MotoPainter’s Quail Gathering 2014

Okay, I know this is pretty late, but I figure it’s better late than never. Besides, now I can remind you of what you missed and encourage you to come next year. S-works

A large circle of white peaked tents surrounds a cropped grass field nestled between the hills of Carmel Valley.  California sun floods the sky, lifting temperatures and producing a warm smell of flowers and oak trees. I step out of my bug caked truck Friday promptly at noon, eager to begin my weekend at Quail. Kevin, Althea, and I stroll over to the tent in the vendor parking area to check in. We are immediately offered a golf cart with a large cargo area complete with driver to escort us to my set up location. Two trips in the electric box with wheels, brimming with paintings, lights, and walls, and we are ready to start assembling my mobile gallery.

Turkey Sandwich at Edgar's

As we set up walls and lights, bikes rolled onto the field to take their places. The peace and quiet of this golf resort is clear as the only disturbances are voices from sound checks and the occasional motorcycle firing up. We slated the whole afternoon for booth perfecting, thus we take our time organizing and double checking. Once the walls were in place and lighting set up, we required sustenance, and rather than hopping back in the car to search the vicinity we walk across the grass to the Quail Clubhouse and enjoy a table on the patio of the restaurant, Edgar’s, overlooking the field. Kevin orders a turkey sandwich, and I, as I most often have to do, created my own meal: a salad and grilled veggies on the side. Not knowing what to expect, surprise lights our faces as the waiter places our plates. I certainly recommend at least one meal at Edgar’s while you visit the lodge. Our plates are artfully presented, and the vivid colors tell us the story of their brief trip from the farm. After finishing our last delicious bites, we discover that our waiter has disappeared. Both Kevin and I take our turn in the restroom and still no check, Kevin goes in the patio door to look for our man. The warm sun and lazy feel of the day has apparently infected our waiter. As Kevin figures out the tip, and grumbles about sales tax, (it is lovely not to have any in Oregon) we both agree the price is fair for the quality of food we received.

Althea NappingWalking back to my booth, we find ourselves side tracked looking at some of the new arrivals. Pointing and heads turning we make our way back to the booth to dig into deciding where which painting will hang where. Althea, having seen me hang paintings many times before in many locations, settles down under a folding table for a nap. I sneakily snap a couple photos of Althea snoozing, and in the distance see someone waving to me. At first I think, who do I know here? Then I see the red Ducati parked on the street and the vintage leather jacket of red, black, and white, and realize it is my friend Rich. Rich offers a hand with hanging and we quickly get all the paintings in place. This one here, no wait over here, and that one over there. We maneuver each painting so that it receives ample visibility and Tetris like placement.  Final touches are setting up the small table in one corner for my laptop and brochures, and tada, a completely respectable artist’s booth lays before us.

Back in the truck we wind our way out of Carmel Valley heading to my Mom’s house where we are staying and where Althea will stay during the show. Tired from the sun and the heat, us Oregonians aren’t used to seeing that blazing day star, we’d like nothing more than to get an early night. However, Patrick, my good friend and sales consultant for this show, is flying into San Jose late Friday evening. Thus we arrive at my Mom’s and only have time for a quick dinner before we have to get back in the car and drive the hour to the airport. Quail Booth Photo

We enter the loop road of the airport and prepare for curbside pickup. I see Patrick coming down an escalator just as we are approaching the doors, I roll down the window and yell to him. Once we are back in the car and ready to hit the road Patrick pleas for a food stop, and he’d like to go to In-N-Out. Being from California originally, I don’t see what the big deal is, also being the admitted food snob that I am I also don’t understand why In-N-Out has such a draw to out-of-staters. I try to explain that it is just a fast food joint akin to Burgerville in Oregon. Patrick being the hungry person, I relent and agree to let him try it for himself, so we stop at In-N-Out. All three of us enter the establishment and as we stand around waiting for Patrick’s to-go order we notice the high volume of high school kids occupying all the seats. When Patrick finally receives his meal we escape the adolescent dinner room and get back in the car. Thoroughly exhausted from too much driving, and sun and heat we finally get to bed around midnight, only to have to get up in six and a half short hours.

