10th Year of creating signature art for Deschutes River Conservancy

In the middle of one of the hardest winter’s in recent history in Oregon’s high desert, it was good to have a motivating reason to paint—the signature art for the 2017 Annual Deschutes River Conservancy’s RiverFeast event. And, I realized that it’s the 10th year in a row that I have had the privilege of DRC using my art as the signature artwork for the event.

“The Source”, an acrylic on cradled birch board by Susan Luckey Higdon, is the signature art for the Deschutes River Conservancy’s 2017 RiverFeast.

The Source is painted from the headwaters of the Deschutes River, which flows out of Little Lava Lake in the high Cascades. Little Lava Lake is fed by underground springs as well as run-off from the mountains. I love to visit this spot in the autumn, and in October of 2016, there was sufficient water. The year before the water had been very low, so it was wonderful to see it clear and flowing peacefully through snags and waving golden grass and over smooth stones. As the Deschutes River begins it’s long journey to the Columbia River, it barely resembles the wide river we see at it’s mouth.

This paintings is a 30″ x 40″ acrylic on cradled birch board. It captures the feeling I have when I visit this place where a river is born. Attendees of RiverFeast will be bidding on the work and it will be sold May 6, 2017. But, before that I will showing the painting during the May 5, First Friday Gallery Walk at my gallery, Tumalo Art Co. in Bend, Oregon. Please stop by and see it.

During the 10 years that I have been working with DRC on the RiverFeast art I have visited many beautiful places where the event was going to be held to paint that specific view. There have been a few years where archived images of mine were used because it fit their theme. And in the last couple of years I have both painted from an aerial photo of the Deschutes River taken by Marisa Hossick, and also from my own photos. So, it’s been a process, and always a joy to give back to the river that brings so much life to all of us.

Please plan on supporting the Deschutes River by attending RiverFeast on May 6, 2017!

Susan Luckey Higdon opens show at Tumalo Art Co. October 7

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"September Spawn", acrylic on cradled birch board. Spawning kokanee in Oregon's Deschutes River.
“September Spawn”, acrylic on cradled birch board by Susan Luckey Higdon. Spawning kokanee in Oregon’s Deschutes River.
"Morning Song", acrylic on cradled birchboard by Susan Luckey Higdon. A Yellow Breasted Black Bird sings it's distinctive song among the waterlilly's at Hosmer Lake in Oregon's High Cascades
“Morning Song”, acrylic on cradled birchboard by Susan Luckey Higdon. A Yellow Breasted Black Bird sings it’s distinctive song among the waterlilly’s at Hosmer Lake in Oregon’s High Cascades

Susan Luckey Higdon is fascinated by swirling layers of water, reflections, the fish that live below the surface and the birds that wade and fly above, and the stones and fallen leaves and needles along the bottom. She explores this theme in her October show of new works at Tumalo Art Co. in Bend, Oregon, opening October 7, from 4-8pm during the First Friday Gallery walk.

Using acrylic on cradled birch board, Susan’s paintings capture the complex interactions of color and pattern in what she describes as natural abstractions. “My actual rendering style is impressionistic and fairly representational. But I like to abstract the image using composition. By framing the scene in an unusual way the viewer becomes caught up in color and pattern.”

Susan was recently featured in the spring 2015 issue of Italian fly fishing magazine H2O and Bend Magazines 2016 spring issue. She is the signature artist for the Deschutes River Conservancy’s annual RiverFeast event. This year two of her paintings were accepted into High Desert Museum’s Art of the West annual exhibition and auction of exemplary Western art. Tumalo Art Co. is an artist-run gallery in the heart of the Old Mill District. 541-385-9144 or tumaloartco.com.

Susan Luckey Higdon creates signature art for RiverFeast

"Deschutes Serpentine", an acrylic painting on cradled birch board by Susan Luckey Higdon
“Deschutes Serpentine”, an acrylic painting on cradled birch board by Susan Luckey Higdon

I have just completed the signature artwork for the 2016 Deschutes River Conservancy annual RiverFeast Dinner & Auction to be held July 30, 2016. The idea for the image came from a photo taken by Marisa Hossick at Deschutes River Conservancy, of the middle Deschutes River in Central Oregon, looking south from a helicopter. The image shows the serpentine twists of the river as it makes its journey north to the Columbia River.

Painting in acrylic on cradled birch board, I started by working in the color and then rubbing it out creating a stain that becomes the under painting for the composition. This process goes on as the detail is layered in, creating depth and subtlety. The grain of the birch board is so wonderful that I like to use it as part of the overall effect.

Enjoy supporting the river and join Deschutes River Conservancy for a delightful evening of irresistible food, spirits and music. This year, they are combining the best of their two fundraising events, Tight Lines and RiverFeast into one great evening. Bid on this custom art, exclusive adventures and experiences, and other wonderful packages.

I am honored to be the ongoing signature artist for RiverFeast, and event that supports the work of the Deschutes River Conservancy, who bring together the people that use the river, creating solutions for the health of the Deschutes River.

 

Artist Residency at Clearwater Gallery Studio

The studio in the courtyard at Clearwater Gallery in Sisters, Oregon
The studio in the courtyard at Clearwater Gallery in Sisters, Oregon

I just completed a weeks artist residency in the lovely and peaceful courtyard area of Clearwater Gallery and the Open Door restaurant in Sisters, Oregon. The cozy studios in the courtyard were built by artist/owner Dan Rickards with a vision of bringing artists from all over to enjoy painting where they vacation—in Sisters!

Painting in the studio at Clearwater Gallery in Sisters
Painting in the studio at Clearwater Gallery in Sisters

For me, going to Sisters is only a short drive, since I live in Bend, but it was still a break from my normal busy life. I found that working in the studio, surrounded by lovely flowers, hummingbirds and the gentle background hum of people enjoying their meals, was quite relaxing and helped me focus on ideas in a different way. It was the perfect respite for me and I even got a few small paintings completed!

2015 RiverFeast Art for Deschutes River Conservancy Completed

Metolius Meadow w/ Three-Fingered Jack, and original painting by Susan Luckey Higdon
Metolius Meadow w/ Three-Fingered Jack, and original painting by Susan Luckey Higdon

The Deschutes River Conservancy is having it’s 2015 RiverFeast event at House on the Metolius, on Oregon’s wild and beautiful Metolius River, August 8. I was asked again this year to create the signature art for the event and am very pleased to do so!

The area where the House on the Metolius is, on the spring-fed, fly fishing only, Metolius River in Central Oregon, is where the river widens out into a beautiful meadow, after flowing through a narrow gorge. It is a peaceful place. The last time I painted from here I showed the river with Mt. Jefferson in the background. This time, I am facing the other way and Three-fingered Jack shines in the background. Looking down from the hill above, the meadow with it’s golden grasses and willows, forms an arc above the river, which is a gorgeous shade of blue in the afternoon sun.

This painting is 24 x 30, acrylic on cradled birch board. When it sells I will donate 50% of the purchase price to the Deschutes River Conservancy who is doing great work  with their mission—to enhance waterflow in the Deschutes River watershed. We need it now more than ever!

The painting, Metolius Meadow w/ Three-fingered Jack, will be in my June show at Tumalo Art Co. in the Old Mill District in Bend, Oregon, which opens Friday June 5, from 4-8pm