Whiskeytown paintings

Besides the "Bridge Repair" painting in my last post, these are the works I did at Whiskeytown.

 Brandy Creek, 12" x 9" oil/canvas panel.
Much of Whiskeytown's history revolves around the water.  Brandy Creek is crystal clear, because the waters are snowmelt and rainfall runoff.  Looking down into the creek from a bridge, the full depth is visible as it heads off over the rapids at the upper left.

 Brandy Creek Beach, 6" x 8", oil on primed watercolor paper.
This is where the creek empties into the lake, not far from the Bridge Repair painting in the last post.  The lake is often mirror-like if there are no winds, almost impossibly beautiful and very different in appearance when one is used to painting ocean!  In the summer, this beach is full of people.  In March, still a bit too chilly.

Whiskeytown Boat Ramp, 6" x 8", oil on canvas panel.  
The lake is vast and very much enjoyed by sailors and kayakers.  

 Apple Blossom, Camden House.  6" x 6", oil on Ampersand gessobord.
The abundance of water in the area made it possible for extensive mining operations to spring up in the 1800's.  Levi Tower and Charles Camden were partners in mining ventures, and Tower established a renowned hotel where guests enjoyed fresh fruit from orchards he planted on the grounds between Camden estate and Tower House.  Over 160 years later, many of the apple trees are still alive and producing fruit.  Not far from the orchard, Levi Tower's gravesite is surrounded by a low white picket fence.  That's it, in the upper left corner of the painting.

 Kate Camden, 12" x 9", oil/canvas panel.  Collection Whiskeytown National Recreation Area.
Kate Camden was a native Indian girl (possibly Wintu) who was brought into the Camden family to care for the Camden daughters.  To me, she represents the intersection of the two cultures.  Not much is known about her (a research project is underway), and only one photograph survives of her as an adult.  That photo was the basis for this painting.  Young Native Americans were frequently exploited by the white settlers of the time, but that seems not to be the case with Kate.  She was well loved by the Camdens, who gave her their name but did not formally adopt her.  She died at age 27 of unknown causes, possibly from TB or typhoid.  Her gravesite is also on the grounds of Whiskeytown.

Rider near Horse Camp, 8" x 10", oil/canvas panel.  
Miles and miles of trails wind through Whiskeytown, with expansive parking areas for horse trailers.  I saw a lot of riders enjoying the park, and wished I could join them.

Lake from the Visitors Center, 6" x 8", oil/canvas panel.  
This was a demo on Easter Sunday, with many visitors in attendance.  The sky was overcast and the lake had a subtle, moody look.  The weather is very unpredictable and changeable at the park, at times it seems to have its own climate.  It's sublime, in the 19th century sense of the word.

First sketch, 6" x 8", oil/primed bamboo paper.
The first day of my residency, I climbed the hill near the Artist Cabin.  I found watertowers at the top and a great view, looking through treetops.  Spring green everywhere.



My Artist Residency at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area happened in March.  I did a total of nine paintings, and I'll post them here--starting with the last one I did, which became my contribution to the permanent collection at Whiskeytown.  It's an homage to the hard work done every single day by the rangers and National Park Service workers who make it possible for all of us to safely enjoy our time in these beautiful places.  These selfless, dedicated people maintain the infrastructure and help conserve the resource for this and future generations to enjoy.  2016 is the centennial of the National Park system, see below.

Bridge Repair at Brandy Creek Beach, 16 x 20" oil on stretched canvas. Permanent Collection, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area.

More information about the Centennial: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/centennial/index.htm

More about the celebration, and an easy way to say thanks:

Find your park, and thank the people who keep it going by supporting their stewardship.


Laguna Beach

Storm Coming, Laguna Beach. 6 x 8" oil on primed heavy bamboo paper.

This was done in March, with a fellow painter who is a dear friend and former student.  Clear sky and sunshine at the start, then the wind picked up and a huge storm emerged.  Rain started just as we wrapped up, and was torrential by the time I was driving home.

My husband and I stayed with a friend in San Diego before my artist residency at Whiskeytown.  During this time, in addition to the very enjoyable outing in Laguna Beach, I also painted the portrait shown below of our friend's beloved toy poodle:

Mocha, 8 x 6", oil on canvas panel.  Private Collection.


Near Kaneohe

Looking south toward the pali, from the beach.  6 x 8" oil on primed heavy bamboo paper. 

Pyramid Rock at MCBH. 6 x 8" oil on primed heavy bamboo paper.

