Meeting Notes: January 8, 2015

At today's meeting Loretta, Tim, Susan, Bill, Charlie, Barbara, Marty Doughtery (New), Kay, Diane, Jerry Sumpter (New), Jeanne, Peggie, Jeanie, Marty T, Mike Porter (New), Jim, Thomas, Kristina, Jerry D, Eunice, Dave, Jennifer, Brenda, and me Celeste. 

Today's suggested table topic: Do you “experiment” (in art)? In what way..where has it lead you? 

Celeste: I know a great story on the subject of experimentation. It has to do with a photographer named Fred Picker. He was an approachable “legend” type photographer who would actually answer questions posed to him by the masses, but this was before the internet so it was handled via regular mail. Once he receieved an especially long convoluted letter that was a series of technical questions.  It was sort of like “if I do this…then will that happen? And if I do that…will this happen”? The questioner went on and on. Fred answered with just two words: “Try it!” (laughter).
I brought in a presenation experiment that I did. I learned it from Mike Rangner. It’s Velcro on the back of a small canvas panel and Velcro on the front of a black board. 

Susan: I am always experimenting! I brought in a pastel today. 

Barbara: Every time I step to the easel I'm experimenting. I took an abstract painting class and was told by the teacher that really what I had paint painted was actually …….representational (laughter). I was accepted into the Pittock Mansion “River” show. I am showing two paintings. 

Jennifer: I try to push myself to do things that may be considered “wrong". I do it on purpose…to challenge myself. So, I will intentionally put something in the middle. It's fun to push boundaries. I brought in a small plein air painting.

 Marty Doughtery (new! Welcome!): I am new here and new to plein air. It is all an experiment to me!

 Kay:  I was in the big 500 show and all of the paintings I did for it could be considered experimental. I take a fair amount of art classes and workshops…so I feel that doing that has everything to do with experimentation. I would not do half the things I’ve done without specific suggestions (instruction) from others.

Diane: There is a Picasso quote that goes something along the lines of "I'm always trying to do what I don't think I can do". I recently painted a toy robot. That is subject matter that I've never done before. 

Jerry Sumpter (New! Welcome!):(editors note: Well, Jerry has come before….but we haven’t seen him in a long time) I am a teacher at PNCA. Often students want to learn "the secret" to something. Students always want to learn technique... it's important to think about how to move through technique all the while retaining your individuality. It is a matter of developing your own voice. 

Jeanne: I have recently done work in different formats. Last summer I worked longer and shorter panels. Someone recently suggested that I work on the larger format. That was difficult for me at first but it's important not to get complacent. I’m showing a large plein air I did at Sauvie Island.

Peggie: I did paintings of presidents (their faces) on pumpkins for a nursery/farm. (Whaaa?) This sounds so strange but it led to many other jobs. I brought in another unusual (experimental) project I worked on. I did individual ink drawings of an entire class for a teacher who was leaving. This was presented to her as a gift.  Everyone should just try stuff. Stuff that maybe doesn’t make sense to you. You should be open to lots of different ideas.

Jeanie: I paint very big. I've always painted big. So, recently I started to paint small. It is really different for me. It is experimental for me. I brought in a art bin to give away today. I am showing two small paintings. 

Marty: I have not been painting lately. My wife and I are remodeling our kitchen! I may not have any money left over to paint anymore! (laughter)

Stephanie: Every painting to me is an experiment! I have determined recently that it is important to make a commitment to someone or something else. That commitment will make you follow through. I painted this a van Gogh version of Mount Hood. Right after that I painted this chicken. I am doing the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge. I also recently did a installation at Muse Art Supply (in their window). I am starting to work in a series. 

Mike Porter (New! Welcome!): I am new. Let me put on my apron to talk to you! (laughter) I wanted to show you this value chart that I did for understanding paint and values. I have also done a chart with all of the different brands of paint on it so that we watercolorists can see the differences between brands. I brought in these studies that I did. They are preliminary studies before I do a larger painting. This, to me, is the experimental part of painting. It is my personal discipline to do this. 
(editor's note: Sorry, Mike neglected to get your email, please send it to celesteobergin@gmail)

Jim: There was a painting that I had here at O'Connor's last month (hanging on the wall).  I actually used three different styles in that painting. Today I have brought in two figures.  I wanted to see what it would be like to put the face in semi darkness. I wanted to experiment and see what it would be like to do that. I also brought in another painting where the figure has a lot of contrasts light and dark. My motto is always "see what happens”. 

