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Saturday, March 30, 2019

Home Visits

by Rain Trueax

For the last year or two (or more), we've been getting calls from our Advantage insurance plan asking us to find a time for a home visit by a nurse. We didn't like the idea. It had no cost but seemed invasive. We finally decided we had to do it  if for no other reason than to not get the calls. We preferred, however to do it in Arizona. When in Oregon, with all the uncertainty involving raising livestock, to set up a date ahead of time can be dicey. These visits are supposed to take an hour per person.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

by Diane Widler Wenzel: What time of day does art inspiration and creativity peak?

Morning is my peak time for inspiration just as I am waking up, the most imaginative solutions occur to me. Like a couple of days ago I visualized what to write in this blog.

Half awake and half asleep poetry crossed my mind. Remembering one late afternoons last week out in back of us across the fields the trees were veiled in a transparent white swirl that came ttowards me. Smoke from a fire? Going outside to see where the smoke was coming, I did not smell smoke. Only ozone's scent!  I heard a steady beating on dry leaves. I felt a few drops of moisture before the hail and rain stopped at our garden's edge and then silence.  All was fresh and more saturated in greens than before.
 Tuesday morning was a sunny day for a ride to Newport. Fog snaking between hills inspired me to take pictures. Many willows made early spring colorful with Naples yellow thickets near by crimson tipped branches of Naples yellow light. The pussy willows are in their full bloom.The alder tassels hang from bare limbs.  Log and gravel trucks frequented the road from all directions. 
Just at the top of the grade in Newport we saw the ocean. 
Crossing the Newport Yaquina Bridge and its gothic inspiration tricks the lens to recording the cement with the appearance of metal as we drive across. We only stayed long enough to trade boat props for one that would troll slower for fishing. We hurried back to Albany to go break in the new motor at Freeway Lakes. We spotted wildlife and the dock was busy with fishermen since trout was released while we were there. But the lighting in the morning is more inspiring. And painting more satisfying even then the colorful sunsets. There is a little more time to paint in the morning then during a darkening sunset.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Spring and the Crow Moon

by Rain Trueax

We spent this week still waiting on the carport permit. This is so frustrating as it's about length of nails, amongst other things, a not understanding all the rules before getting into the game, and a city that doesn't appear to have enough employees to cover those needing permits getting them in a timely manner. If we were in the county, as we had been when we bought this place, the contractor would already have the carport built. As it is, process puts him and us on hold and not a thing we can do about it as any rushing the gun and starting to build without a permit and inspections would lead to a $500 fine and maybe having to undo what had been done. The power is in the hands of those who have no reason to worry about our schedule. 

Enough whining on that. We had two things interesting-- to us-- happen this week. One happened to everybody. The other was just for us.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Diane Widler Wenzel: Changes to oil painting started with linear marks

More balanced!  More depth! Feels much improved after reviewing my collection of on location gestural sketches described in yesterday's post.

Diane Widler Wenzel: Preliminary sketch? Or begin with impulsive marks?

contrast enhanced pencil
The first excitement when I feel the most alive is the feeling I want to express in my finished paintings. The  energy of the first impulse is the first thing I want the viewer to notice.The energy is in the gestural scribbled lines continuously flowing into a readable image. Maintaining the edgy excitement and the freshness is my ambition whether the painting takes half an hour or years to complete.

 Mostly I trust my instincts and begin my paintings by throwing marks then later developing them.  One exception is my annual springtime ritual of painting waterfalls. Usually when visiting waterfalls with a group, I only have time to do a drawing or a small postcard size sketch adding color with a pocket watercolor palette. For example: the pencil sketch to the left was done in about 30 seconds.  It pleases me as an end without even doing a painting specifically from it.

The pencil sketch was on a completely open accordion folded watercolor paper. Usually I would divide it into five large postcards in the horizontal landscape format.

The grouping of postcard sized watercolors each took maybe five to ten minutes on location using a small pocket size palette. I remember doing a few small changes afterwards.

