was pretty decent, one lousy, one impossible, and one non-existent. And this doesn’t count the deadness of the brain of one of the travelers, whose whole being was subsumed by heat, sun, and oil paint.

However, we are back home, and now the travelogue can continue. I (June) left off somewhere in central Oregon, last Thursday, traveling to Prairie City, a little town east of John Day (the city) and near the head of the main branch of the John Day (the river) which comes out of the Strawberry Mountains, (see Jer’s photo on yesterday’s blog.)

We stayed in the Prairiewinkle Inn, run by the deJongs, who are also the dentist and hygienist next door:

I painted the erstwhile Masonic Temple, just up the street a piece, catching it in the setting sun:

The sun was definitely a factor during this trip, making photography and painting wonderful and awful, sometimes at the same time. This painting moment, however, was altogether wonderful. The wi-fi connection worked, so Jer was content, and I only had to set up outside our rooms to paint the golden stone building (dating to about 1903) across the way.

The next day we retreated to Canyon City, near John Day. This old schoolhouse, closed in the early ’50’s and turned into various rental uses, is now being renovated as a private residence. I decided, mostly on the basis of available shade to set up the easel, to paint it. The house is formally on E. Izee Street in Canyon City, but the mailbox by which I painted was labeled 101 Rebel Lane and the pickup behind me had a sign on its tailgate: “Okie Drifter.”

Canyon City, a gold mining town in its inception, had seen some conflicts during the Civil War and later in that century ran its Chinese population off (they settled in John Day, which now houses a treasure of historical interest, the Kam Wah Chung Museum). But Canyon now seems to be relatively quiet; it is the county seat of Grant County.

I also painted the PrairieWinkle Inn and its surrounds that day, and the next I walked up the road to a charming barn with a charming horse or two and sat in the shade and painted the structure.

This photo of the barn isn’t my best one (and Jer actually took the very best one) but I liked this one because it shows the horse who wouldn’t — show, that is. Its hind quarters are just peaking out at the left side of the barn, and that was all it showed the whole time I painted there. As soon as I packed up my backpack, of course, it trotted out to see what was happening. I think it will have to be inserted into my painting, but whether more than its backside will show, I’m not sure.

And just for fun, here are some photos of the flowers in Prairie City. The sun makes the “color spots” truly magnificent, at least as good as the show of rhodies that we get in rainy May.

–June

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