I recently “finished” (as in “for the moment”) two plein air pieces that have been sitting around waiting patiently for a bit of attention.
The first is from Canyon City, Oregon, just up the canyon a piece from John Day. Canyon City is the capital of Grant County and was a boom town, gold rush area, but now it’s settled down into being a wide spot in the road, with some housing that goes up both sides of the hill away from the stream.
I painted the old school house, 1925 I was told, which was being renovated for a private residence. I was perched precariously on one of those side hills, next to a mail box and driveway. A UPS guy pulled up beyond the house to deliver something and on the way back, stopped directly in front of my view. The driver grinned, waved, and asked if I could see all right — then he chuckled and drove off. A lady with a couple of dogs came down the hill behind me and all I could think about was if the dogs hit one of my easel legs, everything would go flying. They didn’t, she and I chatted, and she checked out the painting, without comment.
The other scene took place just down the street in Portland, on the corner of SE Main and 12th, at the Jolly Roger Bar. It was a gorgeous August evening, I sat in the shade across the street and watched happy hour, getting chatted up by passersby who could find an excuse to come over and look. A couple of bikers (motor, not peds) on their way back to Vancouver had to tell me the story of their life and loves — and look at what I painted. They were disappointed not to see their bikes in the scene. They admitted they were parked out of sight, but I could have, they thought, made them up. I didn’t — after all, Portland is a bicycle town; bikers are welcome but not painted.
A confession: both of these paintings are not quite this bright in real life. Photoshop’s automatic color/light setting changes the “pigment look” to a “lit-from-behind” look. I don’t use the automatic setting for my files nor for images I am entering into exhibits; I can lighten without adding the “from behind” in other ways if need be. But for sheer fun on this blog, you get the best of both — hand painted and computer generated. –June
And for the sake of us all — please vote. It could be one of those transformations of the country, beyond what I ever believed could happen to and in America.