Do I hear with my eyes water grinding rocks together?

The 24"x 22" oil painting was started on location at Knight Park below Cascade Head when I was taking a workshop from Jef Gunn at the Sitka Center.  The falls was about one and a half feet high. Rather than a photographic representation, I was after symbolizing the sound.

 I looked at this painting all winter wanting to change it because it didn't flow around the rock.   Should I keep my original intention to paint the sound of the water? Maybe doing pencil drawings and watercolor  sketches on location gave me a muscular memory of  how water flows.

Recreating a linear, gestural sketch doesn't work for me. Though these drawings make invaluable references for comparison. They set the bar for giving the impression of immediacy. To regain immediacy I play a combination of intellectual plan along with permission to let impulse win over control. I get all excited like when I first started the painting.

This week I did try a different approach of using a sketch book by filling a few pages with collages to be kept as an inspirational archive.  I cut  up my bad photos and cut textures from magazine. Then I watched a beautiful red fox hunting in the field behind us.. I went head long into making a painting without much of a plan hoping to capture how light footed these remarkable animals are and the beauty of the sun on their fur. The way I use sketchbooks will not likely change. So struggle I must without an exact road map to know when a painting is done. In the above painting maybe I need at least one rock rubbing another if I decide to keep the original intent of making sound visible. Or clarify the lower left quarter as being on the same level as the rock. The middle protruding just covering the top of the falls bringing the flat protrusion to the front.


Sunday, March 17, 2019

More on yesterday's thoughts

by Rain Trueax

 shared this morning by a friend on Facebook

Yesterday, I posted a blog and hope you will read it as it's about the New Zealand shooting, our problems with getting a building permit for a new carport, and the university scandals. I called it Slippery Slope because so much can be. We can't fear the slippery slope or we can't be nuanced. So many people fear doing anything based on it. We do though need to be aware of it in our decisions.

The post above is about where I think we need to concentrate to feel good about life. Whether we have problems in our own lives (most of us do) or see it in the world, we can't dwell on the negative and expect to find inner peace.  An example of that is below. 

When we look at a beautiful sunset from our Arizona home, we look beyond the power-line wires to see it. In a photograph, the wires tend to distract from the long-range view. I have a tool that lets me take them out to make a photograph more accurate to what my eyes actually see. 

This is how I see our lives have to be. Deal with the power-lines as in be aware of them, don't let them ruin the picture. In turbulent times, such as we certainly are living within, it's not always easy. It's however, I believe, the key to living a peaceful life in the midst of a time where a lot is not.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Slippery Slopes

by Rain Trueax

I had written the blog for today and then woke up Friday morning to another mass shooting, this time in New Zealand. This was another psychotic shooter, with no caring for other humans. His name needs to be forgotten, but we do need to pay attention to the meaning behind his insane rant. I didn't read all his words but enough to see what he wanted was one thing-- to strew mayhem. He put out some kind of twisted manifesto, which deserves to also be forgotten but what we should remember is how these kind of evil people want to divide and destroy others-- not just those they killed or injured but from all walks of life. He had excuses for his killings, but they weren't reasons. They were attempts to elevate himself and his cause of destruction. People like that don't deserve to be elevated. They deserve to go to prison for the rest of their miserable lives, never able to send out their words again-- words intended only to hurt others.

So, yes, I had a life this week and wrote about it. It'll be after you hit Read more. I don't intend to let that life be destroyed by the evil of one person. I do believe we all need to say less anger-filled words and be more inclusive in our language recognizing that good and bad exist sometimes side by side. We need to pay attention to the good and bring more of it into life. 