As I prepare for the upcoming residency at Whiskeytown-Shasta National Rec. Area, a friend sent me a link to a fascinating article about the abiding tradition of landscape painting in this area.  It's a great read, especially this nugget from an obituary appearing in a San Francisco newspaper in 1899, for the painter Ransom Gillette Holdredge:  "His ambition was to be a great portrait artist, but his natural talents turned toward landscapes.  He has often stated that this was the disappointment of his life, and was the direct cause of leading him to drink."


Diamondhead from Ewa Beach

6 x 8" oil on primed bamboo paper, plein air study at Ewa Beach.  Diamondhead is way in the distance at right.  

The residency at Whiskeytown in northern California happens in March, more about that soon.


Amtrak art, and news

The first week of the New Year was spent on Amtrak trains, crossing the country from Sacramento to DC.  These are two oil sketches, done while underway, from the window of a roomette in the sleeper car.  Highly recommended as a way to see the country.

6 x 8" oil on paper, Arroyos in deep shadow in Utah.

6 x 8" oil on paper, a snowscape in Colorado.

In other news, I've been named one of the Artists in Residence for Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area in Northern California, for two weeks in March.  Really looking forward to another residency, this time in a much larger National Park.  More details about that, coming soon.


Convergence at Cabrillo

Old Lighthouse, 11 x 14", oil on linen panel.  More available Cabrillo work here.

More details about Convergence!  This is going to be a very exciting art event.  It's a partnership of Cabrillo's Artist in Residence program and the Monument Conservancy, with the artist organization A Ship in the Woods.  From their website:  "With 48 established and emerging artists working in tandem with historians and scientists, CONVERGENCE showcases thought-provoking artworks exploring the site from a range of disciplines.  Throughout the park, viewers will be able to experience immersive artworks including video projections on the lighthouse; interactive installations, a secret garden, experimental sound installations, a tea ceremony using endemic plants from the Cabrillo National Monument, large scale exhibits made from recycled plastic, performance art, spoken word, mobile augmented reality, projection mapping, kinetic sculptures, sound and light performances, and opportunities for audience participation during the Nov.14th event."

One of the participating artists is Harrell Fletcher, who was a visiting professor at Oregon State while I was getting my BFA there.  He is an internationally known pioneer of social art, someone who truly makes a difference.  I am gratified to see that the AIR program has grown into something that can involve artists of this stature. I can't wait to see what he and the others come up with for this event.

November 14, 4pm-11pm, artist reception 6pm with current and past AIR's (I'll be there).  More details here, along with directions and a link to buy tickets.  Kids under 12 are free, and the Lighthouse tower will be OPEN!  Bring a flashlight! 



Abstracted landscape, 19" x 25", mixed media on paper.

I wanted to let you all know that Cabrillo National Monument is having a huge art event on November 14 to showcase the Artist in Residence program.  There will be a reception the evening of the 14th, and as it happens, I will be in San Diego that weekend, so I will be there!  There will be several past and present AIR's, and the Monument will exhibit our work that is in their permanent collection.  (The past AIR's won't have anything offered for purchase at this event, but I do in fact have several Cabrillo paintings still available on my website.)  I'm extremely proud of the AIR program at Cabrillo, since I played a part in its inception and it has done great things for the Monument and for quite a few artists.  This year, there are four artists in residence there!  By the way, the 15th is "Open Tower Day" so if you've never gone up into the tower of the Old Lighthouse before, there's an opportunity!

The event on the 14th is called "Arts Afire" and will feature 40 artists throughout the park. I'll post more information as I get it.   If you'd like to see what work I  have available, I've updated and organized my website to make viewing easier.  Website:  kathrynlaw.com  and link for Cabrillo work is here. For more details about the making of all my Cabrillo paintings, click here to see everything tagged on the blog.


Hawaiian Birds in monotype

 These are Saffron Finches, lovely color notes in Hawaii.  All three of these are hand-pressed gouache monotypes, image size 7" X 5" SOLD

Northern Cardinal, and yes, they're here!  Not a lot of them, but fairly common.  Both these species were introduced.

 This little finch is a Chestnut Munia, originally from the Philippines.  They are not plentiful here, but a welcome addition. I've only seen one since we moved here. Their beaks really are blue. 


Walnut ink monotypes

Drawn from the model with a bamboo pen (in water-soluble walnut ink) on frosted mylar, then transferred onto soaked and blotted Johannot printmaking paper. Approx. 6" x 4"

Same as above, but the plate was heightened with gouache and printed onto toned Ingres drawing paper.  The paper adds its own element of texture, especially in hand-pressing. Approx. 5" x 4"


monotype, cont.

 There are myriad variables with each image--what medium to paint in, what paper to use... even differing degrees of dampness in that paper will determine how sharp the resolution is and how much color transfers.  This is on kitakata paper.  The background was printed first, the bird transferred from a second plate, then some details added with an ink brush.

