Tag Archives: nature

Cascade Head

Cascade Head is amazing. I learned about this hike in a great travel book, Photographing Oregon. Apparently there’s a super easy hike that you can do in the summertime, but I went over Memorial Day weekend where you have to climb about 2.5  miles to get to the top lookout point.

Road's End State Park

We went early in the morning so parking was no issue at Knight County park. It’s incredible that such an amazing location is free- not even a parking pass required. Later in the day when we were leaving we did see cars parked on the street along 3 rock road so I imagine on busy holidays the parking situation might get worse.

Thank you to the Nature Conservancy for maintaining such a breathtaking trail. It cuts through parts of National Forest land.

When I think of the Pacific Northwest, I think of trees like these- large, shady, moss covered with so many branches that look like spindles that radiate outward.

It’s an amazing, humbling experience to be in their presence. One of my favorite Georgia O’Keefe paintings is the experience of looking upwards at this giant Lawrence tree:


The awe and the beauty that she captures in that painting, it’s like being in these forests.

You hike through the trees and over creeks and small waterfalls until you finally get to the lower viewpoint and a hint of the amazing view above. Here there are rolling fields of native wildflowers.

We did see elk traveling along some of the lower meadows. I kept thinking there should be little lambs – or hobbits- frolicking through the fields. It reminded me of pictures I have seen of Norway in the summer.

The last stretch is a climb, and next time I will bring hiking poles. There are no guard rails so for someone scared of heights like me I did feel nervous at points. But it was so worth it. From the top you can clearly see the best of that area of the Central Coast, from Siletz Bay, to Devil’s Lake, D River State Park, Road’s End State Park and the 3 Rivers Rock. You can see further inland where the coast becomes an estuary and the salmon river snakes through. It’s so beautiful.

Art I Like: Randall David Tipton

I actually found Randall, a Portland area artist, through his blog, Painter’s Process. I seriously consider him one of the top contemporary landscape painters, I mean why isn’t this dude in MoMA?

Randall David Tipton

He graciously has shared some of his tips and wisdom with me. My favorite piece of advice? Don’t be afraid to ruin it (artwork). It reminds me of what Elizabeth Gilbert says in her book, Big Magic, to take art seriously but not seriously. He also inspired me to start writing this blog!

Randall David Tipton

I absolutely adore the colors in this one: the cold, dark maroons and greys. He so wonderfully captures the quality of light in winter. It’s muted without being muddy, and somehow glowing. Incredible!

It’s all a matter of pushing the paint, scrapping, pouring, tilting, blotting, and wiping as I try to build my idea. The studies are where I can try something out in a manageable space, but I take them seriously as paintings. My goals are the same for any size. I want a rich, painterly image which represents my view, my regard, my understanding of paint and nature. For myself. I`m trying to paint the paintings I want to see.

Interview with Randall David Tipton The second to last sentence is so good- maybe the best artist statement I’ve read in a long while. Don’t get me started about artist statements…

It’s crazy that he paints largely from memory. Look how keenly he observes the subtleties of nature. He so convincingly captures the reflection of clouds and the movement of grassy wetlands.


Look at that cloud reflection! And this one is a watercolor. People it’s incredibly difficult to have both that freedom and control in watercolor. He is a master!


He has elevated Yupo, a plastic watercolor paper, as an artist medium. If you google or go on Pinterest, most of the stuff you’ll see painted on Yupo is amateurish and features extremely garish, saturated colors. It’s not surprising- Yupo is slick and even more difficult to control than normal watercolor paper. You can see how he takes the unique pooling and puddling texture that paint forms on Yupo and makes it work wonderfully to depict water and sky. I love the transition from the blue sky into the ambiguous forms of the tree. Lovely.

Randall David Tipton

More free flowing textures on Yupo. This is all very, very difficult to do well.

Randall David Tipton

He is wonderfully irreverent of “proper” art techniques- no underpainting or drawing, he’ll use black straight from the tube, he’ll use white watercolor, he won’t clean his brushes after use, he’ll use cheap brushes, he’ll use non-brushes as brushes.  He’ll paint right over an older painting without second thought. I asked if he sands it first before painting over it. He said he supposes he should. He asked me, “What’s gouache?” He normally purchases canvases that have been pre primed with gesso, explaining that he doesn’t have the time for it. I like it! That is a very good lesson (I mean I’m already lazy and messy enough so I guess I am extremely biased here) but I think it is true that we all have so limited time, if we can afford to take shortcuts, why not outsource the awful, boring parts?

He credits his tenacity for pulling many pieces together. Hopefully I can be just as tenacious and keep working through paintings that are a struggle and that I’m down on.