Thursday, July 16, 2009

Three Day Camping Escape - Finally!

I can't even count how many times my very patient husband had asked, "When can we go camping?" Nor how many times I had something on my "plate" that just wouldn't give me a three day break and still have me give full measure to commitment. But finally, I knew I just had to skip a planned 'plein air' paintout with PASSO,, "Plein Air Society of Southern Oregon", in addition to a memorial service for a dear artist friend. Besides, I knew my friend would have preferred me out living life more fully by being out in nature, than staying inside telling her how much I respect and love her. She knows that already. Ok, we're going camping!!!

My husband had been researching this divine area up just past Diamond Lake heading towards Roseburg along the North Umpqua. With many lakes, numerous waterfalls, plentiful hiking trails and countless camp grounds, it beckoned with all we love. He'd settled in on Lake Lemolo where our campsite was right on the lake. Arriving on Wednesday gave us the pick of sites and a quiet seldom present during weekends.

Our full day's stay had a mile and a half hike planned, with the reward of the spectacular 72 foot Lemolo Waterfall at the end. The hike in was a shade sprinkled decline and about three quarters of the way down, we could hear the roar of the waterfall. When we turned to corner, we began to get glimpses of it thru the trees. I immediately "knew" what I was going to sketch. There was only one prefect "sitting" rock and I landed, pulling out my journal. Roland got a sweet shot of me painting. The 'boys' went off to go play down under the waterfall in the full rush of the mist. After about a hour and a half I'd finished my sketch. I'm pretty pleased - for a quick sketch! I joined 'my boys' down at the foot of the intense waterfall, chilly mists and taiko-like drums pounded at the base. It was breathtaking! The hike back to the truck was more difficult but went quickly. Along the trail I picked up a fallen Azalea. Yes, wild Azalea's I'd been flabbergasted to see along these rugged trails, and brought her home to be honored in my journal.

Our afternoon was more touring of the area: the Lemolo Store and several campgrounds around the lake. We took a left turn after going over the Lake's dam, checking out the other 'higher' trail going to the Lemolo Falls but found a warning sign that it was flooded, waist deep, farther down. Never mind. We leisured at our campsite and dinnered on a fruit salad and a good book we enjoy reading to one another. During the night we were awoken a couple of times by dancing rain drops on our roof. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, nature!

It was hard to leave this perfect scene - but our plans for our return home day were to sample 4 or 5 more waterfalls and peruse other potential campgrounds en route to Roseburg. The first we stopped at proved to be our VERY FAVORITE - Clearwater Falls! It's a wide water tumble over green rocks and fallen trees - that is beautiful in itself - BUT - above it were extensive shallow, clear pools (much like beaver dams form, but this was a result of the ridge of the waterfall), with a lovely diverse 'painting' in each. We wandered for quite awhile ... then on to all the other waterfalls and many, many campgrounds. My husband has voted for his favorite - the one with hot showers and he has offered to stay for a week. Now you and I are witnesses!!! So if he backs out, I'm calling you, k?

We had a strange deli dinner in Roseburg and an ice cream treat just before we hopped back on Highway 5 to head south back to our Jacksonville. When I got home, I proceeded to finish up my journal page entry, with this view of the Clearwater Falls. Here's the full double page spread, with a zippy sketch I did the first night of camping at Lemolo Lake off to the top left. Love having a full, wide spread of an event or scene, it encompasses me again, much like being back at the site. Hope you get the feel too and enjoy even half as much as I did.

Don't we live in paradise?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Birthday Portrait

I'm especially pleased with this small entry into my journal. For my husband's birthday, it's always a challenge to invent or surprise him - he's just TOO aware. So, this year I'd plotted dinner reservations at a nearby, yes, only about 7 blocks from our doorway. Now I knew he knew I knew, (whew!) that he badly wanted to eat there. So how in the world can I make this a surprise him?

Days before, he was talking to his sister and was bragging about the one time I'd blindfolded him to drive him over 2 hours over mountains, to a surprise weekend at lodging on the California Coast. Ah-HAH!!! The ole blindfold trick! So that is exactly what I did and blindfolded, I drove him in a huge circuitous route, finally ending at the Carriage House at the Nunan Estate. They have exquisite food, by the way, here in Jacksonville, Oregon!!

Anyway, to remember that fun evening I did a small sketch in my journal and - poof - one of those "muse" magical moments - it turned out exact, quick and charming! Here's the beginning watercolor sketch and the finished project. Also, I'll share the full spread where this lil' fits onto the page.

Love to hear your feedback - as always. See, sometimes that lil' quick piece turns out to channel the perfect energy! Again and again, I understand why I love journaling.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Mt. Shasta Lavender Farm

We started early in the morn, to get all the way down to the Mt. Shasta area by 9-ish. The recent class I taught (an 8 day time period, with 3 meeting times) had opted to go paint out at the blooming lavender fields rather than meet in the classroom. When we left Ashland, Oregon it was a grey, cool day, but as soon as we passed into California, the sun was brilliant. The perfect day for outdoor painting.

