Friday, October 31, 2014


Napali Mist, 9 x 12 oil

A studio painting based on photographs of Kauai.  Every moment, the mist pattern changed.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Windbent Pines, 6 x 8 oil
This studio painting is based on a plein air sketch of the same composition.  In this piece I used red in the underpainting and warmed up the greens.  Different light, different day.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


Point to Island, 6 x 8 oil

After almost 25 days of sunrises,I am getting up later and later.  This is happening partly because I am staying up later, but also the sunrises are beginning to repeat themselves in my paintings.  I am looking for a different light, some long morning shadows, maybe a different color pattern.  And just 15 minutes later gives me a whole new palette to work with.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


West Maui at Dawn, 6 x 8 oil

This little coral mound houses a colony of Hawaiian Dascyllus.  They gather in a range of sizes, from the two-inch almost-black adults to younger fish with white on their dusky sides, to tiny disks the size of my pinky fingernail, that are mostly fin.  These itty-bitties have a neon-blue stripe across their nose.  They all flutter in and out of the coral like Nemo in his anemone home.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


West Maui Dawn and Cottage, 6 x 8 oil

The winds of Kihei blow with a fine red dirt.  Like something out of the midwest dust bowl, it comes in the windows and settles on every horizontal surface.  It covers lampshades, sifts into carpets, stains tile.  I've been driving with the car windows shut and still red dirt gets in the car.  I try to clean a spot on the upholstery and learn the hard way that you have to vacuum first, or red dirt will leave a ring around the clean spot.  Maui red dirt makes cleaning a neverending process.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


Tropical Moonset at Sunrise, 9 x 12 oil

I come upon an octopus in pretty shallow water.  He retreats behind a head of coral.  But he just can't resist sticking his eyes up to see if I'm still there.  I am.  He slides farther round the coral.  Up come the eyes.  If I stay back, he just looks at me.  If I approach, he retreats.  But always, the eyes come up.  Just checking.

Friday, October 10, 2014


Kamaole Sunset, 6 x 8 oil

I am constantly amazed at the versatility of the trumpetfish's coloring.  I've seen them pattern their tails to mimic the peacock grouper, turn green enough to blend in with the coral, and even brighten to a blue that matches a parrotfish.  Today's trumpet is being yellow.  There are some yellow tang nearby.  I hope he doesn't think he looks like one of them.  He doesn't have the figure for it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Dawn Palms, 8 x 6 oil
Something has shifted on the beaches of Hawaii.  Used to be you'd see lots of people lying in the sun getting tans.  Now more people are sitting in the shade, and many wear long-sleeved shirts while snorkelling.  Different beliefs for different times.

Monday, October 6, 2014


West Maui at Sunrise, 8 x 6 oil

When I think of fish, I think of flexibility.  The boxfish is as rigid as they come, a fixed skeletal box of a body, with little fins and tail attached.  To make up for his stiffness of body, the tail must bend a full ninety degrees at times, the fins make intricate ruffling patterns like the skirts of Loie Fuller.  Even his mouth seems rigid, fixed in a surprised pout.  There are not a lot of these fish on the reef I've been visiting.  Maybe rigidity is not a very successful strategy.

Saturday, October 4, 2014


Sunrise Burgundy, 6 x 8 oil

There are swells from the south today, and water shifts back and forth over the coral.  Tiny juvenile butterfly fish are stationed above the coral heads, like swarms of moths.  They flutter tails and fins madly to stay in place over the coral, then with the surge, spin around like a flock and flutter the other way.  
  A turtle glides by, barely moving his flippers in his slow climb.  I move more like the turtle, holding station by gently waving my fins.  Is it because I am big that moving through the water requires so little effort?  After all, how much muscle can there be in those tiny fish bodies that are mostly fin?

