Winter White

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February 18, 2019  Most of you know that I usually paint very colorful paintings, usually landscapes.  But sometimes it is very soothing, calming and tranquil to paint (and view) a monochromatic painting.  Winter of course is the best time to experience such a landscape in real life.  And I know for many of you you don’t want to be reminded of shoveling feet of snow and experiencing below zero temperatures.  But I have discovered, since I live in the mountain west now, how beautiful the subtle colors are.  In fact, there seem to be many colors of white, and many colors of ‘dark”.  My recent painting, Let It Snow, was a lesson in just that.  Take a moment to see all of the delicate colors, both in the snowy foreground, and in the dark mountain in the background.  I will point out that the background is painted in indigo, with a slight hint of dark green in the lower left area as well.  If you could see this painting in person you would enjoy the sparkle of the silver shikishi board showing through the paint in some areas and completely exposed in others.  I marvel at the diamond sparkle on snow at certain times of day, which is impossible to photograph (both in real life, and photographing the silvery painting).  Let It Snow is on display at the Jackson Hole Land Trust and you can see it there – sales benefit the Land Trust and the artist.  Call them at 307.733.4707 and visit the catalog of work they have online.  

I think I may continue with a series of monochromatic works, though monochromatic does not necessarily mean low key colors – they could be brilliant shades of blue mountain lakes, red rock country of Utah…. Check back to see what I have accomplished.  

 

Behind the Scenes: “Meg’s Tree” under construction

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November 9, 2018  

Finished piece, framed.  Meg’s Tree, image size 10 x 33, watercolor on gold shikishi board   

 As one of 19 artists invited by the Jackson Hole Land Trust to interpret one of their conservation properties in Wyoming I have already been blogging about my periodic hikes on the property I was assigned, which is adjacent to and just north of the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson. As the finish line gets closer now I am tucked away in my studio for some serious painting.  The title of this Land Trust project is “WyoView: Four Seasons” and I am taking that title to heart.  All of my four seasonal paintings will be of the view FROM this property. The views I am painting are of Flat Creek in the Elk Refuge, the Sleeping Indian to the northeast, a peak at the Tetons to the west, and Snow King and town to the south.  Each painting will include a glimpse of the actual conservation property with something special visible – brilliantly colored lichen rocks, a herd of mule deer with blooming branches visible, a copse of bright yellow aspens and a serene snow field. You will have to spend some time viewing each piece to find some of these “glimpses”.

Pictured here is a 10″ x 33″ watercolor triptych titled Meg’s Tree: portraying Flat Creek and Meg Raynes’ tree in the center panel. Beloved local naturalists and conservationists Meg and Bert Raynes were instrumental in saving this tree from death by elk browsing, and everyone in the valley recognizes this tree as they pass by.  

I have included photos of my step-by-step process as I created the piece. Several reference photos of the landscape (I know, a panoramic would have worked but I took these photos on several different occasions and used my artistic license to stitch them together.)

Painting all three panels both at once and then each panel receives individual attention:

Quick Draw was a success

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September 15, 2018  The weather was uncharacteristically fabulous, and I was pleased with my painting as well. (I thought it got away from me a few times but I “reeled” it back in.)  And it got a good price at the auction following the event as well. A good day.

The title is Song of the Sandhills, and is a depiction of sandhill cranes migrating. If you have never experienced a sandhill crane migration, you should put it on your bucket list.

BEST WYOMING ARTIST award

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VERY excited to share: After 11 days off-grid I read an email sent 10 days previously, from the Wyoming Watercolor Society that tells me my painting – The River Runs Through It – won the Best Wyoming Artist award in this years 33rd national exhibit!!! So honored and happy. It was inspired by the view from the top of East Gros Ventre Butte, having cocktails and dinner at the Granary Lounge, as a storm blew over the Tetons.

