Painting at the Bishop’s Close

TreeWThis is the tree trunk of a tree whose name I can’t remember, but whose bark looks like a delicious painting: the photo was taken at the Bishop’s Close in Dunthorpe, between Portland and Lake Oswego.

Jer says if I only use a single  image, I could undoubtedly blog every day. But I say that my mind works in narrative and my images come in threes.  So that’s my excuse. Actually, it’s that once I get started, it’s hard to stop.

Last Thursday, my painting buddy, Jane, and I found ourselves at the Bishop’s Close, a private garden and accompanying mansion, which was donated to the Episcopal Church. The garden(s), 13 acres of a wide swatch of bluff and hill along the Willamette River, are stunning. They were designed by the Olmstead firm, members of which designed Central Park in NYC and various Oregon landmarks including Lithia Park in Ashland and a big rose garden city park in North Portland. They are immaculately kept up, difficult to find, and so show little wear and tear, although great loving care. The photos on the Close’s web site don’t do the gardens justice. Visiting does.

Jane and I meandered down a path above the river, but I found myself painting greens —  again.  So what else might I expect in Portland in June? Anyway, here’s what I finished the day with:

SunbreaksATBishopsCloseWSunbreaks at the Bishop’s Close, 12 x 16″, 2009, plein air

It was Jane who insisted (rightly) on that swatch of red on the rock below the big maple leaves (which leaves, I’m thinking, she also insisted upon). However, I would add that (rightly) I painted them.

I haven’t been painting much since I returned from the desert, and most of the paintings I’ve done have been dreadful. However, there’s a pending paint-out and 100th anniversary celebration at Mt Tabor Park at the end of July, so during those days when I was sticking close to home, I found a photo to paint from. I like the painting, but as usual, I like the photo better. There are more reasons than one not to paint from photos — I’m learning them all. Here’s the painting. I’m not showing the photo.

MtTaborResevoirFromPhotoWResevoir, Mt Tabor Park, 12 x 16″, 2009.


This entry was posted in Art, landscape, painting, Photography, plein air, Portland, southeast Portland and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Painting at the Bishop’s Close

  1. Diane Elizabeth says:

    So much motion for such a “still” painting. Fabulous! Diane BTW: I often get a blast of that famous Van Gogh energy from your paintings.


  2. Del Thomas says:

    Yes, I agree with Cathy, it is a sycamore – probably American Sycamore. So glad you are back. Love, Del


  3. Cathy Arnett says:

    I think that’s a sycamore tree.


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