Thursday, October 2, 2014


Seaside Cottages, 6 x 8 oil

At this particular beach, divers enter the water on the sand, and follow the edge of the rocks outward to the deeper coral.  As I am floating above the rocks and corals and fish, I see them about 15 feet below me.  Their bubbles make mumbledy sounds in my ears.   Bubbles appear as blobs, that join into bigger blobs.  They expand as they float upward, shaping themselves into jellyfish domes.  There is a huge amount of air from just two divers; a volume that we, in the above-water realm take for granted.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


West Maui and Waving Palms
I am seeing lots of octopus.  Since the first day I spotted one, I've been surprising them all over the place on the clearer days.  About half the time, it's because I dive down, and they move.  If any people are snorkelling nearby, I point out the octopus.  Only about a quarter of them see what I'm pointing at.
  Today I show a group of four snorkellers an octopus hiding in a crack.  I dive down and point my finger at it from about 5 inches away.  Only one of the four spectators manages to dive down and see it.  Maybe they're not sure it's really there?  People see lots of turtles and get really excited about them.  Why not octopus?

Sunday, September 28, 2014


Molokini and Kaho'olawe, 6 x 8 oil

It is Labor Day weekend, and here in the campground are quite a few groups of Hawaiians camping. OK, some are in tents like the visitors, but others have huge metal pole structures forty feet on a side, with tarps strung over the top and screen sides.  Inside there are tables and camp stoves and cots, and big plastic coolers.  When they strike camp, everyone helps, taking down tarps and poles, loading it into pickups.  They pull away, leaving bare grass, every bit as if the circus had come to town.

Friday, September 26, 2014


Tree by the Sea, 12 x 16 oil
I am camping on a beach in Kauai.
There is a sign in the campground bathroom.  It says:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Distant Cottages, 9 x 12 oil

Afternoons on this Kauai beach are quite windy, so most of the tents are anchored among the few trees around the edge.  These trees are multi-purpose.  The ubiquitous Kauai chickens roost in them at night.

If you've ever lived with chickens, you know that "the rooster crows at the break of dawn" is a myth.  The rooster crows whenever he feels like it.  In a campground with maybe eight roosters, they feel like it a lot.  I am up with the chickens, and it is 3 AM.

Monday, September 22, 2014


Sunrise Reef, 12 x 16 oil
Over the years of diving and snorkeling, I've learned the common names of many reef fish, and even which families they belong to.  Coral is another story.  You can't identify corals very well by gross appearance.  The same species can vary quite a bit in color.  Even the growth patterns can change. Just for fun, I did a search on coral identification, and found this page:

Somehow, while I'm looking around underwater, I don't think this will be much help.  First of all, so many parts!  And how am I going to remember all the details of what I was looking at to look it up later?  I think people who identify corals must either take photos or specimens.  I might as well keep on doing what I've been doing.... just appreciating them in their great variety.

Saturday, September 20, 2014


Makena Landing, 9 x 12 oil

I am camping at a beach park on Kauai.  I found a guy who had a tent set up for me, with an air mattress and sheets and pillows.  I have 2 beach chairs and a cooler.  I even have a power cord, complete with 4-outlet surge protector, that runs a thousand yards to an electric outlet at a picnic shelter.  The sunsets here are a premium show.  What more could I want?

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Tropical Morning, 9 x 12 oil
An eel, with his head out of the coral, is breathing.  His open mouth widens, then water passes through and out the billowing flap behind his head.  It reminds me of the octopus and the water constantly moving through his siphon.  If they want to breathe, they cannot be still.

Sunday, August 31, 2014


Sunrise Cottage, 9 x 12 oil

A lot of the time, coral doesn't appear to be living.  When you see it during the daytime, the polyps are closed and it doesn't move, doesn't even flex as the water surges past.  The creature I am looking at is a four-inch disk, with radiating spines like the gills of a mushroom. In between the spines, little pips like the arms of a small anemone protrude.  As I dive down, I see that they are gently moving.  This single, large coral  polyp behaves more like an animal than any other thing anchored down there on the bottom.

