Category Archives: Waysides

Snow Creek Restoration wayside panel sketch

Finishing the year properly with a local project. A LOCAL PROJECT! Hear that, he said joyfully with some paintings for Discovery Bay, just southwest of Port Townsend, WA.

Here’s the sketch for this first one. But first some background. For the past couple of years, heavy equipment and a bunch of people have been pulling creosote posts, removing a couple of bridges, rerouting a water line, hauling off tons of rocks and trying to put nature back together after more than a century of messing things up by us. The idea was to recreate a friendly environment for salmon, and it’s looking good optimistic.

This painting will be on a wayside panel at Snow Creek, the same creek that our nearby Chimacum Creek chum salmon came from 15 years ago in another restoration – and that makes this project even more personal for me. It shows the creek meandering down under the sheltering alders and out into the estuary.  Port Townsend is down the bay and around the corner. There was a trestle and railroad grade crossing just to the left that is now completely gone, allowing two creeks to find their historic channels again. Drawing this, a landscape in transition, has been challenging, so we’ll see what transpires as two wild creeks relocate themselves. Either the painting will remain realistic or it might become completely outdated – either way, the story is accurate.

Here’s what Snow Creek looks like at the moment, carrying silt to build new shorelines and generally get back to normal. I’ll post the painting for this one soon. Thanks, Dave and the folks at the North Olympic Salmon Coalition for the pleasure of learning more about and then painting my own neighborhood.

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.

Orcas Island’s West Beach wayside panel

Both of these images enlarge in your browser if you click them.

A little side project that’s hopefully coming in on the truck today.  The Straits Foundation just finished a project on Orcas Island in the San Juans that will help fish, a lot! West Beach Creek was blocked by two old culverts, so out they came and a giant culvert the size of Texas went in to make fish passage easier. In fact, I doubt the fish will even realized they’re in a culvert at all. A fairly amazing change and a real credit to the land owner for making this all  happen.

So, here I came with small budget but a speedy paint brush. These two illustrations are separate paintings, pieced together on the panel. I also did the design, collaborated on the text and handled the fabrication in aluminum.  Another little piece of art on a beach, which makes NINE of these around Puget Sound and the Strait in the past two years.

And here is the final installation. Thanks again Lisa and Carolyn at the Straits Foundation in Bellingham, WA for allowing me to push some paint again for you.

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.

Waterman Shoreline Uplands Painting

Click the image to enlarge it in your browser. It needs a big screen.

A new painting this week for Waterman Shoreline Preserve on Whidbey Island just east of Port Townsend. This is for the Whidbey Camano Land Trust, a bunch of truly nice people to paint for. It will be one of two large wayside panels that go beside this abandoned road – now a public trail – like a little art gallery in the forest. The painting shows the rich habitat of birds and berries that jumble up along here, a very compressed “edge zone.”

Nature is most abundant along edges like meadow/forest, roadsides/forest, shorelines/forest – so it’s a painting that hopefully expresses that.  I’ll have the finished design ready soon to share.

During my long painting career I’ve sure sold my share of art to private collectors. I still get about five emails a month asking for details about paintings I sold decades ago.  Now, it seems, I’m more passionate about hanging some art outside where visitors can get up close and personal with my stuff – but also learn a bit about where they’re standing. At heart, I’m really just a painter of nature in all its glorious details.

I’m a happy painter because of it! Thanks, Ida, for being patient on this one – and the next.

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.

Fish Feast for Ludington State Park in Michigan

Ludington-Underwater-Fish

[Click on the finished painting to enlarge it – I put a much bigger version on the web so you can see details]

I’ve been painting fish, a lot of fish!  This is for Ludington State Park in Michigan and is part of three images that total 18 feet long. This one is for kids, but it really could be a fish-who’s-who for anyone. The Vienna that went down a century ago, yes, there really is a ship wreck there that looks like this. And, yes, they really have Chinook and Coho Salmon, and a bunch of other alien fish that have either been planted or let loose and are now creating havoc in Lake Michigan.

