Thursday, July 31, 2014


"Sentinals" 8x10 oil on board, ©Laura Gable
The area where Sacajawea and the Corps of Discovery camped along the Columbia River is well preserved with a park and museum along the river shore, here is southeastern Washington. We went over there one Sunday, and had a nice visit with the volunteer working there. She shared that when Maya Lin came in and created the basalt discovery circles as part of the centennial celebration, she wanted to remove the grass and trees to take it back to a more natural environment like it was during the Corps' encampment. There was a great deal of discussion at the time, with well spoken platforms on both sides of the issue. A compromise of sorts was reached, and the park was able to keep it's lush grass and beautiful mature maples and sycamores. Yet in the areas around the sculptures, they planted some native grasses which were indigenous to the area for many hundreds of years.

Looking away north from the park into the natural landscape that skirts the edges, there is a boat dock and some trails for the avid wanderer. I found this lovely spot for a vignette, and wondered if perhaps this had a semblance of similarity to what the Lewis and Clark group saw during their short stay.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Wallula Gap Down River

"Wallula Gap Downriver" 9x12, oil on board, ©Laura Gable 
Most people in our region are familiar with the Wallula Gap area just south of the Tri-Cities, Washington. It was formed as the Columbia River makes it's dramatic bend and heads west towards the ocean, creating the border between Washington and Oregon.

Early one spring morning we set up our easels along side the highway, on the slopes of the hiking area for Twin Sisters basalt formation. I painted this as we looked down river -- a bit sheltered with some gusts of errant wind. The water was churning up this interesting green tone, while wildflowers and rabbit brush were in bloom. Light patterns created amazing color on the distant rocks. I was drawn to the light skimming the brilliant green grasses atop this upright rock formation, and the dramatic shadows they cast across the roadway.

"The gap is a narrow constriction of the Columbia, just north of the Oregon border where the great river makes its last southern run, then swings west to complete its journey to the Pacific." More information here, with photos.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Signs of Americana (sold)

"Signs of Americana" 8x8 oil on board, ©Laura Gable, SOLD
My family owned this motel on the edge of town where I grew up in Nebraska. We enjoyed the common scent of fresh soap, and crisp linens. My siblings and I were the maids - each with a different chore from bed making, dusting, vacuuming and bathroom cleaning. My Dad would often leave coins under the beds and in the drawers to see how well we checked things. While the 6 small dark wood lined rooms were often occupied by travelers along the Lincoln Highway, some truck drivers and many harvesters came during wheat season. Many of our renters were frequent visitors, and friendships were formed. We would fill up during the summers, especially the end of July when people would stop on their way to the "Grand Daddy of them All" Cheyenne Frontier Days 100 miles away. The whole town would fill up and room rates would double. Not fancy, but always clean. It was our home and many memories and funny stories were born here.

This sweet painting went to a new home today. A brand new home, in fact. which is almost completed and custom built by the owners. It will be decorated mid-century modern. I'm sure this painting will be a great addition to this lovely new home.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Picking Lavender

"Picking Lavender" 8x8 oil on card, ©Laura Gable
A recent outing to the nearby lavender fields garnered a fairly good plein air painting and a stress free, enjoyable day spent painting with a dear friend. While there I observed the many visitors floating through the fields, their legs and feet obscured by these fluffy topped plants. Some with parasols, some in floppy hats, most in light floaty clothing perfect for a very warm day. All were carrying the flat woven baskets provided to pick their own fragrant bundles to take home. The scene has an air of romance to it, intensified by the Parisian music playing in the nearby barn which we caught strains of from time to time. This small group of 3 caught my eye, especially the little boy so exuberant in his black felt fedora. As my niece would say, he was quite "fedorable" ;-) I enjoyed painting this the next day while in the coolness of my studio.

