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William E. Elston: The Art Of Painting, vol. 17

June 15, 2017


Works In Progress: Snohomish Valley, Bothell Landing, Chittenden Locks

Painting: No Trespassing
No Trespassing, oil on canvas, 33.5 x 39.25 inches, work in progress ©2017
One of my favorite plein air locations to paint is the viewpoint of the Snohomish Valley from 92nd St SE, just west of 131st Ave SE. The scene is panoramic, and yet also affords some discretely intimate compositions such as the above.

This painting represents the WSDOT No Trespassing sign and gate, most likely installed because the area beyond the road had become a popular dumping ground. My own interest in the subject was primarily philosophical. I liked the idea of an area where the feet were forbidden but the eyes could roam freely.
Painting: Snohomish Valley, Early Morning Late May
Snohomish Valley, Early Morning Late May, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches, work in progress ©2017
This view, looking south, is one that I’ve painted many times under different conditions. Sometimes Mt. Rainier is visible, sometimes not. Often one trades a view of the mountain and a bland, blue sky for interesting cloud forms and no mountain. Rarely ever both.

I’ve worked this painting over several sessions, at different times of day and under varying weather conditions. I think that I’ve arrived at the look that I want, and just need to make some small adjustments.
Painting: Early Morning Fog
Early Morning Fog, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches, work in progress ©2017
Painting: Morning Mist
Morning Mist, oil on prepared paper, 20 x 30 inches, copyright ©2016
These two early morning fog paintings are of the same view of the valley as above, but from slightly different viewpoints. In the version on paper, the fog was burning off quickly, under the hot, bright midsummer sun. The more somber painting was from a day that would remain gray, even after the fog lifted. Such is the weather in the Pacific Northwest; changeable.
Painting: Sammamish River at Bothell Landing
Sammamish River at Bothell Landing, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches, work in progress ©2017
I like to go to The Park at Bothell Landing, a municipal park at the historic origins of the town. There the Sammamish River wanders around a lazy curve on its way to Lake Washington.

Currently my plein air classes are going on, so I am often accompanied by my students during these sessions. I don’t mind the frequent interruptions, either by my students or passers by. It’s easy to get reabsorbed by the beautiful foliage, the water and the wandering clouds, and pretty soon I’m wandering around that lazy curve too.
Painting: Hiram Chittenden Locks
Hiram Chittenden Locks, oil on panel, 18 x 36 inches, work in progress ©2017
This last painting, the least resolved (and really only a days work,) represents the view of the Locks in Ballard, seen from Commodore Park on the Magnolia side. The bustling maritime activity and crowds of tourists does not make it an easy subject for the pleinairista, but such and similar distractions are typical of the urban landscape.

Ballard itself has become prey to the rampant, agressive development that plagues all of Seattle these days. It is filling up with cheap balloon construction and ugly multiple family dwellings, which not only blight neighborhoods, but mar the previously interesting vistas. There was much of this obscuring the distant view through the trees, an eyesore that was absent the last time I painted here over ten years ago.

Upcoming Exhibition At Dodson’s in Spokane

Painting: Latah Creek, Spring
Latah Creek Spring, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches, copyright ©2015
I will have new works at Dodson’s Jewelers, in Spokane, November 2017. Details will be forthcoming.

Please visit my painting or classes website for more information regarding upcoming exhibitions, events, classes or workshops.

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