Dateline: Mitchell, Oregon, Sept 13, Day 8, starting the panorama

After fussing and circling, we returned to the Painted Hills today. I decided to do a series of panels, a version of a panorama.

The decision felt good. I am not happy with the large painting of Picture Gorge — too garish — but I don’t want to work on it until I can see it in the Portland light. And while I would have liked to paint the granary, it’s ten miles up the highway and another ten along the gravel road, too far for my chauffeur’s comfort, particularly as I would want to do several panels of the scene.

So back to the Painted Hills, looking up from below this time, facing the swoops and swoons close-up.

Here are the two panels, first drafts, that I did today. Both panels are 12 x 16″, oil on masonite.

And here they are, together, as best as I could see them in the field:

The difference in color is in part because of the difference in background and in part because the one on the left is lower than, and slightly shaded by, the one on the right. But as you can see, even the camera, taking a photo, can’t adjust for the light very well.

I wonder at times at my own temerity in showing these drafts, revealing my faltering attempts and failures. I suspect that any good advertising agency or even an ambitious friend would advise against allowing the public to see these early paintings with all their warts and muck-ups.

In some ways, though, the public exposure keeps me honest. It forces me to see, for myself, those very warts, and to work toward something better. I apologize, though, to anyone who has read this far; I’m not sure I’d want to see all my friends rough drafts. Luckily, a blog is an optional read, so you can shudder at the ‘orror, wince at the muddle, or laugh at my chutzpah. I’ll never know. –June

Oh, and Scott Ritner, a ranger here at the park whose wife we had lunch with the other day, stopped by while I was painting. He’s going to show us the “backside” of these hills, which he thinks could be good painting. I am looking forward to that; we’ll meet him at the Park in the morning.

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