Sunday, September 9, 2018

Traditional End of Summer--a Rogue River Wild and Scenic Raft Trip

For nearly 20 years Mike and I have rafted down the Rogue River with a group of rafting friends.  The group grows and shrinks depending on friends' schedules, new people invited, and young people getting tied down with jobs and families. Going down the first week of September has been the time frame for the last few years. This year was a group of seven adults on three rafts.

Family--Cathy Page, Dave Johnson and first timer, Becky Garner

Friends--Dawn Pozzani and Norm Michaels

My honey and best rower ever--Mike Godfrey
Before leaving we were concerned about fires and smoke, which had led to us cancelling last year's trip. But as you can see, our launch morning was clear and beautiful. Of course, with white water rafting, there is always a little hard work, minutes of worry, and a hitch or two. As rafters say, just keep the messy side up.

On the first day, there is a short but tricky side channel to maneuver down called Fish Ladder. The options are going over a huge and dangerous drop, or walking through slippery rocks and hard brush while holding on to the rope of your raft. We had three good runs while staying in the rafts. 

However, there was a nasty rock at the bottom that caught two of our rafts. Hmmm . . . what to do when you get stuck.

Mike made me move to the back of the raft to get my weight off the front where we were stuck.

Dave broke Rule 1: Never get out of the raft and Rule 2: Never get out of the raft. Luckily there were no bad repercussions from his actions.

Most of this blog will be photos from the trip. I was so ready for Mother Nature to inspire my art that I took many photos of water, birds and other wild life. You will notice that some of these photos have been manipulated to enhance their drama and readability. Enjoy!



Thirsty and hungry doe with two fawns

Eagle waiting 

A community of waterfowl

Heron posing
Egret posing

Three Lucky Shots

The Last Day

I always look for the lone tree that sits atop an obelisk-like rock. We have given it the names "bonsai tree" or "haiku tree." Year after year it sits with its roots miraculously finding nutrition and water by reaching down the outside of the rock to its livelihood.

I have painted it  twice and the last painting sold just before this trip. It will probably inspire yet another painting.

Although we had experienced some smoke, the last day of our five-day trip, we were heading right toward the rampaging fire very near our take out.

Nearing our takeout point, Foster Bar, the skies were full of smoke.

This helicopter has a snorkle which sucks in the water to be dumped on the fire. It made several trips as we floated past.

A few minutes after this shot was taken, we were pulling out of the river, safe and sound. And for five wonderful days we had kept our messy sides up!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Thinking of Shapes, Lines and Patterns

If you follow my blog and view my art, you know that my paintings are usually content driven: women's issues, the future of children, exploring world problems, or the natural world. But every once in awhile, I head to the studio with no big idea, just the desire to play with shapes, lines and patterns.

I started these 2 small pieces (8 1/2 inches square) as I often do, blocking out an interesting shape with tape, film, contact paper or something similar.

The next step: add texture using a mouth atomizer.

At this point I start to think about what the shapes imply--clown faces? I apply paint, building shapes and strong design. The radiant design was easy to emphasize with some collage materials. Why the tweezers? When working with collage on a small piece, tweezers really help getting each collage piece to the right place.

Here are the two pieces with some metallic gold as a last touch to bring forth an elegance. Somewhere in the process they seem to have developed a bit of an Asian feel and I like it!

I had two similar gold frames to put the art into. The last decision to be made was what orientation made the strongest presentation. Below are the two framed paintings.

Radiation I
Mixed Medium
8.5" x 8.5"

Radiation II
Mixed Medium
8.5" x 8.5"

They are now ready to hang on a wall. Contact me if you have the perfect spot.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Does an Artist Have to Commit to a Style?

I know I am not alone in questioning my dedication to painting in one voice or style. Over 20 plus years of painting I've gone down paths that came to a dead end, yet others branched out to something related, but broader and more fulfilling.

After my trip to Paris this spring, I saw the work of many famous artists whose work evolved over many years. And last week I visited the Portland Art Museum featuring the early work of Richard Diebenkorn. Best known for his Ocean Park Series and figurative work, this exhibit was titled "Beginnings."

