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David Mayfield captures local landscapes at Milwaukie City Hall

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David Mayfield has lived in Milwaukie for 19 years and has a master's degree in art from San Francisco State University.

When it comes to the gallery space at Milwaukie City Hall, "we're always happy when we can exhibit both a local artist and the beautiful locales around the community," said Mitch Nieman, the city staff liaison to the Arts Committee, also known as artMOB.

PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Artist David Mayfield chose specific local landscapes to appeal to residents who come into Milwaukie City Hall to see his current exhibit there. Left is a painting featuring mossy rocks and tree trunks, and right is a view of Mt. Hood on a cloudy day.David Mayfield and his 12 paintings currently on exhibit through February at City Hall perfectly fit that description, Nieman said.

He came highly recommended by Rebecca Banyas, one of the Arts Committee members, Nieman said, adding, "She had seen his work and felt that the community would connect with his paintings of local landscapes and points of interest. His perspective is unique and relatable."

PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - This painting by David Mayfield depicts a view looking down on Johnson Creek Boulevard; Mayfield works mainly in oils on canvas.He added, "Immediately after the show was hung, we received extremely positive reactions from the community."

"I selected these as most accessible to people, most visually understandable," Mayfield said, adding that the landscapes were mainly painted in Oregon City or along the Willamette River.

"It's great to share art in public places, where anyone in the city might walk in," he said.

Mayfield has lived in Milwaukie for 19 years and has a master's degree in art from San Francisco State University and a bachelor's degree from Sonoma State University.

All of his landscapes at City Hall are painted in the plein air style, meaning that Mayfield painted them outdoors.

"You cannot replace direct observation; I want to be out painting. I can't help it," he said. "I try to depict more than what's in front of me. The site is constantly changing, with time and light," he said.

Mayfield added that two of his favorite spots to paint are at Oregon City's Canemah Park and Milwaukie's Elk Rock Island.

Exploring Expressionism

Mayfield describes his style of painting as expressionistic, noting that the impressionists came first, but were most interested in the interplay of light.

PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - Bright, blocky shapes and brooding shadows feature in this painting of Oregon City's Blue Heron Mill. "The expressionists went beyond that, dragging emotions into [their work], while still using a painterly approach," he said.

"My paintings may depict a time of day, but they may have information from a different kind of day or weather pattern," Mayfield said.

One of his paintings, "The Mountain Hides," illustrates what he is talking about.

"The first day I was painting, Mount Hood was in front of me; it was peaceful. Then on Day Two the clouds moved in [concealing the mountain]. I thought should I just go away? But I may not get back out, so I worked quickly that day."

Mayfield works mainly with oil on canvas, but does occasionally use acrylic paints in the studio, employing it as underpainting, he said.

Nature is definitely a key inspiration, he said, noting that he was an environmental planner before he retired.

"I've worked with the underlying theme of nature my entire life," Mayfield said, adding that he has always been intrigued by the interaction between the Earth and the humans on the Earth.

His painting depicting the former Blue Heron Paper Co. mill highlights the theme of "our culture and our planet," he said.

Arts supporters

Mayfield said it is important for him to acknowledge the Arts Committee and the Clackamas County Arts Alliance for supporting artists.

In addition to his exhibit at the Milwaukie City Hall, he currently is showing work at the Sunnyside Health and Wellness Center, located at 9775 S.E. Sunnyside Road in Happy Valley, through Feb. 14.

He also recently exhibited his work at Oregon City's City Hall, 12x16 Gallery in Portland, Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center, Clackamas County Public Services Building in Oregon City, and the Galleria West in the state Capitol in Salem.

Next up for the City Hall space is an exhibit in partnership with the Eutectic Gallery and the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts for the "Future Flux Show and Conference" in March, Nieman said.

He added that ceramics will be on display at the City Hall gallery in conjunction with the West Coast event.

Live in the landscape

To learn more about David Mayfield and his art, visit davidmayfieldart.com.

The Milwaukie City Hall is located at 10722 S.E. Main St. The community is welcome to view the paintings during regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

All works are for sale and can be purchased through City Hall staff.

For more information about the City Hall gallery, visit milwaukieoregon.gov.

The Milwaukie Arts Committee is called artMOB, which stands for Art-Milwaukie on Board.

It was founded in 2008 and has seven members. The group works to connect artists with resources and to connect the community with art.

To learn more about artMOB, visit facebook.com/artMOB

Milwaukie.