Monthly Archives: September 2016

Moving Between Sunlight and Shadow

Posted September 30, 2016 by Kerry McFall

Sunlight and Shadow at a festival

“Fall Festival 2016 Corvallis”, mixed media by Kerry McFall, 8 x 10 prints $25

The biggest challenge for me with  “urban sketching” is squirmy people.  Not only do people move constantly and strike awkward poses, they wander in and out of the light, in and out of my line of sight.  (Hey, that almost rhymes… ) Okay, that rose hedge in the center could be a little less pointy. And I only fudged a tiny bit by using a couple of photos I snapped to help capture the poses as folks strolled around the festival.  The actual Hat Lady was not quite this elegant or graceful, to be honest – she was more of an old-school unreconstructed hippie who just happened to have a really lovely hat… which is rare here in Corvallis, the honorary Capital of The Land of Dopey Hats.

But this was a fun challenge.  What started out as a quick sketch made from a shady bench became a watercolor with a story to tell.  Is the lady with the hat about to rendezvous with the guy in the orange sweatshirt?  Does he even know she’s there?  Or did the guy with the backpack, walking out of the picture, just realize that he’s been stood up and is going to the beer tent to assuage his broken ego?  And what did that shadowy little kid find under the tarp on the left?

Fall Festival is one of Corvallis’ seasonal trademarks.  Artists and artisans fill Central Park, each tent and booth representing at least an entire year’s worth of hard work and creative sweat.  I somehow doubt that most of the festival goers realize just how much effort it takes to get those tents up and decorated and stocked and ready for action.  For many artists, the circuit of summer tent sales like this are how they pay the rent, and it’s a tough way to make a living.  It almost feels like we the “shoppers” should leave a tip for every time we say, “I LOVE your work!” and then mosey on to the next tent without buying a thing.  Just sayin’.

Jiggity Jig

Posted September 13, 2016 by Kerry McFall

"Corvallis Farmers Market 2016", mixed media by Kerry McFall, 8 x 10 print $25

“Corvallis Farmers Market 2016”, mixed media by Kerry McFall, 8 x 10 print $25

Home again, home again… I have to admit, it’s a relief to be back in Corvallis after our summer as “vagabonds”.  Familiar landmarks and events, friendly faces… even with the few unwelcome changes (that hotel taking shape on the waterfront is HUGE, not exactly the same scale as most of the rest of the buildings… tsk) it’s good to be home.  We are still pet-sitting for another week while our AirBnB tenant finishes up his stay, but we’re back in town and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride is over for this year!

Before we got to town, we spent a couple of days at the Oregon coast, which is always good for sketching if you can find someplace out of the wind:

"Gulls and Cormorants on the Lookout", mixed media on toned paper by Kerry McFall

“Gulls and Cormorants on the Lookout”, mixed media on toned paper by Kerry McFall

I found a couple of small crab shells with barnacles growing on them – I’ve never seen that before.  Wonder what it means to the crab industry?

"Crab Shell with Barnacles", mixed media on toned paper by Kerry McFall

“Crab Shell with Barnacles”, mixed media on toned paper by Kerry McFall



Passion (Flower)

Posted September 4, 2016 by Kerry McFall

Along the crumbling cliffs of Bolinas Bay in Northern California, these vines twist their way into the hearts of shrubs and trees, popping out at unexpected intervals to dazzle passersby.

"Passion Flower Vine", mixed media by Kerry McFall, 8 x 10 prints $25

“Passion Flower Vine”, mixed media by Kerry McFall, 8 x 10 prints $25

The colors are impossibly vivid, bright 1948-vintage red seamlessly mixed with glowing magenta and barely-there pink, set off by a surreal deep purple hairy center circle.   Orange and gold nasturtium vines also climb the cliffs, but they seem mundane by comparison.  The passion flowers are uncommon in my Oregon Girl Experience, and therefore somehow seductive, fascinating, alluring.  Like men with French accents…

On the last day of our vagabond adventure for the summer, I wandered down to the cliffside in search of a landscape to sketch.  These vines kept popping out at me, like impetuous children playing hide and seek:  PEEKABOO!  Over here!  Here I am!!  So I really had no choice but to break off a stem, skip back to the house, and fire up my watercolors.

I took a photo of the bay, promising myself I’d do a landscape soon.  Along with all of the sketches and paintings I’ve promised myself I will do from the hundreds of photos I’ve taken from the rest of this fascinating, unique summer.  Soonish.