Sunday, September 11, 2022

Life Keeps Changing: Rafting the Deschutes

River Hair

For over 20 years (with the exception of a handful of years) we have floated down the Wild and Scenic part of the Rogue River with a group of wonderful folks. Unfortunately forest fires prevented our planned trip this year. Our group had a zoom meeting a few days from our Rogue launch date, and within a few minutes of exploring possibilities, we had a consensus that three nights on the Deschutes River was a great alternative to not having a raft trip at all.

Here are some photos of a great trip.

Launching from Warm Springs

Hooking up a 4 burner propane stove. (Luxury camping!)

Take a seat, then we'll push off.

After breakfast getting ready to launch.

Year after year: My chauffeur.

Unexpected scenery, horses on the Tribal side of the river.

There was an abundance of osprey, one on every dead tree!

Friendly geese and gorgeous rocky cliffs.

Family kayakers.

All that has to be loaded up on the last morning. 

We returned to the west side of the Cascades to find the skies full of smoke from the Cedar Creek Fire and to learn of evacuation orders for the small towns of Oakridge and Westfir. It certainly brings up emotions for folks in the McKenzie Valley!Just two years ago it was our community hit by the Holiday Farm Fire. Our hopes are the fire will be under control before reaching the towns.  😭

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Margaret the Fixer

Working with watercolor paint is often intimidating to folks because there is the misconception that you can't fix a boo-boo. While recently teaching a workshop at Menucha, I got the nickname of "Margaret the Fixer."

Watercolor Bloom

When doing a demonstration for a class, one can't take the time to start over. The instructor (me) has to move along by fixing, or incorporating the error into the finished painting. So Day 1 I was moving along creating a very nice, smooth wash on my first "Fighting Zebra" painting when I got careless and a drop of water hit the still damp paint. This is known as a "bloom." In this closeup, you can see lots of blooms. This is because I decided to just make them a part of the painting. Why not?

The larger ones I just turned into some cultural patterns similar to patterns I saw in South Africa. And so, just like that, this became the painting I've now titled, "Fighting Zebras: Cultural."

Fighting Zebras: Cultural

Next, I wanted to make the sun behind the animals more interesting and related to the foreground circular designs. I also wanted it to have an authentic design, so I took off an earring I bought while in South Africa and used that to add interest to the orb.

South African Earring

Next demo painting included the fighting zebras on a vertical paper. the lower portion was painted yellow with a collage piece of an old watercolor painting down the middle. To me it has a very geographical feel to it. Next morning, I came in looking at the piece and realized the yellow had to be toned down, so I put a wash over it. By the end of the day, the two yellow sides had become gold with rocks scattered through it.

Fighting Zebras: Geographical

Next demo featured the fighting zebras again, but not center stage. I moved them off to the "golden mean" upper right. This was primarily done with a watercolor washes and collage materials. When I had finished the gluing, I felt like the Zebras were floating. Now how to ground them??  I took my brush with a matching, but darker green and with just a few strokes they were attached to the earth.

Fighting Zebras: Botanical

On the last day, the class participants requested a demo of watercolor washes, so I thought of a simple landscape with sky, clouds, mountains and grasslands with wild flowers. Somehow the Zebra patterns found their way into the mountains. Every once in awhile a simple watercolor is just satisfying.

Zebra Mountains