So from these early abstracts came these later works:

I am not trying to compare my own work with this artist, but it has given me permission to let my paintings take sashays here and there. I feel relieved in a way.

I am calling my current artwork "Margaret's Careful Period." It seems that my path toward simplification has also led me to a more exact painting style. I don't feel I have to justify it in any way. I will just accept it as a part of my journey.

Both of these new pieces are simplified and carefully painted. Both are related to my recent subject matter of feminine issues (although the tree climber is a stretch.) Perhaps it relates to women being the gatherers. And the art tells a story. I guess I am still on track!

Comments are always welcome.

Women's Work
Transparent Watercolor
22" x 22"

Tree Climber (working title)
Transparent Watercolor
22" x 22"

Sunday, July 22, 2018

A Mid-summer Ending

Our Arizona family comes up to Oregon to beat the heat of the desert for several weeks during the grandchildren's summer break. Their school begins at the end of July, so we had to say farewell (for now) this week. The summer was filled with lots of play on our acres, hikes, fishing, picnics, and, of course, art.

The younger two spent much of their time outdoors. They looked for and caught frogs. made up spy games, utilized the four swings and ran through sprinklers. Marin, at 13, spent time communicating with friends; baking cakes, cookies, and cobblers; and getting craft ideas from Pinterest. She also earned money scrubbing fence with a little help from Noah.

Here are some outdoor highlights. The pond photos make me think of Monet. (The small dory is a new addition to the front pond.)

Toward the last of their stay, the temperature soared to the high 90's, low 100's. Right after I had said to Mike that the young ones had outgrown Legos and Little People, the heat drove Hannah and Noah inside for play and guess what . . .

While out in my studio, Marin asked how I had done a certain painting. It was an idea I got from a book by Betsy Dillard Stroud, so I pulled out the book and we spent the last days using this technique.

Step 1: put down a watercolor underpainting.
Step 2: draw on top of the dried underpainting.
Step 3: mask out the part of the painting you want to keep in the underpainting with gauche (Betsy says use tempera paint which I don't have).

Step 4: let that dry thoroughly. 
Step 5: cover the paper with waterproof ink and let that dry overnight.

Step 6: Hose down the painting. (This is definitely the most fun and exciting part!)

The final step is to touch up, add detail, etc. after the painting has completely dried. 

Marin ended up with a wonderful finished product. For me, it was a fun reminder that there are so many ways to create art.

The end product reminds me of illustrations in books from my childhood. 

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Summer--So Far Part II

Art Life

As family, activities, and short trips take up much of my time, my art life continues in the background.

Yesterday I delivered 23 paintings to the Coos Art Museum in Coos Bay, Oregon. My solo exhibit  "Legends of the Northwest Rivers" will run from July 14, 2018 to September 29, 2018. This series features my years of spending time with my family on the white water rivers in our area. My hope is to help my viewers see the many layers of interest nature offers us from history to geography to flora and fauna. I really enjoy representing the rivers in an abstract manner, using symbols and collage materials for interest.

I also recently lined up a 3-day workshop at Oregon Society of Artists in Portland. The dates are February 22-24, 2019. I hope getting the word out early will help fellow artists plan ahead of time and sign up for this. Although I am using the title "Playing with Patterns" again, every workshop brings forth many new ideas, and my one on one time with participants is always appreciated. Contact me for more information.

I have spent enough time in my studio to work on 4 studies of my granddaughter's legs. I loved a photo I took of her looking for olives in an tree in Spain. As I worked on this, I went from more realistic to simpler and flatter. (My current interests in applying paint.) I left the olive tree behind to create a better design and composition. I also left behind my original idea of a more elegant attire for the contemporary outfit she was really wearing. After all the story is about a young girl climbing trees, the olive tree is an unnecessary detail. How many years does it take for me to let go of what is in a photo to paint what should be? Which of the 4 pleases your eye more. I appreciate hearing from you!

Study #1
Study #2

Study #3

Study #4