Monday, February 28, 2011

Kittitas Hay, Big Sky

Kittitas Hay, Big Sky. ©2011 Lisa McShane. Oil on Canvas. 36" x 36".
The skies in eastern Washington are big and vivid. This area - Kittitas - is windy and the cloud formations there are often extravagant and dramatic.

This is a painting of corn and a hayfield. Kittitas county produces a lot of hay, some of which is shipped to dairy farms near me but a lot goes to Japan through the Port of Tacoma. Three years ago I had the opportunity to tour the hay compacting plant and meet with the owners and our Governor. It was a fascinating look at the transportation and shipping plans for an expanding company.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Rattlesnake Twilight - follow along with me on Facebook!

This is a page from my sketchbook where I began to work out the concept and general shape of a new painting, Rattlesnake Twilight.

Last fall a visitor to my studio suggested that I document a painting each day through to the finished painting because - unlike a direct painting - these go through a slow but dramatic change.

So I'll be posting the photos of my progress on Facebook. If you don't follow me, please look to the right and click. That's where I'll be most diligent in sharing the images of progress.

What you see here is simply the general land forms. After much thought I decided to include an immediate foreground with bunchgrass, to the left a close hill and then in the distance, the fields, the scabland, the Yakima River and then Rattlesnake.

The decision to include a close foreground is always a big one for me as my preference is often the big sky and the vista. But I've been looking at the Luminist painters and the Tonalist painters a great deal - especially Cole and Inness - and in reference to their work, the foreground will be in shadow. The light will be in the middle at the skyline and the land forms will be fairly dark.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ahtanum Ridge

Ahtanum. ©2011 Lisa McShane. Oil on Linen. 20" x 36".
It's been a great week of painting in the studio! This is finished, after many adjustments to the foreground glazing and many repaintings of the sky. And, very important, I started several paintings that I'm excited about.

I listen to a lot of music in the studio. Generally I shuffle about 8 days of songs in my iPod but after 3 straight days I decided to order new music. I ordered 5 new CD's: Arcade Fire, Mumford & Sons, Black Keys, the Decemberists and Head & Heart. I also ordered tickets to next week's Josh Ritter show in Seattle so it was a great day for painting and for music in my studio!

The area of this painting is between Ellensburg and Yakima in Washington state, near the Yakima Firing Range. Not a place to do a lot of hiking. But it has wonderfully eroded hills.

Monday, February 14, 2011

My favorite love poem - West Wind 2 by Mary Oliver

for Dan on Valentine's Day

West Wind 2
by Mary Oliver

You are young. So you know everything. You leap
into the boat and begin rowing. But, listen to me.
Without fanfare, without embarrassment, without
any doubt, I talk directly to your soul. Listen to me.
Lift the oars from the water, let your arms rest, and
your heart, and your heart's little intelligence, and listen to 
me. There is life without love. It is not worth a bent
penny, or a scuffed shoe. It is not worth the body of a 
dead dog nine days unburied. When you hear, a mile
away and still out of sight, the churn of the water
as it begins to swirl and roil, fretting around the
sharp rocks --- when you feel the mist on your mouth
and sense ahead the embattlement, the long falls
plunging and steaming---then row, row for your life
toward it.

Still Waters. ©2010. Lisa McShane.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Harvest, Blue Mountains

Harvest, Blue Mountains. ©2011 Lisa McShane. Oil on Linen Panel. 24" x 36".
It's cold out now but I'm still painting the harvest and late summer light. This is of the patterns left by combine tracks in the wheat stubble.

I started a book the other night about George Inness and enjoyed reading about his process and the extent to which he worked his paintings - layering and adding texture. It was a comfort because I've been working on the same few paintings for a couple of months now - layering and adding texture.