Lake Marie – Painting of Wyoming’s Snowy Range

Lake Marie - Pastel - 18x24 © Nelia Harper
Lake Marie – Pastel – 18×24 © Nelia Harper

This painting was in my mind long before it made it to the easel.

Each summer, traveling to this spectacular mountain range is a highlight.  Mountains and tundra, covered in snow and ice from October to May, are revealed each spring as the sun warms the snow, creating streams and waterfalls. Lake Marie, formed at the base of the Snowy Range, near Centennial, Wyoming, catches the water and releases the overflow through a tumble of rock and debris.

The highest point is over 13,000 feet and a web of streams course through the landscape carrying the runoff that collects in high mountain lakes.  Thousands of visitors flock to the Snowy Range to fish, hike, rock climb, camp, snow mobile, picnic, and enjoy the serenity of the clear mountain air.

I’ve had several images in my mind of the painting I wanted to create, including a view of the mountain range, Lake Marie, the runoff, and of course the incredible tumult of rock, trees, wildflowers, and the endless sky.

Now available and on display at the AANC August Heat show August 5-8 at the Carnegie Building (200 Mathews Street).

Snowies in Summer – Painting of the Snowy Range

Snowies in Summer, Painting of the Snowy Range, Wyoming - Pastel - 18x24 © Nelia Harper
Snowies in Summer, Painting of the Snowy Range, Wyoming – Pastel – 18×24 © Nelia Harper

I’m thrilled to announce that the pastel painting, “Snowies in Summer” (18×24) has been accepted into the Colorado Pastel Society summer art show that will be held at the Denver Public Library this July 12th  – September 25th.  The opening reception will be held Sunday, July 12th from 1:30-4:30 pm.

Each summer, I spend several days exploring the mountains and fields of the Snowy Range in Med Bow Mountain National Forest on the southern border of Wyoming, near Laramie and Centennial. The mountain peak is over 13,000 feet and to circle the range is over 13 miles.  On this particular day, I hiked from Lake Marie (the far distant lake) along the ridge and finally found this spot to look out over the range and the lakes.  This particular view faces south, looking out to the Colorado mountains.  I’m always amazed by the number of wildflowers that come into bloom for such a short period of time each summer.

This particular painting of the snowy range is much larger in size than I typically paint.  It felt so freeing to work on a larger board.

“Refreshed” -7×5 Pastel – Now Available

Refreshed - Pastel on Pastelboard 7x5 © Nelia Harper
Refreshed – Pastel on Pastelboard 7×5 © Nelia Harper

I happened upon this little courtyard while exploring the Tuscan region of Italy one fall. I was intrigued by the doors, windows, and flower pots all arranged at various heights. There had been a light rain that washed through the alley just before I arrived, creating an interesting pattern.  From this pastel, I later created the egg tempera painting, “The Courtyard” which you can read about here.

This small painting is now available at auction with a starting bid of $25.00.  Shipping within the US is only $5.00 and if you are local, I’m happy to deliver to you.

Click here to bid

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National Greeley Art Exhibition & Sale

logoNGAE2014 copy

You are Invited to the

National Greeley Art Exhibition & Sale
May 1-3, 2015
Union Colony Civic Center Lobby
701 10th Avenue, Greeley CO 80631

Opening Reception, Friday, May 1, 5:00-8:00pm

Awards Presentation begins at 6:30pm

Open Saturday May 2, 10:00am-5:00pm

Open Sunday May 3, 11:00am-4:00pm


Sculpture, Paintings, Photography

Plus Silent Auction Miniatures

Art Entries came from Colorado, California, Nebraska, Louisiana, Virginia, New Mexico,

New York, New Hampshire, Montana, Minnesota, Arkansas, Nevada, Wyoming, and Washington

4 paintings by Juror, Gary Huber, of Buffalo, Wyoming will be featured.

Fellowship and Scholarship Award Winners will be announced at Reception.

There is no charge to see this wonderful exhibit of art!

