I have a deep love for the bays and tide lands all up and down the West Coast and a great respect for the birds that reside there. Years ago I lived at the edge of one of these coastal estuaries. It was a joy to watch the mood of the place change by the minute. One day upon arriving home I saw one of these Great Blue Herons just below the edge of a bank of grasses. I cautiously crept out knowing I could get closer than I ever could by just approaching normally. I got within 20’ and carefully poked my head out so I could see him up close. I was shocked that he saw me and took flight before I saw him, even knowingly exactly where he was.

This summer day started out breathtakingly beautiful. Hot and clear with not a breath of wind. Mid day the south wind came up and blew harder and harder as a fog bank rolled in. The temperature dropped probably 20 degrees or more. I had been in the gallery all day and when I drove home that evening this is what it looked like in front of Haystack Rock. The wind had blown the sand clean of foot prints and as the fog began to lift it veiled only the top the rock. I stopped and took several pictures and then painted Fog’s Arrival a few days later.

The small area known as the “mouth” of Tillamook Bay is an amazing spot. The tide floods, ebbs, and goes slack two times each day and there is always activity. Birds, boats, waves, weather- always something going on. These rocks are known as the Three Graces. If only there was a good place to stop and look at the beauty of this location. You have to look quickly as you drive by on Highway 101 or stop and walk back on the railroad tracks to get to this vantage point. It is worth the short hike.

My paintings are a bit like kids or maybe puppies. We deeply love all of them, but some are just easier to have around. I love this painting. I enjoyed the creative process and the end result really pleased me.

I’m frequently asked “which one is your favorite?” While I have several that I’m especially fond of, it’s easy to tell someone why Driftlogs is one of them. On the big end of the scale, the mood and typical mixture of fog and clear skies we frequently enjoy created a very believable painting. It also has textural details in the logs and the evidence of the wind blown pattern on the sand from the day before. This painting just says “Northwest Coast” to me. My hope is it will be as meaningful to you.

Sometimes the inspiration for a painting comes so easy it’s a bit like picking a piece of ripe fruit off a tree. This workboat has seen more than its share of hard work over many decades. We know it has tendered in Alaska and worked a variety of fisheries along the west coast. It sank and was raised and I have seen it in horrible condition. I fortunately found her tied up at the Port of Chinook on the Washington side of the lower Columbia River after spending time in the boat yard getting fresh paint. When I found her she was set up as a “dragger” with the big doors on the stern that spread the net but because the stern is not included it this painting you would never know what she was currently fishing for.

As is my habit with my boat paintings I painted this from photographs, but in this case only one which is very unusual. That tells you how complete the composition was. The only substantial change I made was to open the cannery door behind the wheel house which focuses the viewer’s attention right there. I love the design components of repeated dark rectangles. It tends to unify the design of this painting.

The last time I saw her she was in for repairs again and looking very rough. Fishing the Northwest waters is a hard life for both boat and crew.

Indian Beach is part of Ecola Park on the northern Oregon coast. It is one of my favorite places. You drive a narrow winding road through old growth forest and pop out into a little parking area with this spectacular view. It is a pleasure to watch the rich sunset hues deepen as the day slowly turn to night. The “teenie weenie moon” as my son Nate called it as a child is always a joy to see.

Brown Pelicans migrate to the Northwest Coast late every spring and stay well into the fall. When I first moved to the area in the early 1970’s there were no pelicans around. The conventional wisdom is that as their numbers grew they began to expand their territory north in search of food. They are a welcome addition to our local bird population and quite entertaining to watch. You will often see them diving into the ocean for fish just beyond the breakers or flying in a “train” like these are.

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