Friday, December 29, 2006

Sketch of Hobo Stensgar

Henry "Hobo" Stensgar, is my neighbor and feeds my horses when I'm off on business. He's a Colville Tribal Member here on the reservation and would like to see all the cattle on the reservation replaced by buffalo. He hunts deer everyday and provides for his extended family and senior citizens. He loves to snag salmon down at Chief Joeseph Dam named after the famous Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce' who is buried on the reservation in Nespelem.

Hobo is generous enough to sit for me. He sits near the window and watches the mountains and field for deer and the occasional eagle that is cruising the Sanpoil looking for fish.


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

My Stuff on Ebay, sold

This was a warm day in February when I climbed a mountain to get this view of my neighbors ranch. I've cut hay using horses for years in the fields that are covered in snow.
This is a fork in the Sanpoil Valley of the Colville Indian Reservation where the highway splits and goes through the mountains east to Inchelium and north to Republic. It has been an area used for generations where native americans fished for salmon and camped before traveling on to distant homes.
I captured the deep cold shadows of "Cold Mountain" where the sun never shines in the winter. It's safe to plant your garden when "the snow goes off of Chillimoss Mountain."


"Draft Horse Drawing #182" 6"x8"

Every day I work in the studio I start the day sketching horses. My intention is to start a body of work that reflects my knowledge of working horses. I think what I will do is a series of horses working in a 'skyscape' to give myself an excuse to paint my two most favorite subjects.

What I have discovered is that it is necessary to do this excercise to maintain the 'visual vocabulary' I have attained with this subject. Where painting from nature whether plein air or alla prima still life is where one begins internalizing this language, it must be excercised to keep such images alive and believable.

As a subject the horse is difficult not only because of its complex and beautiful shape but because the subject is usually in motion. Over time I get more comfortable drawing the horse from different perspectives. Because having worked horses for more than 30 years I look forward to the paintings that I hope to do that impart my respect for my equine partners and the world as it should be if it weren't for the 'infernal combustian engine."


"Otter Bay Lobster Shack 2" oil on canvas 16"x20"

I continue to 'fix' this painting. A little too busy, I can't get myself to change the rocks anymore because I like the spiral composition of the seaweed as it flows into the rocks which I think suggests movement of the tide coming in. I put more detail in the lobster traps stacked on the warf and added a skiff that the lobster man climbing up to his shack has tied off to the pier. His lobster boat with the sail up to keep the boat into the wind in case it storms, is tied off to a buoy sheltered in Otter Bay from the open sea, a sea that goes off endlessly to where clouds are building on the horizon and portend heavy weather is coming.
Perhaps the sky is too blue but I guard against fixing it because everytime I do I get carried away and the painting changes. I have learned that the sky may look blue but is grey imbued with contrasting complimentary colors. Working with ones imagination you have to guard against what you think a thing should look like and what you have to do visually to make it believable.


"Forest Music, Tahoe" 4"x8" oil on mahogany $50

"Forest Music" 4"x8" oil on veneer

This is a painting done to assuage my imagination. Pulled out of the veneer it is painted on, this is an image fabricated out of the internal vocabulary acquired during plein air painting in the mountains of Lake Tahoe. Round granite, shaped by glaciation, clear streams, the manna of mountains that sustain the valleys, Sequoia whose roots and leaves filter air and water we breadth.
It has a bit to do with a series I have in mind regarding 'watersheds', which are the be all-end-all treasure that all good things literally flow from. Drinking, irrigation, flushing your toilet and in the PNW, electricity. Pretty mundane considering the real value of beauty and inspiration derived from the Sylvan platitudes of a burbling brook that nurtures giant redwoods, sequoias or ponderosa pine. Where gods and demigods, silfs, dryads and the fabled kingdom of Lothlorian come.
I stained the veneer with Prussian Blue and chose the middle value of ultramarine deep and raw umber, using Prussian for the darkest value and cad yellow for my highlights. As Michaelangelo was said to do, I gazed into the grain of the veneer until I saw the image that was there and proceeded to pull it out of the board simply watched the drawing unfold, careful to interject the right values to the appropriate hue. It is a technique very similar to working in scratchboard or as some say, ink board. Scratching through the ink to let the white show through, working light to dark and back again.
Fun stuff!