Small paintings from the Inland Northwest and beyond    |  H o m e    |   W e b s i t e

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sunlit Moran

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My idea behind this painting was to challenge myself. One of the hardest lighting conditions for a landscape painter is the middle of the day. When the sun is high good shadows are few and far between, the whole scene becomes flat and plain with no shadows to clearly show the form of the subject. So using Google Maps I had ignored this view of Mt. Moran because of the lack of "good shadows" until I decided to tackle it anyway! I thought it would be the perfect challenge to keep this 30 paintings in 30 days project going! I hope I managed to convey the feel of the mountain even without any distinguishing shadows.

Moran Across the Water

Moran Across the Water - 5x7 - Oil on Linen Panel

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Well, one thing that this virtual trip through the Tetons has taught me is that I REALLY need to get myself over to Wyoming to do some plein air work! My usually decent Photoshopping skills couldn't seem to get the colors right in this one, the sky and clouds are much brighter in person. This area is really amazingly beautiful, and I imagine that like the painting it must be better in real life. Road trip time!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Little Cluster

Little Cluster - 5x7 - Oil on Linen Panel

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OK, it's still grey and freezing cold here, so how about a little trip back into the escapist fantasy roadtrip that is Google Maps Streetview? This little cluster was near Moran, Wyoming, near the Tetons.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Grey Delta

Grey Delta - 5x7 - Oil on Linen Panel 

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This little plein air piece is the companion of yesterdays, I did them both on the same afternoon from a slightly different spot!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Marsh - 5x7 - Oil on Linen Panel

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A little break from my virtual ramble through Yellowstone, this one is a REAL plein air! I love the willow and cottonwood filled marshes that surround the Yakima River Delta, where this was painted.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Bright Day

Bright Day - Oil on Linen Panel - 5x7

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I just loved this scene on Google Maps! It was over in Yellowstone, and the big puffy clouds had the most amazing glare around their edges, I could really feel the sun.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Yellowstone Bend

Yellowstone Bend - 5x7 - Oil on Linen Panel

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I really loved this scene, and I wanted to challenge myself to a painting with no sky. It's very hard! I'll have to find more scenes to practice this design.

Saturday, January 17, 2015


Redrock - 5x7 - Oil on Linen Panel

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A great view I found in Arches National Park. I loved the shadows on the rocks! With Google Streetview it's easy to find good views, but not always a good view that translates to a good painting. Thankfully the lighting conditions when they drove through Arches was fantastic!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Wyoming Pines

Wyoming Pines - Oil on Linen Panel - 5x7

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Pine trees near the Tetons! More Google Streetview scenes.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Stand Up Tree

Stand Up Tree - Oil on Linen Panel - 5x7

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Yes, another cottonwood. But this one is from somewhere along a lake shore in Teton National Park, in a spot I found on Google Maps. Wow, did that park blow me away! Many many years ago I visited Yellowstone National Park and it was absolutely amazing, but as far as I can remember we never made it over to the Tetons. This is something that will need to be corrected! 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Owens Valley Cottonwood V

Owens Valley Cottonwood V - Oil on Linen Panel - 5x7

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Wow! After painting this tree from Google Maps Streetview I decided I should probably paint more backlit trees from life, just as soon as summer rolls around and the trees have leaves. It's definitely a tricky light to catch.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Owens Valley Cottonwoods IV

Owens Valley Cottonwoods IV - 5x7 - Oil on Linen Panel
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The trees just weren't enough, I had to throw in some fences to spice things up!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Owens Valley Cottonwood III

Owens Valley Cottonwood III - Oil on Linen Panel - 5x7

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Cottonwoods are tricky! They grow in big clumps, and finding which shapes are important to include to show their structure and which aren't needed is a delicate balancing act.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Owens Valley Cottonwood II

Owens Valley Cottonwood II - Oil on Linen Panel - 5x7
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Some trees have so much character. As I was looking through Google Streetview down Owens Valley in California this little golden tree really jumped out at me, it almost seemed to be posing!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Owens Valley Cottonwood I

Owens Valley Cottonwood I - Oil on Linen Panel - 5x7
OK! I think I got the grey snowy paintings out of my system, now onto a new series! I've been virtually driving through Owens Valley on Google Maps and really love the way the trees stand against the mountains and the sky. I decided I could use some dedicated tree studying, so I'll be doing a series of these cottonwoods for the next little while!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Snow Patterns

Snow Patterns - Oil on Linen Panel - 5x7
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Variations on a theme. It's very nice to be able to drive through scenes like this in a warm, heated cab with someone who knows how to drive on icy roads! I think I'm all snowed-paintinged out, though all the patterns and the atmosphere have been really enjoyable.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Hillside Snow

Hillside Snow - Oil on linen panel - 5x7

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More snowy scenes, I thought the pines on the hillside were very elegant. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Winters Breath

Winters Breath - Oil on Linen Panel - 5x7

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One of the fun things about taking reference photos from the car is you can get so many angles on a scene. This is the same fence as the last painting, but from the opposite side. There's nothing like a nice fence to spice up a composition!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Follow the Fence Line - Oil painting

Follow the Fence Line - Oil on Linen Panel - 5x7 

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There's something magical about the way a snowstorm simplifies a landscape. What was a tangle of native bunchgrass and cheat grass suddenly becomes only a white and yellow pattern, dotted with red willows and the wandering fencle lines. And of course, while driving through this magical scene I could enjoy it properly because my husband was handling the icy roads!

Monday, January 5, 2015

In the Trees

In the Trees - Oil on linen panel - 5x7

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I've been going through photos taken over the past couple months and found a series that really grabbed me. They were taken outside of Pendleton, Oregon, near and on Cabbage Hill, also called Deadmans Pass. While the pass was named for a group of emigrants killed by natives while traveling the area, the name is also fitting because of how dangerous the road is during the winter; Cabbage was notoriously treacherous even when traveled by wagon as part of the Oregon Trail.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Barn on the Mission - Plein air painting

Barn on the Mission - 6x6 - Oil on Panel

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I love this little plein air piece from the summer, it's another one from the Walla Walla countryside. These little summer pieces warm me up even with January's chilly temperatures! This was painted at the Whitman Mission National Monument, which covers a large area with lots of interesting spots to paint.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Turning - Plein Air painting

Turning - Oil on Panel - 6x6

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During the early fall I was able to stop in the gravel parking lot of an abandoned church or schoolbuilding in the Walla Walla countryside. There was a beautiful poplar tree turning gold only on top, with its lush summer green leaves left on bottom. Pair it up with the always welcome Blue Mountain foothills and it made for an irresistible scene!