This is a simple study of the outside surface of a pineapple, done in gouache and printed on drawing paper.  Monotype is known as the "painterly print."  Each impression is unique because most all the paint comes off with the first print, so they can't be duplicate-printed.  The main advantage is that the process allows the introduction of textures which can't be made any other way.  

Spoon and shadow, Neocolor II water-soluble crayon on frosted mylar, printed on Rives Lightweight printmaking paper.  Heavyweight papers are great if you have a press.  Working by hand, lighter-weight papers respond better to less pressure. 



I've been playing with hand-pressed monotypes, a process I've loved since art school.  It really changes things up.  I don't have a press, so these are pulled by hand.  The above plate was painted in watercolor, three layers, left to dry, then printed onto soaked and blotted Japanese kitakata paper. Image size 7" x 5"

This is a drawing in black Oilbar on the plate, printed onto toned drawing paper (which didn't like the punishment).  This will become a chine colle'.  Approx 4" X 6"

Mourning Doves.  On the right, the image was drawn subtractively using black Oilbar.  That image was the source for the plate on the right, painted in black gouache.  Both are on Johannot, and reveal interesting differences.  Textures and effects are possible in monotype that can't be achieved with any direct method. And pulling a print is like opening a present:  you never know what you'll get. 


Day at the Beach

 Pyramid Rock, on the Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kane'ohe. The storm surge was just starting, from the latest of many hurricanes this year.  Water-soluble graphite.


Leaving Las Vegas

 Hard Rock Hotel seen from my room, with a huge empty lot and remains of a foundation and parking lot in between.  Looking a little post-apocalyptic.

Mountains to the east.

This is a small sampling of what you will see at Valley of Fire State Park, about an hour northeast of Las Vegas.  A range of impossibly red rock formations have emerged from the desert thanks to eons of erosion.  The color is astonishing, and the rock is carved by the wind and blowing sand into fantastical shapes.  Nature creating her own version of a Gaudy Hellscape.


More Vegas

One writer documenting DefCon referred to Las Vegas as a "gaudy hellscape", which I think is the most perfect description ever and not in a bad way.  The artificial colors everywhere heighten awareness of all the natural colors too (and the desert heat can certainly conjure up an inferno).  This fairly ordinary scene behind the Tuscany Hotel is enlivened by the amazing colors of the buildings, and by my near-delirium due to the 110-degree temperatures.

Bally's Hotel, site of DefCon.

One of the (fairly normal-colored) hotels where we stayed.



A ten-day trip to Las Vegas last month produced some new little watercolor sketches, plein air.  Hotter than blazes, the paint dried almost before it hit the paper.  The colors are amazing in the thin desert air.

 Industrial park, south Las Vegas.  Red Rock Canyon in the distance.

Mandalay and Luxor hotel/casinos.  

Palms with bright red seed pods.

Looking down from the hotel room.



Hawaii is home to many species of birds, but not all of them started out here.  Residents now, but at one point, alien invaders.   All below are watercolor, all painted from life.

 Red-Vented Bulbul.  These, along with Mynahs, are the most plentiful birds on the island.  Not so welcome.  Considered invasive, injurious to native species and plants.  Native to Asia, illegally introduced on Oahu in the 1950's.  They are *everywhere*.  The other islands either don't have them, or only a few (so far).

The Common Myna(h), also an Asian import, is so ubiquitous that many people don't know they didn't originate here.  Believed to pair for life, they are extremely prolific and displace other birds, even robbing nests.  Mynahs are related to starlings, and their huge gatherings generate quite a lot of noise.  They are funny and endearing to watch, though, so it's hard not to love them.  We don't have crows here, and I miss them.

NOT an alien.  The Pacific Golden Plover, also quite numerous, is a welcome migratory species.  Breeding season is spent in northern Alaska, then they winter in Asia, Hawaii, even Southern California. They are seen everywhere here in the fall and winter, even on grassy areas in very urban environments.  This one was fast-moving, the painting was done quickly with no drawing.


sketching Hawaii

The Ko'olau mountains usually are engulfed in clouds, which makes the sunrise beautiful.
Below, the hills much closer to our apartment are remnants of a small volcanic crater (unlike the enormous volcano that resulted in the Ko'olaus).


more from the sketchbook

In January, we sold our boat after living aboard for a year, and in April, we moved to Hawaii.  In the months before the move, I biked around to familiar places in San Diego and did little sketches.  Sort of saying goodbye. 

This is the first one I did after we got to Hawaii.  We're definitely not in Kansas any more!