Many people have asked to see more of the landscapes that become distilled into lines. The painting that I am currently working on in the studio is the next ‘Becoming One’ painting from Finley, a wildlife refuge in the Willamette Valley with the adjacent duck club hunting rye grass field with a pond. Last Wednesday, on a beautiful sunny summer day, I went out there to take photos for the painting.
One of the things that I love about the wetland prairie is that you can’t tell what it is you’ll find in there until you step into it. I’m always surprised as to what I find when I venture in. Many of the grasses tower over everything else, their now-brown tops look make it appear that all you will find is dead grass. But it is absolutely not the case at all, especially now. There are so many wildflowers blooming that will add to a beautiful color palette for the painting.
The duck hunting club rye grass field consisted of areas of mowed grass, some mostly dead grass fallen on top of itself in waves, and a few green moisture-loving plants by the water. The variety of textures in this field was more interesting and varied than the colors. There are no trespassing signs around the perimeter which does not make the stepping into the field experience as nice as the prairie field. I trespassed lightly because I can’t resist the prospect that I may find something extraordinary if I only step in. I was not rewarded by this field as I was with the prairie. I found pretty much what I expected to find from what I could see from the road.
After coming home from the photo shoot, I sat down with my ‘Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada,’ to identify the flowers. Yes, I know that the Willamette Valley isn’t in the Sierra Nevada, but it’s the only field guide I have at the moment. Combining that with the cumbersome wildflower identification websites I have been able to identify all of them (at least I think I did).
I also came across a beautiful little blue bird in a tree at the edge of the prairie field. I am not as good with the bird ID as with the plant, mainly because plants don’t move and birds do. The only blue birds I could find in my trusty field guide don’t seem to provide a match. Lazuli Bunting? But it looked more warbler sized than sparrow sized. Are there blue warblers? If anyone could help, please don’t be shy.
See the finished painting:Becoming One: Finley Project
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