Monday, November 30, 2015

Biking and Painting in Portugal

OK, so the main motivation for this trip was a one week bike tour of the medieval villages of Portugal. We had two wonderful guides, Jose and Cristina. This Portuguese couple made our experience in Portugal so special. They love their country and it shows! Here are the intrepid bikers:
From left to right: Cindi, Cat, Helen, Bill, Karen, Jacqueline (all from Central Oregon)

We rode during the day, and stayed in wonderful inns, restored convents, or B&Bs at night. Jacqueline Newbold and I worked on our journals nearly every day, even on the bike trip. I love travelling with Jacqueline. She doesn't ever feel self-conscious about sitting down in public and painting, and she is never too tired before turning in to work on her journal.

We enjoyed painting a stylized map of our trip in our journals:

I tried to portray our trip in images:  Beginning in the upper right in Marvao, 
we biked to Castelo de Vide, Elvas, Redondo, Arraiolo and finally to Evora.

Our guides with Portugal Bike took us on an interesting tour of an archeological site where we got to see beautiful pottery and evidence of an ancient civilization.

There is a journal page for that:

This 8 x 8 painting is in the Tumalo Art Company's holiday show starting December 2.

In my next post, I'll elaborate on this show. But for now, I'd like to publicly thank Portugal Bike and hope others will consider signing up for their incredible tours.

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, November 22, 2015

So Off We Go to Lisbon

What a change from the Dordogne! We flew to Lisbon, Portugal and at once noticed the differences in color. Many of the buildings downtown are covered with beautiful Portuguese tile. If not tile, they are covered in white, which we learned later is marble powder; a by-product from the marble quarries which they paint on like a whitewash.  Still painting, High Desert Art League members, Jacqueline Newbold and I (Helen Brown) sat in cafés or up by the castle and sketch with watercolor.

We are both studio watercolor painters, although we do enjoy sketching en plein air. So for future reference, we snapped tons of photos along the way as Jacqueline is doing in the photo below.

Back at home, I am painting now for the holiday miniature show at the Tumalo Art Company using some of my photos. Here is one of them in a 12 x 12:

As you can see from the two images above, I left out the underpants in my painting. (I do like the shadow they made on the wall though!) and I also opened the window for interest. 

The Tumalo Art Company is located in Bend's Old Mill District just south of REI. 

Helen Brown

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Cindy Briggs featured in PleinAir Today/Outdoor Painter

Excited to have a 3 part series of articles in PleinAir Today/Ourdoor Painter about the Business of Teaching Workshops Overseas.  The series includes planning, promoting, preparing and painting all included in our package to be released soon. Visit so sign up for the early announcement.  Here is Theresa Goesling and I in Venice.

CLICK HERE to check out the PleinAir Today Article by Bob Bahr.  

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Can you say “Fwa Gra”?

Jacqueline and I took our rental car from the Basque country and made our way to Sarlat-le-Caneda, a wonderful town in the Dordogne region of France. We stayed in a hotel within the walled “old town” of Sarlat. The weather wasn’t great, but we couldn’t have been happier painting, eating foie gras, shopping and driving to the local sights (Lascaux caves, Castelnaud, Beynac, Roc le Gageac).

These sweet geese are getting stuffed so that they can produce the 
delicious goose liver pate (foie gras) that tourists enjoy. I must admit that I love it, too. But I can’t bear to think of these poor creatures being gorged.

We stopped at nearly every scenic spot to either paint or snap a photo. I believe this was in Beynac, a village along the Dordogne River.

Jacqueline sketched this stone structure as we stopped to picnic.

Then it was back to the hotel to dive into our sketchbooks, watercolor postcards, fois gras and red wine. Our hotel had a great inner courtyard where we could paint. We met many of the hotel guests as they came and left, most were curious about what we were doing.

The night sky in Sarlat was a beautiful color! A deep blue/black. I enjoyed painting from these photos I took. This is a café on the central square in Sarlat.

This is an 8" x 8" watercolor of the above scene (cropped).

Here’s another night café scene along the quaint streets of Sarlat.

And my 8” x 8” painting of same.

After five days in the Dordogne, we set off for Lisbon, Portugal!

Several of these paintings and more will be at the holiday show at the Tumalo Art Company in Bend's Old Mill District starting in December. 

Until next time....

Helen Brown

Monday, November 2, 2015

The saga continues with a new author...

I hope you have been reading Jacqueline Newbold's recent blogposts about our painting trip to France and Portugal. It is my turn (Helen Brown) to blog for the High Desert Art League, so I thought I'd piggy back on some of Jacqueline's enthusiasm for travel and painting!  I do love traveling with my husband, but he doesn't paint. And as patient and supportive as he is, I hate to keep him waiting on trips while I sit and paint. So traveling with another painter as I did on this trip was a very fun change of pace and one I highly recommend!!
I worked mostly in my little accordian fold sketchbook (see photo), while Jacqueline was enjoying creating wonderful postcards to send home to friends and family.