The River Runs Through It  16 x 24  watercolor on silver shikishi

 

WyoView: Four Seasons

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July 18, 2018  Once again I am honored to have been invited by the Jackson Hole Land Trust to paint one of their protected properties in western Wyoming for their project called WyoView: Four Seasons, which includes 21 artists and 18 properties. My assigned property is in Jackson Hole overlooking the Elk Refuge to the east and the Tetons, at the crest of the butte, looking west. I am very confident I will have lots of reference for paintings throughout the seasons, see above! An exhibit will be held in December, so I will keep in touch with more posts and specific dates. (On my first exploratory hike up the butte I encountered 39 ticks, and on the second only 18. Easily picked off my pant legs. In 11 years of living and hiking here I had never seen a tick until this experience. What we artists will do in pursuit of our profession.)

I’M A MOVIE STAR!!!

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February 13, 2018  I’m a movie star! Just kidding. Only in my dreams and in my self-produced short video of me creating a painting from start to finish in my studio. I chopped and edited considerably so the watching my process is significantly shorter – I don’t ask you to watch paint dry! (Well, maybe once.) The painting, titled Dawn Breaks on Pelican Lake, is one of the largest I have done at 24″ x 48″, across three silver shikishi boards. The concept was inspired by a photograph by good friend and artist Cheryl Ingberg and the accompanying music is Ode to Joy, played on guitar by my talented friend Marco Soliz. Since the painting is so large, if you have the chance to view the video and these photos on a larger screen than your phone, you will see much more detail.  

Here I want to share with you a little more about the concept, and how it evolved and changed. My friend Cheryl lives on a beautiful lake in northern Minnesota called Loon Lake.  She posted a stunning photo of an early morning complete with loons in the foreground.  Voila, perfect start for a painting.  I did a few small paintings (6 x 5 and 11 x 10) to work up colors and technique. I decided to paint the largest painting I have done to date – a triptych 24 x 48 that spans 3 silver shikishi boards. I took a photo of one of the sketches, loaded it into Photoshop and literally stretched it from its vertical format to a very horizontal image, and that is what I used to determine where the breaks would be (for each panel.)  Half way through the now VERY wet and large awkward painting I splashed brown paint in the sky.  AAAACCK.  Disaster, right? Well, I decided I would continue until the completed painting dried, remove the specks (lifting the paint back to silver background) and make them into stars in the early morning sky.  Then I decided that a few pelicans lifting off of the surface of the water would blend in nicely into the starry sky.  So Loon Lake turned into Pelican Lake with no turning back.  I am very excited by the result.  

Unfortunately, photography can’t capture the sheen of the silver in the lake or sky.  (It looks like white in the photos, but imagine shiny soft silver.)  I guess you will have to come see it in person.  It will end up in one of the galleries that represents me – stay tuned.  

Another closeup to show the (usually) intentional water marks I use in my paintings:

Here are the two smaller studies, giving you some scale for the large painting: 

Sale will benefit The Inner Pup

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The sale of these two paintings will help benefit the worthy non-profit The Inner Pup of New Orleans.  I became friends with co-founder Lindsay Goldring when she was the former executive director of the Animal Adoption Center in Jackson.  Please go to their website to read more about their important mission “…to end the cycle of abuse, neglect and over population in shelters by way of prevention programs.” 50% of the sale price of either will go directly to help them in their mission. Please contact me with any interest in purchasing either painting.

I like to share the stories and inspiration of my paintings.  Below you can read how each came about:

Winter Repose  image 16″x 24″, framed is 26″ x 34″  $3025 (donation to the Inner Pup would be $1513)

I was lucky enough to participate in the annual “swan roundup” that used to be held here in Jackson Hole.  Volunteer help was needed to round up Trumpeter Swans in a program carefully designed to help build the population; measuring, tagging, taking blood samples etc.  They are HUGE (about 4 feet tall!) and fairly docile once they are being held – on my lap!  I just loved the attitude of this one (it is immature, note the gray, not white, neck and head) and the lovely shape his/her bent neck created.  A painting simply had to be the result.  It is my “artistic license” that allows me to change the season from summer to winter. It is “all about” the swan so I eliminated the background.  I eliminated detail in the bird (only suggesting feathers in a few brushstrokes, and chose a striking color to accentuate the silhouette. The gently falling snowflakes happened when I was all done, I’m just sayin’…

Titles reflect how I am feeling, or how I hope the viewer feels.  Creating the painting is easier for me than giving it a title. My desktop widget says “repose” means PEACE:  peace and quiet, peacefulness, quietness, calm, or tranquility, and COMPOSURE: serenity, equanimity, poise, self-possession, aplomb.

