I always been a seat of my pants kind of painter and enjoyed just starting in on a canvas without a plan and allowing the painting to become what ever it will. But, having struggled to complete two large paintings without a real plan, I decided that it probably a good idea to do some studies before launching into a big project so that I know what I trying to accomplish. Maybe I have a better idea of when I done, for one thing. Here are a couple of studies I considering for a larger piece. This is the largest painting I completed in quite a while. It a favorite subject of mine. I don know exactly why I so fascinated by these mooring dolphins but I love painting them. This is another view from Kelley Point Park, looking across the Columbia River toward Washington. Although I enjoyed painting larger, I really struggled to finish this piece or rather to decide when it was finished. I still not completely sure I done with it. Finishing is always tricky and I often decide that my energy would be better spent moving on to the next piece and trusting that it will build on the last one. I love (/hate) plein air painting but consider myself a bit of a hack at it. I have lots of excuses and I wanted to use many of them over the last 5 days, as I tried to paint some good paintings in Hood River. This is the first time I participated in a plein air competition and I really enjoyed painting with a group of extremely skilled plein air painters. Runs Like A Deere 9 x 12 oil on linen panel This is one of my entries, painted at the beautiful Sakura Ridge Farm and Lodge, above Hood River. Please don judge the place by this painting. The views of Mt Hood and the valley and the lodge were amazing. Click HERE for more photos of the paint out at Sakura Ridge. The opening reception is this coming Friday, Sept 7th at the Columbia Gallery of Art in Hood River from 4 til 9. If you in the area and want to see some extraordinary plein air paintings, please stop by. The show runs through the month of September. Sometimes I come across painters who make me want to rush to the easel and paint. Dutch painter Roos Schuring has that effect on me. Her paintings are such fun to look at and say so much with seemingly so little. I get the impression that she produces her paintings in 3 masterful brush strokes. Roos Schuring Landscape Spring #26 Changing Light Roos blogsite is packed with information including several very informative video clips showing her tools and methods. She paints under some pretty uncomfortable circumstances and has valuable advice on how to survive cold, wet and wind. Roos Schuring Seascape summer # 18 Lucky day white parasol I saving up for a Schuring of my own. We lived in our house for almost 30 years. When we moved in it was a quiet semi-rural road. Our property and the two on either side of us are large lots and have not changed much, over the years but further up the road, new developments have been built which has made the surrounding area more suburban, the road busier and that semi-rural feel has faded. The road we live on has become more hazardous to walk on, as traffic has increased. There are no sidewalks and very little in the way of shoulder. So, the new project installing sidewalks on one side of the road is welcome, however, it is another step in thesuburbanizationof the neighborhood. They removed all the trees along that side and the road will feel wider and harder. I always loved this comic by Robert Crumb. I think it expresses my feelings well. On Saturday, I set up my easel in the front yard and sketched one of the construction vehicles parked along the road. Track Hoe 11 1/2 x 11 oil on linen scrap I haven been out sketching in a while but I joined my friends, Master Draftsman, Don Colley and Gail Vines, one of the founders of Portland independent art supply store, Art Media, on a beautiful July evening at Portland Jamison Square for a couple of hours of sketching and dinner. Kids and dogs were splashing in the tidal pool and everyone was enjoying a perfect evening. We wandered over to Oba for dinner where we attempted to solve what wrong with the art today and on the walk home Gail demonstrated her tap dancing abilities. In my last post, I wrote about a plein air painting session on Sauvie Island. I started a second painting, while I was there and have been playing with it in the studio since then. I tried to push it in the direction I taken other paintings, lately by indulging in a similar kind of mark making. I think I took it a bit too far, to the point where the scene was lost to the marks. So, I decided to walk it back a bit and ended up with this: I like the composition and seem to be convinced that there a painting in here, somewhere but have not found it yet. I decided to leave it alone for a while but, taking up some gouache I found myself at it again. Sometimes I have an idea of what I think a painting should look like and I have to let go of it and allow it to be what it is. My last post was of a few watercolor studies I did at Rentenaar Rd on Sauvie Island, here in Portland Or. Sauvie has been a favorite plein air painting spot for generations of local painters and is a common meeting place for local plein air workshops. It so great to have this very quiet and beautiful spot so near the city. I returned to the same place the next day and did a couple of oil studies. I parked my car under an osprey nest and was able to watch as the parents hunted and returned to feed their chick.