Tag Archives: Timber Valley

Way Back in the Woods

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It’s been so long since I posted. I’ve been painting instead of writing. Got into a semi-abstract painting phase and I love it. I have an interesting show in Baker City, Oregon right now at the Short Term Gallery. Baker City is a small town with lots of art and truly creative people. Since I got home from the opening of the show I’ve been reading, walking my dog Cody, wrangling cats and doing a lot of thinking.
I like having a break. I’ve lived in the woods for a long time and am used to being alone. Timber Valley is totally different from Portland, Seattle, The Dalles or Hood River. Sometimes it can seem really lonely when you are fourteen miles up from the Columbia River Gorge and you aren’t a windsurfer, kayaker or fisherman.  The woods and mountain are beautiful.  Lots of places to hike and hang out on the Klickitat River or the Columbia. But if we want to go out for breakfast, lunch or dinner it involvesmaking a plan“. There are no meals to buy within walking distance. The closest actual business  is the Appleton Post Office…with an outhouse and a tiny woodstove. Even it is only open four half-days per week.  There is no Starbucks or even a Taco Bell (my favorite) in Timber Valley.  It’s a 50 minute drive to get to the nearest place to have a meal out.  When we moved up here from Portland years ago I’m sure some of our friends thought we had disappeared into the wild. We are out of sight, unreachable by car especially in the winter, invisible, gone but not forgotten. Everyone is busy.  I know.  I don’t often leave home for Portland to visit either.  Our lives are too fast and complicated even though we would like to keep in touch with everyone. Living this far away from civilization is even harder when you have the curse of slow dial up on your computer.  Because of that most of my life is off line. I know that not being “connected” is unheard of these days.  I have totally accepted it. I try to keep up with what everyone is doing. Believe it our not I am on Facebook. I am on S- L- O- W  Facebook.  For me to write a simple post it takes at least ten times longer than anyone else. The computer keeps timing out. Often it freezes. Any unwanted advertising, or “Like this Page” notifications get so complicated that my computer will sit forever before it downloads anything and usually will just turn off. I’m “timed out”. I must “refresh”. I spend most of my on-line time just waiting for something to happen. But I love to see what my friends are doing…they are so amazing.  I’m beginning to accept the wait just for the news.  Sometimes I feel weird putting my life into short posts for everyone in the universe to read…or  not read but just respond. Facebook sometimes makes me sad for the silliest reasons.  I don’t have a better connection. I don’t have more online friends (I guess over 200 isn’t enough for me).   I don’t get enough likes. Am I crazy? I never know what to post. I have some odd interests that don’t seem to be anything most people want to chat about or share. I guess I’ll have to learn patience, wait, and accept my own slow cyberspace or perhaps get up out of my chair and take a hike!
Bear Wakes Up (acrylic on canvas) 14 x18 175.00
It is bear season in Timber Valley. It’s always bear season in Timber Valley but this year there are more than usual. They have been clearcutting lots of the properties on SDS lands. Log trucks, chain saws, mud and old found tires litter the roads. Think beautiful Doug Firs, tall and elegant, ripped down, cut and stacked on now barren properties. Much land that used to be green and lush is now brown. The lupine is gone, the vetch is gone and all of the ground cover is gone. The animals are all confused. They have to move into new territory, rebuild nests, hives and other homes. Logging companies leave enough green to make it seem “not so bad”. They re-plant baby trees…usually pine instead of Doug Fir…and line many of them up near the highway hoping no one will notice how many are missing. This year our favorite pond, Disappearing Pond, has been so disrupted we only have one nesting pair of ducks and only three ducklings there.  More bears are around this spring. Mother bears and baby bears. Bears up trees and bears climbing up phone poles are seen early in the morning. I haven’t seen our usual bear who steals our crabapples yet. Who knows where he is hanging out now? Maybe he’s thinking of moving to Portland or Seattle.
I’m going to post a couple of my new acrylic pieces for anyone that wants to see them. Remember these are at Short Term Gallery in Baker City if you want to buy one. Hope you “like” this post. I don’t get lots of hits on my website but it is certainly a good place for me to ramble.

