Monthly Archives: January 2016


"Victorian Lamp #1", mixed media by Kerry McFall, 8x10 print $25

“Victorian Lamp #1”, mixed media by Kerry McFall, 8×10 print $25

"Victorian Lamp #2", mixed media by Kerry McFall, 8x10 print $25

“Victorian Lamp #2”, mixed media by Kerry McFall, 8×10 print $25

We spent a few hours relaxing at Mc Menamin’s Grand Lodge in Forest Grove, Oregon recently, and I was enchanted by the quality of the light.  It’s an old Masonic nursing home facility-turned-Lodge, done up in the artsy style that only McMenamin’s seems to manage here in the Northwest.  Although it has some nice big windows, it’s quite dark inside on a January afternoon.  Several  “sitting rooms” have fireplaces, which provide their own uniquely warm orange energy, lighting the soul as well as the body and surroundings.  I am drawn to fireplaces like a moth.  I could stare at them for hours.  Our house doesn’t have one now, more’s the pity.

The Victorian feel of the Lodge is nowhere more obvious than in the lamplight – festoons of lace, taffeta, and silk fringe surround the pale golden bulbs, true to the era, with layers of sparkle thrown on from cascades of beaded strings and tassels. Inadequate though the light may be for reading, it’s fine for sketching.  It manages to pull the world in around you, cocooning you in a place where you can almost believe that everything is okay, and you don’t need to pick up that newspaper after all.  A man came in to the room where I was sipping my wine by the fire, plopped down on an overstuffed couch, and pulled out his cell phone… the cold blue reflection on his face was like a slap.  He didn’t stay long, it wasn’t his kind of place.  I was glad.

Posted January 27, 2016  by Kerry McFall

Winter Palette

Winter Landscape

“Willamette Valley’s Winter Palette”, mixed media by Kerry McFall, $35 8 x 10″ print

I had this post all ready to go a few days ago, hit the Publish button, and it just… went away.  Poofttt-t-t-t … off into the InterWebs somewhere, up there hanging off of one of Carl Sagan’s billyuns of stars…   So this is to test to see if the updates I did to the software “took” that day, or to see if I find gremlin fingerprints in the bowels of my computer… here goes.

Proper Winter

Even though we know that climate change is upon us, even though we know we can’t pretend it’s gone away even for just a month or two, even though half of our continent is having haywire weather this season… still, it just feels so right to have a bit of proper winter weather here in Oregon.

"Willamette Pass Summit", NFS, mixed media by Kerry McFall, photo by Ben Jay

“Willamette Pass Summit”, NFS, mixed media by Kerry McFall, photo by Ben JayT

The painting above was made (with permission) from a photo taken by Ben Jay the Sunday after Christmas at the top of a Willamette Pass ski lift.  Last year there was zero snow.  So far this winter, there is plenty – Hallelujah!  But there’s nothing like a mountain top view to remind us that we are indeed on a very round planet hurtling through space.  The clouds began to whirl around the sun about lunchtime, when this photo was taken, leaving little doubt that more snow was coming, and soon.  From my perspective as an artist, following that very pronounced “whirl” with my brushes was an epiphany about painting skies: no more flat horizons for me, if I can just remind myself often enough how effective this circular movement is!

"Out of Control", mixed media by Kerry McFall, NFS

“Out of Control”, mixed media by Kerry McFall, NFS

Meanwhile, as Ben was up top, I was down in the lodge, sketching and warming my hands around a hot toddy or two. My title  “Out of Control” refers to the central skier, a figure who reminded me too much of myself and my characteristic skiing style.  I was very content to be rubbing elbows with the ski bunnies in the lodge, rather than providing the comic relief  out on the slopes.

It wasn’t really much warmer inside than outside. I was wearing full winter gear (except mittens) the whole time as I sketched and painted.  One man watched me draw for awhile as he ate his lunch.  When I got out my paints, he said, “It should be easy to paint snow – just leave it blank!”  I told him I was about to conclude the exact opposite as skiers and snowboarders slashed down the no-longer-smooth white slopes.  How to portray those tracks and cuts and popcorn mounds – so many subtle shades of … what? purple? blue? grey? green?  Fun to experiment!

"SnowyFir", mixed media by Kerry McFall, NFS

“Snowy Fir”, mixed media by Kerry McFall, NFS