The Friends of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument hold a monthly event called a Hike and Learn, where the invite someone to enhance participants’ experience of the monument with their expertise. They have invited me to lead a Hike and Learn on the subject of Landscape Sketching! The monument is pretty neat because it has some of the greatest bio-diversity in a concentrated area in the United States. I’m a big fan of using my art as a tool for documentation, so I’m looking forward to documenting this significant location this week and weekend.
The Hike and Learn is open to all, and is free to attend. On Friday evening I will give a slide talk that goes over the basics of sketching the landscape. Then Saturday morning, we will all meet up and head to Hobart Bluff to hike a little and sketch out in the wild. We’ll meet back around lunch time and share our successes and struggles.
And the local paper – Ashland Daily Tidings has done an article on the event — check it out here.
Photo by Bob Pennell for the Ashland Daily Tidings – That’s me with the crazy grin, pretending to be on my way to do some landscape painting.
Details and Further Info:
Hike and Learn — FREE
Limited space, please sign up as space is limited by sending email to: [email protected]. Email title: Hike & Learn SKETCH Email body: Your name, email, address, phone
Friday, August 21, 6:00-7:00 pm
Slide Talk at the Ashland Public Library
Saturday, August 22
Hike – Meet at the Shop-N-Kart Ashland Parking Lot at 9:00 am to caravan up to Hobart Bluff
Hike and Sketch from 9:30 – Noon
Filed under: Classes, Drawing, Landscape, Uncategorized Tagged: 2015, Ashland Daily Tidings, drawing, Hike and Learn, Inspiration, landscape, life, oregon, plein air, rogue valley, Sarah burns, sarah f burns, southern oregon
I came to Hanley Farm to paint and had a hard time choosing a view, because I liked so many views, so I painted one
Experimental Lavender Patch at Hanley Farm
and then painted another
and that one was painted in the same scale and basic location as the first, so they both fit together, which made me motivated to make the third view
so they all fit together like a puzzle.
I often listen to audiobooks when I paint. Whenever I look at a painting I made, I think of the book I was hearing while I worked. The middle and the left painting make me think of Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane. The painting on the right makes me think of The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler. And maybe the beginning of The Maltese Falcon by Dashiel Hammett. The Big Sleep and The Maltese Falcon feel so similar that they kind of mentally flow together. I recommend all three books.
Filed under: Landscape, painting, Paintings Tagged: 2015, art, hanley farm, landscape, medford, oil, oil painting, oregon, painting, plein air, rogue valley, roxy ann, southern oregon
Quiet study, I could have worked on it for longer but had to move things for other studio activities, so another painting ends without being a masterpiece. Such is life. I like it anyway, but, you know, I’d like it more if it were better.
Coffee Cup and Egg
I did work on it long enough to tilt all the grays so the painting seems colorful.
Filed under: painting, Paintings, Still Life Tagged: 2015, oil, oil painting, still life
McVay Beach, Brookings, Oregon
Samuel H. Boardman State Park, Oregon
Clifford Beach Grassland, Northern California
Clifford Dunes, Northern California
Filed under: Landscape, painting, Paintings, Uncategorized Tagged: 2015, art, landscape, oil, oregon, painting, plein air, Sarah burns, sarah f burns, southern oregon
This summer! Join me for a weekend workshop focused on painting flowers from life. Each student will have their own fresh floral bouquet to paint. We’ll focus on the capturing the character of the plant, value, color, composition. Each morning I will demonstrate a stage of the process. After a relaxing lunch, students will work on their paintings with one-to-one instruction. We will have a fun a productive time.
Painting Flowers from Life
taught by Sarah F. Burns
Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, August 15, 16, 17, 10am-4:30pm
Location: Rogue Gallery and Art Center, Medford, Oregon
All Skill Levels
Capture the beauty of flowers using a fresh bouquet as your reference while you paint on canvas. With clear instruction you will learn how to manage light, color, and texture that can develop your work into an alluring piece using oil or acrylic.
$165 Members, $185 Non-Members.
Students will bring their own paints, brushes and canvas of choice, I will provide the flower arrangements, set up and lighting.
Filed under: Classes, Flowers, Paintings, Uncategorized Tagged: 2015, class, floral, flowers, oil painting, painting, rogue gallery and art center, rogue valley, Sarah burns, sarah f burns
I had an amazing time painting in Paris. Getting out and painting in this old city, known for centuries of great art, connected me to so many of my heroes and gave me a chance to meet lots of tourists and locals. I cannot wait to go back – there are paintings there I still really want to make!!
They are displayed in the order I made them.
Hyacinths – on a Rainy Holiday in Paris
It was rainy and a national holiday, so all the museums were closed, so I bought some hyacinths from the nearby flower market and made a still life in the little apartment I was staying in with my aunt.