First stop was southern France where my good friend Agnes has a vacation home in Basque country. She was a fantasic host to us!! If you are reading this, Agnes, merci encore une fois!!!!

Jacqueline and Agnes in front of the port at St. Jean de Luz. 

I tried to recreate these wonderful Basque homes without painting every window and door. The Basque words in the lower left were on a napkin that I kept and pasted into the book before painting. No idea what they mean but I wanted a sample of this mysterious language in my sketchbook.

After three days in Ciboure, the little town near St. Jean de Luz (which is near Biarritz), we were sorry to say goodbye to Agnes. Her knowledge and enthusiasm for the region made this portion of the trip a real highlight for Jacqueline and me. She was a generous and incredibly hospitable host! A great ambassador for the French people. And my very good friend!

For our last night she took us to a beachfront bar where we watched the sunset and ate tapas.

Next stop...the Dordogne.

Helen Brown

Thursday, October 29, 2015

More Fun with Fun

Next on our journey, Helen, our friend, Agnes and I went to Spain for happy hour.  Agnes drove us to the tiny French border town, Hendaye, deep in Basque country.  Here we caught a ferry for 5 euros that took us on a very short ride into Spain.  We arrived in time to walk around the charming town of Fonterrabia, complete with cobble stone streets and a beautiful church at the top of a hill.  As the sun set, we drank sangria in the old town square, painting in our journals.  I loved all the different colored doors in the old town square.  I also loved that we could buy a drink of sangria and the bar didn't mind that we took it out into the square where we were sitting, drinking and painting and enjoying the church bells ringing as the setting sunlight glowed in the town square.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Mixing Fun with Fun!

Helen and I traveled to France, Spain and Portugal to paint and do a bike tour.  We took our watercolor art journals along with us and found fun places to relax and paint.  One of our first stops was Saint Jean-du-Luz, a cute fishing village in the southwestern part of France.  This area is known for it's Basque influence, sea food and beautiful sandy beaches.  We painted postcards to send home to family and friends.
Postcards from Saint Jean-du-Luz
Helen's postcard of boats in the port.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

HDAL An Artists' Show for Fall

'Interlude'- an Exhibit at Broken Top Club

  Broken Top Club featured an art exhibit called “INTERLUDE” by three talented artists of the High Desert Art League (HDAL) from September 16 to October 15. The artists and their artwork included: Dramatic and colorful watercolors by Vivian Olsen of detailed wildlife, a variety of figures and animals created with warm wax, called encaustics, by Janice Rhodes, and up close and personal oil portraits of tame animals and still-lifes by Barbara Slater.  

Here two of the artists are shown with their artwork at their Reception during the Club’s Art Walk with Live Music and Wine Tasting. Barbara was unable to attend but all three HDAL artists’ paintings may be viewed on their website:

Vivian Olsen with her Swans in pastel

Janice Rhodes with her Encaustics

HDAL Summer Exhibit

                   Members At the Sunriver Show in August

Front to Back, L - R:    Vivian Olsen,  Janice Rhodes,  Jacqueline Newbold,  
Cindy Briggs,  Barbara Slater,  Cameron Kaseberg,  and Joren Traveller

These members,  plus David Kinker and Helen Brown,  displayed a variety of creative paintings in an exhibit of watercolors, oils, acrylics, encaustics and solvent transfer art in their show named 'Rhythm in Visions' during August and September.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Bend has GREAT First Fridays!!!

First Friday Art Walk in Bend, Oregon is a big party. But in addition to the social happenings, there is some really good art to see! Here is what I would do.....

Start in Bend's Old Mill District. The Tumalo Art Company starts Art Walk at 4pm. Parking is easy! In July, Annie Ferder's incredible watercolors are in a display called "East Meets West." See  Also featured at this gallery are High Desert Art League members, Helen Brown and David Kinker and many other unique and talented artists. See

Then I would go upstairs to Lisa and Lori's fabric art studio to see and talk to these two amazing identical twins and see what they are up to. It's always something interesting!

Before heading downtown, I have to make a stop at A6. There you can see original prints by OSU faculty member Yuji Hiratsuka, and a juried exhibit of bike-inspired prints by local artists.

This is where the Watercolor Society of Oregon's travelling show is on display. Billye Turner presents the show downtown at the Franklin Crossing building on Franklin and Bond streets. The WSO has two shows per year with 80 of the best watercolor paintings in the state. Twenty of those are chosen to travel to different Oregon galleries for six months. We are lucky to have this in Bend this month. Don't miss it. Featured in this show is local artist Chris Keylock-Williams with an award of distinction.

Then walk over to this co-op gallery on Oregon and Bond to see the encaustic paintings of HDAL member Janice Rhodes! She'll have new works this month as the featured artist. Also showing their work there are HDAL members Jacqueline Newbold, Joren Traveller, Shelly Wierzba, 

Now I'd be hungry for dinner, so I'd have to decide which wonderful restaurant to go to in Bend. This is not a restaurant guide, so I'll skip to after dinner.....

