Dawn Study. Gorge mornings.

There really is nothing like the dawn light. I took off from Mosier yesterday (was that Thursday…?) at 5:30 am to explore up the #30 roadway up along the Rowena Crest roadway. I didn’t make it too far. The Memaloose Overlook was my first pullout – and I was not inclined to go any further – thank goodness.
Within 10 minutes the show was almost over.  It means taking photos in every direction as fast as possible and fighting with the auto light-meter for the right exposures. There is SO much our eyes can see that the camera just cannot capture all at once.

If you want to paint it ? … you have to have all your color mixed and ready to fly at it.
I have made up a palette of complex mixed greens and the “tan” grass colors of the local hillsides.
Here is some of my dawn study – for those of you that sleep in and will never see the light ;-)

MMloose_lores (2) MMloose_lores (3) MMloose_lores (4)memaloose.01

6 x 12 Acrylic on Panel
Funny – I held up the painting to get the light on it for a photo, while I was racing to pack up. (I had promised to return with our truck by 9am…) but didn’t realize till I got home and downloaded my photos on the computer that it was almost lined up with the subject landscape. A happy accident.

The Gorge is a complex canyon of rock, rising columns of basalt and sloping grassy bluffs. This “S” shaped escarpment is called “Coyote Wall” and the Syncline formation runs down the north side of the Columbia and under the river (dam created a deeper river here) and up on the south side to meet the flat bluff of stone in the left foreground. I love the dramatic shadows and formations, and they are all reversed at the end of day.

I am tucked in behind the wall of the Memaloose Overlook (about 200 ft high up on a cliff) and dressed for the cool – peeking my head up to take in the high view. The wind is really something to contend with here. Down to about 16 degrees at night – back up to 30+ in the afternoons with a hot gale most afternoons. The windsurfers and sailers love it. You can see colorful kites and boards out on the river any day.
If you think acrylic dries fast…try painting in the sun and wind. Challenging.


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