Paleosols at Full Circle Gallery

This just in: I will be the artist-in-residence at the Hubble Trading Post in Ganado, AZ for the last two weeks in December. Some kind of mix-up occurred so I thought I had been (silently) rejected. But after a bit of a scramble — (yesterday’s email with info (surprise, surprise!) had me scheduled for early October) — it’s all been settled. We’ll be heading south in December. Shades of the Montana Artists Refuge in December and January 2006-07 — especially considering the weather!

But on to more current news.

JOU, The Rattlesnake Formation, 24 x 30″, oil on canvas, 2006

First Friday looms, although it’s less formidable now than it seemed on Wednesday.

I thought that this month’s Full Circle Gallery  would have yards and yards of empty wall space to be filled, so I spent every waking moment last week frantically working on a series of paintings from 2006-’07. The work was rather fun, if harried, because it brought me to new realization. I have learned a lot about painting in the last 5 years but I am still exploring the same, fascinating issues as I was then– perceptions of space and place.  Revisiting the old paintings allowed me to bring all my hard-won painterly skills to bear on earlier forays into the ever-interesting questions I’ve been posing in my work.

As it turned out, this September’s featured artist also thought there was a lot of room needing filled, so I arrived at the gallery to discover that of the 19 paintings I had with me, only 5 were actually going to fit. So now I have a nice backlog for later exhibits.

The paintings I’m exhibiting this month are from 2006 (with two of them also re-dated to 2011). In late July, I needed some large canvases and found two in storage dating from a residency at the John Day Fossil Beds in 2006. I thought I would sand them a bit and reuse them. But when I started looking at the 2006 versions,  I knew what I could do to make them work much better.

JOU, Paleosols, 30 x 40″, oil on canvas, 2006, 2011.

A number of visual elements and painterly techniques allowed me to update a failed painting from 2007 in a way that expresses what I was working toward back then. So with this happy result, I turned to another large canvas, a boring one, also from 2007. This is what it looks like in 2011:

JOU, The Foree Trail, 40 x 30″, oil on canvas, 2006, 2011.

I needed a couple more canvases to fill out the wall, and found the one that opens this post as well as two others that fit with these two updated canvases.

JOU, What Rough Beast, 12 x 24″, oil on canvas, 2006

JOU, The Force Within, 12 x 24″, oil on canvas, 2006

This group of paintings will be exhibited at Full Circle Gallery, 640 SE Stark St., Portland, Oregon. Opening reception is Friday, Sept 2, 2011, from 6–9. Also exhibiting will be the Featured Artist Robert McWilliams as well as Elaine Treadwell, Jim Orman, and Vicky York. –June

Check the continuation for the artist statement about these paintings:

The Painted Hills, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, from Wikipedia article about the Fossil Beds

Evidence: Paintings from the John Day Fossil Beds


Eastern Oregon’s John Day Fossil Beds are lessons in time — earth time rather than human time, rock time rather than flower time. To see the weirdly colored and layered formations of the Fossil Beds is to understand the power of the forces of nature, a power acting over eons rather than years, a force which throws up soils, rocks, and ash and strews our land with other-worldly structures.


Human activities – roads, pastures, fences, houses — are miniscule compared to the vastness of the badlands, those paleosols valleys and mounded celadon hills upon which no foliage can grow. The hexagonal basalt columns that ring the badlands keep watch, their solidified magma seeming to be prototypes for castles and keeps. The range lands, with their lightly greened sages and rabbit brush; the wetter places along the streams, ringed with teasel; and the meadows of lush grasslands: all are ephemeral. They can disappear with the shrug of one of the volcanoes to the west; their ancestors were eliminated by volcanoes long eroded away.


In 2006 I spent a month at the Fossil Beds, exploring trails and paths, looking, painting, reading and trying to absorb what the land had to tell me. What it spoke of was power and mystery.


I’m a plein air painter. Generally speaking, I begin my studies with “straight” landscape views. The Fossil Beds allowed me to play with ordinary landscapes, but were ultimately too full of geologic history to be tied down to a single view. The five paintings here come out of the land’s power, its force, and its strangeness. Two of the paintings were painted in 2007 and reworked for this exhibit in 2011.

This entry was posted in Art, Art exhibit, Hubbell Trading Post, John Day Fossil Beds, oil painting and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Paleosols at Full Circle Gallery

  1. June says:

    Thanks, Olga. I just got a bit of critique about the paintings shown in this blog and am wondering if I’m on the right track. On the other hand, it’s the only track in this desert I wander around in, so I guess I’ll just keep putting one foot in front of another.

    The Hubbell will be a real challenge –it’s a small, not-very-landscapy area, where the old wooden trading post, still a viable market for the area, is the center of interest. And a huge number of artists painted there because the original Hubbell liked art and invited many to stay, back in the 20’s and 30’s when the southwest US was being discovered as an art place (think Georgia O’Keefe). Marsden Hartley is perhaps the most famous that I’m aware of, but many many others painted the peoples and the space. So it’s going to be a challenge. But then I like challenges and I particularly like going to new places and sitting for a while. The contemplation often leads to new discoveries.


  2. Lia says:

    Sounds good! Maybe by then we’ll have the plane up and running and can fly out to meet you. St. George is a great location for access to other amazing places– which I assume is the reason you’d spend a month there?


  3. Olga says:

    It is great that you have another period of artist in residence to look forward to. And I look forward to following your progress once more.


  4. June says:

    Wow, that would be great. Let’s both try to remember to check in around the end of November to see where the U-woods will be over the next two months. We’ve been thinking about perhaps spending the month of January in St. George Utah. We’re looking for a place to rent for a month.

    By the way, we’re off to Mitchell on Tuesday; two weeks of plein air in old familiar country. I’m starting to pack today.


  5. Lia says:

    🙂 I’m flattered that you like the photo! The subject certainly was a good one. It seems like you two will be coming close to my part of the world… maybe we could arrange some sort of meeting around 4-corners area, which I’ve been wanting to get to, anyway.


  6. June says:

    Perhaps the reading will make you homesick for your old profession. Oh, and I used the photo you did of Jer and me at JODA on my artist statement at the gallery. It’s still one of our favorites.


  7. Lia says:

    hurrah! new artist-in-residence adventures to read about…


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