Black Bear

Late Summer in Timber Valley

It’s the third week of August. Summer has almost come to an end. It is hot here. It has been hot all summer. Smoke hangs in the air. Fires are burning up my mountain. I drive up to my mailbox where I can always see Mt. Adams. All I see is drifting dark clouds. The mountain is gone. I look for it.

Around the cabin it is very quiet. Hornets have taken over the hummingbird feeders. No hummingbirds come to drink. Deer rest near the shade in the back field. A doe and her two fawns don’t move when I go outside on the deck. Back in my studio I watch them through the window. If the doe leaves the fawns for a short rest, the two of them make a strange sound…somewhere between a bark and a cry. She returns. On occasion the babies nibble on a Hermiston melon that I put out for them near the drinking water. The mother lets them eat. She watches.

The crabapple tree is dripping with fruit. It’s been two years since there have been apples on it. It stopped fruiting after a black bear climbed up the tree and put her arms around it pulling all of the ripe fruit to her mouth. Hugging the branches to her body she fell backwards, mouth full. She pulled down half of the tree. Full and happy she ran from the field.

Two years have passed and the fruit is back. I will watch for her return.

I’m happy. I’m back in my studio painting. I’m working on a series of nature paintings and prints. I am selling my work at Art on Oak in Hood River, the Lawrence Gallery in Sheridan and the Attic Gallery in Portland. If you are interested in my work contact me at fenter@gorge.net.

Black Bear by Jerry Fenter framed, 22″ x 17″. $115.00 (plus shipping)

The Season for Sundance

First Stop

First Stop

I had a phone call last fall from a good friend, Sue Martin, an excellent artist from Salt Lake City.  I had been down with a shoulder injury, not writing, not painting and trying to endure the usual Timber Valley cabin fever.  All she had to say was “It’s time for us to go to Sundance again.” I didn’t even have to think. I got a plane ticket to Salt Lake, bought a furry warm coat for Park City and left for the Sundance Film Festival 2013.

Park City, Utah

Park City, Utah

Wow.  I am one of the world’s greatest film lovers.  I can say this with certainty. I remember coming out of the first movie I ever saw “on my own”.  I had seen “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” at the old Hollywood Theatre in Portland, Oregon. When I came out of the theater still lost in make-believe and the magic of film I was convinced that EVERYONE was one of the “pod people” I’d seen in the movie.  I ran home a little scared but so happy and amazed that I could become almost part of the story I’d seen.  I loved the feeling of being somewhere else. Movies have everything that can pull me out of myself and into other worlds.

So I’m just back from Sundance.  Sue and I had a great time fitting in nine movies, lots of galleries, great food while fighting a weather inversion that left Salt Lake in cold icy smog.  But up at Park City, high in the mountains, we were above the bad air and into the snow and sun.  Beautiful landscapes, beautiful people and a world that was full of the excitement of directors, writers, actors and movie lovers.  I LOVED it. Sue and I had made lists of the movies we wanted to see.  After comparing them we picked ten that we both agreed on.  We saw two premieres.

 

Alexander Skarsgard

Alexander Skarsgard

“The East” was one of my favorites starring Brit Marling and Alexander Skarsgard (of True Blood fame).  Eco-terrorism, elite operatives and Alexander Skarsgard made for a tense few hours of great film.  “The Way Way Back” with Steve Carell, Toni Collette and Sam Rockwell was a twist on the “coming of age” story that made you laugh and cry at the same time.  One of the “Spotlight” films we saw was a British dark dark comedy called “Sightseers”.  About two lovers, running away from a horrible mother take a “caravan” (travel trailer) around England.  Things happen.  That’s all I can say. “Cutie and the Boxer” was a movie about art…but more about relationships.  The two artists from the film were there to answer questions after.  They also did a demonstration of their art after the film near the theatre. Zachary Heinzerling, director, won the Directing award for U.S. Documentary in the 2013 Sundance Awards.

I was in heaven at the Tower Theater in Salt Lake.

Line at the Tower

Line at the Tower

“The Whole World is Wild at Heart and Weird on Top.”