 More Info:

Honored to Receive an Honorable Mention

I am absolutely honored to have received an honorable mention award from the Artist Association of Northern Colorado “Spring Forward” art show for “Doggie in the Window”.


I spoke with the juror at the show and asked him what it was about the painting that he saw.  He said, “At first I thought it was a photo.  When I looked closer, I realized it was a pastel.”

He went on to say that he “liked the use of shape in the painting, how the squares are repeated but offset and how the vertical line goes across the painting and the shape of the roof is also repeated in the triangles.”  He also mentioned the depth in the windows and the surprise of the dog in the window.

It was great feedback and exactly what I was going for with this piece – structure, solid shapes with the organic and excited nature of the dog.

Artists Association of Northern Colorado - "Spring Forward" Show
Artists Association of Northern Colorado – “Spring Forward” Show

The show was very well attended and the opening reception was great fun.  What a turnout!

A Full House at the Artists Association of Northern Colorado - "Spring Forward" Show
A Full House at the Artists Association of Northern Colorado – “Spring Forward”

Next weekend is the National Greeley Art Exhibition where I will have two paintings in the show and a miniature in the silent auction.  More details on that soon.

In honor of receiving and award, all prints and canvas wraps are 20% off through April 30th. Woohoo!!!  Just use the code Honor20 at checkout.

New Painting – The Hibiscus in Egg Tempera

The Hibiscus ~ Egg Tempera 6x6 © Nelia Harper
The Hibiscus ~ Egg Tempera 6×6 © Nelia Harper

Fresh off the Easel – The Hibiscus (In Shades of Pink)

In the Victorian era, the hibiscus flower represented delicate beauty.  In Hawaii, the hibiscus is often worn behind the ear as a sign of a woman’s marital status and as a symbol of hospitality.  In Egypt, the flower was used as a medicinal calming tea.  As I painted this flower over four months, I was reminded of Buddha’s Flower Sermon in which words are not required to understand its meaning.

Have you heard the story of Buddha and the Flower Sermon?

The story goes, that Buddha had gathered his students for the daily teaching.  On this particular day, rather than speaking, he held out a white lotus flower for each of his disciples and said nothing.  Each of the followers seemed a bit confused, except for one – he saw the flower and smiled a wide smile – understanding what Buddha was saying, without words.

For me, the story represents that the world and all of beauty exists in the one flower.  The flower represents all flowers and that nothing is permanent.  And, that painting this flower contains all the lessons of painting within this one painting.

I happy to announce that The Hibiscus has been chosen for the Spring Forward  art show, sponsored by the Artists Association of Northern Colorado.  The painting will be on display April 1-April 11 and available for purchase.

See upcoming events for more details.

The Courtyard of Bagnoreggio Italy

"The Courtyard" of Bagnoreggio Italy, Egg Tempera  7 1/8x10 © Nelia Harper
“The Courtyard” of Bagnoreggio Italy, Egg Tempera 7 1/8×10 © Nelia Harper
Behind the Painting of Bagnoreggio Italy

For over 2500 years, the hilltop town of Bagnoreggio, located in the Tuscan region of Italy has served as haven from marauders, pillagers and war.  And, for the past 2500 years (or more) the hill has slowly eroded creating and ‘island in the sky’ that can only be accessed by a footbridge.  Now, rather than warding off invaders, the residents welcome the tourists to what remains of their village as they now fight against time and nature.

The volcanic tuff upon which the village was built tumbles down the hillside and disappears on the wind. Year after year, they rebuild and repair.

And, they tend their gardens and encourage the flowers to bloom. Someday, they too will disappear.

Civita di Bagnoreggio, Italy



Sunday evening, we drove down to the beach.  There are several semi-private, sandy coves along the south side of the island with grape trees, pines and of course palm trees.  (What is it about palm trees, sand beaches and water?)  I painted several studies of the beach, waves, surf and sky.  I finished up as dark was descending, and I could no longer see my pastels or painting.  As I started to walk back to the car, my friend called out, “Look!” pointing to the sky.  The moon was just cresting over the tops of the trees, full, round and golden.  Heaven!   The moon lit the sky, ringing the clouds in silver, and making the water shimmer.