Ludington-Double-crested-Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant by Larry Eifert
Ludington-Smallmouth-Bass
Small-mouthed Bass by Larry Eifert

We decided that the fish might be used in other Michigan State Parks in other interpretive projects, so I painted the fish and the cormorant separately, then floated them over the background digitally. That means they can use them any size or placement in all sorts of ways – sort of a fine-art digital mashup.

Ludington-Chinook-Salmon
Chinook Salmon by Larry Eifert

I’m always asked how the heck Larry Eifert in Port Townsend Washington gets to paint fish in Michigan. Well, this project came from Joan at Genesis Graphics in Michigan, a long time supporter of what I like to do – and then through Theresa at Michigan State Parks in the  Upper Peninsula. Theresa was very nice to work with and we seemed to hit it off – so I hope to do more for them. So, the final installation will be at Ludington down on the west side of lower Michigan right on the lake – not 30 miles from where I lived for awhile in Door County Wisconsin. Small world.

And it’s an ever-widening circle of friends that keeps me going.

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 National Treasure- Sol Duc Valley in Olympic National Park

National_Treasure

I ran across this post I had originally written last year, but somehow it was never published. I probably had a bunch of posts and this one didn’t make the cut, but it’s never too late for good art, right?

As one drives up the Sol Duc Valley, on the northwest side of Olympic National Park west of Seattle, there are lots of pull-outs with overlooks to the river or trails leading to some of the best forests I know. This isn’t quite temperate rain forest, but it’s close. It truly is a National Treasure, and it’s a big thanks to the folks at Olympic N.P. who continue to allow me to paint my “backyard”.

Readers seem interested in the artistic processes that go into these more complex paintings. It’s one thing to paint a fine-art image of an old-growth forest. I can just be, well, “artistic” and I paint what I see or what I like, but these complex collages with lots of species are a different beast. Not only do I have to paint the bear, but it has to at least appear to be very accurate. It has to be sized properly with reference to dozens of other critters, and it has to be animated and not stiff. I can’t place, say, a bobcat right next to a rabbit, or a shady plant out in the open. Sometimes it’s a real challenge.

Here’s the fourth draft of the initial sketch.

Wayside UniGuide Grid v. 2.0 (September 2006)
Wayside UniGuide Grid v. 2.0 (September 2006)

As you can see, the finished painting ended up being wildly different than this sketch. Critters appeared, then disappeared, then arrived in other locations. (Sort of like the squirrels that continually try to break into our barn. I chased one out today that was attempting to hide in the Fiberglas insulation over my workbench.) I also had to figure out what to paint behind the text, so this painting could also be used for other things such as park publications and exhibits maybe without the text – or maybe even a future jigsaw puzzle.

And you thought being an artist was easy! Well, maybe not easy, but after 40 years it’s still a lot of fun. It’s often said that being a painter is an old-man’s game. I’m starting to believe it.

Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Click here to go to the online blog this was to.

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

Click here to check out what Nancy’s currently working on with her photography.

Angel Island State Park and the Marin Conservation League

MCL-blog

Sorry to say I somehow hit the “send” button instead of the “save” button. I just had ‘words’ with my computer!

So, here’s the rest of the story.

The Marin Conservation League is celebrating their 75th anniversary, and they wanted me to create a 24″ x 36″ panel on Angel Island commemorating this. Angel Island State Park is on the north side of San Francisco Bay. I once anchored there and walked the trails. It’s a great place, and thanks to the foresight of Caroline Livermore and others, I got to do that.

And now, almost 30 years later, I was able to tell that story of how the park came to be.

The back story is another matter. Since I couldn’t actually go to the location, I had to cook up a bit of art for this, using web photos and some artistic license. That’s the bottom piece of art that’s 36″ wide. The photo of Caroline Livermore was another issue. The only photo provided was a blurry low resolution black and white snapshot. I took this into Photoshop, blew it up, printed it out and then painted it with colored pencils. Who knows what color that dress actually was, but now it’s red. I think it works pretty well.

Sorry you got two of these emails. Technology runamuck!
Thanks for reading this week.
Larry Eifert

Click here to see a bunch of other outside exhibit panels.

Click here to go to our main website – packed with jigsaw puzzles, prints and other stuff.

Click here to check out what Nancy’s currently doing.

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