We arrived just after the Lavender Farms opened and toured the area, snapping photos and envisioning where we'd what to start our plein air sketches. In the charming French style shop, we were greeted with the smell of lavender filling the room and a cup of lavender-lemonade, with a lavender swirl stick!

On the walls they have showing various renditions of other artists images of the purple fields. One was a photo which may have used filters for it's effects, but I devoured the deep orange earth color and the late evening shadows - they were so strong and vibrant. And although the day was bright, light and breezy, you can see the sketch I ended up with mimicked those colors AND time of day.

We settled about center of the lavender rows and savored the bees humming and birds flitting from spot to spot. The magnificent Mt. Shasta pontificated over the entire scene and each of the class participants got varied renditions filled with self-expression and use of varied media.

And although we'd planned on leaving around 1pm, it was after 3pm when we'd finished our second cup of the lavender-lemonade and eaten our treat, a shared bag of shortbread cookies.

The day ended with weary artists but, many terriffic images, both mental and digital, to proceed with other paintings. I'm chewing on returning to the Lavender Farm to catch the lavender more full in bloom and to see it late in the day. I mean, how many times can one visit a goregous place? My answer ... endless times!!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Siskiyou Field Institute Area

With many other commitments completed, I'm playing in my journal. This catch up is especially delicious ... just hanging in my studio on these hot (yes, in the 100 degree arena) days re-living joyous trips and events of the past couple of months.

This one is from a trip we took up towards Cave Junction to camp. Our campgrounds were adjacent to Lake Selmac. Initially, the lake appeared lovely but with time, we found the mosquitoes and the dead fish (in the lake and on shore) didn't created a scenic walk. But that didn't spoil our trip. We had seen an article in the Medford Tribune just the previous day, mentioning a "Siskiyou Field Institute" and the wonderful things they were doing near Selmac, Oregon. So, shoot, where is this place - and - we finally find it. Just up the road a bit from our camping site, we are introduced to this fabulous facility. Currently they are hosting a small conference but, they accommodate other local activities and nature oriented classes. Not to mention the amazing valley that spreads wide it's arms, encompassing this warm, modern facility with dormitory-like, yurt and tent camping offerings. I just had to pull up a chair and paint the huge meadow and gaping blue skies. What a refreshing afternoon.

I gathered the names and contacts for future use, just in case I get the opportunity to teach one of my "Journaling Classes" there. It does pay to think ahead.

Later in the day we took a drive, in the direction of cooler temperatures, more near the coast, to Cave Junction where we checked out the Oregon Caves National Monument ( The thirty mile drive up to the caves is cool and green as you climb upward. A curving, shaded drive, where we dropped into several other camp sites (for future possibilities) gave us glimpses of the Illinois River. The Lodge there is fascinating - a real glimpse into history and charm. And it's still in use, with a clear, tempting pond just next to it.

If you get the chance - check out the caves. Although we didn't take the tour (dogs aren't allowed and Cody was with us), we did get the feel of the cool cave just standing at the exit from the cave. On a hot day - nothing could be better. Happy trails!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Day at the Vineyard

I'm in two plein air painting groups, one of which, named PASSO (Plein Air Society of Southern Oregon) had planned a paint-out, show and sale at the local Eden Vale Winery for the 7th of June. We arrived early to thinly veiled sun, got set up and by the time we started painting, the day was gorgeous. You can see here, my peer artist, Linda Evans, an amazing pastel artist, painting in the foreground, just in front of my lil' green booth that I'd set up.

We'd visited there weeks before and for the paint-out I had a plan - to try out this NEW idea I had that bounced up from doing my small 5x5x1.5 inch watercolor paper wrapped stretcher bar pieces. I'd purchased a similar sized 5x5 stretcher bar format, only it was 3 inches deep. I'd envisioned wrapping the entire "box" in watercolor paper, having the image go all around the piece with it sitting on a table. More of an "art object" than a hanging wall piece.

With that in mind, I laid out the format before arriving, plotting where I need paint my visuals, and where would be folded around the corners. Here's the piece I completed that day, with which I was pretty happy. But I needed to create the back side of the "box" and later designed this sketch, another view at the Eden Vale Winery, to fit perfectly on the back space.

So, ok, I have all the images complete and materials ready to wrap the watercolor paper around my box. It's stressful doing this first time thing, especially because I had to wet thoroughly the back of these two paintings in order to stretch the paper over the box. When the paper dried, it would contract, making a nice firm fit over the stretcher bars. I work meticulously and as fast as I can . . . and here's my resulting piece.
Overall, this turned out satisfactory. I learned alot about wrapping this shape, placing the 'feet' and forming a continuous image around a piece. I'm hoping to do more, especially for specific venues. I think perhaps these are charming momentos for travelers as well as quality art work.
What's your opinion/feedback? You know I'd love to hear . . .