August 29-September 21
This story was featured in the August 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art August 2013 print issue, or get the Southwest Art August 2013 digital download now…Or better yet, just subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
The scenic Willamette Valley provided the subject matter for a landscape show at Art Elements Gallery this month. The show opens with an artists’ reception on August 29 from 5 to 7 p.m. It features about 25 new works by four plein-air painters: Michael Orwick, Brenda Boylan, Romona Youngquist, and Don Bishop. Once a month during spring and summer, this cadre of artists and friends packs up their easels, umbrellas, and picnic lunches to experience the area’s natural wonders together. “Painting outdoors is the best way to learn and grow as an artist,” Orwick says. “The constant change of light, wind, and color challenges you to grasp a moment in an ever-changing environment.”
YOUNGBERG VINEYARD, one of Orwick’s paintings in the show, was inspired by his favorite time of year, grape-harvesting season in the wine country. It’s a time when the leaves suddenly turn bright yellow and then fall to the ground, Orwick says. The painter describes his style of work as “inspired expressionism.” He paints both far from home and nearby, in places such as freshly cut hayfields or a lake frequented by ducks, geese, and herons.
Bishop’s tonal style often calls to mind works by the early California Impressionists. When painting on location, he is drawn to quiet, meditative scenes that a viewer can get lost in—“windows to peace and calm,” he calls them. QUIET TIME, one of Bishop’s paintings in the show, was inspired by that kind of spot. “The whole scene was very still, and I was drawn to the soft tonal color relationships I was seeing,” he says. “I used a limited palette on this piece, keeping the whole painting fairly tonal. This approach helped give the painting the nice mood and atmosphere I was looking for.”
An Oregon native, Boylan is known for her pastel works; in this show, however, she offers a selection of oil paintings such as DAHLIA REPOSE, a work that captures a farm in late August just before dahlia harvesting. “The color variations of these flowers and their sizes were immense and overwhelming, some measuring the size of a small watermelon,” Boylan says. “Not one flower was better than the other, so I searched for a grand span of the field to paint. I decided on the farmhouse and telephone pole, which had the best lighting and glow in the morning hours.”
Youngquist, who grew up under the vast and thunderous skies of Oklahoma but now calls Oregon home, enjoys depicting the weathered architecture, flowers, fields, and back roads of the region. The scene in her painting RIBBON RIDGE FARM is one she came across on a Sunday drive in her Mini Cooper. “There are so many back roads in my area that I just love to get lost and see what I find,” Youngquist says. “On this trip I discovered some old homesteads and farms on one of these roads. I’m intrigued with side views and odd angles when the light hits a building just right.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff
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