Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Hop Valley Sunrise



Hop Valley Sunrise
11.5” X 10”
Acrylic on a reclaimed cabinet door - upcycling!

A few years ago, me and “the boys” (Clint and our two hiking buddies Bob and Peter), went on a backpack trip in Zion through Hop Valley down to La Verkin Creek. It was October, but still very warm, so the morning we hiked out, we loaded up our packs and hit the trail in the dark wearing our headlamps. 

The walk started with a steep climb out of the canyon and by the time we made it to the top and started to cross the narrow valley, the sun was up. But, the cliffs blocked the sun—so it took a while before the light hit the west side of the valley in a blaze of color. But when it did, it was spectacular. Something I will never forget.

Apologies to my hiking mates, who were ahead of me when I took the photo, I didn't include them in the painting. As usual, I was bringing up the rear.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

High Country Afternoon



High Country Afternoon
24” X 18”
Acrylic on Canvas

One day last summer, when the rivers finally slowed down after an epic winter, we packed up a lunch and our fishing poles and headed to higher ground. We were excited to get out to a creek we’d scouted in the fall that had a promising fishing hole. Getting there requires traveling a hellacious road (that gets worse every year), but it’s worth every brain rattling thump and bump.

We wandered along the picturesque little creek and tried our luck, tossing our lines into small pools. It was a gorgeous day and to our delight, the mosquitoes had decided to spend their time elsewhere. I didn’t get so much as a bite—from the fish, that is—but enjoyed every minute, soaking up the beauty of the canyon and the burbling water. Clouds started to gather and when thunder clapped and the first few drops fell we decided to head back to the car.

We weren’t quite ready to go home and it was too late to fish, so we decided to explore a road fork we’d seen on the way in and perhaps find a nice spot for lunch. The road wound its way up a hill and alongside another small creek, where we found a hunter’s camp that looked out over the view that became this painting.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Lake at the Top



Lake at the Top
Acrylic on a reclaimed cabinet door
18" X 8"

For our anniversary, we took a trip to explore new territory in Colorado. We saw some lovely country, traveling through Hotchkiss (cute town—don’t miss the gallery there!) and Paonia, and on to Glenwood Springs. On the way home, we decided to take the scenic route and looped back west to drive over Grand Mesa, the highest flat top mountain in the world. It is quite a prominent and impressive feature on the landscape due east of Grand Junction. It. Was. Gorgeous!

Although it was early November, there was a lot of snow left from the storm that had moved through two weeks before. Down in Durango, the two or so inches we received had melted to mud, but up there, it was a winter wonderland!

This charming little lake (one of many on the mesa!) sat just below 10,000 feet. We decided we definitely want to head back to this area come summer and check out the camping and fishing.
Our route down off the Mesa was steep, offering a broad view of the region to the south. We passed through a few more cute towns, including Eckert, where you don’t want to miss Drost’s Candies—yummy handmade truffles!

My next painting is well under way—an area we discovered (Hey, where do you think that dirt road goes?) on our way back from a morning of fishing last summer. No catching, just fishing. :-)

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Sunset Splendor



Sunset Splendor

14” X 10.5”

Acrylic on a reclaimed cabinet door



The car was loaded to the brim with gear and we were hauling a heavy trailer. We had to take it easy on the curves and hauling it up the hill out of town was slow business. We were on our way to a work event in Boulder, Utah where we were expecting more than 85 people. We’d been preparing for this celebration event for months.


A long way from anywhere, Boulder sits in some beautiful country, near Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Our route took us through a section of Capitol Reef National Park just as the sun was going down. Talk about luck—the colors were spectacular! Fortunately, I wasn’t the one driving at the time and was able to grab a couple of photos with my phone while in transit.


It was just the “awe” we needed after being on the road for several hours. The day had started early, with packing our gear and supplies into the funky rented trailer with a stubborn sticky door. Though we wouldn’t arrive in Boulder until well after dark, it was just the lift we needed to get us the rest of the way there.


This is an odd size because it is painted on an old cabinet door, one of several given to me by an artist friend who had the great idea to upcycle them for paintings, but didn’t want to move them to Oregon with her. Because of the door’s construction, this piece has a natural frame on it. I’m running low on these, but fortunately found some more at a yard sale last year, so I can continue this series. Stay tuned...

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Winter on the Animas



Winter on the Animas
Acrylic on canvas
20" x 16"

I started this painting last summer. After working outside until the heat drove me in, the coolness of my basement studio called to me, as did the subject matter. I’d taken this photo late last winter when we were walking along the Animas River. I didn’t have much time that day, so I barely blocked out the shapes before I had to stop. The canvas sat cold and forlorn in the studio until I picked it up the other day and decided it was worth working on again.

Our river has its own personality that changes with the seasons. In the spring, when the snow melts, it’s a roiling torrent the shade of a latte. As the melt wanes, shades of green come back to it and eventually some blue. By fall, it is a mélange of green and gold, splashes of vibrant yellow and orange where it reflects the fall colors and carries leaves south to New Mexico. In winter, the water transforms to an inky blue-black as the surrounding landscape fades to shades of blue and gray; the branches of the shrubs and trees spare and bare bones along the banks.

This snowy week off has given me plenty of studio time—I've already started another painting, from a photo I took this past fall as we were driving through a section of Capitol Reef on the way to Boulder, Utah...stay tuned.