I always been a seat of my pants kind of painter and enjoyed just starting in on a canvas without a plan and allowing the painting to become what ever it will. But, having struggled to complete two large paintings without a real plan, I decided that it probably a good idea to do some studies before launching into a big project so that I know what I trying to accomplish. Maybe I have a better idea of when I done, for one thing. Here are a couple of studies I considering for a larger piece. This is the largest painting I completed in quite a while. It a favorite subject of mine. I don know exactly why I so fascinated by these mooring dolphins but I love painting them. This is another view from Kelley Point Park, looking across the Columbia River toward Washington. Although I enjoyed painting larger, I really struggled to finish this piece or rather to decide when it was finished. I still not completely sure I done with it. Finishing is always tricky and I often decide that my energy would be better spent moving on to the next piece and trusting that it will build on the last one. I love (/hate) plein air painting but consider myself a bit of a hack at it. I have lots of excuses and I wanted to use many of them over the last 5 days, as I tried to paint some good paintings in Hood River. This is the first time I participated in a plein air competition and I really enjoyed painting with a group of extremely skilled plein air painters. Runs Like A Deere 9 x 12 oil on linen panel This is one of my entries, painted at the beautiful Sakura Ridge Farm and Lodge, above Hood River. Please don judge the place by this painting. The views of Mt Hood and the valley and the lodge were amazing. Click HERE for more photos of the paint out at Sakura Ridge. The opening reception is this coming Friday, Sept 7th at the Columbia Gallery of Art in Hood River from 4 til 9. If you in the area and want to see some extraordinary plein air paintings, please stop by. The show runs through the month of September. Sometimes I come across painters who make me want to rush to the easel and paint. Dutch painter Roos Schuring has that effect on me. Her paintings are such fun to look at and say so much with seemingly so little. I get the impression that she produces her paintings in 3 masterful brush strokes. Roos Schuring Landscape Spring #26 Changing Light Roos blogsite is packed with information including several very informative video clips showing her tools and methods. She paints under some pretty uncomfortable circumstances and has valuable advice on how to survive cold, wet and wind. Roos Schuring Seascape summer # 18 Lucky day white parasol I saving up for a Schuring of my own. This is our little mutt Miki. He a rescue dog that we got from a shelter, where he was listed as an American Eskimo mix. I believe the mix part but I think he has more Chihuahua in him than Eskimo dog. However, we looked for inuit words when naming him and settled on miki, which, according to our internet source, means small ice floe. Obviously, since he wouldn hold this pose, I painted this from a photo. He afraid of cameras, thus the defensive posture. I wasn threatening him, except with the camera. All in all, he a pretty good dog. One of the things that I hate most about exhibiting is writing an artist statement. I might start out with a vague idea in my head, inspired by something I seen or by another painting I just finished and want to continue on. With the painting above,I started out thinking about Richard Diebenkorn early figurative paintings, which are sort of expressionistic style="text-align:center;">Richard Diebenkorn with Flowers on Canvas and sort of ended up in pseudo-impressionism. I always loved those early Diebenkorns and find it fascinating how they morphed into the Ocean Park type paintings he so famous for. I tend to spend very little time setting up a still life and prefer to paint a scene I come across. Sometimes I try to put together a thoughtful still life setup but often get bored and just start painting and figure it out as I go. In this painting, I placed the pruning shears toward the end. I painted this blue bowl several times before, in the same size and format and thought this might become part of that series. It painted somewhat differently and I not sure if it fits as a series yet. Thinking . . . . .