Saturday, August 30, 2014


Hawaii Sunrise Distant Island, 9 x 2 oil

There's always something to see.  I come in from an ordinary snorkelling day, and notice something moving on the shallow sand bottom.  It is a tiny flatfish, absolutely totally indistinguishable in color and texture from the sand.  It even matches the ridges.  It is virtually invisible unless it moves.  I dive down to it.  From really really close, I can see two eyes.  They see me.  The fish stays absolutely still.  When I surface I can't find it again.

Friday, August 29, 2014


Sunrise Sculpted Tree, 9 x 12, oil
An eel and a Peacock Grouper are hunting together.  It goes like this:  They swim alongside each other so close that they are tickling each other's sides as they undulate through the water.  Then the eel finds a hole in the coral and goes through, while the grouper swims to the outlet to see if something comes out.  Sometimes the eel wins, sometimes the grouper wins.  Then, they tickle-swim to a new spot.
I wonder how these partnerships get set up.  Does one of them go, "Meet me at 7:30 tomorrow by the tall green coral."?

Thursday, August 28, 2014


Island Sunrise, 6 x 8 oil
Hawaii has an octopus that is active during the day.  Which means, if it's there, you can see it.  Sometimes.  Three days ago, I saw my first octopus.  Now I see one most days.  It's like my eye-brain has figured out how to see them, and so it does.
   Octopuses are not very good at holding still.  So if one is out and about and sees you, it kneels on its skirt and only sort of freezes.  Then it looks like a dark brown lump that is gently swaying.  I've spotted quite a few of them by looking more closely at a suspicious brown lump.
  The octopus has quite a few other strategies to make up for not being able to freeze.  It can change color to blend in with its surroundings.  It can sort of shrinks itself, and little bumps and protuberances appear all over its skin.  It can make a radiating dark/light pattern that pulses out from its head, looking vaguely like scattered sunlight on the ocean floor.  I watch one being approached by a fish, and it uses a tentacle to flick the fish away.  When I approach, the octopus seems to melt into the coral, taking no space at all.  I haven't bothered any of them enough to make them spray ink.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Moonlight Moorage, 6 x 8 oil
A bit of color attracts my eye.  Diving down, I see a large maroon mound.  It has the texture of some corals, but something about the patterning strikes me as vaguely radial.  Looking it up, I find that it is a pillow star.  Funny how something can look so much like something quite different.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Tropical Sunrise, 6 x 8 oil
Swimming round a ridge of coral I come upon a large school of fish.  Black Durgeon are a common sight feeding in midwater above the reef, but here are more than fifty, along with Raccoon Butterflyfish and Threadfin Butterflyfish.  As I pause, drifting back and forth with the surge along with the whole column, I find that they allow me to come quite close.  I see color and patterns I have never noticed before.  The raccoons become backlit jewels, with glowing golden tails and a delicate margin of maroon along the tail and fins.  The Black Durgeon have brown tracery around the eyes and face.  Somehow my attention shifts focus, and I see what they are eating: Tiny creatures with two white wings, held together by something invisible and gelatinous.

Monday, August 25, 2014


Sunrise Seaside Cabin, 6 x 8 oil

It's the first morning of my month-long stay in Hawaii.  An eel swims below m, ribboning in and out of coral heads like a wind-rippled banner.  He goes through tiny holes, making me wonder how he keeps from scratching himself on the hard coral structures.  Under a shelf he goes, coming out in a totally unexpected place.  In one hole, he folds back on himself, head emerging next to the tail as if he took no space at all.  What else is hiding in the coral, not to be seen unless it chooses to emerge into the undulating daylight?

Friday, June 6, 2014


Oregon Recipe, 20 x 60 oil
This is a commissioned painting, based on a smaller painting I did en plein air.  I fell in love with this 1 to 3 format, and plan to use a lot more of this proportion.  Oregon Recipe: Douglas Fir, blackberries, cottonwood, Willamette River, Mt. Hood, stir with a generous helping of clouds, and enjoy!

