To celebrate our 11th anniversary, my husband and I spent last weekend exploring in Washington state. We stayed on Whidbey Island and had a great time hiking at Deception Pass State Park (stunning), and wandering aimlessly through the little town of La Conner (charming) and the surrounding farmland. Oh, and we ate a lot of really, really yummy food. :)
This little scene is from La Conner - it was warm and breezy and just a perfect June day.
I always love going to my sister's house in the Columbia River Gorge.
Mostly, of course, to spend time with her and her family, but a close second is the chance to see the incredible beauty along the way. Traveling from west to east, the landscape starts to show some skin as we go from waterfall-laden mountains to the golden hills and orchards of central Oregon and Washington. In the winter months (ok, potentially year-round), it's very typical to drive from overcast, wet weather in the west, to blue skies and sunshine an hour or two to the east.
That's reason number three. :)
This little blue-skies-and-sunshine scene is from the small gorge town of Bingen, Washington, just across the Columbia River from Hood River, Oregon.
To me, it was the highlight of a dawn's-early-light photo excursion.
On that early morning, I had seen the sun rise and the mountains glowing and the rivers sparkling, and vista after beautiful vista. And then...then, heading back home, I rounded the bend and saw this; this sleepy old fella catching the first rays of the day. Swoon. :)
I'm trying hard to ignore the too-big number of days since I last posted a painting...ugh.
I have a zillion excuses, but let's pick something fun...I blame Little League. Ha!
Two of my three boys are learning the game of baseball, and even though our very busy calendar is testing my preferred 'homebody-make-no-plans' way of life, I really do enjoy watching them - especially the littlest ones - too stinkin' cute.
Today's painting is a sampling of some other cute little things I collect.
I have always had an affinity for these pin-on buttons - I mean, hello, 1989!
(My sister Rita had a great collection on her stone-washed jean jacket.)
A few years back I found an old tackle box at a yard sale with a bunch of these oldies in it. Score!
I've blown them up almost three times their size here; that awesome little flag is only a half inch tall in real life.
*Just a little note - the blue reflections/highlights on the rocks are incredibly difficult to photograph well - in reality, they do not 'glow' nearly as much as it appears here.
Way back in '03 or '04, my guy and I went to Indian Beach, a gem among gems on the Oregon Coast. It was overcast and damp, and I was completely enthralled with the rock-covered shore. We had a great time, even taking some selfies (eons before the word existed) with my very first digital camera - 2.0 megapixels! Lol. Here's one of them -- I can't believe I'm posting it -- but anyway, you can see all those lovely rocks behind us. :)
A couple of years later, we were newlyweds and I was pregnant-sick, so I dug out one of my Indian Beach rock pictures and used it to help pass the days/weeks until our first son was born. Here's the result -- a little bigger than my work now. :)
24" x 24"
acrylic on canvas
Like a lot of things in my life, over the years I had completely forgotten about Indian Beach. Our good friends reminded us last summer, and we finally made our way back a couple of weeks ago. It was fabulous - I have a feeling we'll be back often.
I mean, three young boys and never-ending rocks? Perfection. :)
Today's painting is from my new Indian Beach rock pics.
I got up early last Sunday to go watch the sunrise above our town.
It was a very clear day above the fog, and the views were fabulous. As pretty as it was, I couldn't wait to get back down the hill and see how the fog and sun were hanging out together - I just can't get enough of those two. :)
Unlike a lot of the country, we've been enjoying really terrific weather.
It's got me totally jones-ing for summer.
(Although, those of you in the throes of winter are probably jones-ing way more than me.)
Anyway, here's a little summer for you all - from one of my favorites places in this amazing state - Yamhill County, Oregon. This is the first painting in a long while that was a good 'ole time from start to finish.
Central Washington and Oregon: high, barren hills; green, fertile valleys.
And fruit. Lots and lots of fruit. :)
Last August, we stopped at this fruit stand in Washington on our three-day drive back from Minnesota. My boys enjoyed their free apple, and then we filled every spare inch of the car with glorious, juicy peaches. So, you know, like, eight peaches. On my lap, the rest of the way home. :)
I worked a little faster and looser than I normally do, which was fun, and my youngest (almost 4) helped me at the end, "It's done, Mom. You can put the sign in the corner. The sign with the 'B' and the 'N' ".
I am not a native of this cute little town, but my husband has lived here his entire life. That means, often he'll come find me after a day's work and exclaim, "Oh, you're painting so and so's house." Or, "Oh, that's so and so's work truck." Today, I was a little floored when the remark was, "Oh, you're painting dad's old service station."
I had no idea. Well, I knew my father-in-law used to operate a service station, but, I never made the connection between that knowledge and this lovely white building that catches my eye every time I leave town. I mean, now that I think really hard, I maybe vaguely remember hearing that once upon a time, - it sounds sort of familiar...
Clearly, on this sunny day last summer, I was really only thinking about yellow truck...white walls...blue shadows... :)
I took vacationing very seriously for the last two weeks, so we're just easing slooowly into this lovely new year. :)
Here are the paintings I did in November and December, and below that, a shot of the highlight of my year so far. (Ok, it's gonna be tough to top that - good luck, rest of 2015.)
I had the pleasure of meeting artist Carol Marine (and her delightful husband, David), and it was so great! I really appreciated the chance to chat about daily painting and random arty stuff, especially with someone so talented and experienced. An invigorating way to start the new year. :)
I caught this little scene last weekend on the Columbia River Dikelands near our town.
This lowland marsh district is full of farms, water-filled ditches and grazing livestock. In the distance, foothills and ridges stand guard.
This time of the year, the clouds and fog in this area are ever-changing and just lovely.
Right now, though, a winter storm is blasting through, complete with flickering lights and extremely high winds. I have three very excitable young boys bouncing off the walls and repeatedly opening the front door to get a better look. I better go get the candles and flashlights ready. :)
I must credit my three-year-old for the title, - he was very disappointed that I was painting just a 'normal tree', as opposed to a much more festive Christmas tree. :)
This normal tree is seasonally appropriate to me; we had many 'brown Christmases' when I was a kid. I didn't like them then, but I can appreciate their subtle beauty now. Several years in the perma-green environment of the Pacific Northwest (which I completely love), has made me all the more aware of the lovely sepia tones of midwest winters, especially on those overcast, frigid, snowless days.
(This photo is from a Minnesota November.)
And also, making that collage of my 200 paintings had me overwhelmed with color. Too much color!
Lol. Don't worry, I'll get over it - you know I can't stay in one spot too long. ;)