Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought, where they write about ideas and creativity. Diane posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome as it turns an article into a discussion.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Dreams-- the night kind

by Rain Trueax





Generally my dreams are prosaic--rarely nightmares, just ordinary activities. When surprises come, they are from who is in the dream. These days, other than family, they are often people I only know online. I think the characters in the dreams are placeholders. 

Once in a while, my dreams are movie dreams, like watching one in Technicolor. Again, anybody can represent the main characters. I had one of those dreams this week, full of color, interesting events; and when I woke up, I rethought what I'd write for this blog

The reason I changed my mind is, I intended to write about mystery and how it works into my books. I had two blogs planned for the topic. Then came this dream and it seemed a good way to begin that series.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Metamorphas of dragon paintings


The viewer might see the dragon

Before adding a few cues


 
Favorite dragon painting
 of me embracing my dragon
"Sunshine" is a vase dragon that sold
This is a painting that might morph



Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Is good housekeeping possible when my home is where I make art?



A smaller house means there is less space to expand. Right? Wrong!  A ranch style house of 1,200 sq.ft. with few closets means there is plenty of wall space to have a rotating exhibit. The reason I was enthusiastic about our purchase of a smaller house was because there is less surface to clean and more time to paint. I thought. But do I have more time to paint when I run low on space to hang and store paintings? My dear husband worries I spend way too much time moving my paintings around.

Recently the new painting of vases was in the community show at Guistina Gallery, LaSelles Stewart Center on the OSU campus. When I brought it home, I considered taking it out of the frame because there was no space for it in my storage bins. I was depressed.  Retiring a painting so soon was against my rule of thumb of  keeping it around for at least ten years before recyling.  I didn't want to just take it out of the frame to shelve it with other archived paintings. I needed to have it up to inform paintings that I will do next.

Before
After

 I took action. When I will it, there is always a way to rearrange my paintings so they will fit. I am amazed at how hopeless it appears but I always find a way at least so far.



The new vase painting was done on a recycled unfinished painting from a series of vases I was doing in 2007. The other four paintings are completed paintings from that series that I will not paint over.   The ceramic vases under the reading lamp also came from that period. I shaped vases with a theme of what friends and family said they valued most. The ice cream cone symbolized generosity.

My arrangement allows me to think about whether or not I will continue the vase series in the next paintings I do. In my ranch style house even the most mundane tasks become a part of my painting process. So the amount of housekeeping may not be less than in a big house.  I  rearrange my work so often, my efficient use of time is probably poor.  But restricting the size of my collection requires creative choices like painting makes the tasks of living interesting. I just might have to rethink my retirement from selling.  Back to dreaming about my symbolism of vases and wondering where my next exhibit will be.

These two are loaned back to me
I so like seeing my old paintings,
I am willing to take them back
as loans, trades, or
have them designated in wills
to be returned to me.
 
Serendipity enters. A large 4' x 5"  painting that I never expected to sell sold. And two paintings of dragon vases  that the buyer took down so they could hang their new one are loaned back to me for the purpose of my exhibiting them in one of my shows.

I really, really enjoy my retirement from actively trying to sell my art. The exhibiting of these loaners will wait. They will inform my new work. Happy to see them more. I'll find a way to incorporate them in my home. Right?
new dragon painting, "Venting"
Tomorrow I will post how "Venting" morphed plus more dragon paintings.





Saturday, September 15, 2018

predators

by Rain Trueax

For years, there have been those who argued that cougars weren't actually dangerous to humans. They brought up the point that no cougar had killed anyone in Oregon (though they had to concede they had in other states). In 1994, this viewpoint led to a ballot measure, passed mostly by city voters, to ban hunting cougars with dogs-- about the only effective way they can be hunted. 

The ban has led to many more cougar in rural areas, such as where I live. Sometimes there has been concern when a cougar is seen hanging around a school, but in general the view has been the same-- cougar danger to human is not that big a deal and much exaggerated.


The photo is from a wildlife cam about a ridge over from our farm. It's not common to see five cougar together. This might've been a family.

Where we live, on the edge of wilderness, it is not uncommon to see cougar tracks or their kills. I've seen a cougar in the wild when I was a girl but not here. When we still had teens at home, they had been hiking on the hill above our house, heard the sound of a branch cracking in the brush. They then had something follow them down the hill. They didn't ever see it, but a cougar was most likely. 

Cougar will track prey quite a ways as they are waiting for the right spot, but they are also curious. More recently, neighbors told us they saw one walk up the gravel road in front of our house. That's beside our mailbox and about fifty feet from the front door.

Sometimes, we observe our cattle herd bunching instead of their more casual way of sleeping-- with their calves in the middle. They know something, but so far, we don't think we've had a calf killed by them. The herd has enough size to protect itself.

