Wheeler, Oregon, on the Coast

I painted plein air in Wheeler last week, while summer still reigned in western Oregon. I worked on masonite panels, two horizontal and two vertical. The horizontal ones turned out best (although they still needed tweaked.) The vertical ones looked pretty bad until I added a third panel in the studio. More on the vertical ones in a few days.

Here’s Wheeler, Oregon, looking toward the south. Wheeler, you may remember, sits on the Nehalem River, which is on Nehalem Bay, which is just across the dunes from the Pacific Ocean. Wheeler was once a saw-mill, canning town; not much of its industrial past remains, although the protection of the Oregon basalt headlands is still solid. There are clearcuts in the hills and tree-farming along the ridges. The tree farms look like 60’s crewcuts, row upon row. But they are green, the air was golden, the sky cobalt, and the town friendly.

WheelerSouth1HorDraft2w

Wheeler, Oregon, to the South (panel 1), 16 x 12″, oil on masonite, 2009

The image above is looking to the right, toward the south, painted from one of the streets that rise straight up above Wheeler on Highway 101. The water is really the Nehalem River, although I only know that because our landlady told us so. Looked like the Bay to me.

WheelerSout3BayHorDraft2WWheeler, Oregon, to the South (panel 2), 16 x 12″, Oil on masonite, 2009

This image shows the scene if you turned a bit to the left, to pick up the headland and the ocean dunes.

And here’s the panorama in full:

WheelerToTheSouthPanoHorwWheeler, Oregon, to the South, 32 x 12″, Oil on masonite, 2009

Doesn’t it look like a sweet little town? –June

Oh yes, I forgot — today’s version of the Big Honking Siletz Bay linen canvas — coming along:

SiletzBayLargeDraft3WSiletz Bay (draft 3), Oil on linen, 3′ x 4′.

Note I’m not putting a date on it yet. But at last it feels like a painting rather than just blobs.

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