Paintings from Pine Creek: Issue 1

I have notions about what I ultimately hope I can achieve up here in the woodsy woods of north central Pennsylvania. But first come the “studies”.

View of the Back Lawn, Cedar Pines, 12 x 16″, oil on Masonite, 2012

“Studies” for me are always begun on-site in some fashion (although I often don’t stick to the technical rules of plein air) and then, where necessary, they are finished in the studio. Here at Cedar Pines, the studio is the back porch of the family homestead, the Camp.

The Back Porch, Cedar Pines, 18 x 24″, oil on Masonite, 2012

Back Porch was painted from where the first painted scene (Back Lawn) is located; it isn’t finished yet, but as I had resized it, I thought I’d upload it anyway.[Note: this and the other photos are now “finished” and have been rephotographed in my studio in Portland Oregon.]

 Back Porch contains some of the elements I’m interested in — the red house (a foil for all the greens), the snag or stump of trees, of which there are many because of some wild winds that devastated the area, and a trifle of the mountains behind the house.

Windfall at Gamble Run, 18 x 24″, oil on Masonite, 2012

Gamble Run Road, 12 x 16″, oil on Masonite, 2012

A small stream, Gamble Run, tumbles down the mountain which fronts the Camp. The run goes under a small bridge and then gurgles along the side of the Cedar Pines property; the foot bridge in the first painting goes over it. Both these paintings were done up the mountain, along Gamble Run. [Note: this painting was sold in PA before I could photograph is under studio conditions.]

The first painting shown above, Windfall, was painted just before the stream flattens out a bit and goes under the paved road. The space is lined with tall trees, the beginning of dark woods and the mountain climb. Innumerable fallen trees and branches cross the stream bed and the foliage catches the westering sun.

Gamble Run Road was painted sitting along the gravel road that follows the stream up the mountain. The stream ends in a marshy area on top of the mountain, one of those geographical features of the plateau region. The road is also the source of various family tales of getting stuck in mud and snow, but that’s another matter. The woods get dark and mysterious up Gamble Run.

Fog along Pine Creek, 12 x 16″, oil on Masonite, 2012

Pine Creek is the stream that is the source of the magic of this place, having caused the carved canyon in the Allegheny Plateau called the Pine Creek Gorge, being the end point of the long lawn off the Camp’s back porch with its series of grassed drops, and acting as the primary watershed in the whole area. About a mile upstream from Cedar Pines, Pine Creek becomes a protected scenic area and has almost no human habitations on it. It also goes through some impressive treed canyons, where the drop-off is precipitous.

The Owassie from Barbour Rock, 18 x 24″, oil on Masonite, 2012

This is the upper part of the wild area of Pine Creek, looking down on the Owassie Rapids, which is August are more like the Owassie Ripples. In March, they are something else, which forms another set of family stories. I can honestly say that I’ve seen the Owassie from a Piper Cub, from the inside of a canoe, and from under the water. But that’s a story for another day.

All these paintings, except the one that was sold, have been tweaked and rephotographed in the studio in Portland. The places I’m painting and the paintings I’m naming are not merely reproductions of scenes, of course. Each painting, for me and I suspect for others, contains pieces of family history, of memory and desire, elements of the universe that place and space provide.

Out of the studies I am hoping to make larger canvases that will capture more fully the magic and pathos of this place called Pine Creek. –June

17 thoughts on “Paintings from Pine Creek: Issue 1

  1. Beautiful! These paintings, even though not finished or photographed accurately, make me want to visit there. And that’s not just because of what I’m seeing outside my motel window right now – 😉

    • Thank you, Sheila,

      I also appreciate your other comment (that hasn’t shown up yet on my website) about the “lightness.” It’s always interesting to see what happens when I enter a new environment. I don’t always see it for myself, so it’s grand when others point out what’s happening.

      Thanks for checking in. And I’m glad to have you see something besides what’s out your window, which by now must be very tiresome indeed. Hi to Judi from me.

  2. “Owassie” was perhaps the easiest one I did, although it was also the most physically exhausting (because of the place I _had_ to paint from. I’m thinking perhaps I should consider the frailties of age when I choose my views. But you also remember the stories about the Owassie, right? Famous Oechler excursions and arrogant young college students. I think you were a couple of cells big when we went under on that famous trip. Perhaps that accounts for your love of swimming?

    Thanks for checking in.

    • Thanks, Cynthia. ‘Preciate your checking in. And I probably will keep on making you homesick. Maybe you should plan a trip….

      • I agree with Clairen – the “feel” of the paintings is immediately noticed as different from the others I’ve seen from Oregon etc. it’s like a giant leap has been made.

        • It’s a funny conundrum, Pat. If you are a painter whose focus is on place and space, then it seems like the specific space and place will alter, at least to some degree, how one paints. It’s a matter of degree — there’s all that stuff about maintaining one’s voice and vision, etc., but then, there’s the subject matter that interferes with the easy transfer of the usual techniques.

          I may be just justifying my own erratic behavior (!!!) but still, I find it an interesting question. And of course, the idea that one’s style has to be distinct is, in part, a matter of commercial viability. Since I’m not all that commercially viable, it’s could be a moot problem.

          • That was meant to be: “It could be a moot problem.” Even I caught that error on second reading — after I sent it, of course. But Jer was talking politics, so I have an excuse.

          • I think your “voice” comes through. It’s just different. Someone else can probably explain it. I ain’t got the appropriate words.

    • Thanks, Clairan — and you should know about being blown about, right .

      I’m interested to hear you say that they are lighter and softer than usual. The landscape here is definitely lighter and softer than Oregon’s western landscape, and softer than the deserts that I’ve painted. Not many hard edges. Good to know that I’ve captured something of that feel.

      • I’d noticed that too – and a more pastel palette – and wondered if it was just the photos or the fact that you would be touching them up. I really do like these and it’s interesting that the landscape itself is partly accountable.

  3. June,
    These are fantastic! I haven’t been to Pine in many years and this pulls hard on my heart strings! I will need to come to Portland and purchase one or two of these from you!

    • Thanks, Vicki. You definitely need to come to Portland — family rates and all that:-) I’m glad you responded to them as you did — that means a lot.

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