Nothing to Wear, pastel on paper, 21x20, © Nelia Harper
Nothing to Wear

This painting was the final project for a semester of figure drawing. The painting was based on the theme, “the human figure as an expression of inner psychology”. The idea stemmed from thinking about how children embody costumes. They want to be batman, spiderman, a cowboy or a princess. They take on the costume as who they are. However, as we grow and become adults, we often take on masks/costumes to go about our daily activities, whether we want to embody them or not. This concept was then coupled with a woman trying on clothes from her closet and finding ‘nothing to wear’ from the multiple outfits available to her. Here, she is dressed in a simple black dress and holds a mask to her face. Is she preparing for a night out? A day at work? What do we assume about her from the mask? How do we read her eyes shining through? Who is she behind the mask?

Pastel on Canson Paper, 21×20

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Yucca Study, 4x6, oil on linen panel, © Nelia Harper
Yucca Study

Yucca Study, oil on linen panel, 3×4

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Bitty Bird, 3 1/4 x 3 1/4, oil on canvas panel, © Nelia Harper
Bitty Bird

This little bird sits in my studio observing the day-to-day activities. He loves to pose, especially with bits of flowers.

Painted from life.

Oil on canvas panel, 3 1/4x 3 1/4

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Along the Yampa, 8x10, oil on canvas panel
Along the Yampa River

Now available at auction on dailypaintworks.com  (you will be re-directed to their website to bid).

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In Your Embrace, oil on canvas, 36x48
In Your Embrace

This painting is based on a plein air painting made along the Poudre River in Fort Collins, CO.  As I painted this piece, I thought about the strength of river, the tree and the power of love.

On display in the Denver Capitol Building June-September, 2018.

Oil on gallery wrap canvas 1 5/8″

36×48

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"On the Cob", 6x8, oil on canvas panel, © Nelia Harper
On the Cob

Painting this corn on the cob reminded me of childhood summers and working in the garden with my Dad.

For as long as I can remember, my father planted a large garden. And, he still does. I loved to help him. As I placed corn kernels, hunks of potato, and tiny onions in the ground, a feeling of hope and promise filled me. I marveled at the straight rows, and the little seeds that grew into giants. Planting miniature versions of vegetables felt like a million little possibilities
 
In August, we could start to pick the corn. Pulling away the husk, was like unwrapping a present. Under the papery wrapper, rows and rows of sweet kernels waited for a slather of butter and salt. We devoured those ears of corn on the cob. Fresh green beans, cucumber salad, and baby potatoes completed any meal.
I still relish plant seeds, and see those little seeds reach for the sun. I especially love it when I can step outside to ‘pick dinner. Although I didn’t pick this ear of corn from my garden, I still delight in knowing that a seed created this ear of corn. And, there’s nothing like the taste of fresh corn on the cob, slathered in butter and salt!
6×8, oil on canvas
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Lavender Sky, pastel, 11x15 © Nelia Harper
Lavender Sky

Pastel, 11×15

unframed

$225.00 Add to cart
Curious, Pastel, 12x12, © Nelia Harper
Curious

This little deer and I spotted each other as I walked along a hiking trail.  We watched one another with curiosity.  Who would make the first move.  The image of its ears pointed forward, taking in every sound, hidden in the undergrowth stayed with me.  Slowly, the idea began to resolve.  The colors began to take shape, the pattern of light and dark began to emerge.

11.75 x11.75

pastel

unframed

$290.00 Add to cart
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Spring is in the Air, 9x12 oil on linen, © Nelia Harper
Spring is In the Air

An early morning mist hung in the air saturating the air with moisture.  Spring began to unfurl it’s radiant color and perfume enticing every passerby.

Fort Collins, CO

9×12, oil on linen

plein air study

unframed

$195.00 Read more
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Devil's Playground, 8x10, pastel, © Nelia Harper
Devil’s Backbone

Painted at the Devil’s Backbone Open Space park in Loveland, CO.

8×10, pastel

plein air

framed

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Breathing Space, 9x12 oil on linen, © Nelia Harper
Breathing Space

Painted en plein air at Bobcat Ridge Open Space.

Fort Collins, CO

oil, 9×12

plein air study

unframed

$45.00 Read more
Autumn Surge, 11x14, oil on linen, © Nelia Harper
Autumn Surge

Painted en plein air along the Yampa river during the Steamboat Art Museum Plein Air event.

Steamboat Springs, CO

oil, 11×14

plein air 

unframed

$295.00 Add to cart
Aspen Study No. 6, oil, 5x7 © Nelia Harper
Aspen Study No. 6

Painted en plein air during the Steamboat Art Museum Plein Air event.

Steamboat Springs, CO

oil, 5×7

plein air study

unframed

$52.00 Add to cart
Aspen Study No. 5, oil on panel, 7x5, © Nelia Harper
Aspen Study No. 5

oil on panel

plein air

7×5

unframed

$50.00 Add to cart
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Black-Eyed Susans, oil, 12x9, © Nelia Harper
Black-Eyed Susans

oil on panel

12×9

plein air

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Schoolhouse, oil, 8x16, © Nelia Harper
Schoolhouse

Perched on top of the rise, this old schoolhouse looks out over the tranquil Yampa River valley and Sleeping Indian Mountain.  As I painted this scene during the Steamboat Art Museum Plein Air Event, clouds rolled across the valley and I imagined what how it felt to walk to school during the winter months when the land was being settled.

plein air

oil on canvas panel, 8×16

Steamboat Springs, CO

unframed

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"Heirloom Beauties", 8 1/4 x16, © Nelia Harper
Heirloom Beauties

Heirloom Beauties was inspired by yet another trip to the Farmer’s Market.  The good folks from Honeyacre Farm devote their loves to growing luscious heirloom tomatoes, meaty, flavorful bell peppers, and solid cucumbers the size my arm.

