Thursday, July 26, 2012

Surrounded by Fire


Fall River at Aspenglen, 9 x 12, oils
   My second week in Colorado was unofficial business and more of an opportunity to paint and shoot photographs on my own in the national park. The High Park Fire was in full blaze and more fires were popping up in Boulder, Colorado Springs and even one right in Estes Park that destroyed 21 homes. It felt a bit inappropriate to be painting at such a time but I have no expertise in fire-fighting and if people were afraid this would hurt tourism, then the best thing I could do was to continue my trip and support local businesses financially.

St Vrain Creek, 9 x 12, oils
After last weeks alpine vistas, I started out with an emphasis on painting water and it's effects. I'm sure I will paint it the rest of my life and never tire of it.

Horseshoe Park Haze, 9 x 12, oils
   OK, that was fun, now let's get back to some mountains. I was in Colorado and the snow in the high country was melting fast. It would not be there when I came back in August. The Highpark fire was creating a haze that made the mountains look even more distant than normal as you can see in the painting of Horseshoe Park. Thankfully it also created clouds which eventually brought us some afternoon thunderstorms.
  My last painting was from near the Cub Lake Trailhead. I've been coming to Rocky Mountain National Park regularly for most of my life and I just discovered this view! May the discoveries never end.

Spruce Canyon, 10 x 12, oils

Monday, July 23, 2012

OPA Plein Air Tent Sale


Misty Morning, 9 x 12, oils
 The first day was called "The Pampered Paint Out" and was hosted by Southwest Art Magazine Sales Manager Kimberly Moore at her mountain hideaway. It was surprisingly foggy and cold after weeks of heat and drought. I got in my first piece in the morning and then headed down the hill to join the other artists for a cookout featuring live folk music. Did I mention wine? Pampered it was.

Kimberly's View 10 x 12, oils
 The clouds broke up a bit in the afternoon and I was able to get in a second piece. I really needed the practice on granite boulders and pine trees which are not so common in Missouri. I also discovered that oils dry much faster at high/dry elevation than I'm used to.

Perched on the cliff at Juniper Pass. I'm on the left in the dark shirt.

 The second day I joined Dave Santillanes, Susiehyer and other artists at Juniper Pass, one of the many beautiful pullouts on the road to Mt Evans. I chose an extreme vertical format to paint the incredible cliff wall I was looking down at.

Vertical Vista, 8 x 14, oils SOLD
For the afternoon I headed down to Idaho Springs to get my lovely wife and bring her back up to Mt Evans. It's a drive that is best shared. I chose to setup at Summit Lake while Gina took off to explore the summit and meet some regular mountain goats and bighorn sheep. At 12,900 ft., Summit Lake is the highest I have ever painted (500 ft. higher than Trail Ridge Tundra Walk for those keeping score.)

My right hand is holding the easel down due to the wind.
 One minute it would be perfectly calm and the next the wind off the lake was coming at me at 45 mph. The light was changing quickly so I had to move likewise and by the time Gina returned, I was ready to pack up.

Afternoon at Summit Lake, 9 x 12, oils  SOLD
 I could only turn in two paintings for the OPA Tent Sale so I chose the last one because of the sunshine and dramatic scenery. The best part? Both paintings sold, paying for my whole trip.