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Battery Mishler Gun Emplacement exit, ladders by Dawna Morton

Last spring I got to go on one of the coolest field trips ever with my son. He was enrolled in an online school, Oregon Connections Academy, at the time. We went on an underground tour of battery Mishler at old Fort Stevens. It was like taking a step backward in time right into history. Even though Battery Mishler was burned in a fire started by some vagrants several decades ago, there were still lots of cool things to see. My son had a blast shining his flashlight in every nook and cranny, and I had fun trying out the low light setting on my camera while we listened to our guide explain all the Civil War, World War I, and World War II history involved in what we were seeing. It was really neat, and I would highly advise going if you ever get the chance. Although it is not generally open to the public (for safety reasons they don’t leave it unlocked), You can call in advance and set up a special appointment with a tour guide if you are interested. I would recommend wearing a hat since it is drippy in there. It is also probably good to know that there are stairs, so it isn’t exactly stroller friendly. (There was a student in a wheelchair, and they were able to carry him up and then carry up the chair, so it isn’t impossible–just not easy. There were two sets of stairs if I recall correctly.)

The photographs really turned out cool and unique looking. The light was really tricky with everyone waving flashlights around, and I didn’t have much time to stop for photos at any one location –since I didn’t want to get lost alone in the dark. A tripod would have been nice to have since the slower shutter speed accentuated any movement at all, but I would not have had time to set it up and use it each time we stopped –our guide kept a pretty good pace. A lot of time  even though the camera was still, people and their flashlights and glow sticks were moving, causing a kind of time-lapse photography effect with the longer exposure time on the low light/night photography setting. It also caused the light to have a kind of golden glow to it which I like. In a lot of the pictures my son was shining the light at things so we could actually see what I was photographing. It was really dark in there. Even though there are some overhead lights, they are few and far between, and not very bright. Using the flashlight In conjunction with the low light setting really caused some dramatic lighting effects (which I enhanced later with some editing of course).

Because of time constraints I’m not going to be able post all of the photos here, but you can peruse them in my galleries at Redbubble and Imagekind (and coming soon on Zazzle and Fineartamerica). There were also some photos I took of the other batteries and scenery around Fort Stevens before it started pouring down rain.

view from the Astoria Column Astoria–Megler Bridge by Dawna and J.  Morton

view from the Astoria Column: Astoria–Megler Bridge by Dawna and J. Morton

Next we made a stop at the Astoria column after a break for lunch. I actually let my son borrow my camera for once (with strict instructions not to break it, drop it, etc etc) and let him do the climb by himself with the other students and teachers since I had a wee one asleep in the car by then. He took some great photos–and I’m not saying that just cause I’m his mom. I had some fun editing them, with his permission. He was pretty proud that I liked them enough to post them for sale. They can also be viewed at Redbubble and Imagekind, and will be on Zazzle and Fineartamerica sometime soon.

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Stationery and sticker with  the water soluble oil painting,Elizabeth at the Beach, by Dawna Morton, in which Elizabeth explores the tidal pools on a windy day at Cannon Beach, Oregon on the way out to haystack rock .

Images and content on this blog are the intellectual property of  Dawna Morton.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Do not copy.
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see Dawna’s art & photography with the poetry of Glennis Roper
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Elizabeth at the Beach

Elizabeth at the Beach by Dawna Morton

Elizabeth at the Beach by Dawna Morton

Water soluble oils on gessoed paper, approximately 15 x 22″, 2006. Intellectual property of Dawna Morton. All rights reserved. Do not copy.

The idea for Elizabeth at the Beach. came to me back in 2005 when Elizabeth came back home to Oregon for a visit from out of state. She was so sad that her schedule while visiting did not allow enough time to have a day at the beach that I decided to do a painting of a little piece of “home” for her.  I  found a picture  for reference in my photo album from a day we had spent at Cannon Beach as teenagers. While the tide was low  we waded out to Haystack Rock and climbed up on part of it. On the way out there I  turned back towards shore  to snap a picture of Elizabeth who was using the rocks as stepping stones some distance behind me.

Too simplify the composition of the painting I reduced the number of beach houses on shore, people, and rocks in the water in the scene. Since the painting is quite a bit larger than the photo, I used a ruler and some math to mark key elements on the paper in the right places and in the correct scale and relation to each other. I used this method more sparingly in this painting than on several I had completed previously since it can be rather tedious when overdone.

Once I was done with the sketch, I started in  painting a layer of light blue in the sky and then overlaid it thinly with some white– being careful to leave it patchy to create the impression of an overcast spring day. Then I used a dark blueish green to add in the  mountains covered in evergreen trees. The houses on the lighter yellow green foothills were all painted in earth tones to keep them from drawing too much attention away from the focal point. Next came painting the sand. I honestly wasn’t sure how I was going to get the sand right since I had never tried painting sand before. What I ended up doing was painting a layer of a brownish mustard yellow and then using a two variants of it applied in semi-transparent horizontal strokes to create highlights and shadows.  After that it was time to put in the water and rocks in the foreground. Although in the reference photo the water was transparent, allowing the sand and rocks below to be visible, I chose to portray it as a vibrant opaque blue instead. With the white sea foam of the waves I added in, it shows more of a feeling of the wind that is constantly blowing along the coast and gives more energy to the piece.  I also added  bits of green on the rocks to give the impression of algae and  perhaps some sea anemones . Finally I added the people, painting them all in blue, red, and white to unify them. When I was almost done I accidenaly got a smudge of the dark blue paint in the sky because I had some wet paint on my hands. Instead of painting over it I decided to use it to make a group of seagulls circling in the air which worked well with the composition.

Explore the tidal pools with Elizabeth on a windy day along the Pacific Coast in Cannon Beach, Oregon.

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Images and content on this blog are the intellectual property of  Dawna Morton.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Do not copy.
Dawna’s Buy               my art Gallery of Greeting Cards, Matted Prints, and T-shirts at RedBubble Buy               art

Dawna’s Fine Art Prints at imagekind.com

Dawna’s Zazzle Gallery of items featuring her Art and Photography

Dawna’s art on FineArtAmerica

Dawna’s art on Amazon

Visit Dawna’s fan page and become a fan on facebook!

see Dawna’s art & photography with the poetry of Glennis Roper
http://PoemsProseAndArtistry.imagekind.com/
http://www.zazzle.com/poemsproseartistry*
http://www.redbubble.com/people/poemsproseart

Buy my t-shirts

 

You can also find Dawna on flickr

 

 

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