In Southern Oregon we don’t get hurricanes, tornadoes and we rarely get flooding or earthquakes (and so far the flooding and earthquakes we have had have been mild in my lifetime), but what we do get for natural disasters and annoyances is fires and smoke. The Rogue Valley is surrounded by forests and the the valley bowl sucks in smoke and holds it for weeks at a time during the summers. This year there were fires in every direction and we have been blanketed by ashes. It’s mighty oppressive to be in 100 degree weather with ashes raining down on you. Luckily we could escape for a long weekend to an amazing river 8 miles inland from the ocean. The Chetco river runs from the Kalmiopsis wilderness area to the ocean at Brookings, Oregon. The Kalmiopsis is the largest roadless area in the continental US and it lies right between the Rogue Valley and the Pacific Ocean. The Chetco river is the most beautiful, clear small river and at Loeb State part it just meanders slowly making it a dreamy swimming hole. While at this lovely oasis I ran into piles of S. Oregon friends and acquaintances – we all had the same thought. It’s kind of remarkable because it’s a 3 hour drive from home. While at the river I made a painting of my daughter, Adara, who just got back from sunny Portugal and the cool breeze from the river froze her skinny body, so she’s huddled up in a hoodie, cranky about posing. I don’t care. I’m a bit heartless as a mom and as an artist with models. I love painting her.