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"Holgate Drench"
The view: SE Holgate & 28th. Demarest is from Colorado, and earned a BFA from the University of Colorado. She lived in New Mexico after graduating, learning how to paint en plein air with the sun-drenched Land of Enchantment as her muse. “I really didn’t think I would ever be painting images of Portland, because of my time in New Mexico, where you have this bright light, and [because] I’m from Colorado, which has a whole other kind of clarity and color for painting,” Demarest says. “When I first came here, nothing—nothing—inspired me at all.”
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"Holgate Sun"
The view: SE Holgate & 28th.
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"Clinton Sleet"
The view: SE Clinton & 26th. After being in Portland for a few years, Demarest began to see the variety and beauty in Portland’s wet weather. “I realized I was totally captivated with rain scenes, and with the things that rain does to water and reflections,” she says. “It’s not just one gray. The different times of day; is it drizzly, is it pouring; what we get when it’s wet, and the sun comes out, and everything’s just sparkling—I find it all captivating.”
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The view: SE Stephens & 22nd. Demarest had always been a purist landscape painter, working only from observation. To paint rainy scenes, though, she has needed to use photography. Nevertheless, she says, her plein-air training remains crucial. “I couldn’t do it if I hadn’t spent those years painting from observation,” Demarest says. “I leave the photograph behind, especially toward the end, and try to get more of a feeling of what it was like.”
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"And then my wheels left the ground"
The view: SE Market & 29th. Demarest undertook the body of work in “You Are Here” in February, after it was brought to her attention she was only painting streetscapes, anyhow. “I had an open studio, and a women asked me why I was painting so many streets,” she recalls. “I looked around, and every single painting I had was of a street. My first thought was, ‘Well, isn’t everybody painting these?’”
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"Wet march"
The view: SE Sandy & 10th. Demarest is drawn to streets not only as the “trails” of cities, but for aesthetic reasons. “I think they’re just really beautiful,” she says. “I love headlights and cars and the way that that bright light can contrast against a dark sky. And then when you get into the reflections on cars and on streets, I think things really come to life.”
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The view: SE Hawthorne & 37th.
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"SE Milwaukie"
The view: SE Powell & Milwaukie. But, more than streets, Demarest is painting a sense of place. “Honestly, I think I always paint where I am,” she says. “So, if I was living in the mountains, I’d be finding things there to paint. If I lived on 82nd Avenue, I’d be painting 82nd Avenue. It’s my way, I think, of finding my place in the world.”
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