                    —David Lynch

I was back in Timber Valley for a week when Ron and I went to see “Django Unchained”, last year’s Quentin Tarantino movie.  It was a kind of spaghetti western/Civil Rights movie so well directed by Tarantino that we were both excited and impressed.  This movie was powerful and unflinching in showing slavery and bigotry in a way we’ve never been able to read or hear about.  Sometimes darkly humorous sometimes violent, it made me proud of Tarantino for being brave enough to approach the subject so directly and unflinchingly.  Movies have power.  Art has power. Don’t ever stop making movies Quentin.

If you haven’t seen the old 1988 movie “Mississippi Burning” with Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe about the slaying of three civil-rights workers in 1964 you need to stream it or rent it before seeing “Django”.

I also discovered an exciting gallery in Park City called Coda Gallery. www.codagallery.com  I saw some great paintings but fell in love with the work of John Erickson.  Page Juliano was nice enough to take time to show me some of his other work. I also liked the work of Kim Brown, a ceramic sculptor showing at the gallery. I was impressed.  Coda has beautiful work, a perfect setting and a great person to show you the art.  It also has a nice balance of painting, sculpture, color with a touch of humor that will keep me coming back.

 

"Breey Day" by Jerry Fenter

“Breey Day” by Jerry Fenter

 

Did you like Beyonce’s Zumba Workout at the Super Bowl?  How about those Ravens?

Remember the stock market is up, the country is in recovery, Obama is president, maybe Hillary Clinton will run in four years.  Be optimistic.  Buy art!!

Forest Friday

 

A reporter on MSNBC just called it a “fast moving Friday” on the news.  The world is moving fast in the strangest directions.  Everyone has their individual opinions on everything. We live in a confusing, fascinating and uneasy world.

Forest Friday

Friday isn’t moving fast up here if I turn off the TV and the radio. I’ve been feeling like staying around the house and property.  I joke a lot about country living.  But the quiet of the woods is peaceful and simple. Plants and trees are starting to seed.

Last of the poppies

Poppies, sweet Williams, maples, even some of my bloomed out tulips actually have seeds left in pods after blooming. To see them you have to be patient.  Sometimes I get ahead of the slow pace of nature and pull out bloomed tulips or day lilies.  This year I waited.  I’m glad I did.

Sumari from a maple

Fires have been burning all around us.  Smoke stings our eyes. We’ve been lucky.  We haven’t had to evacuate our cabin. We’re told to just be on high alert.  We watch out for our animals and our neighbor’s animals.  The woods are dry.  It’s going to be a dry dusty fall.

Cody on deck

I’ve been spending lots of time outdoors.  It’s cooling off during the evening and nights are cold already.  We’ve ordered wood for the stove.  Birds are everywhere.  So are frogs.

Frog on the run

The frogs at night sometimes drown out the noise of the TV.  The birds love our little outdoor fountain and the big dusty dirt piles near our barn.  Bathing is part of their Friday. They fly from water to dust and back. I’ve been seeing pileated woodpeckers eating bugs on the trees.  The fires on Mount Adams seem to be driving them east.  They are big, over 16 inches long, and their feathers are black, white and red. I chase after them with a camera trying to be quiet. They seem to sense me no matter what.

My animals are quiet and follow me from place to place as I try and take some pictures.  Berry is very happy to be outside after falling from the rafters in the barn and having to make a trip to the vet.  She lost hair on her tail and now looks very much like a poodle.  Cody loves his walks.  Sometimes we’ll walk for an hour and not see a car or a person.

We found a nest on our walk yesterday.  I think it belonged to a robin because of the mud ring around the top.  It had blown out of some high trees.  I have heard that nests that fall are just part of the natural selection.  The bird that builds the best nest wins.

 

Fallen nest

 

Awareness

      by William Stafford

Of a summer day, of what moves

in the trees.

Of your own departing.  Of that branch

no one elses notices.

Of time, what it carries, the sideways

drift of it.

Of hiding important things because they don’t belong in the world.

Of now.  Of maybe.  Of something

different being true.