This pear packing plant by First, Colver and C street is a great painting location. Just a few blocks from my house, I run past it several times a week and keep seeing more good vantage points to paint from. This is a warm up, I’m getting my feet wet for the outdoor painting season.
If you were to walk into the painting 50 or so feet then you would come to this point.
I read an interesting article about discovering the current stereotype of a city by typing “why is ————- so” and letting Google’s auto complete fill in the common searches. That led me to wonder what the stereotype for artists is these days. So I keyed “why are artists” and then “why are artists so” and guess what — people think artists are weird, poor, liberal, sensitive, emotional, depressed, moody, messy and important. Crazy also came into play. (At least some people think we’re important – but they didn’t know why, because they wanted Google to tell them. )
This experiment came on the heels of a day out painting plein air in downtown Medford. I thought I’d found a quiet street but there were lots of people who came by and if they said anything they mostly said something like, “Looks like you’re having fun!” Fun. Okay. It’s kind of true, but it’s pretty revealing about what people generally think artists are doing. Art is fun when things are going well. When you’re in a groove, when you’re so engrossed that you don’t need to eat, won’t answer the phone etc, BUT people don’t get that if we’re supposed to be anything but Sunday painters having a nice hobby in retirement that it takes consistent, persistent WORK. And struggle. In the moments when the best work is created there is a zone that is awesome, but to get into the zone you have had experiences that are to the right or left of the zone, where you over correct and have some painful crashes. For me, to achieve the work I want to create, I’ve had to study and keep at it, and even now I have goals I want to achieve that I have to study and work at a whole lot more. Not only that, the very best artists make art every day, which I almost do, but not quite. The fact is, I couldn’t make anything that anyone would care to see without having put in in tons of time and thought and preparation over many years. Fun, on the other hand, is a nice dinner with friends and family. Fun is playing at the beach. Fun is relaxation. Painting is sublime, but it’s work. It’s exhilarating and heart breaking. It’s more fun than fun and it’s not fun at all.
Being misunderstood may just be why we’re so crazy, depressed, weird and moody all the time. 😉
Fixed was the theme and show title, a conceptual show thought up by – suprise, suprise – a college student member. When I thought of an idea that worked with what I like to do, I got less sarcastic about it and made four paintings from the exact same location, just looking different directions.
The show was pretty awesome, lots of interesting work, and so the idea turned out to be a good one. I actually have lots of ideas similar to this concept for landscape painting that for the most part I’m too lazy to do. So Anyway. Thanks Q.
There is no shortage of great scenery to paint in White City. I’ve painted here a number of times – and have discovered another fan – Julian Bell. He creates drawings onsite and paints in his studio. We’ve gone out together a few times – here is the fruit of my labor:
And here is one of the Julian’s White City Pieces:
He doesn’t have a web site, but look out for his work, it’s cool and graphic, he also shows at the Ashland Painters Union.
Pear Packing Alley, South Fir Street Medford, Oregon Oil on Panel, 12″ x 16″ $500
Last Friday I woke up to a glorious sunny day – the first in months! We always get a February false spring – or February Fake Out, as some call it. Warm weather for a few days before it starts to rain again. I gathered up my stuff and headed to a street in Medford that I’ve wanted to paint for a long time. Pear orchards have been a large part of the local economy here for years and this street – S. Fir St in Medford hosts both Naumes and Tree Top packing plants. Playing with and paying attention to the perspective on this one was super fun. It was fantastic to be out working en plein air after many months stuck in the studio. Of course I have grand plans again this year to spend much, much more time painting outside. We shall see!
I have been thinking about it for months and it will soon be a reality. I am cutting way back on my administrative job in January to be able to paint full time (and teach a little bit). The prospect of not working for a regular pay check is a little scary but as my friend Amy said to me, “If you’re going to be an artist you have to be brave.
I drive through this intersection at least twice a day on may way to and from my day job.
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.
Well I have been very busy painting and working, I’m still finishing up the Smithfields series, I promise there will be some sort of splash involved. I will invite you all to the opening, and then once the pieces are “unveiled” I will show them here. In the mean time, I’ve just scanned some images of pieces I painted last summer. As you know, lately I prefer to paint urban scenes, and because the traffic and pedestrians move too quickly, they can’t be included, so the pieces have this nice isolation with all the buildings and the sun, making it look like suddenly there are no people in the world.
The weather is now nice enough to head out doors, I’m looking forward to traveling to Klamath Falls, Oregon, a town a couple of hours drive over the mountains. It’s high desert, lots of distance between trees, which I think makes for better paintings. I just have to plan it.
I’ve been taking photography classes from Ezra Marcos as well. I’m not trying to become a photographer, but I would like to have better photos for my Etsy shop and this blog. Check out Ezra’s work, it’s fantastic, very fun.