If you are interested in purchasing this painting, please go to this link on the dailypaintworks page. It will be auctioned for 10 days, then it will revert to full price after that.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Egg Cup

"Egg Cup" 5x7 oil painting on panel, ©Laura Gable
Quail eggs in a vintage green tea cup on a reddish background - what could be more pleasing on this summer day. Our yards fill with quail as the evening time approaches. They totter across from the natural sage and cheat grass covered hillsides to the cracked corn feast provided by our neighbor. In the Winter they are more apt to stay awhile and see what our plants have to offer when food isn't as abundant. (These eggs were purchased, and the insides were already blown out).

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Uplifting Clouds

"Uplifting Clouds" 6x8" oil on canvas glued to gatorboard, ©Laura Gable
This cloudscape was a bit imagined as it hovered over our hillsides of gold and sage. It was based on a desert view I experienced once awhile ago as storms were forming in the afternoon.

On really hot days the clouds aren't nearly as dynamic here in this arid region of eastern Washington where we wither in 100+ degree temps during the summer. The horizons are generally a bit orange toned -- tinted by particles of ash and smoke that get caught in the atmosphere from nearby brush fires. The heat seems to raise the cloud layer higher off the surface of the land.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Duffy's Pond

My plein air friends and I painted this lovely pond scene near Clover island off the Columbia River just to the north of my studio a few years back. I enjoyed the darkness of the shadowy area compared to the brightness of the autumn tree. This has a sketchy quality that I enjoy. Not every leaf or reed is identified. I am offering a summarization of the objects, and a syncopation of color and form. The eye fills in the rest.

"Duffy's Pond" 9x12 oil on canvas board, ©Laura Gable

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Coming Home (sold)

"Coming Home" 20x24 oil painting on canvas, ©Laura Gable
I painted this a few years back when I was doing a nesting series. During that time, I had discovered a sweet, private new studio, where I was starting to feather the floors and walls with things that meant a great deal to me -- ephemera, rugs, easels, art and supplies. A lovely heart centered place where I still create. The painting, though it has some apparent inaccuracies, captures a certain feeling deep within the brush strokes. For me it hits a note in the heart -- something not always easy to logically recreate in other paintings.

Don't we often go to places in this world that somehow resonate on a deeper level with us. As though we've been there before--a sense of deja' vu? Our heart strings are stirred by something immeasurable… like the sound of bird call combined with the color of the sky and rustle of the nearby grasses. That kernel of something sweet and light, that just hearkens back to happy times spent with loved ones, family and friends.

One time I gazed with tears in my eyes, at an artist's pastel rendition of soft golden wheat fields under a deep blue sky. Another time I stood in awe at Cezanne's series of small "bathers" paintings, and I was overcome. These feelings can be mysterious, noting the sublime aspect of art.

I'm pleased to send this piece off to a wonderful new home, owned by the new local hospital. My heart is happy.

On another note, I heard recently that my college art teacher, Mr. Dillon, has passed. The last time I saw him, he was hanging art in the lobby of the office building where I worked as an auditor in Lincoln, NE. I know, a far diversion from the current path I am on. He encouraged me to continue with art, but I followed those more practical pathways. Does "practicality" really translate to "fear"? Reluctantly, I wish I had reconnected with this favorite teacher of mine once I had returned to art--wondering if he would remember me? Alas, a bit late now. Ah but my heart does recall his kindness, clarity of teaching, and unflagging support. A very special person, indeed.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Shelter (sold)

"Shelter" 6.75" x 5" x .2", oil painting on panel, oval shaped and framed
This oval shaped painting is framed in an antique metal plated ornate frame. It represents the vibrancy of the trees, that provide us shelter and homes for the birds. I painted this a few months back. I enjoy the color balance of this small painting.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Bending Grasses

"Bending Grasses" 6x6 canvas on 3" deep stretchers, ©Laura Gable
This simple landscape was a study in balance and symmetry -- and a play of colors, vibrancy and tones. The mountain's shape is mirrored in the negative space below. And the cloud's shape is mirrored vertically in the shape of the grasses. Sun peeking through the clouds casts a bright pattern of greens on the valley floor below.