The Louvre, as seen from the Tuileries
I love the Louvre so much, I must go back someday and paint the iconic entrance with the pyramid. When I first arrived, I shied away from making a painting that would be so direct, but after spending two weeks in Paris, where they really embrace beauty directly, I realized it’s just as affected to avoid beauty as it is to seek it exclusively. Best bet is always just paint what moves you. Be real, even if it lands you in a cliche.
From Pont Neuf, The Seine
Mid Morning looking sort of toward the east.
Cincannatus in the Tuileries
With a view of the Musee D’Orsay in the background 9 to the left of the statue is the tip of the museum, with it’s massive clock face peeking out a tiny bit behind the trees). I finally had a day where Paris had those impressionist clouds you see in paintings.
Sculpture in the Petit Palais Garden
My local friend showed me this wonderful little park. Many paintings could be made here.
Looking out of the Louvre Courtyard
Here I am, nearing the end of my trip, embracing the obvious beauty and being happy about it. Archway to a view with a grand building? The more the merrier.
My last day painting in Paris, I was under the influence of the Corots I’d seen in the Louvre. I was also recreating the point of view of some impressionist paintings I’d seen.
Filed under: Flowers, Inspiration, Landscape, painting, Paintings, Still Life, Uncategorized Tagged: 2015, flowers, france, Inspiration, landscape, louvre, oil painting, painting, paris, plein air, Sarah burns, sarah f burns, travel
I went to Paris for the first two weeks of May this year and my trip was entirely focused on studying art. I went to the Louvre six times – not nearly enough. I also visited the Orsay, Musee Bourdelle, Montmartre, saw Velasquez show at the Grand Palais, popped into the Musee Carnavalet and I know I missed a PILE of other great stuff.
I documented my trip in paintings and drawings. Most of these drawings were made in the Louvre – where I actually was moved to tears a few times; putting this album together brings back a bit of the emotional experience.
Filed under: Drawing Tagged: 2015, art, art history, drawing, drawings, figurative, figure, france, landscape, louvre, master copy, paris, Sarah burns, sarah f burns, sketch, study
Today I’m going to highlight paintings by my friend David Rosenak. This may be the longest post I’ll ever make. He has four paintings up at the Portland Art Museum this year – 2015 – in the Northwest Contemporary section. GO SEE THEM. While you’re at it, mention to PAM that they should do a better job of pointing out where these paintings are; I’ve been to that museum probably 25 times and I always have to figure out where in the world that particular gallery is.
(untitled), David Rosenak, oil on plywood, 7 3/4″ x 7″, 2008
There are so many things to say about David – first and foremost is that his paintings are absolutely captivating. I happened to stumble across two other pieces at the Portland Art Museum a few years ago. I clearly remember thinking, “who painted these!??” — and life is amazing sometimes, because I actually got to find out who, and become friends with the painter.
Oil Paintings by David Rosenak – Portland Art Museum 2011
Plaid Pantry, oil on plywood, (2010), 9 7/8″ x 10 3/8″, David Rosenak, On View at PAM during 2015
I found out because I posted an image on my blog and David vainly googled himself. (Just kidding David, not vanity so much as housekeeping – right? What you can’t see here is that I realized I should google myself to see if anything is interesting there. Not really. It’s only stuff I put on the web myself. So okay.) Anyway, David found my blog, read it, and actually liked my paintings too! At some point, he emailed me and we started talking about painting, art we admire and being an artist.
(untitled) by David Rosenak (c.2001-2003) Oil on Plywood 8″ x 9″, collection PAM
Over the course of these conversations David has become sort of a mentor or an example of having integrity as an artist. So, to set the stage for how he has been an example, I’m going to share where my head is/was. I felt — and still feel — internal pressure to legitimize my obsession with art by turning it into a business. But I’m not capable of “branding” myself with a style and making pieces that are predictable and popular. I absolutely think art is a noble profession and if people sell their work well enough to put food on the table, I think that’s awesome! It’s great when art can be appreciated widely, but if you’re an artist you also know there’s an icky, slippery slope to fall down when you’re making art mainly for other people. On the other hand, most of us are not simply expressing ourselves for its own sake, but trying to reach out and connect to some unknown viewer in an authentic and sincere way.
Along with that struggle, there is the battle for technical skills, real ideas and the essential but unpredictable spark of magic that makes good pieces work. It can take years to even come close to making something really special. Years of self-examining, persistent, steady work. To be really great, you have to start young and have some successes; many of those successes are self delusions, but that’s no matter, they keep you going, keep you pushing forward. After all that you still may not have achieved something great, or may not get recognition until you’re gone. It can be such a strange and insane undertaking to “be an artist”.