Triumphs at Quail

First thing on show morning, an excellent breakfast with fresh made watermelon, kale, orange juice accompanied by Mom-cooked eggs and potatoes. As we arrive at the show, I try to coordinate with my friend Mark, who is so kindly bringing his beautiful bike to display in my booth. Not sure where we are supposed to go to pick up our vendor tickets, we walk back and forth to every entrance. Finally I am able to get everyone’s tickets, as well as getting Mark’s motorcycle in. His wonderful little bike appears in one of my favorite paintings, “Vintage Ducati”. It is a large gray-scale oil painting that unfortunately was not at this show due to the show it is in at the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame extending for another year.

The grassy driving range begins to fill with people. Looking across the lawn I can see that the number of bikes has tripled since yesterday. Torn between looking at bikes and duty to my booth, I try to keep my trips from the booth short and not long distance. This unfortunately limited my ability to see all the bikes at the show, but what I saw was exciting. My heart starts racing as I look through the lens, click, click, I’m eager to get them all. My booth goes between waves of people, it fills and then it empties out. Many brochures are handed out, and compliments and amazement fill the air. I enjoy the compliments, but want to get back out on the field to look at bikes. The day progresses too quickly, and before I know it, I haven’t taken more than a handful of photos. As the announcer starts the award ceremony I use this opportunity to walk among the bikes. So many colors and flavors. There are bike manufacturers there I’ve never even heard of. Many of my favorites are here, and some that I look forward to painting. I found two bikes that will most likely find their way onto my canvas in the future. Here are some of my favorites.

Over all, the show was one of the best I’ve attended. It is geared toward sport, history and future of motorcycling. I couldn’t recommend a better show to attend.






This is an Introduction

I’ll start this section with a house warming, or rather a studio warming.

Setting up in my new space

Setting up in my new space

Today, I am settling in to my new studio and this is the first day that I have started a painting in this room. It was conceived, prepped, and primed here. I sit back on my metal folding chair and look across the three or four feet to my easel where an outline of orange Prismacolor pencil stares back at me. The sun’s sneaky descent behind the western tree line paints pinks and purples across the northern clouds I see out my studio window. Rush hour has passed, and the steady hum of engines and tires fades between so that I can clearly hear the bouncing of a basket ball at the court across the street. Occasionally, a child yells to another and the ball bounces with more force.

I have two easels set up waiting for my attention. Here they are opposite each other, unlike my last studio where they nestled side by side. I have yet to decide if this will help or hinder my production. Lighting has proved challenging with this arrangement, as I now require two areas of light. The even natural light from the north window slides across both canvases equally, but my large easel receives a bit of western light in the evenings. I prefer not to rely on natural lighting, as it can change dramatically through out the seasons here in Portland, and I can’t be disturbed by the sun’s fickle moods and changing sleep schedule. Perfect lighting is still a work in progress for this space. Hours asking Google to solve my lighting issues have narrowed the field slightly, and my home owner boyfriend’s desire for LED bulbs adds complication to the mix. “Let there be light” will be my number one studio task for the year.

Need to organize a bit more, and there are still several more boxes of supplies and art coming.

Need to organize a bit more, and there are still several more boxes of supplies and art coming.

The room itself contains less square footage than my last, a fact that is a constant thorn in my side. We’ve even taken the closet doors off in an attempt to mitigate my self imposed claustrophobia. My struggle over size echos my pride in and dedication to my craft. In my apartment after only a month I ceded the master bedroom to art and contented myself to house my bed in the tiny second bedroom. After so many years of studio ruling the throne of my home, it feels like a major demotion to loose the foothold of master. The only practical issue with the diminished space is a difficulty working large scale, the glass ceiling has been lowered. An intangible controversy I have with the lack of space is confinement of my mind, I don’t have room for other projects or random creative outlets. It does not feel like a laboratory or workshop, but more of an incubator. Perhaps it will keep me focused, or perhaps I will go mad running arms flailing from my studio into the wide open air of landscape painting. While I don’t see this happening soon, I do think this compacted studio will only encourage me to work harder so that I may someday surpass it. Echoes of my studio in my Oakland apartment breeze through my mind.  It was more of a large pantry than a bedroom, yet on my days off I sat in there baking in the southwestern sun producing large paintings that hardly fit the wall behind them.

This studio and I have a long way to go together so I better get used to it. Change is inevitable and it’s best to learn to live with it because if you fight it, it will only slow you down.

Brushes in my new studio

Brushes in my new studio