Thursday, June 5, 2014


Clematis and Forget-me-nots, 12 x 12 oil
A still life I set up for my students with spring flowers.  I chose small blossoms so no one would be tempted to paint every little flower.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Sunset in Oranges, 12 x 16 oil
I'm sitting in my car, trying to stay out of the wind.  It has the added benefit of keeping my canvas in shade, but the 12 x 16 panel is hard to fit between me and the steering wheel.  Can't wait for summer!

Monday, June 2, 2014


Ripples and Reflections, 24 x 12 oil
The clouds are breaking up.  The river is mostly still, with a few ripples expanding as they come forward.  Nearer the front of the painting, I can see into the water in the shadow of the trees. This painting takes me two days, as I'm painting this larger panel all on location for the Lake Oswego Chronicle show in June.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Reef Sunset, 12 x 36 oil

Recently I painted a 20 x 60 painting for a commission.  I fell in love with the shape, and decided to use it for this sunset painting.  Aloha!

Sunday, May 25, 2014


Little Boat House, 8 x 6 oil

Summer workshops are now posted on my web site:

Something new this year is a FREE workshop on mind/body coordination, which helps with posture and many other aspects of painting.  Check it out!  Coming up next Saturday!

Also two local paint outings, plus a three-day workshop in MAUI.  This is scheduled at the last minute, so it will be small, with lots of individual attention.

If I don't see you this summer, have a great time painting. (Or enjoying paintings.)

Saturday, May 24, 2014


Willamette Cumulus, 12 x 16 oil

It is the first day of the Lake Oswego Chronicle paintout.  Several artists have beat me to the river in George Rogers' Park, but I think I have timed it just right.  The heavy morning cloud cover is breaking up, and some brighter light reflects off the river.  The spring greens are just about to turn into summer.  A great day to be outdoors.

Thursday, May 8, 2014


Hanalei Bay Beach, 6 x 8 oil
Past the town of Hanalei, there are pullouts along the road.  A short walk brings you to this golden beach at the north end of the bay.  The hotels and jetskis are far away across this big circular bay.  Here we can snorkel in peace.  And hidden among the coral hummocks are many tiny eels.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Wailua Falls, 8 x 6 oil
Something about waterfalls I just can't resist.  Wailua Falls is surrounded by trees, that seem to be trying to enclose it in a tunnel.

Friday, May 2, 2014


Pink and Yellow Sunrise, 6 x 8 oil
It's 70 degrees out, and you're wearing shorts because you know it will be warmer soon.  The sun is rising. If you dip your toes into the water it will feel cool at first, then warmer as you adjust.  Later in the day, if it gets too hot, you can just plunge in.


Sunrise Beach End, 6 x 8 oil
Sometimes it's the sunrise on the other side of the island that lights up this side.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Golden Sky and Palms, 8 x 6 oil
A summer painting.  Maybe there are surfers out there on that wave.  Maybe the coconuts are ripe.  Maybe I can walk down that path to the beach and go snorkelling.  Meet you there?

Monday, April 28, 2014


Black Butte Mountain View, 6 x 8 oil 
Across the golden meadow, North and South Sister lend their reflections to the pond light.

Saturday, April 26, 2014


Wailua Valley, 5 x 7 oil

While chasing down waterfalls on Kauai, we stumble on to this valley view.  Everything is so intensely green, here.  I feel that Jack's beanstalks could really grow into the sky overnight.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Jonsrud Fall Quilt, 12 x 24 oil
October, 2013 It is a crisp fall morning, and the sun shines through atmosphere at the base of Mt. Hood, cascading across the hilltops and lighting the fall leaves afire.  The air warms, and so does the river valley.  I shed my coats and finish my painting, enjoying the last bit of warm weather.

Monday, April 21, 2014


Willow Reflections, 6 x 8 oil
Part of a series in which I am experimenting with brush strokes. In this one, brush strokes follow the planes of the landscape.