Dreaming of Sedona

I was looking through pictures I've taken this year, and one picture I took at Sedona really called out to me, so I decided to paint it. My trip to Sedona was a couple of months ago, but it feels like a long time has passed already. It was a truly inspiring location.

Alder Woods

Have you had that experience where you are in a wooded area and the whole scene in front of you evokes both wonder and calm? Then you get your camera and take a picture of it, and all you get is a wall of unappetizing green. The reason, I think is that what we feel in the woods is only partly what we see. It's also the cool breeze we feel, the rustling of the leaves, the crunch of the ground underfoot as we walk. It's not easy to take a picture of that, and it's not easy to paint it either.

This painting is as far as my abilities go in trying to capture my experience of a wooded area. I hope at least I have conveyed some of it.

P.S., I did not grow up in the US, so I actually don't know a lot about what the local flora are called. But my fellow artists helpfully mentioned that these were alder trees I was painting.


Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island is a stunningly beautiful park in the middle of the island. The grounds are superbly maintained, and I encourage people to go visit when they are in Bainbridge. This willow by the pond really caught my eye, and it was quite impossible to ignore, really.

Dealing with all the greens were quite a challenge for me with this painting. Also, you might have noticed my recent efforts at trying to get better drawing accuracy. Getting tree forms to look like a certain kind of tree rather than just a mass of green was also quite the challenge.

I have more about the Bainbridge Island paint out at the PAWA blog.

Umptanum Creek

This is the other painting I did in Ellensburg last week. I debated with myself whether to post this one... The water may be too flashy. But maybe I could use some flash in my paintings :). 

My last few paintings seem to contain water in them. Water is so essential to life that I think as human beings we are hardwired to being captivated by it. That's my excuse anyway.

Pond life

I painted this from a photo reference I took while painting a the Nisqually park earlier this year. Normally, I find it really difficult to paint from photos. I think that the colors are always different from what I remember them to be. This time, I tried pushing the colors to a more saturated level. I think it worked.

I might have to start taking more photo references.

Yakima River Canyon Morning

It's amazing how different the landscape is just a couple of hours drive away from Seattle. The Yakima River Canyon's basalt cliffs can rise up 2000 feet. I painted this scene under a pedestrian bridge with Melanie Thompson and Laura Gable, a couple of friends from Plein Air Washington's Eastern Washington contingent.

You can read about it at the Plein Air Washington blog. I am PAWA's blogger now, I think because I am one of the more active attendees of these plein air paintouts.