The Perils of Plein Aire Painting


I grabbed my easel and rushed out the door to meet Nadia at the Volunteer Park Dahlia Gardens in Seattle again this morning. I was set up to paint by 8:30, when I realized that I had forgotten my palette with all of my paints in it. Duh! Making due, I had an even more limited palette of colors today, because I “borrowed” a tiny dab of red, yellow, blue, orange, green, violet, and white that Nadia had already mixed up. She had used pthalo blue to mix the green, which is what gives the pretty turquoise colors. I completed my one panel and was packed up in exactly 1 hour. It was such a good exercise and nice morning in the sunshine. It feels as if fall has arrived, but I am savoring the time outside.

Plein Aire Painting

Dahlia Gardens20190829_09262720190829_095448

Nadia and I spent a lovely morning Plein Aire painting at the Volunteer Park Dahlia Garden in Seattle. I had many little piles of paint mixed from paintings that I just finished, so I challenged myself to do this painting using just the colors that I had. It was fun to be out with so many people enjoying these spectacular flowers.

High Cascades

As we see the colors beginning to alter, and we move toward fall in the Pacific Northwest, I am reminded of the positive aspects of change.  On day last fall when the skies cleared, I put all of my plans aside in order to take a drive from my home in Redmond along highway 2 to Leavenworth, Washington. The autumn colors were at their most beautiful. I painted a series of images based on the photographs that I took that day. I don’t think you can ever go wrong taking the time to make stunning visual memories.

“High Cascades” is an interpretation of the journey along the Skykomish River. 

High Cascades Final

Olympic National Park

Recently we took my Mom over to Olympic National Park. Ironically, there is no place as beautiful as the rain forest on a sunny day! The air is fresh, the old growth forests are magnificent, and it is quite magical. That is what you get when the rain is measured in feet, not inches, per year. The beaches are pristine and undeveloped because all the way from the Straights of Juan de Fuca almost to Grays Harbor the coast is either Native land or part of the Olympic National Park. What a treasure we have right here in our back yard. The photo is of a 12″ X 16″ oil painting that I did of the amazing “Split Rock” a couple of miles hike up Rialto Beach. I feel a series of paintings coming from this rich imagery.

Split Rock at Rialto Beach


“Awakenings” is another oil painting in my Lopez Island series. I was standing in almost exactly the same place as the inspiration for “Estuary”. However, it was a different time of day and I was looking the other direction. There is so much beauty to see from the same vantage point every single time we experience it.




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“Estuary” is an oil painting in a series which I have been recently working on centered around the imagery on Lopez Island in the San Juan Islands of Washington state.  The still waters at the base of Fisherman’s Harbor  reflects the sky. This is one of many quiet moments spent walking the islands or floating aboard my boat in the islands which I have enjoyed for so many years.



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