Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Plein air painting is a discipline that requires attention and presence, that is different than working from a flattened and static photograph, in that you are translating the information to a canvas as the light changes.

The magic occurs somewhere between the subject and the applied medium.  We are not attempting to make a photograph, but a poetic interpretation that has moved the artist in their deep observation of our world.

David Kinker would like to invite painters to experience the beauty of the Rogue River on a painting trip, lodge to lodge, and painting from nature.
Trips are scheduled for June 1, 2014 and August 30, 2014.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Helen Brown • Watercolor Batik • Finishing Up

So now the painting is finished, (see two previous posts) but it is completely covered with paraffin. So the next step is to iron out the wax so that all that is left is a watercolor painting on rice paper.

I take yesterday’s newspaper, slip the painting into the middle and use my ski waxing iron to heat up the painting until I can see wax pouring out and getting absorbed into the newsprint. I repeat this process at least 4 times to make sure all the wax is gone. The photo below shows white newsprint. You don't really need to use unprinted newsprint. The regular newspaper is fine.

Once I’m sure all the wax is removed (i.e. no more wax appears on the absorbent paper while pressing with a hot iron), I adhere the batik to a piece of 300 lb. watercolor paper. I don’t always do this step, but if I want it to lie very flat in the frame, I do. Here’s how: I use a credit card and spread Matte Medium over the watercolor paper. When I’m sure it is evenly spread, I place the painting onto it and brayer it down with a roller OVER a piece of wax paper. Then I carefully remove the wax paper and let it dry flat.

Be sure to sign your work! I usually do that before using the matte medium.

At the Tumalo Art Co. after Thanksgiving, you will see at least 8 of these little batik paintings. Stop by!

The Tumalo Art Co. artists have also made amazing little works of art for ornaments. David Kinker, another High Desert Art League member will have small works there, too. 

I love the holidays!  Hope you do, too!

This blog is produced by the High Desert Art League. We are a group of artists who show together in and around Central Oregon. We are currently showing our work at St. Charles Medical Center on the cafeteria level, and at Central Oregon Community College in the Rotunda Gallery of the campus library. Our Broken Top Clubhouse show comes down Wednesday, November 20.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Helen Brown • Watercolor Batik • Getting on with it!

In my last blogpost (Nov. 3rd), I showed the supplies and set up needed for batiking with watercolor. Now I’ll show you how I proceed with the actual painting. I’m working on some small works for the Tumalo Art Company’s holiday show. This is a little painting of a Barrows Goldeneye. It’s only about 4” x 6”, but the process is the same for large pieces.

First I draw on the smooth side of the rice paper with a black ballpoint pen. Just make sure the ink in the pen is not water soluble or it will smudge. Then I paint a very light wash of different colors, not being concerned about staying with my lines at all. This photo shows the next step after my first light wash has dried. I paint with molten wax onto the areas I want to remain almost white. Here I waxed the mark on his face, some of his body and some horizontal lines in the water. Notice the black construction paper I keep handy to slip under the wax paper so I can see where I'm painting the wax.

The wax hardens almost instantly so I don’t have to wait to continue to the next step: PAINTING! Because I have protected areas with the wax, I do not have to paint very carefully around the light spots. You can see in the photo below where the blue paint is being resisted by the wax. 

At this point in each layer, you must allow the paper to dry completely. I usually tape it from my painting table as in the photo below.

Continue waxing each consecutive area of light, and then painting in the darks until you are satisfied that the painting is finished. Allow to dry one last time before covering the entire surface with the wax, using a larger brush. REMEMBER that the wax will ruin your paintbrushes, so use inexpensive ones.

In my next post, I’ll show how to get rid of all the wax, and how to mount your painting for framing.

Where can you see examples of my work using this method?
Tumalo Art Company in Bend's Old Mill District
• Broken Top Clubhouse has an exhibit of the High Desert Art League until November 20.
• COCC's Rotunda Gallery in the library has a High Desert Art League show until December 6.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Helen Brown • Watercolor Batik - preparing to paint

This month, I have been assigned to blog on the High Desert Art League blogspot site. I thought I’d share about my painting process for watercolor batiking. Starting with supplies:

• Here’s the paper I use:
It is rice paper. Any kind of rice paper will work, but I like Ginwashi Rice paper. It has little stick-like flecks in it. The paper is amazingly strong for how fragile it looks! As you can see by the photo, you can see through it.

• I buy regular old paraffin at the grocery store and melt it in my little crock pot (see photo). I bought this crockpot at Goodwill for $5. I use regular wax paper and IMPORTANT: I only use inexpensive brushes with the wax. Between the heat and the wax, the brush is ruined in a couple of paintings.

• Then I set up my paper like this photo below. I tape a piece of white paper to my board (unless the board is already white). On top of that, I tape a piece of wax paper. I then work with my rice paper on top of that. If I can’t see where I’ve put the wax, I slip a piece of black construction paper under the wax paper because the wax will show up better over the black.

Now I am ready to draw on the rice paper and begin my painting!

Watch this site for my next steps...

To see some of my finished work, go to the Tumalo Art Company in Bend, Oregon's Old Mill District, three stores down from REI.  I am one of the featured artists there during the month of November (2013).

Friday, October 25, 2013

Helen Brown, November Featured Artist

I will be the featured artist In November at the Tumalo Art Co. in the Old Mill District. The show is called “Sisterhood” because I am showing with my sister Mary Burgess from Lake Oswego, Oregon and with twins Lisa and Lori Lubbesmeyer.

This is one of the Bend scenes I will have in the show. It is a watercolor using my batik style on rice paper.  I will describe this technique in a future High Desert Art League blog.

The reception is Friday, November 1, from 5pm - 9pm.