Sleeping Indian Sunrise image 16″ x 12″, and framed is 23″ x 19″  $1825 (donation to the Inner Pup would be $913.) 

The Sleeping Indian is the elegant mountain rising over Jackson Hole to the east, in the Gros Ventre Mountain range. I think some visitors overlook its beauty and interesting skyline because they are transfixed by the Grand Teton. But I also think that secretly The Sleeping Indian is the locals’ favorite. For these colors to appear behind the mountain you know it is very early morning – sunrise. Anyone who has taken the early flight out of “the Hole” has seen this and taken the memory home with them as well.

Working through Adversity

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November 11, 2017  Each year I am invited to participate in the annual Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival Quick Draw, this year held on September 17. As if there isn’t enough pressure in creating a finished framed piece from start to finish in 90 minutes – try doing it in 31 degrees, spitting snow and rain weather.  The participating artists do get to stand under small canopies, but with wind blowing the elements into the tent, it was rather a challenge this year.  I dressed for the weather as much as I could, including gloves with the finger tips cut out.  I had to position my table to shield it from the blowing rain as much as possible.  If a raindrop fell on the in-progress painting while it was still wet, that wasn’t a disaster, as it would likely blend into the wet paint.  But as the last final minutes were counted down a few raindrops fell on my already dry sky.  I decided it made the painting even more authentic, which I titled “Storm Clouds over Mount Moran”. In my introduction to the auction crowd  I described the “authentic raindrops” (they liked it!)  I thank Sandi and Bruce for embracing this explanation and making their purchase during the auction.  I hope the conditions are never as bad as this, in future years at the Quick Draw.  (PS.There were still hundreds of people watching the artists, and bidding on the finished artwork, in spite of the weather.  Love the support for the arts here!)

ECLIPSE

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Star Date 8.21.2017    ECLIPSE.  It is hard to write anything else because the word says it all. Just “Wow”. And “Do it again!” I had the good fortune to see the eclipse at the wonderful Darwin Ranch, in the Gros Ventre mountains and wilderness east of Jackson, in the path of totality. I didn’t take photos (my skills and equipment are inadequate.) But I painted tiny eclipse paintings for all of the guests and crew there. I just started painting and got on a roll, after figuring out a “secret” technique.   In several larger paintings in the gallery I took extreme artistic license (I have one) by putting the eclipsed sun over the Tetons to the west. I wanted to combine the experience of seeing the darkened Tetons WITH the total eclipse. Artistic license is a wonderful thing! Kinda like Photoshop, but messier.

Artistic License check

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July 14, 2017   I have been asked (by the inner me) to produce my “Artistic License”.  It proves that I am an artist that is “entitled to stretch the truth, bend the rules and push the boundaries while performing acts of creativity.  Use with reckless abandon.”  The unwritten assumption is that I also am allowed to change my mind – after sketching and painting hummingbirds, western tanagers and other wetland birds to consider for inclusion in my collection for the Jackson Hole Land Trust’s View 22: Field Studies project (see my previous post entitled  ) I completely switched gears today and painted this little study I will call “Hidden Treasure”.  It may become a larger painting as well.  I just love this little gem of a secluded wetland in Wilson, WY, particularly because this quiet little stream runs through it.  The light glinting on the surface is what attracted me to it as a painting subject.  This piece is painted on a silver board.  I will try it on a gold board as well.  Stay tuned….