Row River Valley Paintings and Photographs.
The Row River begins in the western slopes of the Cascades to the east of Cottage Grove where it joins the Coast Fork of the Willamette River, ultimately reaching the Pacific Ocean via the Columbia River. Tributaries of the Row River include Mosby Creek, Brice Creek, Sharps Creek, Layng Creek, several of which drain a mining and forestry area known as the Bohemia Mining District.
The name, Row River, commemorates a dispute between two brothers-in-law over stock trespass which resulted in the death of one of the men, and rhymes with the word cow, not slow. The Row River Valley has provided the location for several movies including Buster Keaton’s “The General” and Rob Reiner’s “Stand by Me”.
In the last four years the Row River Valley from Cottage Grove to the summit of Bohemia Mountain has provided us with almost daily hiking and consequently the major source of themes and ideas for our paintings and photographs. Three of those years were spent exploring the creeks and mountains in the more rugged areas higher in the Valley and then, more recently from December 2012, we have concentrated on the tamer, more inhabited regions between Cottage Grove and Dorena.
Three subjects have become especially important to us. First the trees, many of them massive, which dominate the landscape and provide the basis for the logging industry on which the local economy is based. Second the buildings: The Valley has many homes, barns, stables and storage buildings which were built by their owners to satisfy a particular local need and most were built by the owners with simple available materials and within the competence of their builders. The simple, functional, vernacular nature of the buildings means that they fit seamlessly into the rural and backcountry landscape but provide straight lines and flat planes in an otherwise natural forested landscape. The third subject is the Valley weather, typical of the West of the Cascades cloudy, foggy, rainy, humid climate interrupted by unpredictable sunny clearings and frequent hail and snow showers. This means that every minute provides a different picture varying from ones with brilliant clear blue skies and bright colors to gloomy, de-saturated moody landscapes.
2013 has given us an extra subject. For a short time the Army Corps of Engineers lowered the level of Dorena Lake to allow the installation of the infrastructure for an electric power generator. This exposed large banks of mud which provided temporary habitats for wildlife and challenging subjects for photography.
Almost every day this year we have taken early morning hikes beside Dorena Lake and have walked between 40 and 50 miles each week, allowing us to experience and record all the facets of winter and spring weather and the effects they have on the landscape.