I photographed the scene, and focused on putting the memory in my mind to later recreate it. This small painting is close to what I saw.  Silver blue light, glinting off a few clouds and a twinkling of light in the distance.

Moondance #1 Pastel 9x6 © Nelia Harper 2015
Moondance #1 Pastel 9×6 © Nelia Harper 2015

Last night, we went back for more moon magic.  Again, I painted a couple of studies.  First, I painted the water, focusing on perspective and the surf.  Then, time for the sunset.  Fluffy lavender clouds marched across the sky which turned to light pink.

Then, we waited for the moonrise.  I moved my tripod next to the water (praying it wouldn’t tip being so close to the water’s edge).  The water turned to light pink, aquamarine and lavender.  Delicious.  We waited.  We waited.  I blocked in the shapes.  We waited.  I waded out into the water.  I adjusted the tripod.  We waited.

Easel is set and waiting for the moon to rise. © Nelia
Easel is set and waiting for the moon to rise. © Nelia

Just when we were beginning to wonder if the moon had taken the night off, a slow glow began to form behind the trees.  I felt the excitement building.  What would happen tonight?  The clouds had vacated the sky but a mauve/lavender glow began to form.  Having never painted in the dark, it was quite an experience.  I focused on form and value – there wasn’t much else I could do!  I used my headlamp to light my work, then turned it off to get a look at the values in the landscape.  When I had the essentials  on the paper, I packed up, grabbed a couple of photos (as best I could) and did my best to burn the image in my mind. The light incandescent glow of the moon, the ripples of water, lights blinking/twinkling.  Water lapping at my feet.  Sandals filling with rocks and sand.  A light breeze wafting over the water.  A feeling of peace, contentment and joy filled me from head to toe.

Moondance #2 Pastel 10x12 © Nelia Harper 2015
Moondance #2 Pastel 10×12 © Nelia Harper 2015

Both paintings are for sale.  The small one for $65 and the larger for $95.

They aren’t in my shop yet, so just let me know if you want them.

Happy moondance wherever you are.

A Lesson in Sea Spray

Sea spray through blow holes along Long Beach Walk, Cayman Brac © Nelia Harper 2015
Sea spray through blow holes along Long Beach Walk, Cayman Brac © Nelia Harper 2015

It’s quite obvious. Anyone who has ever lived or spent time living seaside knows that saltwater causes rust.  (Those of you who live and paint near the ocean are saying, “yeah, duh.”)  I should know this too.  I mean, technically, I did know.  But, I didn’t really think about it, and now I really know.

I grew up surrounded by water in the form of lakes, streams, ponds, bogs and puddles.  Water came in all forms; fog, mist, rain, sleet, snow, ice, crystals, you name it.  But the only time it came with salt was during winter, when it was dumped by the truckload onto the roads.  So, it was related to cars and winter in my mind.  Now, living in Colorado, where the snow often melts before the trucks hit the road, salt isn’t much of a concern.  Again, a car wash now and then.

Although I’ve traveled to the ocean several times, even going on many dive trips that require rinsing out our gear in freshwater after every dive, it wasn’t until I loaded up my pack after painting that I noticed.  Little bits of rust were beginning to form on my tripod.  Ack!  On closer look at my gear, I was shocked.  Rust was forming everywhere!  Oh no!

On the clasp of my pastel box.

Rust forming on my pastel box © Nelia Harper 2015
Rust forming on my pastel box © Nelia Harper 2015

Rust has begun to creep into every bit of metal, especially along the hinge.  This wasn’t here a few weeks ago.

Rust forming on my pastel box © Nelia Harper 2015
Rust forming on my pastel box © Nelia Harper 2015

Even on my binder clips.  You can see various degrees of rust beginning to form.

