Tag Archives: Belknap Hot Springs

Secret Garden

sketch of classical garden

“Secret Garden” mixed media by Kerry McFall

Mini-vacations are such a good idea.  We slipped away last weekend up Highway 126 to Belknap Hot Springs Lodge on the McKenzie River, where we soaked in the spring-fed pool, and I spent a morning in the “Secret Garden”.  It’s almost a secret, across a footbridge from the lodge, past the steaming source of the hot spring, along a path that doesn’t seem to have any destination, turn a corner, and there you are in Greece.  Or fairyland.  Or… somewhere with an elaborate multi-part fountain, tinkly waterfalls, and lots of bamboo.  Most of the time I was the only person there, happily painting away, my gear spread all over a classic faux-stone table and benches, but with a vague sense of unreality.

I took a lot of photos of the Real McKenzie, the place with the crystal clear roiling river, the place with the blue-green firs and droopy cedars, the place with the steep hazy ridges in the distance.  I want to paint them later.  But I didn’t photograph the places with the clearcuts that haven’t been replanted, scarring the hillsides.  Nor the haphazard “resort” developments being dug out of the sides of the river.  I don’t know which is worse, the abandoned clearcuts or the careless plantings of invasive bamboo.   Progress?  Growth?  Change for sure.

As so often happens, I didn’t have time to finish my painting on the spot, so I worked on it some more at home.  I put it through the Photoshop poster edge filter to see what it would look like if I added inked lines, decided it could use a good cropping, checked out the palette, then got bored with it.  I put all the bits back together on top of the first “raw” photo, and decided it was a good example of possibilties and lessons learned.  Time to get serious about studying perspective, or give up trying to get it “right” and just go more abstract, can’t decide which…  But mini-vacations definitely get a Thumbs Up!