Pastel dust in the Wallowa County…


In the last blog I talked about the Wallowa Valley Festival of the Arts in Joseph, Or and the Quick Draw event.  There’s a lot more to this area than just the Art Festival.  Every time I go Joseph I come home with a bunch of images.  It is truly a beautiful valley.  When you leave Walla Walla you head south down to Weston and then take the cut off (Winn Road) that takes you over Tollgate in the Blue Mountains to Elgin, OR (that’s SR 204)  Once you leave Elgin you take SR 82 on to Joseph.  You go down the side of a steep canyon and at the bottom you cross the Big Canyon Creek where the Wallowa River and it meet and flow down to meet the Grand Rhonde.  The views are breathtaking as the valley opens up as you go through Wallowa, the Lostine and Enterprise before reaching Joseph which sits near Wallowa Lake a huge body of water from which the Wallowa River flow.  It is tucked right up next to these big mountains with lots of cabins and luxury homes all along the shorelines.

If you drive north and east of Joseph, you go through the Zumwalt Prairie and you will gradually come to the Buckhorn Overlook where you can see the Hells Canyon of the Snake river and the Imnaha converge.  It is rugged, colorful, beautiful country.

Whenever I go, I take painting supplies and manage to get out and do some plein air painting.  Last spring we drove to the Buckhorn Overlook and on the way  back you could see the ground cover that is pinkish flourishing, leaving the grasslands with a pink haze to them.  Lots of thunder storms in the spring and dramatic skies to paint as well.  the piece on the left was done before a big rain storm broke loose that sent rivers of water running down the tire tracks of the gravel road!                                 

We stay at a little B&B outside of town and the roads getting to it go along some swampy area where there are lots of cattails and willows.  The red winged blackbirds love that area and I spent quite a bit of time trying to get some good shots of the birds sitting on the cattails.  

another note is that in the spring of the year, there is such a range of greens in the foliage.  It is quite the sight.

I am going back to Joseph in August to paint at Kelly’s Gallery during the Blues Festival (Aug 13-14) .  I look forward to that and think the weather will be hot and sunny, maybe less green but still impressive, just the same.  Joseph is a great little town to explore and it, along with Enterprise and surrounds have a wealth of great artists.  One is never at a loss to find some good art and sculpture in this destination!

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About bonnie griffith

I am a landscape artist who works in pastels, oils and acrylics. My work focuses on representational studies of the western US. I am basically self taught with lots of workshops and studies with several landscape artists such as Bruce Haughey and Clark Elster. I live in southwestern Idaho, am a native Montanan with a strong connection to the land. I spend as much time as I can in MT painting as well other parts of the northwest. I appreciate getting out in the field and working plein air because there is nothing like completing a painting in the true light of day and visually not being compromised by the use of a photo. In my work, my goal is to produce a piece of work that draws the viewer into the painting and challenges them to explore the scene; get a sense of the time of day, the temperature, the light or lack of. If I have gotten that viewer to step out of their reality and into that painting and enjoy it, then my work was accomplished as I wished. View all posts by bonnie griffith

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