Binder clips in various stages of rusting © Nelia Harper 2015
Binder clips in various stages of rusting © Nelia Harper 2015

After two weeks of being exposed to sea spray and not being wiped off with clean water, rust has begun to take over.  I washed everything today and I will wipe everything down with tap water the next time I’m in the spray.  Plastic clips might be a good idea.  Another lesson learned.

Oh, What a Night!


Friday, December 12th debuted my artwork at the opening of “From Near and Far”, featuring works in pastel and a recently finished egg tempera painting.  The paintings included landscapes from travels to France, Italy, Cayman Islands, Colorado and Wyoming.

A huge thank you to hostess Laura Snodgrass and her gracious staff of EdwardJones who provided the space and delicious food, Alisha Lee Jeffers, friend and fellow artist who provided fun photos of the event, and everyone who took the time to view the work, visit, and those who supported my work with a purchase. Thank you!

For those of you too far away to attend, here is a quick virtual tour for you.

Starting in the office lobby, you can see “The Cheese Seller of Giza” and “Fall Bouquet“.  A guest is looking at one of the prints for sale as well.  Just through the door is “Belle Fourche Reservoir“, a small plein air painting from a summer trip to South Dakota.

GuestsIn the next room, I had a large wall to use.  Since most of my work is small (6×6 to 9×12), this was perfect for a ‘salon’ style display.   ArtSho1214a

Here I am after deciding the layout, hanging all of the pieces and getting the tags just so, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed, but I stopped to get a quick photo.  On the left is the newest piece, an egg tempera painting, “il cortile or The Courtyard” that was finished just in time for the show.  It still needs a final coat of varnish and a photo session, but it made it into the frame and onto the wall.


Wall-2Next to the “il coritle – The Courtyard” is “Four Mile Rock” from nearby Bobcat Ridge, “The Bluff Begins at Dawn” from Cayman Brac, “Doggie in the Window” from France, and “Waiting for Spring” one of the coves at Lory State Park.

The “Doggie in the Window” was a favorite of many visitors, probably because there are so many dog lovers here in Fort Collins. Although my straw poll showed tremendous variety in the tastes and interests. Each one was a favorite for someone.

In the third room were these two pieces from Wyoming.  The “Meadow of Gold” on the left is from the Snowy Range of Wyoming, just west of Laramie and the granite monolith, “Reynold’s Hill” on the right is from Veadauwoo, Wyoming.


One of the guests asked, “How much of that meadow is real?  How much did you make up?”

The meadow is almost 100% true to life.  In fact, there were so many flowers that I had to take some out because the didn’t look ‘real’ in the painting!  It was the paintbrush that initially caught my eye – red against a backdrop of yellow.  A few purple daisies were attempting to get there moment in the sun too.

Nelia-AlishaIt was so fun to see so many friends.  After being holed up in my studio for the past several weeks working on the final details, it was nice to get out and see some friendly faces.  It was also nice to have artist friends see my work, comment on the pieces and share the trials and tribulations of putting a show together.

The final piece, “Mallard’s Playground” was also a favorite.  Several people knew the exact location of that little pond and the ducks and birds that frequent the spot.

pondWhile I’m still working on prints for many of the pieces (they didn’t arrive in time), I do have prints of “Mallard’s Playground“, “Meadow of Gold” , “The Cheese Seller of Giza” and “Four Mile Rock” available in 8×10 prints and in stock for quick shipping.  If you would like a size that isn’t listed, just let me know.  I can have (almost) any size printed.

Thank you to everyone for your kind words and encouragement and your comments and insights.

I wish you all a very happy holiday and a wonderful new year!

PS: If you would like to purchase one of the paintings, you can either purchase it in my shop or give me a call at (970) 692-0059.  If you are a local, just select “local pickup”.  If you want it before Christmas, the last ship date is this Wednesday, December 17th for originals.  Prints are available for pickup or delivery as well.

If you would like a custom painting, I am now taking commissions.  Let me know if you are interested.

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