Thursday, April 30, 2009


Catherine Creek, east and uphill from Bingen, is a grassy plateau, dotted with wildflowers and criss-crossed by basalt outcroppings. When I arrive in the morning, the grasses have a green-gold glow, and shadows were strong and shapely. I can’t stand to stay in one place and paint. Slowly making the circuit, I photograph trees, rock, wildflowers, delighting in the variety of color and the light cool breeze.

By the time I am ready to settle down at my easel, the glow has gone off the morning. I choose a scene that includes a glimpse of the
Columbia, with a few of the strongest remaining shadows, and a quirky

Today is an experiment in eyewear. With my polarized glasses on, the
colors of the grass and flowers are intensified, and I have this idea
that I might look at the landscape through my glasses, and at my
canvas without them, in a sort of reverse reading glass. This totally
doesn’t work. I keep forgetting to sneak my canvas views under the
glass, and my colors end up garish and unnaturally green. Scrape it
off and try again.

The colors underneath strongly influence my later choices. People come by and look at my canvas, then leave, saying nothing. Always a bad sign. I finish the painting anyway,
hoping that a few of the color notes will be useful for a later
painting. And anyway, it has been such a beautiful day, with such good
company, that I am thankful to be thankful to be out and painting.
Without wind or rain!

1 comment:

Celeste Bergin said...

You did an very great job...and I agree that the colors really changed a lot in a short time. Your painting looks very much like the scene...!