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.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Fall Flowers



Fall Flowers
Acrylic on canvas
12" x 12" 
 
After the most gorgeous spring ever (even with the June 24th frost that killed off half the garden), we had a long, dry summer with very little rain. Despite the challenges, we had several garden stars. Two surprises: the gaillardia and cosmos started from seed and lovingly transplanted just before the June frost that somehow survived. The cosmos struggled, yet suddenly shot up in late summer, and by September, towered over the rest of the garden at more than 6 feet tall. The gaillardia became huge and bloomed and bloomed and bloomed. The two were the highlight of the patio garden and were the last remaining signs of summer as the rest of the garden waned. It seemed they would go on forever.

I cut a few of each, and put them into a vase on the dining room table. They were spectacular in the morning sun. Then, I left for a week on a work trip. While I was gone, Jack Frost paid us a serious visit, and I returned to hunched-over stalks with withered blossoms. The vase on the table was still there with the last blooms of summer, which held on for another day or two before their petals dropped and their heads bowed to the coming winter.   

Spud Lake



Spud Lake
Acrylic on Canvas
20″ x 16″

It was a classically beautiful summer day when we packed up our fishing gear and a lunch and hiked out to Spud Lake. Its true name, Potato Lake, was chosen for the prominent ridge along the northwest shore that looks like the gods jammed a giant tater into the earth at an angle.

We nibbled on our lunch and then broke out our fishing poles, flicking flies onto the still surface. However, the fish weren’t interested in what we had to offer, which is why they call it fishing, rather than catching. That didn’t matter…it gave us a chance to practice our casts and enjoy our delightful surroundings for an hour or two. 

As easy as the hike was, the painting was, in contrast, a challenge. I’ve been working on this piece off and on for several months and even broke my rule about not starting something new until I’ve completed what I’ve started. It’s always fun to start something new, while sometimes finishing a piece can be a painful process—that’s where “suffering for your art” comes into the picture.