Category Archives: New Painting Post

Blog Posts by Larry Eifert

A Pelagic Cormorant – my monthly story in 48 North

I always try to write these things from a recent personal experience. This one came from a site visit to Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands, and, while we were waiting for the ferry to shove off, we watched about a dozen pelagic cormorants on the pilings right outside our window. They had a playful look to their smallish heads, almost like they were having fun diving around the backwash of the prop keeping the boat against the ferry pier. Maybe they were – it looked like the fishing was easy.as the boat disoriented the fish. Seen close, I was amazed to see the variety of colors in the ‘black’ birds.

 

Three cormorant species live in the Salish Sea. A year ago, I wrote about the largest, the double-crested cormorant and now here’s number two. At first, the pelagic cormorant seems jet black, but that’s certainly not true. I like these birds very much because, as the light changes, their iridescent colors change from purple to red and green. The pelagic is smaller than the double-crested. It has a thinner neck, much smaller head and very thin bill. Almost snake-like might be a good descriptor. Two white flank patches and, during breeding, a red beard also help with identification. A third variety, the Brant’s cormorant sports a tan cheek patch.

 

Per-sketch before the painting.

I admire these birds for their fishing skills. Recently we were on one of the San Juan ferries and I watched a group fishing and occasionally fly to nearby pilings for rest. They were all very chatty with each other and seemed curious about us. Some were below at the base of the pilings and were diving in the turbulent backwash for disoriented pile perch. Almost every dive produced a fish, and as the birds surfaced, we could see some quickly toss the flapping fish upwards, then swallow it headfirst as it came back down. This way, the fish went down those skinny throats with scales backwards and fins retracted. Stomach juices did the rest. To help all this, cormorants ride low in the water thanks to solid bones that aid in long dives. A very successful bird!

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of stunning photography

And here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

Salmon Cascades – A New Project in the Works

Salmon Cascades in Olympic National Park. Not a big drop, but always beautiful. Stuff goes on here!

Progress shot at the moment. More soon.

Olympic National Park has always been very supportive of my painting-mania, and this project has been years in the making. We both just had to wait for funding to appear, and it finally did.

I already have 24 of my paintings along the Sol Duc Road in various wayside exhibits and panels – drive along, pull over and see art! But this project required my GoPro underwater camera for references. I have always wondered what this place looks like to a salmon, so here it is:

And so the sketch shows the underwater stream bed just below the cascades and rocky walls, and of course, the painting will have a run of Sol Duc coho, females being herded by the big guys, all waiting for strength to attempt a jump in their upstream journey. We’ve seen this ourselves and I’ve stood just to the left watching them circle.

And then I put this into the same design template as some of the other panels up and down the road. Janet at the park will write the text and she’s always so brilliant at this. We both came up with the title completely independent of each other.

Stay tuned, more to come on this probably next week.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of stunning photography

And here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

Maynard Beach habitat restoration painting

These all enlarge in your browser with a click. This is a half-way mark in the painting as it’ll look in the outdoor wayside installation.

And here’s the second sketch for the four wayside panels for North Olympic Salmon Coalition. Since the sketch completion, I went ahead with this painting and, as you can see, things have changed here and there. I’ve placed it in the design mockup to see how things fit – saves time so later I don’t have to repaint objects that are covered by text or other photos. It’s sort of a dance between the art and the words.

And here’s the real scene. Not the same, for sure, but I like the way the painting has a sort of pastel and soft feeling about it.

For Olympic Peninsula locals, if you park your vehicle opposite the Snug Harbor Cafe and walk towards Discovery Bay, you can see all this restoration. While  you’re there, imagine this as it was, a rocky railroad grade complete with bridges, culverts and creosote pilings and you’ll get the idea how amazingly better this is now. Two panel installations will be along here.

