July 9, 2012

Painting on Orcas Island

 I've just come back from a week in the Pacific Northwest and I brought with me -- a first -- a real "paint" suitcase.  I got a hard-sided bag that just fit 18 x 24 canvases and I figured I'd be able to travel with oil paints and not worry about whether the suitcase got messy.

Packing to leave during a power outage was a bit of a problem, as I realized on my way to the airport that I left my paint at home.  A trip to a Utrecht store in Seattle solved that problem nicely.  I also didn't have any canvas separators and found that on Orcas Island, paint supplies are sold in several shops and one even had actual canvas separators that look like double binder clips with a bump in the middle.  They didn't entirely do their job, as one popped loose on the trip home, but there's only a few spots on these paintings I need to fix where paint transferred from one wet canvas to another during the flight home.

Orcas Island has amazing valleys, steep peaks and its beautiful coast has gentle lapping water.  I made the most of morning painting time and painted in the town of Eastsound, where amazing perennial flowers line the sidewalk along the waterfront.  There's an island just offshore that people walk to during low tide and marine biologists take the opportunity to collect, count and measure ocean life as a sign of the health of the ecosystem.  I did that last small painting quickly when people were heading out to the island.

The two inland paintings -- the valley and wood-sided house -- are at the Turtleback Farm Inn.  It was a wonderful place to stay and paint.

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