Getting my obligatory painting of Mt. Hood out of the way, this was my first painting I did of the year. This was done in the morning. Like 7:30 am. This is a really popular area called Panorama Point, which overlooks much of the Hood River basin and its many wineries. This was a warm-up 6x8 quickie that took about 35 minutes.
After the orientation, I went down the highway to go down to Lost Lake, which is a very scenic river. Think mini-Tahoe, only with an iconic view of the mountain. I did two 9x12"s here to spend the day in the forest. A perfect day if you ask me.
Day 2: One of the "official" locations we painted at was Stevenson, Washington. It was a decent spot, but it felt too "easy." I'm not a big fan of popular tourist locations, because everything is laid out for you and every attempt to deviate from it feels forced. I still liked this painting because I feel like I got the impression of clouds breaking pretty successfully.
I skipped over the river to the Oneonta Gorge. It makes a very dramatic light/dark shape especially when photographed in black and white. To get to the waterfall after a 1-mile hike though, you have to climb this huge treacherous logjam. I consider myself somewhat adventurous, but I value my safety over such things. If I wasnt lugging a heavy backpack with valuable painting gear, I would chance it. Instead I stood in the creek and painted the ravine. I'm not sure if the sense of scale totally translates, but I didn't want to try faking some people for scale, and I didn't have my camera to shoot reference. Still, it's one of my favorite paintings of the week.
I finished the day at Eagle Creek. It's too narrow of a trail to paint from the trail itself, but I veered off into the creek to find this scene. The reflection of the evening light in the water turns it an orange-gold. Very dramatic. Absolutely lovely.
Day 3: I started out at the Mosier Plateau to find this view. Compositionally I like it but overall I feel it's lacking in an interesting focal point.
Ok. This one was a complete struggle the entire time. It was out-of-hand compositionally from the start, plus the values and colors were all wrong. After a while I decided to radically change my approach and mix gray into all of my colors. It sort of helped, but overall I wasn't too happy with it. I did like the trees on the left and some of the reflections in the foreground.
After the heat of the midday subsided I went out towards the Dalles and crossed the bridge to Horsethief Lake, one of my favorite places from last year. I like this painting as a study, but overall it's slightly simplistic. I am going to hold on to this one to do a larger more involved painting in the future. It's quite a fascinating place that deserves proper homage....
Day 4: The next day started off at the Gorge Crest Vineyards in Underwood, Washington. I wasn't too jazzed about painting the area. First of all, it has a lot of vineyards. I HATE painting vineyards, they are monotonous and a pain to paint. Also, the area is too "postcard", if you get what I mean. Sort of the same problem that Stevenson had. There was a cool bunch of trees cropping out from the hill that caught my attention. So I did a super-zoom into the view and composed it in a sort of typically-photographic way. I made it work.
I went down the road and found this view which was much more my style. This is a view of the town of Hood River. I changed the composition a bit to give a bit of "swing" into it to make sure you're kept in the picture. This is actually the unfinished version of the painting. I touched it up before bringing it to the gallery.
......and I finished it up with a bang! This one is by far my most impressive one of the week. I went back out to The Dalles, which has a great historic downtown with lots of cool architecture. One of the most iconic buildings is the home of Clock Tower Ales. I spent about 2.5 hours on this one. I made sure the perspective was working in the drawing before laying down the color. Had I known this one was gonna work, I would have took some progress shots. I actually did less under-drawing than you may expect. I did the usual jump into blocking in everything as quick as I could. Most of the drawing occurred after the block-in. I purposely kept it somewhat loose and sketchy because I knew if I tried to get tight, any mistake would be hugely apparent. I'm racing against time in everything I do outdoors, so in order to get everything to an acceptable degree of finish, sacrifices need to be made.
If you are in the area and want to see the paintings in person, the Columbia Arts Council in Hood River is hosting the show.
- Meet the artists and writers who participated in the event
- See art from the Plein Air for Children painting event on display in the studio."
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