Saturday, November 24, 2018

Into the Weminuche

Into the Weminuche
20” X 16”
Acrylic on Canvas

It was the perfect afternoon—after a perfect anniversary weekend exploring Gunnison, Tin Cup, and Lake City, we were taking the backway into Creede. Miles from anywhere, we saw a sign for an overlook and decided that’s where we would stop for lunch. 

And what a view it was, looking into the Weminuche Wilderness. The light frosting of snow on the distant peaks contrasted with the autumn gold grasses in the valley below; the deep blue of the sky reflected in the water, a mosaic of ice patches the weakening November sun couldn’t melt during the ever-shortening days.

We bundled up and broke out the backpack stove to make tea and instant soup, grateful for the sun’s warmth.

This is one of those paintings that seemed to take forever…started long ago and set aside several times as I turned my attention to other paintings and other projects.

In early November, I had my first studio show here in Durango after a looooong hiatus. It’s amazing how much time it takes to prepare when you haven’t had a show for a while. Clint installed lights, while I framed and cleaned (paintings and house). 

Just one part of the house where paintings were hung. I had 42 framed pieces on display.

While in the process of inspecting and cleaning paintings as we hung them, I discovered pieces I had not signed, or varnished, or had horrible globs I had to fix. There were older less-favored paintings taken out of frames to make homes for new pieces. Whew—it was a lot of work!
 When “show day” came, we were ready and it was a great day. Plenty of people showed up (you always worry, you know) and they ate and drank, looked at art, and I even sold a few. Not bad for the first show in a new town where I had to build a mailing list from scratch. 

I could barely wait to get back to painting…and forced myself to finish “Into the Weminuche” before I allowed myself to start a new painting (well on the way to being finished, by the way).

Sunday, September 23, 2018

A Plein Air Twofer

Morning Aspens
5” X 7”

A couple of times a year I get to go camping for my job with Great Old Broads for Wilderness. Yep, it’s pretty darn cool and we (the staff) all agree, these trips are always magical and it’s a treat to get out from behind a computer. 

It’s hard work, because we’re managing 60 or so participants for these events (we call them Broadwalks)— but it is also great fun and I’ve gotten to meet some wonderful people and see amazing landscapes.

I teach watercolor classes at these events and I really enjoy these sessions. I start out with a little discussion about color and planning the painting, and then do a demonstration before everyone digs in to their own paintings. If I can convince them, the students share their work with the group when we all gather for dinner and the evening program. After four painting sessions this last trip, I had a couple of demo pieces that had the potential to become finished paintings—and here they are!

For this adventure, we went to the Sawtooth National Recreation Area near Ketchum, Idaho to learn about the Endangered Species Act and some of the creatures whose survival is threatened. We camped in the beautiful Silver Creek Meadow—a broad expanse bordered by a breathtaking, rocky ridge. At the edges of the meadow, the aspens glowed in a symphony of greens in the morning sun.

Meadow Sentinel
5” X 7”

This is the other painting I completed that was started in one of the watercolor class demonstrations. This is but one tiny section of a ridgeline that ran as far as we could see from left to right. Its color and texture changed throughout the day as the sun and clouds moved across the sky. It was one of the loveliest locations I’ve experienced so far on one of our events. However, now that I think of it, I say that about nearly everywhere we go.