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

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

Kid Menus, Kids Menus, Kid’s Menus OR Menu for Kids

sf kids menu farmer josh dinner web size NOT FOR PRINTING

sf kids menu farm brunch web

Eventually there will be a third one…..

Locals might be able to guess the farm and the farmer featured in the menus.

 

Preview Piece Two

I promised a preview of my show that opens Friday and here is part two.

Whaleshead Beach, Brookings, OR
Whaleshead Beach II

  We had some brutal smoke from wildfires this year (we get it every summer but this year was the worst since 1987 apparently) and many of us cut out and head for the coast when it gets bad. The valley I live in is surrounded by amazing wild lands, when they burn, the smoke gets trapped and we choke til the wind changes or it rains – which can take weeks.  Anyway, this lovely day at the beach was made especially blissful because it was an escape.  Sunny, breezy, warm and cool at the same time.  ahhh.  So nice.  Painted on site en plein air, the breeze blew bits of sand that are stuck in the paint.  I love this.  It could never be faked and I’d never want to take it out.  It’s an important part of the painting.  Part of the experience. This piece measures 16″ x 20″.

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.   😉