And if you’re still with me, in 1973, I came to this area for the first time. Right here I found an old abandoned mill stuck out over the water. It was still together, mostly, and I inquired about renting it for a gallery space. On Hwy 101, Olympic NP nearby, seemed right. I eventually ended up in Ferndale, CA for awhile, but this could have been my home. Instead, I now live 15 minutes away in what has become one of the most interesting towns in America! I believe we envision our paths as we go, and I was right – even if the result was in the future.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of stunning photography

And here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

My 48 North Story for December

I admit there’s something fun in driving up to the mailbox and getting a magazine with my own stuff in it. Such it’s been now for a bunch of years with this project. Richard at the magazine, now Joe who has moved into Richard’s desk, and I’m still at it. In this current series I think I’m up to about 5 years of stories:

Here’s the story that went with it:

Harbor Porpoises – Can we think of this smart, inquisitive marine mammal as the mermaid of the Salish Sea? I’d like to think so. Appropriately, harbor porpoises are about the size of a woman, 5 feet and 120 lbs. – the smallest of the six species of porpoises. This little beauty is probably the most common cetacean in the Salish Sea and Phocoena phocoena is only found here in the inland waters of the Northwest. They live among us as if they were our neighbors, and, I guess they are! Once common here, harbor porpoises almost disappeared in the 1970’s, probably because of gill nets that drowned them and polluted harbors. More northerly populations survived, and now they’re back – big time. I’d like to think that, for a change, it’s something good we’ve done.

So where do we see these guys? Harbor porpoises generally tend to be solitary foragers, so a fin may appear, then vanish for a bit, then resurface in a graceful and fluid up-and-down arc. If two fins appear, suspect a mom and young – they can have one offspring a year throughout a 15-20-year lifespan, being pregnant and lactating at the same time. Occasionally a group can ‘herd’ fish into position for a meal, but that’s not common. Look for color differences in body parts. The flippers, dorsal fin, tail and back are dark. The question might be asked why are harbor porpoises back? It appears their increases are more than what the locals could naturally produce themselves, and given that they are “harbor” mammals, not an offshore species, they must be coming in from the north. Whatever the reason, it’s good news for nature-watching sailors.

Larry Eifert paints and writes about wild places. His work is in many national parks across America – and at larryeifert.com.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of stunning photography

And here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

Crater Lake Institute website – A Side Project

I’ve posted about Crater Lake Institute before, but we reached a sort-of milestone the past couple of months and I wanted to share. As a side project unrelated to painting, I build and maintain the website for Crater Lake Institute, a non-profit that helps Crater Lake National Park located in southern Oregon. This is a great bunch of guys who used to work for the park and now supply an amazing resource, the best single web-based library about the park – and I’ve supplied art, publication services and lots of work building out this website to the organization.

Winter at Headquarters, photo by Ranger Dave Grimes, March 16, 2016

This past three months, we’ve now reached web visitation levels worthy of mention. We’ve been averaging over 600,000 hits and over 80,000 individual visitors per month. That’s a LOT of eyeballs – at least I think so. This past year we’ve partnered with REI Trails, NPSHistory.com and others to broaden our connections and I’m fairly proud of what’s happening with all of it. Thanks, Ron and everyone else at CLI for involving me. It’s been great fun and I sure know a lot about this amazing park because of it.

Watchman Peak at Sunrise, March 17, 2016 by Ranger Dave Grimes

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of stunning photography

And here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

Mount Rainier Carbon River painting complete

Click the image to see it larger in your browser.

Finished up my Carbon River painting and sent the final file for approval. I think it’s close. This is my second large painting for that amazing place, and I think it’s better than the first installed at Ohanopech. It sure is more complex. Things changed as it progressed, and I’m appreciative of the park folks, especially Kristyn, who trusted me enough to give the freedom to alter approved content.

And here’s Nancy on the trail where the painting was sited, an old cedar boardwalk through the skunk cabbage. The thing about Northwest rain forests – they’re really messy, I mean amazingly messy – and crowded. Nothing tidy lives here when you have a zillion plants all competing for space, branches laying all over, broken and decaying trees, shrubs, ferns, mushrooms and the rest.  I hope I got that feeling for crowded biomass! This painting will now be scanned and an entire exhibit, both digital and 2-dimensional will be built around it for the Carbon River Ranger Station. Come see it next summer.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of stunning photography

And here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

Bewicks Wren – Yellow Fern

Bewicks-Wren-Yellow-Ferns

A new painting.Bewicks-Wren-Yellow-Ferns-framed

This ORIGINAL painting is acrylic on board, 6″ x 9″ and $149 framed. Outside edge of the frame is about 12″ x 15″.
This custom frame has a triple liner and glass. Shipping adds just a bit more depending on your zone. This is the original painting, NOT a print.
Email us for details.

