Barrel 42, Medford, Oregon

Barrel 42 Medford, Oregon 12″ x 16″

Brian Gruber Winery

It started with this composition for a smaller panel, but decided to move to the larger panel with more background info, which gave me a chance to play with an idea I’d been kicking around for a while.  I had been looking at the “Classical” landscape painting formulas and wanted to make a painting that used these principles.

claude lorrain pastoral landscape

Classical Landscape by Claude Lorrain – there are a million billion paintings made with this formula in the 18th and even into the 19th century.  The Ecole de Beaux Arts clearly taught this was the way you had to do it.  Nobody cares now, but it’s interesting how many paintings were made this way.

Google “Classical Landscape” here

claude lorrain pastoral landscape spiral

The composition spirals to for you to enter the picture on either side, the bottom is always darker value.

claude lorrain pastoral landscape zig zag

They always zig zag with close distance object on one side, going nearly top to bottom, then swing over to the opposite side for middle distance subject and then swing back for the far away view.

 

Oil Painting by Sarah F Burns

The close middle far is obvious in my painting.  I elected not to try to make spirals with clouds etc, because after all, my work is more about stark, aging American landscapes instead of fantastical ideal pastorals.  I did look for stuff to point to the subject, which was the green building, though, as well as the secondary subject of the far power lines.  I don’t always take time to carefully compose a plein air landscape, but it’s pretty satisfying when I do.

The location for this painting has a story too.  The green building houses a business called Barrel 42.  Brian Gruber and Herb Quady make Rogue Valley wines here, including the fabulous Quady North wines.  This is of particular interest to me, a native Southern Oregonian with an agricultural family history, because wine is overturning pears as the dominant agricultural product in Southern Oregon.  The big aqua building (so many of the old pear buildings are painted aqua –???) is called SOS – Southern Oregon Storage, or something like that.  The walls are super thick and maintain cool temperatures year round, perfect for storing barrels of wine, pears etc.  Of course these interesting places are always along railroad tracks because they used to use rails to ship things.  Not much anymore, as you see the side track to get close to the building to load up the goods is overgrown with weeds.  Time marches on, and it’s nice that the railroad tracks are seldom used, because they offer a quiet place to paint, and the tracks always have nice lines to play with.

Plein Air Painting Video

I participated in a paint out event in Roseburg, Oregon and while there, Michael Sullivan, photojournalist at the News Review created this little video profile.

Thanks Mike and check out his work at http://www.michaelsullivanphoto.photoshelter.com

Plein Air Trip to the Oregon Coast

Oil Painting by Sarah F Burns
McVay Beach, Brookings, Oregon
Oil Painting by Sarah F Burns
Samuel H. Boardman State Park, Oregon

 

Oil Painting by Sarah F Burns
Whaleshead Beach

 

Oil Painting by Sarah F Burns
Whaleshead Beach
Clifford Beach Grassland, Northern California
Clifford Beach Grassland, Northern California

 

Clifford Dunes, Northern California
Clifford Dunes, Northern California

My Trip to Paris — Part Two: The Paintings

I had an amazing time painting in Paris. Getting out and painting in this old city, known for centuries of great art, connected me to so many of my heroes and gave me a chance to meet lots of tourists and locals. I cannot wait to go back – there are paintings there I still really want to make!!

They are displayed in the order I made them.

Oil Painting
Hyacinths – on a Rainy Holiday in Paris

It was rainy and a national holiday, so all the museums were closed, so I bought some hyacinths from the nearby flower market and made a still life in the little apartment I was staying in with my aunt.

Oil Painting
The Louvre, as seen from the Tuileries

I love the Louvre so much, I must go back someday and paint the iconic entrance with the pyramid. When I first arrived, I shied away from making a painting that would be so direct, but after spending two weeks in Paris, where they really embrace beauty directly, I realized it’s just as affected to avoid beauty as it is to seek it exclusively.  Best bet is always just paint what moves you. Be real, even if it lands you in a cliche.

Oil Painting
From Pont Neuf, The Seine

Mid Morning looking sort of toward the east.

Oil Painting
Cincannatus in the Tuileries

With a view of the Musee D’Orsay in the background 9 to the left of the statue is  the tip of the museum, with it’s massive clock face peeking out a tiny bit behind the trees).  I finally had a day where Paris had those impressionist clouds you see in paintings.

Oil Painting
Sculpture in the Petit Palais Garden

My local friend showed me this wonderful little park.  Many paintings could be made here.

Oil Painting
Looking out of the Louvre Courtyard

Here I am, nearing the end of my trip, embracing the obvious beauty and being happy about it. Archway to a view with a grand building? The more the merrier.

Notre Dame, oil painting by Sarah F Burns
Notre Dame

My last day painting in Paris, I was under the influence of the Corots I’d seen in the Louvre. I was also recreating the point of view of some impressionist paintings I’d seen.

Kim’s Last Weekend

Medford Kim’s – a place glamorous and practical, exotic and so familiar, a place so many people carry special memories of, a place that has gotten more beautiful with age –  is being torn down, beginning Monday, Nov 10, 2014.  I’ve painted this spot twice before, and went out today to get make one last effort at documenting this place.

2014-11-07 14.21.36Kims Last Weekend

Kims Last Weekend

Kims Last Weekend  Kims Last Weekend

The demolition of this Southern Oregon landmark is a big deal here, so I even got a nice news piece – see it here.

Ephemera

Ephemera Building 2014
Ephemera Building Phoenix, OR

For those of you who have wondered what goes on in that nifty blue building on the Phoenix, OR main drag —- > click.

I kind of like the preliminary drawing too –

Ephemera Building Drawing

Land That I Love: Southern Oregon en Plein Air

Come to my show opening, Friday, July 18, 5 -8 pm at the Rogue Gallery, Medford, OR!

Rogue Valley Manor from Eden Vale
Rogue Valley Manor From Edenvale Vineyard
Plum Tree at Edenvale
Plum Tree at Edenvale

There are 20 plein air landscape paintings created in the Rogue Valley.  The pieces are arranged geographically and while some have been shown before, but many are new.  If I didn’t title my pieces so literally we could have a contest to see who could guess the most locations!

Kim’s

Pretty much anyone from Medford knows – and loves – this place.  It’s been closed for years, and I hear it’s been purchased by some big outfit and will likely be torn down soon.  ALL RUMORS, of course.  I don’t really know anything, except that it’s a great place to paint, although the black top gets pretty hot, even this early in the warm season.  It’s funny, I listen to audio books when I paint, and often I’ll look at a painting and flash back to segments of a book.  Carl Hiaasen for this one – not very deep, I’m afraid, but if he wrote stories in Southern Oregon, maybe this place would be in one.

Kim's  18" x 20"  Oil on Panel
Kim’s
18″ x 20″
Oil on Panel

If It’s So Much Fun, Why Are Artists So Crazy, Depressed, Moody and Weird?

TC Auto Sales, Medford, OR Oil Painting by Sarah F Burns
TC Auto Sales, Medford, OR

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

A belated post with my efforts for the Fixed Show at Ashland Painters Union April 2013.

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.

Looking South-ish in Phoenix, OR at the RR tracks on First St.
Looking South-ish in Phoenix, OR at the RR tracks on First St.
Phoenix, Oregon, First Street Looking North-ish
Phoenix, Oregon, First Street Looking North-ish
Phoenix, Oregon, First St Railroad Tracks, Looking North North East (ish)
Phoenix, Oregon, First St Railroad Tracks, Looking North North East
Phoenix, Oregon, First Street at the Railroad Tracks, Looking East
Phoenix, Oregon, First Street at the Railroad Tracks, Looking East

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.