SOTHEBY'S is a real estate office on Wall Street in downtown Bend. There, Vivian Olsen and Barbara Slater are showing their new work, mostly animals, both domestic and wild.

So much to do and see! There are more galleries and exhibits in Bend than I have mentioned. And the exhibits are generally up all month, so if you miss this Friday, you can catch the art later. I hope to see you all at one or another of these wonderful exhibits!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Plein Air and Award Winners at Roberts Field

The paintings are framed, the jury process complete and the artwork has been hung at the Redmond Municipal Airport/Roberts Field as the Smith Rock Paint Out transitions from plein-air painting to exhibition. Twenty-five original plein-air paintings created during the 3rd annual Smith Rock Paint Out are on exhibit and available for purchase June 23 through August 23.

Photo of 2015 Smith Rock Paint Out award winners.
Award winners from left to right: Joanne Kollman, Kathleen Keliher, Denise Rich, Kim Smith, and Tracy Leagjeld. Eric Jacobsen not pictured. 

 The artists arrived at Smith Rock State Park at eight in the morning and had only five hours to create an original work of art. Beginning with blank canvases the artists spread out over the park finding just the right vantage point and began creating. Working in oils, pastels, watercolor and acrylics the artists worked as park visitors looked on and asked questions. By the one-o’clock deadline the artists had completed their work including framing and submitted for the jury process. A jury of five High Desert Art League members selected twenty-five pieces of work from all submissions to be exhibited in the exhibition. From those twenty-five works of art, five were singled out for awards. Tracy Leagjeld of Portland, Oregon was awarded Best of Show for her oil painting titled Hot Rocks. Eric Jacobsen of Prineville, Oregon took home second-place for his work in oil titled Morning Light at Smith Rock. Kim Smith’s watercolor titled Rocks earned third-place in the competition. Awards of achievement were presented to Central Oregon’s Kathleen Keliher for Hot Rocks, Joanne Kollman for Majestic Morning and Denise Rich for Among the Rocks.

The Smith Rock Paint Out Exhibition runs June 23 through August 23 in the Roberts Field ( terminal, which is located at 2522 SE Jesse Butler Circle in Redmond, Oregon. The artwork is available for purchase by visiting the administration office in the terminal near the main entrance. Created by Smith Rock State Park and the High Desert Art League as a way to introduce new people to the park and the arts, the plein-air paint out is an annual event. The organizers would like to thank this years sponsors and ask you so support them; Roberts Field/Redmond Municipal Airport, Cascade A&E, PleinAir Magazine, Deschutes Brewery, Sage Custom Picture Framing, Pacific Art and Framing, Red Point Climbers Supply and the Redmond Committee for Art in Public Places.

Visit for more information on the Smith Rock Paint Out and news on next year’s event. Be sure to visit Smith Rock State Park every chance you get, one of Oregon’s Seven Wonders! For more photos of the event please visit our Facebook page at

Monday, June 15, 2015

Breathing In Plein Air

3rd Annual Plein Air Competition at Smith Rock State Park

Celebrating the creativity of the human spirit and the spectacular beauty of Central Oregon's Smith Rock, the third annual Smith Rock Plein AirPaint Out is set for June 20th.  The public is invited to watch as artists from across the Pacific Northwest participate in a timed plein air painting competition followed by a juried exhibition at the Redmond MunicipalAirport/Roberts Field.

The High Desert Art League and Smith Rock State Park created this event to bring the experience of the park to new audiences. Smith Rock is a world famous rock-climbing site and is host to miles of hiking and mountain bike trails.  The stunning cliffs separate the meandering Crooked River from the distant Cascade Mountains skyline of snow capped peaks; a perfect setting for artists, photographers and nature lovers of all kinds.  

The competition is open to all artists working in 2-D media that can be created from start to finish in the park, in the allotted time. “It’s a great experience to watch an artist work from a blank canvas to a finished, framed work of art,” says High desert Art League President Vivian Olsen. “And quite a treat to be able to purchase the artwork you saw being created following the event” she added. A juried exhibition of work created during the event will be held at Redmond, Oregon's Roberts Field following the event, June 23rd through August 23rd where the artwork will be available for purchase. 

 The event hours are 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Information, event schedule and artist registration can be found at The event is free to the public with a State Park Pass or the $5 day use fee. Smith Rock State Park is located at 9241NE Crooked River Dr. near Terrebonne, Oregon. For more information please visit:, or

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Call To Artists: Smith Rock Paint Out 2015

The 3rd Annual Smith Rock Paint Out and competition takes place June 20, 2015 at Smith Rock StatePark, one of Central Oregon’s most spectacular locations. Artists of all levels are invited to participate. Registration, awards and participation information can be found Pre-registration is strongly encouraged. The event is followed by a juried exhibition at Roberts Field/Redmond Municipal Airport June 23 through August 23, 2015.  For information and artist registration please visit

Friday, June 12, 2015


These are the last of the NEW paintings done for   
Red Chair Gallery 

Opening On July 3rd, First Friday

View these new encaustic paintings  by Janice Rhodes and scroll down to see all the others!