Sorry, it’s sold.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of beautiful photographs

And Click here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

Rufous-sided Towhee – Our Feeder Buddy

Rufous-sided-Towhee-FernsMany of you know that I like to paint from experiences. These birds: they’re just so . . .  full of themselves. Or so it seems. We have a family of these guys here that spend their entire lives not 30 feet from the big six-foot tray feeder. Recently, one, possibly the kid from last year, showed up without it’s long and almost gaudy tail, hobbling around and looking truly messed up. The local sharp-shinned hawk if I had to guess. But in a few weeks there were new tail feathers and the limp was gone. So, here he is in a painting.Rufous-sided-Towhee-Ferns-framed

This ORIGINAL painting is acrylic on board, 6″ x 9″ and $149 framed. Outside edge of the frame is about 12″ x 15″.
This custom frame has a triple liner and glass. Shipping adds just a bit more depending on your zone. This is the original painting, NOT a print.
Email us for details.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of beautiful photographs

And Click here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

Alpineglow

Alpineglow

Another painting in my ‘Trail Series’. When I was growing up the word ‘alpenglow’ was like an elixir, something akin to magic. For Mid-western flat-landers who only experienced these places on rare occasions, I vividly remember the few times we finally got up there in the Porcupines or Rockies. My parents knew how to do it, to stay late, wait for sundown when the light came – and later drive down the hill in growing darkness. For Virginia, it was as close to  god as it gets.

I now live where I can see this easily, but not all THAT easily. We still have to work for it with a hike, but that elixir is still there when we arrive, that ‘magic-time’ photographer Galen Rowell always spoke of. So, this little painting is one of my favorite ‘alpineglow’ places, right up the hill from home in the Dungeness watershed of the Olympics. At sunset, it’s a place I’d rather be than just about anywhere.

Alpineglow-framed

This ORIGINAL painting is acrylic on board, 6″ x 9″ and $149 framed. Outside edge of the frame is about 12″ x 15″.
This custom frame has a triple liner and glass. Shipping adds just a bit more depending on your zone. This is the original painting, NOT a print.
Email us for details.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of beautiful photographs

And Click here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.

A Flash of Red in the Forest


Flash-of-RedSold 

A little flash of red as the downy goes by, carefully checking each bark break for a possible morsel.  It was just outside my studio window, so, I stuck him in a painting.

We have lots of woodpeckers, flickers and sapsuckers here in our forest. I think they all make great subjects to paint, but this little guy, the smallest of them all, provides me with great entertainment as well. Downy Woodpeckers are only a little over six inches long, palm-sized, and seem to prefer mixed forests, meaning hardwood and confers mixed together – which is exactly what we have. In nearby Fort Townsend State Park just a mile away, a beautiful patch of lowland old-growth conifers of huge size, nary a downy is seen.
Flash-of-Red-framed

This ORIGINAL painting is acrylic on board, 6″ x 9″ and $149 framed. Outside edge of the frame is about 12″ x 15″.
This custom frame has a triple liner and glass. Shipping adds just a bit more depending on your zone. This is the original painting, NOT a print.
Email us for details if you’re interested.

Nancy Trail 1

And finally, here’s a trail shot of Nancy on one of the coastal trails we hiked last week. Twice out to Olympic National Park’s Kalaloch area in two weeks gave us a great appreciation for off-season camping. No one but the elk had walked down this trail in months!

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Here’s the blog on the web. And here’s my Facebook fan page. I post lots of other stuff there.

Click here to go to our main website – with jigsaw puzzles, prints, interpretive portfolios and lots of other stuff.

Nancy’s web portfolio of beautiful photographs

And Click here to go to Virginia Eifert’s website. Her books are now becoming available as Amazon Kindle books.