So here I am, needing to justify all this by making it a business and I meet David. The time when I meet him and first see his work is at a point where he has achieved something special through years of trial and error and persistence. His work is desired by collectors, galleries want to sell his work, and David simply says “No, thank you”. He does not sell his work. I repeat — his paintings are not for sale. He has goals for his work, for sure. He doesn’t create it “for himself” – as the corny line goes. He wants it to be seen in the world by as many people as possible. He knows how long they take to make, how hard he worked to make something he is truly proud of and he wants to cast them in a place where they have the best chance to grow.
And he knows they are precious. They take months and months to complete. He puts scores of hours into each piece. Because time stops for no man, his window for making them is pretty small – as it is for us all – but heightened by the fact that ten years ago David discovered he has Parkinson’s disease, which causes tremors, making painting tiny things a challenge. When he first noticed the tremor it was in his right hand, and after three years he trained himself to paint with his left. (This is so typical of David. Persistent.) Now he can only paint on his good days, still with the left hand.
(untitled), 2011, oil on plywood by David Rosenak, 8″ x 8″, on view at PAM during 2015
More interesting things about David: he is color blind. When David was young and testing out his influences, he tried a few paintings in the style of Wayne Thiebauld, but since Thiebauld’s thing has a lot to do with color, David realized he was trying on someone else’s shoes (we all do that when we’re young, but some of us never grow out of it). Then he noticed his primary teacher was making some greyscale paintings, and he realized he’d been fighting a battle with color he had no hope of winning, so he switched to greyscale in 1981 and hasn’t looked back.
(untitled) 2013, oil on plywood, David Rosenak, 18 3/8″ x 16 3/4″, on view at PAM during 2015
For Sarah, 2014, oil on plywood, 3 1/2″ x 10 1/2″, collection Sarah F Burns
I’ve seen still lifes, cityscapes and figure drawings by David, and they’re all really good, but the little cityscapes are the best. David has painted cityscapes since the late 80’s; he showed me a few scenes near his house in a medium sized scale. And they were cool. Then he made them small (nothing larger than 20″ and most average 10″ on the long side) and bam! They suddenly really worked. As the scale was becoming more intimate, the subject moved closer and closer to his home. All the views are of his back yard or his view toward downtown Portland. Since he has the subject, scale and approach settled, he is focusing on compositions, and they get more and more mature. He likes to joke that he is essentially making the same painting over and over again in an attempt to improve it. And he has many plans for new paintings within that framework. The adage of freedom coming from limitations is really true, I guess.
(untitled) 2007, oil on plywood, 7 3/4″ x 5 7/8″, David Rosenak, on view at PAM during 2015
Poppy, oil on plywood, David Rosenak, collection of Maureen Caviness
Since his subject matter is his yard and what he can see from it, it’s useful to say something about his home. He has a wild, artsy little compound in SE Portland, full of cats and dogs and amazing plants, and all tended to by his neighbor and long time friend, Moe (Maureen). Moe is a gardener and you see in the paintings records of Moe’s work and their friendship. David lives kind of like a cat, moving around his territory, napping, enjoying bits of shade or bits of sun, walking over to his studio a few blocks away to paint, taking the bus across the river to his day job. His paintings are like a cat would record things because they feel so still, yet so full of life. Like a cat they contain long moments of stillness while being ready to spring to action at any second. They’re also neutral like a cat. They’re not saying, “Let’s go do this!” or “Think this!” but, “This is fine as it is. I’ll find a comfortable place here.” They say, “I see it all, and it’s fine.” They’re so documentary and so neutral that they create a deep feeling of calm. It makes me feel like the best times in the world are those times when you take your coffee outside in the sun and sit and soak in the world, with your friends or without. I love the little figures who are doing just this. They’re Moe and David, and they’re just standing there like they’re thinking, trying to decide what to do next. Pondering something, calculating. Trying to decide which thing they could do today. Or if maybe the day is best spent sunning, checking the mail, weeding a bit here. Taking a break in the business of the day to pet the cat.
(untitled) 2002-2004, David Rosenak, 10 1/4″ x 10 1/2″, oil on plywood, collection PAM
So anyway, David Rosenak’s work resonates with me deeply and while I actually do really like to sell my work, his example has helped me to relax and focus only on making work I feel really good about, and let the chips fall where they may. It also gives me hope that one day, some stranger will see my paintings in a museum and say, “Who painted these?”
Filed under: Inspiration, Landscape, painting, Paintings, Uncategorized Tagged: 2015, art, artist, cityscape, david rosenak, greyscale, grisaille, landscape, musuem, oil, oil painting, oregon, painting, PAM, portland art museum, urban