For several weekends and some of the week before the Oregon Country Fair opens to the public, my husband Brad, youngest daughter Eliza and I worked at the sign barn on the OCF property. As volunteers we enjoyed the camaraderie of other sign artist, fine artist, and people that love being part of the Oregon Country Fair. We also enjoyed terrific meals provided by the kitchen crew which I wrote about in a previous post from last year. While Brad and Eliza worked on signs and other paint projects for the fair, I was assigned the job of adding different hand painted icons to the Stewardship and Sustainability banner. Last year I added texture to this printed banner with acrylic paint, and a camas flower and bulb. We had some issues working on the banner last year since it was printed with water soluble inks. This created some problems we remedied this year by obtaining the banner ahead of time and spraying it with a waterproof clear coat in my husband’s sign shop.
The Oregon Country Fair property is quite large — the area where the festival takes place is actually just a small part of the site. This is a map of the festival area, and below that is a map of the whole property — at least what was included in 2008.
The dark area is the festival site (it doesn’t show the New Area, added just this year). The little red “x” on the map is where we camped during the festival with a dozen friends. The red spiral is where the sign barn is located. Below are a couple of photos of the sign barn and a lot of the signs that will eventually be installed through out the festival grounds by The Wranglers.
Here I am working on the banner / map last year with Justin Riede, a terrific sign artist from Portland. Notice the protective paper he’s leaning on while he does the title lettering. The banner wasn’t sealed yet.
This is the camas flower I painted last year.
This year, one of the icons I drew and painted was a Swainson’s Thrush — a bird native to the area, but oddly enough, as an Oregonian, I’ve never seen one in real life! Thank heavens for google searches…!
Meanwhile, nearby my daughter was researching calligraphic letter ideas before going to work numbering carts which are used by vendors, campers, and other OCF folks to haul their gear from their cars to their booths or camp areas.
Brad worked on the last few date panels that are changed each year on the Fair sign that is seen year round on Highway 126. We worked with a crew of artists on that sign one weekend, June 2011.
The next icon I needed to paint was a garden scene, so one evening after dinner we walked through the garden area on the OCF property to see what was growing and collect some reference photos.
I then went to work on the sketch for the next image.
It’s always fun to wander the festival grounds pre-fair. The booths are permanent structures built into the deciduous forest. At the end of the fair each booth needs to have some boards removed so rain water and the flooding Long Tom river can wash through and keep the forest alive. Slowly throughout the spring the booths are rebuilt and refinished if needed and the vegetation gently trimmed to keep everything thriving. This was a dry, unusual spring which was a bonus for us since there were very few mosquitoes!
Coming up next, “chapter 2” of “Painting for the Oregon Country Fair”.