I intended Slippery Slope for today's title for other reasons but it fits what happened in New Zealand too. The slippery slope can begin with hate-filled rhetoric. I try to keep with the philosophy that if I don't like someone or what they say, sometimes it's walk away and other times it's try to make my point where it sticks to that point and not become an accusation. Nobody but the shooter is responsible for what happened in New Zealand, but life is better when we dwell on what is good-- not on what is bad. Some days are harder than others to do that. This has been one of those times. I have been waking up feeling upset without a firm reason for why and then i remember. I don't know how we escape that. The big thing is that we don't get dragged down by the lowest elements of humanity.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Diane Widler Wenzel: Entered a juried exhibit

Turnip Peel to Beach Debris
Last year I tried but failed to enter the Corvallis Arts Center's Around Oregon Exhibit.  The on line entry form was impossible for my antiquated technology. This year I still have the same old technology so I am very happy to report this time entering was much easier.  I was able to  transfer images to the entry form directly from my desktop without editing in software like Adobe Photoshop. My artist friends do not hesitate to enter because the entry process is friendly this year to low tech people like me.

Sand Dollar
         All five entries are assemblages of found things that are recycled including the frames found at Goodwill or a support found at Habitat For Humanity Restore. These assemblages are the latest generation of mosaic and assemblages that I started making in 1959 when I was in high school.  While in high school I started collecting broken glass and ceramic. But in the 70's I gave up my ambition to be a mosaic artist because a large collection of glass was not a happy medium for a mother of toddlers in a small house. Working in a neighbor's attic was not a solution. I even shared a studio in a commercial building in downtown Portland. So I used the building's dumpster to dispose of my immense collection.
           Two years ago I started recycling art and post industrial papers transformed into handmade papers. I started incorporating the paper and found objects into my paintings. Then last year I started collecting glass and found street debris into assemblages. The road debree is the right size and takes little space.
           I inherited my joy of gleaning and pack rat hording from my beloved mother. So I am happy to be able to enter some work into the Around Oregon Exhibit that might have a small chance to be accepted.

Second Chances

Saturday, March 09, 2019

change to Golden Gate Road

by Rain Trueax

Have I mentioned too many times that I don't like change. I am a creature of habit. I like what I like. But constantly I am bombarded by change. Life is change. So when I came across a new one this week, I was not pleased.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Diane Widler Wenzel: No failed Aquabords

Aquabord allows the watercolorist to paint on a surface that can later be sprayed with acrylic eliminating the need for glass protection.  Without glass there is no limit to how large the painting can be due to the weight of heavy glass. Not to mention the necessity of expensive framing! The watercolor quality on Aquabord can imitate ones made on paper.  But why stop at imitating painting on paper? Aquabord's durability and versatility begs to be explored. After completing a half a dozen paintings the past year and this winter, I found some characteristics of the board I like and some not. Unlimited working over, erasing and reworking is the best characteristic insuring no thrown away boards.

         A major plus for Aquabord is being able to wipe off a painting almost completely regaining the sparkle of the whites. This workability allows me to be very free and spontaneous. On rare occasions the first spontaneous marks express my intended poetic, primal movements of the outdoors location. Much too often I miss capturing an interesting intention.  But no problem the incomplete beginning becomes the object of loving experimentation. In the case of the 11" x 14" painting at the right, "Keiki Pool Kailua Bay", I struggled to get the movement of a windy day. I sat low to the ground with the painting in my lap to decrease the battle with the wind. The Daniel Smith Watercolor Sticks resisted pressure and broke unevenly on the textured surface of the board. I kept painting and wiping away.  The watercolor sticks were too saturated in color. I ended up using a prepared palette of tube colors mixed with Golden White Absorbent Ground.  The tooth brush made excellent texture that took on the appearance of the sandy bank. the conditions of the day impacted the painting. The paints dried quickly.
         To view the painting from a little distance, getting as far back as possible while remaining seated, the painting was placed on the ground. When on the ground the breeze blew sand that imbedded in the wet paint adding more fine texture to the even texture of  the manufactured board.  Finally it started raining and I left Kailua Bay before I expressed anything close to the atmosphere of the day. The clouds behind the palm were more about my struggle than the actual sky. In desperation the lower middle figure was simply indicated with a red swath in the form of a backward letter"C".  In the picture to the right  I wiped away most of the red as soon as I was back at the rental. Then at the resolution of the painting most of the red was painted back I needed red to make the young woman important and noticed.

