In late October, I traveled to Eastern Oregon to visit my little sister. She lives in a tiny ranch town nestled between rolling hills of hay and craggy, imposing mountains. Despite growing up in Portland, I had never spent any time in the eastern part of the state.
This was a good trip for a couple reasons: my sister and I don’t get to see each other very often and I really enjoyed my 48 hours with her (and all the Arrowhead Chocolate we ate).
But also, my husband and I expect to move home to the Northwest in about a year and a half. While I wouldn’t hesitate to say that the PNW is more beautiful than Oklahoma and Kansas, I have never been compelled to paint mountains and 1,000 trees.
So while I can’t wait to move home, I’ve had this nagging concern bubbling up about what I will paint when we get there. (Of course, I can continue to paint flat land and big skies, but I’ve found that it doesn’t hurt sales to paint the scenery that your local market knows and loves. Plus, I only paint from my own photos, so I need easy access to views I want to paint.)
I saw a painting everywhere I looked while visiting my sister in Wallowa County. The big sky, the remoteness, the wheat-looking crops felt familiar and the mountains, at turns purple, pink with the rising sun and a deep blue, called my name in a way that surprised me. This unexpected desire to paint these scenes was a relief; it felt like the beginning of a transition toward home after what will be 15 years away, like my artistic sensibilities were “getting ready” and I could trust myself to not let me down.
I came right back to Wichita, sorted through my hundreds of photos and immediately covered a dozen canvases with the first coats of paint. The series (which also includes two paintings from the most special place to me – Oysterville, WA) is now very much in-progress. I hope to finish it and make it available to you by the second week of December. I’ll send an email a couple days in advance to let you know the exact date and time that the paintings will be available on my website. Email subscribers will get first dibs.