Winter has been rough in Oregon -- snow, freezing rain, flooding with heavy rain.   Its a surprise that I've been out in the field painting and sketching so much -- a surprise because I have not strung so many sessions together under such adverse conditions ever before.  I'm motivated to add an inventory of winter paintings, yes, but the motivation goes deeper.  I have a cause -- preserving the memories of the beautiful ponds and mountains that comprise the Oakridge Industrial Park.  That desire is the energy that keeps me going back for more, even when it is freezing cold and very noisey, distractions abound, but my focus has been steady.

Since the last blog, I've been up fairly close to a herd of elk at the OIP, made several plein air paintings, and perhaps ten line sketches of paintings that are germinating in my artist brain.  During the last ten days the environment has alternated between sunny and fairly warm to rainy and misty, and then to icy cold and snowy.  I've set up in a mud puddle, in about four inches of snow, sketched and videographed in the heavy rain -- and I've learned immensely in the process.  My January painting sessions are a matter of personal record -- in the form of videos on Youtube, and this blog.  My phone is running out of storage room, so I will be wiping some of these videos and photos in order to make way for spring work  The best videos are posted on Youtube on my channel SherriMcDowellArtist, should you be curious to see in more detail.

I plan several large studio paintings that will be based on photos, videos and my plein air sketches.  There just aren't enough hours in the daylight to do all that I desire.  But it is fun to try.  And the forces of change are relentless -- it is possible that as early as this spring my access will be limited to this gorgeous soulful place.  So I work whether the conditions are difficult or easy, whether I feel good or not.  It seems there is no choice but to keep painting and try to record as much as I can, both the literal sights and sounds, and the inner experience of them.

Today I spent about an hour working out a line drawing at the west end of the OIP.  Someday there will be a very wide panorma, perhaps even a diptych or triptych of the ponds from this side.  It will probably be based on the time I spent there when the ice covered the entire pond.  Today there was no ice, but it didn't matter because the session was about establishing relationships of big shapes.  I did take a video, it follows.

There are many ways the camera distorts the truth about what one sees.  That is why I'll be using the camera along with the plein air sketches made over the last couple of months.

Stay tuned! And happy Valentine's day!