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Paint-out artists capture Johnson Creeks beauty and diversity

by: David F. Ashton Southeast Portland artist Dolores Wood shows a scene that will become a finished painting.

As part of the 2011 'Johnson Creek Days' - a month-long festival of events sponsored by the Johnson Creek Watershed Council (JCWC) - artists recently gathered on different days at several locations along the iconic waterway, to paint a scene representing an aspect of the creek.

'The Paint-out is an opportunity for artists to get together and paint scenes,' explained Marty Urman, JCWC's outreach associate. 'This is important, because it raises the concept of watershed importance, and helps people get another view of the creek. And, we're hoping to get a collection of paintings for our Johnson Creek Art Show in October.'

Of the eight artists drawing and painting on September 3, two of them worked from an outlook on the boardwalk in Ardenwald's Tideman-Johnson Park.

East Portland's Dolores Wood confided that this the third year she's been involved in the project: 'I've painted at a number of different locations throughout the watershed.'

For this particular day, Wood said she chose to work with acrylics on canvas. Asked about her technique, she replied, 'I look at the scene, 'lock in' on areas of light and dark, and then go for the details afterward.'

She donates her time and considerable talent, Wood said, because, 'I like supporting organizations that support our environment. The Johnson Creek Watershed Council does a lot to improve the streams and habitats, not only in the water, but also along the banks and surrounding areas, to provide food and shelter for different types of plants, animals, birds, and fish. I support life in various ways, and the environment. I am a progressive naturalist, you might say.'

At the same location, artist and art teacher Eve Kenyon said she first photographs the location she chooses, and then returns to create her art. 'From the photo, I can make a choice of how I want to look at whatever it is I am later going to paint.'

After creating a black and white sketch, she does an 'experimental color study, so I can figure out what the basic color schemes will be. Then, I create the finished work using pastels on colored paper.'

As for why she participates in this particular event, Kenyon responded, 'I'm a landscape painter. Without beautiful places like this, I don't know what I would be painting!'

JCWC is hosting a First Friday Reception from 4 until 8 pm on October 7th at the Spring Creek Coffee House, 10600 S.E. McLoughlin Boulevard in downtown Milwaukie.

Visitors will also be guided to Milwaukie River Front Park (across the street) for a special ribbon cutting at 5:30 pm, to celebrate JCWC's newly-built salmon habitat restoration project at the mouth of Johnson Creek. For more information, visit their Internet website: www.jcwc.org .