Thomas: I resonate with what Jerry said. Often the search for the new will override what you always already have. If you were going to experiment with a new media, a new subject, a new intent….also ask yourself "what am I going to keep of what I already do”?  I brought in a painting that I will show you on my iPhone. This is a large painting in progress. 

Kristina: I brought in two paintings of flowers that I did with pallet knife only (experiments!)…and a third painting that is done with brush. 

Eunice: I have been watching an instructional DVD. It is an experiment to try to paint like this person (laughter). I want to suggest that you get a hold of a book by George Gallo. He did the movie called Local Color. This book is really a great find.

editor’s note: (Thomas interjected here with a great story that I would tell you….but then I’d have to kill you). 

Loretta: Every day seems like an experiment to me. I have experimented with a lot of different media. I always come back to oil. If I try someone else's palette it usually fails!

Tim:  I play with every single medium I can. I like painting way out things!  I brought in an example. I also want to show you my sketchbook.  I have done what James Gurney does to his sketchbooks. I “decorated” the cover of it with a painting. 

Bill: This topic makes me think about curiosity. Curiosity is the springboard for trying things. Recently I've been experimenting with mixing flesh tones. Also, I have been experimenting with supports. I painted this on a smoked salmon box lid. (laughter) I also brought in a portrait of my wife. It is in progress. 

Charlie: I find this to be a great great question. I recently came across a painting of mine that I didn't like (from long ago) and I changed it and experimented over it with new ideas. I brought in a landscape painting.

Jerry: I like this question. I started with a brush with this painting and ended with a knife. What I know is that if it feels right you should do it! I am also in the Pittock Mansion show. I brought in a painting.

Joanne: Recently I was showing a student how to set up a still life. I instructed them not to paint too many things is what I did that same day and I put everything in!  (laughter) I like to paint things out of my head. Here' are some of those things. I brought in a textured surface painting. I did this because someone showed the process to me and I enjoyed doing it but I dropped it. Ultimately I couldn't understand the value of it. I brought in a painting that I painted directly on the top of a pizza box. I do this with my students so that they will be less intimidated about painting. I do it so they don't get too hung up on the support. Scott G told me that he uses student grade painting paint sometimes and I wanted to try that out on the pizza boxes. 

Brenda: My whole life is an experiment for sure. I am working on a very large canvas. I will show it to you on my iPhone. I also brought in this pastel painting. 


Jennifer Diehl will be doing a workshop on color application at the Brush and Palette (in Oregon City). The dates for this are January 16,17 and 18. The workshop is nearly filled up. If you want to get in please contact Jennifer. Also Jennifer  will be doing a workshop called Plein Air in the City. This will be done through OSA May 15 16 and 17.

(She will also send additional workshop info to the editor and we’ll list them here).

Update: go HERE for the update:

Brenda Boylan has a workshop at OSA that is full. Her other workshop at Emerald Valley is March 27 - 29. 
Find out more here:

Joanne Kollman has received an Arts in the Schools grant. (Congratulations, Joanne) Joanne teaches privately in her studio contact her for more information.

Jerry Sumpter: Tomorrow (friday) we are meeting at the Daily CafĂ© 902 NW 13th Avenue at 4 PM across from PNCA. This will be a discussion about landscape composition. Additionally, Announcing a new Atelier in Portland! Find out about it here:

Thomas:  There is room in my Mexico workshop. The Tuscany workshop information is also on my website. I will likely be teaching a five my local workshops (probably) around mid August. 

Studio 30 is tomorrow (Friday) there is room for a couple more people. Contact Kat. 

Anton's class at OSA is Mondays 9:30 to noon. It is “drop in”. (Highly recommended by Barbara Wild)

“Portlandia" starts today. Watch the walls—Kristina Sellers (and others) have paintings in all episodes).


Someone left behind a book (Emily Carr)--contact Celeste for it's return.

Special thanks to David Burbach who brought Celeste today (my car wouldn't start)!---oh, and thanks for the great pictures too.

Did everyone find us for Thursday Drawing Club? Call Celeste if you get separated from us somehow..or arrive late. Email Celeste for her cell phone #

Here are photos from today's Thursday Drawing Club:

Record attendance today!—thanks to all for coming and sharing your ideas and paintings. Next meeting Jan 15, suggested topic: The best workshop you’ve taken….(why was it the best)? (answers will be anonymous in the notes)

The Thursday Drawing Club will sketch outside the Multnomah Village Bead shop next permitting.


  1. Week after week, Celeste does an incredible job organizing and posting this Alla Prima blog. Thank you Celeste.