In 2012 I set off looking for a cabin in parts unknown where I could chill and think about my art and life for a couple days. When I drove into the area and saw this mountain in the sky, it felt like home.
I get up every morning and look north and see how the light is playing on the sleeping volcano, Mt. Adams. All the pictures in the slideshow are taken from my house. To the south is a distant view of Mt. Hood
My pasture is 20 acres, and used to be part of a 160 acre dairy. My piece was the last sold, because it was too rocky to farm. Ok by me. On the pasture there are many volcanic rock outcroppings - home to many critters, including marmots and meadowlarks.
The valley and community of Trout Lake are close to the Columbia River Gorge in Washington state, amid pine forests and working farms.
Near the edge of my pasture the White Salmon river cuts a deep rocky chasm through fields of hay and echinacea on its way to the Columbia River. The valley is ribboned with irrigation channels from the river, and is scattered with barns of weathered wood and metal. Water from a nearby channel feeds a pond near the house.
My neighbor Wendy has several beautiful horses that graze my pasture. In the summer they roll around in the dust on their backs and race each other. When I take walks, they trot up looking for a handout. That's me below with my neighbors
The entry and breezeway to my home is closed off by a semi- transparent barn door that cuts the wind that blows from the West, but still provides a sense of enclosure and lets light through, like a shoji screen.
John and Betsy's old dairy barn next door is home to field mice, swallows, and an occasional barn owl. They keep it repaired to keep the decay in check.
In the middle of the pasture is an ancient Douglas Fir tree that is anchored in a lava rock outcropping. Inspired by a story by John Muir, I built a ladder 60 ft. up the tree with a wooden seat sixty feet high, all strapped to the trunk. I go up there to just sit and look around. It's trippy when the wind blows, and the tree sways with the wind.
Wendy's husband Bruce is a logger. His brother Terry who is nearby has a gravel operation on the river. He's known for his ability to fix any truck or piece of farming equipment.
I wanted my home and studio to echo the simple barn shapes in my neighborhood. Below is my neighbor's spread at a distance.
The studio, garage, and greenhouse are across the breezeway, so I can move there from the house protected from rain or snow. And there is snow! In 2015-16, I had two feet of snow on the pasture and went snowshoeing or x-country skiing when I needed a break from working in the studio.
The swallows swoop around my pond in the summer by the hundreds, eating insects and collecting water to build mud nests in the barn.
The studio is 400 sq.ft. with an 11 ft. ceiling and has a full bath. The walls are painted white, a Matisse dictum. Upstairs is a two room apartment. The large north facing window faces Mt. Adams (of course!).
Visitors frequently ask me how living here informs my work. It's more about how I feel living and working here. All I can say is that I’ve been dreaming of this place my whole life and painting it from my imagination for the last 20 years. And now, I'm here.