Xwaaqw’um II
oil on birch panel, 48″ x 30″

All my landscape paintings have their genesis “en plein air”, when I take my gear down to the valley, schlepp it about while searching for inspiration (never far), then work up several large newsprint sketches, which I take back to my studio. Before committing to paint, I check the composition by making a series of quick small ( notan) studies to make sure the values (the darks, lights and mid-tones) will hold together to form a strong abstract design to build upon. I save all my sketches, but only a handful make the cut and metamorphose into paint.

This painting was inspired by the bold fields of colour created by summer grasses juxtaposed with the man-made shapes of the abandoned quarry set against the dark green slopes of Mt. Maxwell . The view is from Twin Firs Field, which is bordered on the ocean side by Clemclemaluts Trail. I had to use sketches done in previous years to tighten up the shapes of the quarry, as it is somewhat obscured now by the shrubbery in front of Larson’s barn. Louie Larson bought the old Maxwell-Lunney farm in 1947, rooted out the orchard, tore down all the old buildings and put up the barn (now receiving some much-needed renovations) that remains today.

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