Tag Archives: Oregon artists

Wine and Watercolor

We recently drove with my mother to King Estate Vineyards, where I told them that what they really, really need is an Artist in Residence… what could be better than spending your afternoons painting and drinking wonderful wines?  And I nominated myself, of course – now to persuade them!

"King Estate Patio" mixed media by Kerry McFall

“King Estate Patio” mixed media by Kerry McFall

We enjoyed a gourmet dinner on the patio, looking over the flowers and hummingbirds out to the Willamette Valley and it’s ever-so-green-and-gold meadows and hillsides.  I sketched and painted between bites and courses, concluding that hummingbirds are going to take some more practice.

Lavender blossoms send up their sweet scent all around the restaurant and winery, planted in every possible spot and at the ends of the grape rows.  As we left, I snapped a few photos of the shadows creeping from the big firs on the hill crest over the rows, undulating across the curved hillsides… you don’t see shadows this shape in most vineyard paintings!

"Lavender Shadows at King Estate Vineyard", mixed media by Kerry McFall

“Lavender Shadows at King Estate Vineyard”, mixed media by Kerry McFall

Studies in Small Sizes

I’m running out of watercolor paper and haven’t gotten around to buying more.  After my Plein Air class this summer, I’m also trying to answer the question, “What size do I like best?”  My first instinct is that landscapes seem to demand big paper, yet my favorite paintings made by class members were invariably the smaller ones, some just 4 x 6″.  Smaller is also easier to squirrel away in a binder or portfolio for storage.  Given these three factors, and a very strong urge to sit and stare out the window at the changeable weather, this weekend brought a couple of 6 x 6″-ish studies of Small Things.

Like one leaf.  Oregon’s fall foliage doesn’t exactly blaze.  Native ash and oak leaves turn the color of paper bags mostly.  Vine maples and poison oak do a good job of providing some brief burgundies and oranges.  Sometimes you’re lucky enough to wander into a birch or aspen grove for a bit of gold.  And of course, evergreens stay… green.  Not that I’m complaining!  You just have to look really closely to see what’s going on in all those paper bag brown leaves:

Ash Leaf, mixed media by Kerry McFall

Ash Leaf, mixed media by Kerry McFall

This specimen, one of the first to drop, was laying on the damp trail at Bald Hill.  The black mold pattern caught my eye, and I decided I’d try to adapt it somehow to a pattern design.  First order of business, figure out how to get something close to that spotty black-on-paperbag pattern… watercolor, spattering, colored pencil, ink… nope.  Didn’t quite manage it.  But it was a fun start.

Next up, a duckling vignette to send to a very small person in Germany along with a book about cartoon ducks… I thought it would be good to show him that REAL ducks don’t wear rubber boots or baseball caps:

sketch of mallard duckling

Oregon Duckling, mixed media by Kerry McFall

This little mallard walked “duck-footed”, to the point that he kept tripping on his own feet as he waddled along.  He and his two siblings paused long enough for a brief photo shoot in spring at the Starker Arts Park pond.  I wonder what ducklings say in German?

A Little Chaos in the Sandbox

“Sandbox Shakers”, mixed media by Kerry McFall


"Hint of Chaos", mixed media by Kerry McFall

“Hint of Chaos”, mixed media by Kerry McFall

Abstract!  By George, I think I’ve got it… as close as I’m going to come in this lifetime I suspect.  After scribbling for three weeks in a row as the Sandbox crew drummed and played for a couple of hours each session, I finally let my pen just dance around on the paper.  I left the sketchbook to sit and mellow on the music stand of our piano in the living room for a few days, then picked it up again this afternoon and let the fun begin with Photoshop.  Above is the result of just messing around – sort of a squirrelly portrait of Rob Birdwell the more I look at it…

Below are a couple of others I did the same night.  Once again, a young musician stole the show in my book, this one very young – middle school maybe? – but just drawing his hands as they flew over the drum, it looks to me like he’s got a future in musicland.

"Young Drummer", ink sketch by Kerry McFall

“Young Drummer”, ink sketch by Kerry McFall


sketch of carved marimbas

“Sandbox Shakers”, mixed media by Kerry McFall