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July 2012

The 17th Annual Richard Schmid Fine Art Auction on Labor Day Sunday, September 2, 2012

 

I am very pleased to announce that two of my recent paintings have been accepted into the 17th Annual Richard Schmid Fine Art Auction in Rist Canyon on Labor Day Sunday, September 2, 2012

Oregon is no stranger to the massive forest fires that so recently burned in Colorado.  A major Smoke Jumping School (firefighters who jump out of airplanes to fight fire in remote areas) is located here in Central Oregon, and over the years I have become good friends with many of the men and women involved in understanding and fighting these fires.  They are devastating, affecting not only areas that are burned, but thousands of others - animals that lose habitat, burned neighborhoods that now must fear mudslides and floods, scars on the forests that take decades to recover.  I am pleased that the sale my artwork will go toward helping support the volunteer firefighters of Rist Canyon.   

This year you may participate in the bidding without being in Colorado - through online bidding and by phone.

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Fenceline. oil on mounted linen, 12 x 16

  live auction  - bid by phone

Fenceline owes it's inception to a painting I came across years ago, by Andrew Wyeth, titled Flood Plain, 1986  and his description of the work, specifically the comment "I looked out and wondered, What's that blue thing?"  It was the child-like wonder about things that raise our curiosity - the What's that thing? question raised by this master artist - that stuck with me all these years. 

One day as I was wandering around the local countryside, I came across a fenceline that was in the process slow decay through neglect. "Progress" was slowly forcing old ranchers off their land and pastures were waiting for the inevitible subdivision developer.  I wanted to capture the character of the land before it disappeared.  I noticed the way someone had cleared the area by throwing tree branches against the old wire, and the glimpse of orange from the rusting metal fence posts was visually exciting. The light was not particularly dramatic but it was the sense of "what's that thing" buried in the dense foliage that infuses this painting with interest.

 

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Summer Storm Coming, oil on mounted linen, 12 x 18

 Silent Auction Minimum bid: $300

Driving along the highway through north Central Oregon and there isn't much there to look at other than the huge cloud formations of the storms that come through during the summer, starting lightning fires out where there isn't much other than juniper trees and bunch grass.  There is a section of this highway that Oregon has designated as "journey into the past" highway - and this is usually defined as the small rows of buildings hugging the wide spots of the highway, miles and miles apart, and then a section identified as part of the Old Barlow Road - the last overland route on the Oregon Trail. 

It's impossible for me to put all of the vastness of this landscape into a single painting, and I am far more impressed by the power of the storms and the indefinable sense of something momentous just about to happen anyway.  All of the energy from generations past, back thousands of years - that energy is in the painting.  I like the feel of it. 

 

Click here to view my work on the auction site.

 

Click here to see the full list of participatng artists.

 

From the Richard Schmid 2012 Fine Art Auction Homepage:


The Act of Observation

     All creativity is born out of observation – the casual image, the unexpected connection between disparate objects, a burst of color that opens an emotional pathway to another story – whether we are painting, drawing, sculpting, writing, singing, our creativity is fueled by our capacity to observe.

     In the visual arts we often use our ability to see, not just objects, not just patterns or relationships, or color harmonies.  We often strive to see something larger, to articulate it using the tools at hand.  But to limit our experience to the visual sense makes the work harder to do. 

     The way I was taught to paint relied on the visual approach.   I would see a tree, and its relationship to the ground, then the ground/tree relationship to the hills in the far distance, then the sky above.  These were understood as objects, shapes, puzzle pieces, composition – words and language that told me how to describe what I was looking at, what to visually record on the canvas: the goal was to create a balanced and visually accurate representation of what was before me.  The external voice of authority acknowledged that I had recreated objects in a believable manner. But the internal imagination remained unmoved. 

     Over the past two months, I have come to more fully appreciate this distinction between seeing and communicating – and the challenges it produces.  For the first month after my husband’s diagnosis the studio door remained closed.  All energy was directed toward more important considerations.  When I eventually returned to the studio, my challenges had changed.   How to begin.  What to begin.  I became ruthless in wiping off paintings that bored me early on – and it seemed that I was always bored.  I refused to work on an idea past the point where, if it had been stale bread, I would have put it in the trash.  I knew I wanted to create, but I could not say what it was that I wanted to create.  Visually, ideas would interest me for a moment and then turn over and become something else.  No doubt I was frustrated, but I refused to excuse what I was doing by claiming it was subject matter or design elements that caused this dissatisfaction.  I turned back to language.  To describing out loud, to myself, that I was seeing a color that was warmer here, cooler there – yes, of course, every artist does this, but I also began to verbalize the idea behind the work, the challenge I was setting up for myself. 

     And as an artist, I understand how easy it is to become conditioned to a visual way of seeing, to not appreciate that seeing is not observing.  Most of us spend our time looking at work that gives us comfort, that we admire, envy, aspire to emulate.  Seldom do we really observe work that challenges this comfort zone – that asks us to reach higher, wipe off more frequently.  Somehow, the artist must find what it is that jumps like a sensation from one synapse to another.  The idea with meaning. 

     In a way we have all become too aware of the ordinary and have fallen into the habitual movement through our daily lives that leaves us blind to what is there waiting at our feet. But what we observe, as artists, is frequently different from what others expect to see.  It is our job, then, to open a door to the unexpected, to stir the imagination.

 

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Pine Cones, 12 x 18, Oil © 2012

From my daily walks with Bella.

 

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