"Tower Theatre" Watercolor Painting by Helen Brown 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Interpretations set to open at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, Oregon

Sanctuary, Smith Rock Series - Watercolor, 21 x 29
By Cindy Briggs
The High Desert Art League is pleased to announce a new exhibit entitled Interpretations: Working in a series” set to open Tuesday, October 1st in the second floor gallery at St Charles Medical Center in Bend, Oregon.

The members of this group are all accomplished artists who exhibit a wide range of talents in various media. Luminous watercolors, vibrant oils, and pastel paintings are specialties of several members - Vivian Olsen and Cindy Briggs create art in all three media and their subjects range from birds and European scenes to regional landscapes. There is more in the watercolor realm, with the graphic figures and dramatic landscapes by Helen Brown and Jacqueline Newbold. Working in oils, artist Barbara Slater paints large, vivid florals on canvas, and Pam Jersey Bird creates colorful experiences of nature in her semi-abstract mixed media paintings. Janice Rhodes uses hot wax as her medium creating encaustic paintings.  Richard Frederick is a fine art photographer, producing both black & white and color images.  Cameron Kaseberg uses a solvent transfer process to combine inks and images from various printed media as well as his own photos and graphics, chemically dissolving them and transferring the images onto a new surface. Pat Clark produces abstract images using a variety of skills, including the techniques of relief printing, embossment, chine collĂ©, mixed media, and drawing. David Kinker is known for his larger mural and also for his colorful acrylic paintings.  Joren Traveller is our 3-dimensional artist, and creates bronze sculptors of horses and birds.

The exhibition opens October 1st and runs through December 31st, 2013 at St. Charles Hospital, located at 2500 NE Neff Road in Bend. You can find the gallery space on the second floor near the cafeteria.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Plein Air Paint-Out at the Park

Perfect Painting Weather at Smith Rock Park

 This is the view that greeted plein air artists from all over Oregon Saturday June 22. The Smith Rock Park 1st Annual Paint Out was the event that drew over 60 artists to the park near Terrebonne. For several hours the area was dotted with artists and their easels spaced out along the canyon rim. 

Park Ranger
The event consisted of an art competition to choose 25 paintings to be displayed in a 3 month long exhibit at Robert’s Field Airport. All the artists started their paintings at 9am and by 1:30  had finished and framed their paintings for the jurying. The HDAL judges picked 25 paintings in various mediums and sizes and then chose 3 paintings  for awards, plus 1 more chosen by the Park Ranger for Best of Show - all 25 paintings to be exhibited in the Airport during the summer months.

The winners who received Award Ribbons are:  Denise Rich - Best of Show, Sally O'neill - 1st place, Scott Gellatly - 2nd  place, and Kime Smith - 3rd place. 

Helen and Jacqueline demonstrate their Arts
During the morning 4 members of HDAL demonstrated their painting techniques, while nearby the Art Station was set up for children to enjoy some art projects. David Kinker did an acrylic painting while visitors watched and asked questions, and Vivian Olsen painted her scene in oils in the shade of the tent cover. Jacqueline Newbold and Helen Brown set up their outdoor studio on the park table and explained to onlookers how to paint watercolors, and create a travel journal.
Vivian with her acrylic demo painting

This event was so successful and well attended that there will probably be many more to come. Watch for us next June.

David Kinker shows how its done
Janice Rhodes, Helen Brown, & Jacqueline Newbold -
"May we stamp your canvas?"

 The Paint Out was presented by Bend’s High Desert Art League, Smith Rock Park, with partners Roberts Field/Redmond Municipal Airport, Redmond Commission for Art in Public Places , Cascade A&E, and the Art Station.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Recently I have been fascinated with old photographs of women. These two pastels are from this series.
I enjoy figure drawing and portraiture. Every Friday I go to a three hour figure drawing open studio to hone my drawing skills.


I am a pastel painter that also has a fondness for encaustic art. I began doing encaustic paintings after taking a workshop in 2007.  When I start an encaustic work, I sometimes don't know where it will take me. Along the way, the process requires that I use my knowledge of basic design but I also know that I must follow my intuition.
I have a studio where I am able to open doors and windows when I work, and the bees come in attracted by the beeswax, reminding me of where this material comes from and that it is an ancient art that I am putting my contemporary spin on.
My encaustic paintings vary from purely abstract to figurative, often with whimsical touches.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

High Desert Art League member, Pam Jersey Bird will be showing at Franklin Crossing in Bend, OR for the month of June. The reception is Friday, June 7th during Bend's First Friday Art Walk. Pam is showing with artist Judy Hoiness. The artists have know each other for 13 years and both are former art educators. Their work has evolved over the years but both have moved in a more abstract direction. The show was curated by Art Consultant, Billye Turner who has also hung their work at the Oxford Hotel in Bend. The show will move on to the Sunriver Lodge during the month of July.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Aspen Lakes Lodge Hosts HDAL


Twelve amazing artists, all unique and successful, have each come to ‘sense their places’ in the realm of art. They have achieved a level of artistic expertise which enables them to share with others their timeless pieces of art. All are members of the High Desert Art League and are exhibiting their art at Aspen Lakes from June 2 through October. 

"A Sense of Place" is the theme of this exhibit where all 12 artists are displaying their recent 'Artworks in a Series' paintings and photographs. The afternoon Reception was held on June 2nd in the beautiful Aspen Lakes Lodge just east of Sisters Oregon.  The sun was brightly shining on a magnificent view of the Cascade Mountains, the appetizers and wine were divine, and the artwork excellent! 

Jacqueline Newbold, Janice Rhodes, Connie Cyrus, and Barbara Slater
David with Pam Bird and Jacqueline Newbold
Vivian Olsen
Joren Traveller

The exhibit will be shown through October 2013 with changes to the art at intervals during that time.