Sunday, June 28, 2009

Portland Waterfront - sketching with friends

"I love to check your blog after our sketching days.. to see where we were through your eyes because what you drew is sure different than what I did", said my friend Linda after our Saturday outing to the Portland waterfront. We found a lovely park on the riverbank and after wandering through the plantings awhile we parked ourselves on a shady bench and set to work. Of course it's much more pleasant to sketch en plein air on sunny days with a slight breeze in a beautiful place and we agreed that we'll return many times.

I worked in my little Moleskine journal with my tiny limited palette of 6 colors and a miniature waterbrush. I love being unencumbered by unlimited art supplies when I venture out of my studio to work... no heavy bag to weight me down... just the things I always carry so that it's becoming a habit to pull out my sketchbook whenever I have a few minutes to see my world through artist's eyes. And of course the more I do it the better I will get.

A couple of days ago my youngest granddaughter and I drove to the coast to deliver an order and to enjoy a day together. She's nearly 9 and a joy to be with one on one. She has boundless energy and yet is content to let grandma sit on the park bench while she plays. We found a great park with monster playground equipment, walked the beach and played in the wet sand, ate lunch at a popular seafood cafe, and managed to get home in time for her gymnastics class. I started one on one 'grandma days' with my grands years ago and we all look forward to this time together, building relationships and memories, as we do a variety of fun stuff including lots of art making and museums.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Painting for the love of trees

This was my childhood home and MY oak tree. Pop made many swings over the years and hung them from a rope or a chain from one of its sturdy branches. There was no need of a fancy swing set, not when I had a swing that took me high enough to kick a cluster of leaves way up in the tree itself.

I can’t imagine living where there are few trees, like in the western Oklahoma panhandle or the Great Plains, or the Australian Outback. Trees have always been a living presence in my life and here in northwestern Oregon you simply can’t get away from trees, from the smallest of the Japanese Maples to the towering redwoods in our old growth forests.  I've just started thinking about drawing and painting trees, which is really strange, now that I’m thinking about my lifelong love affair with trees of all kinds. I've climbed them, eaten their fruit, cleaned up the messes they drop in high winds or in season, pruned them, grow them (we own a tree nursery, Reimer Nursery LLC, where we grow exotic trees for the wholesale trade), and I've photographed lots of trees wherever I’ve traveled, including a few favorites in Australia, including a huge ghost gum.

Lots of painters have been enamored by trees; I certainly don’t have a unique infatuation with them, but I’ll bet I can come up with something that stands out.

What I intend to do is draw and journal about and paint trees until the trees I show you will tell you something about trees that’s different than what the next guy has to say. I think I can do that and have a jolly good time working figuring out this new-to-me path. Well now, I think I just stated a new goal!

Does anyone have any idea what this tree is, the one with red twigs and red berries? The photo was take in Oklahoma City in the fall and I've been trying to identify it ever since.

But wait... trees have leaves so I guess I need to include drawing the leaves. This photo is of an acer palmatum "Bloodgood" in my front yard.
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