The option of being able to almost restore the original surface, can have draw backs.  Becoming too comfortable with indecision! During most of the development I kept a sunbather added after the initial painting outdoors. The sunbather took up a triangular shaped space in the lower right corner. The removal caused an empty space in an other wise finished work.  More struggling to capture a unifying swinging life as though it came to be in one breath!  The corner must be worked alone while every touch to the surface is mindful of the swinging movement of the whole. The painting will never have the sure serenity of knowing what the intended general flow from the start.

I did not give up. Starting Feb. 15th, finally the painting is a result of little changes day by day until March 3rd. In the course of working the board, I now know how to remove paint and regain the white in the ripples of the pond by scratching the board with a fingernail. I adjusted to painting on a small surface up close with my new cataract replacement lenses corrected for working on large canvases where I observe the canvas from distances between three and six feet. After days of involvement,
       I feel a sense of accomplishment because the entire painting is like the shimmer of the breezy atmosphere.  I am comfortable with the size of the figures in the foreground and middle ground.  The painting reads well enough from a little distance. As yet I have not applied acrylic to make it permanent without glass. The commercial spray can is toxic and environmentally bad.  I may brave sealing it by brushing on acrylic medium and Liquitex Soluvar Matte varnish later. Care must be taken to keep from smearing the paint.  No way am I going back to glass!!
    I am not concerned with the imperfections when I have the whole movement working. The figures are much larger in relation to the real size of the pool. To accommodate these giantesses, the water gets deeper faster than in real life.  I deliberately took poetic license to exaggerate the way water is a part of the whole energy of the place and time. No matter how many questionable departures are taken such labored paintings always have some commendable parts and a wealth of ideas for future outdoor painting excursion.
          "The High Surf" was painted at our rental after observing the stormy crashing surf. The Daniel Smith Watercolor Sticks worked well on the Aquaboard when applied in pools of water that took awhile to dry leaving a line at their edges. The surf painting was completed in two sessions. Good to know because on a calm, hot, dry day the Aquabord lying flat on a table would be fun.

          Below center, "Kohanaki Beach" on a canvas board using Watercolor Sticks  proved  more friendly than the combining the sticks with Aquabord. The woven texture more easily accepted the watercolor sticks. The openness of pigment tinted whites and the pigments was a happy occurrence. The painting moved naturally from foreground, middle to distant. The openness lends itself to adding ink lines in the middle ground water. Back at the rental I added three figures.
          This linear style with color shapes and linear markings goes back to 1957.  My art teacher, Mr. Clark, at Portola Junior High School in El Cerrito, California introduced me to open color and painting outdoors. In his class I painted large swaths of bright color and then drew lines depicting objects on top with the colors extending beyond the boundaries of the lines. The style was further encouraged by Professor Frederich Heidel, my Portland State College painting instructor and some gallery venues and judges in competitions of the Watercolor Society of Oregon.

         These three paintings are being exhibited along with seven more at the Children's Farm Home in Corvallis through April.
          Also coming soon are new work at the Corvallis Caring Place Assisted Living. No Guild members came forward to show their work for March and April so I intend to replace what was showing in January and February but also a new work but also make some changes in the rest of the building where I manage the hanging. If some of you want to help me out and  have work stored in closets you would like to share, let me know please.

Saturday, March 02, 2019

letting go

by Rain Trueax
 bye bye

Okay, to start-- I do know inanimate objects don't have feelings and are not real. I know this logically. BUT, it's hard for me sometimes to know it emotionally. 

Although we don't name our vehicles, still the truck in the photo has meant a lot to my life for over 14 years. 
“If you don’t get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don’t want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can’t hold on to it forever. Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change. Free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death. But change is law and no amount of pretending will alter that reality.”