Locally, their kills are generally deer, but the house up the gravel road lost a ram to one. Because our sheep are kept closer to the barns, we don't know we've had a cougar kill one. They could take a lamb with them. They like to cache their kills. The thing to remember is they have to kill to live. They are predators looking for opportunity.

Camping has had us in their country, and while hunting deer, my husband went into one of their dens in Eastern Oregon. Seeing them in a zoo, I very much appreciate their physical beauty and grace but never forget-- they are predators.

This week, Oregon has a new story regarding cougar.


Here's the thing for those folks who thought a cougar would never attack a human. Why wouldn't they? If we don't have weapons, if they don't have previous experiences of being threatened by us, we are prey species. Yes, we are also predator, but where it comes to teeth and claws, we don't have much to offer in the way of defense. Despite that, there have been many confrontations with cougars that ended with the cougar backing off-- far more than kills.


So, if confronted with one, make yourself big, don't run, look them in the eyes, yell, and if it attacks anyway, fight back. The sister of the woman killed said the authorities told her that her sister had wounds indicating she had fought for her life, but it wasn't enough. It's one of those times where you can't guarantee an outcome.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Easy to mix paint on glass palette smorgasbord makes my day


 I got frustrated with the confines of a lasagna pan palette with parchment paper inserted with masking tape that wouldn't stick.  Every time I needed a new color, I squeezed a little from very old hard or messy tubes with caps encrusted with dried oil color. Yikes what a mess I had until I squeezed the tubes until they were completely rolled up. Some brands the neck of the tube pulls apart to release a blob of paint. My lasagna pan was so full there was no space to mix.

With no idea of which painting I would work on today, I put a 22" x 28"  glass on our dining room table.
Even without a painting plan I just transferred some cobalt blue and started mixing in white making  four values I did the same with thalo blue.


Then added alizarin crimson to the cobalt blue and yellow ocher and a few other colors. Painting indoors because the air quality from forest fires was bad, I used walnut oil, no solvents, and palette knives. Started painting with the bright salmon square. Abstraction of landscape came to mind so made off whites near the top and dark values near the bottom. The palette knife lent itself to rectangles and I saw basalt and trickles of water.

 
 
 
 








At the end of the day, I decided I had been working under a big handicap. I've got to improve my palette for working outdoors. A cookie baking tin?

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Saturday

by Rain Trueax


If you are a religious person, you will likely see this differently than I do. 

Life is not fair. 

I know how people want to think, but life is what it is. That's the best way to see it. Do what you can to make it better for yourself and others; but in the end, recognize-- it's not going to be fair. I don't even know what fair would mean.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Second look at the myth #1, "Stop before you ruin your painting"

"Ritner Creek 2017" is the painting from which a detail is the banner for the Rainy Day Thoughts blog. Maybe I should have kept theis painting as is. I destroyed the semblance of an impressionistic representation after visiting the creek in July and I discovered that the sappling tree had no leaves this year. Also the creek was shallow, warmer and the muddy bottom was visible.
First change
 
 
At this stage I became critical and wanted it to be more about the struggle of the dying or dead sappling



 
This is nearly like my general symbolic conception of a struggling sappling. The sapling was symbolically painted with broken bleached white limbs.  But it didn't satisfy me.  I chaned my mind about the painting earlier because the very thick imposto was limiting my gestures and in some cases I had to scrape the thick paint away. I wanted to at least recapture the fact that I was painting a sapling because it looked like a mature tree.
 
I hoped to challenge my last week's wisdom that it is brave and not to fear ruining your painting. I was sure I could work very hard and long and actually ruin the painting. But in the course of striking out some mark and replacing it with another much is learned with ideas for future paintings.  
 
 

This is my solution. Again  the sapling is made smaller
 by making the leafless bush larger, almost as tall as the sapling.
The sapling painting is more interesting to me but not at all sure
it is any better than the one I started to change this year.

Took over 20 years to paint "Owyhee Spring"


The Owyhee Spring is where we tied up our rafts to refill our water jugs. Originally I painted the ferns and moss like a poor photo I took of the spring. The photo has since become unimportant.Then around 1998 I painted the dry desert in the upper right over some of the vegetation and exhibited it. I thought it was done. Luckily it did not sell.
Then almost every year since I have made some changes especially to the way the water was falling. For awhile I would be happy each year. Then I would observe both the way acrylic paint goes on the canvas and observed more closely water falling into rivers on many boat rides since in other Oregon rivers. Painting this picture enhanced my enjoyment of nature.
Owyhee is a good example of why I am so sure that the directive myth of  quiting before overworking a painting is wrong for my art practice and development. I certainly lost the story of my surprise of this oasis in contrast to the desert but I have become more focused in observing water.