This still life was designed to create a bold statement.  I wanted to work with bright cadmium paint and explore vibrant color. I choose a deep red backdrop to complement the tomatoes and stock for delicate texture to contrast the smooth tomato.

still life

8×16, oil on linen

unframed

$195.00 Add to cart
"Rabbitbush" pastel, 16x20, © Nelia Harper
Rabbitbush

While doing some plein air painting on a brisk January day, I came across this gigantic rabbitbush.   It still had several of its colorful blooms. Startled by the sheer size of the bush and enthralled by the sky and frozen pond, I knew this would be my next painting.

I hoped to convey the drama of Colorado’s winter sky.  Will the storm blow in or move on?  I also wanted to create a sense of texture and the feeling of windswept space.  By creating such a large bush, I hoped to instill a feeling of the size and magnitude.  How old is this bush?  What has it seen?  How long will it remain?

studio

16×20, pastel

unframed

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"Where the Wild Things Grow", oil on canvas panel, 5x7 © Nelia Harper
Where the Wild Things Grow

During a trip up the Cache la Poudre Canyon, I came across this field filled with aspen trees.  Although I wasn’t able to paint it that day, I knew a return trip was in order and soon the opportunity arrived.

Upon my return, the small aspen grove had filled wildflowers.  As I set up my easel and began to paint, I felt as if anything could stumble up out of the river or through the grove of trees.  While it would most likely be a deer, I couldn’t help but think of the children’s book, “Where the Wild Things Are” and my imagination went wild.

oil on canvas panel, 5×7

plein air

unframed

$50.00 Add to cart
"Bobcat Oasis", Oil on Canvas Panel, 12x16, © Nelia Harper
Bobcat Oasis

How many times have I pulled on my backpack and headed for a nearby park to hike, think, look and ponder?   Whether I have a lot on my mind, or I just feel the need to get out into nature, Bobcat Ridge Open Space is a ‘go-to’ spot. There, I am free to wander, wonder and ease back into myself.

As I painted this cottonwood against the backdrop of the hogback, I thought of napping under the tree or having a picnic lunch.  I reflected on the number of hikes I have taken through this park, and how it has become an oasis for my spirit, as well as an opportunity to connect with nature and myself.

oil on panel, 12×16

plein air

unframed

en plein air

$285.00 Add to cart
"Summer Sweetness", 11x15, Pastel © Nelia Harper
Summer Sweetness

Can you feel the fuzz?  Do you smell that sweet syrup of a ripe summer peach? Each summer, I look forward to peach season and picking up fresh peaches from the farmer’s market.  After they grow and ripen in the heat of the Western Slope, they arrive at the market ready to eat.  There’s nothing as delicious as a sweet summer peach on a hot day, especially when the juice drips down your hand…

11×15, pastel

still life

unframed

$225.00 Add to cart
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"Peach Study" 5x5, Pastel, © Nelia Harper
Peach Study in Pastel

I’ve been looking forward to summer and doing a peach study in pastel for a larger painting.  Each year, Morton’s Organic Orchards sets up their fruit stand at the nearby farmer’s market. They begin with cherries that are so deep and dark in color, flavor and sugar that I feel ‘drunk’ after just a few morsels.

Following on the heels of the cherries, the peaches arrive. Clingstone peaches appear first – small and sweet. Then, giant freestone peaches arrive by the truckload, covered in peach fuzz. They line up, ready to be turned into pies and jams and in my case, ice cream and smoothies.

These little orbs of sweetness are surprisingly solid. I wanted the viewer to feel as though they could be picked up and held, as well as eaten.

pastel, still life, 5×5

$65.00 Read more
"Tributary", Oil on Canvas Panel, 16x12, © Nelia Harper
Tributary

I have driven by this area countless times and never knew a gem was hidden away.  We started the day at the break of dawn.  From camp, we drove a short distance from our campsite, and hiked out to see what we could see.  Following what I later learned were skunk track, I fell in love with this picturesque spot.

The sun was just coming up over the cliffs and began to filter through the trees. I listened to the hum and throb of the water, and watched the light shift and change, as I painted a perfect summer day.

oil on canvas panel, 16×12

plein air

unframed

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"Across the Pond" oil on panel, 9x12 © Nelia Harper
Across the Pond

There are hidden gems everywhere.  At a regular painting spot, the calm water created a perfect opportunity to paint this red barn reflecting off the water.  The trees were in full summer foliage, creating a perfect pastoral scene…water, mountains, trees, a red barn, everything a painter could want!

9×12, oil on panel

plein air

unframed

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"Peace" oil on panel 9x12 © Nelia Harper
Peace

The feed and grain is an iconic building in Loveland, CO. Each year, our plein air group paints at this location.   The shapes and textures present a challenge to the painter.  This year, the peace symbol caught my eye.

9×12, oil on canvas panel

plein air

unframed

$95.00 Add to cart
"Fall Glory" oil on canvas panel 9x12 © Nelia Harper
Fall Glory

There are places we return to paint again and again. This is one of those places. Away from the hustle and bustle of town, tucked behind the hogbacks, Bobcat Ridge is quiet and serene. Fall lingers here, holding onto color until this snow flies. Tucked into a curve of the road, the sun warms the earth and the leaves glow.  The beauty of fall stands in proud glory.

10×8, oil on canvas

plein air

unframed

$80.00 Add to cart
"Fall at Bobcat Ridge" Pastel, 12x16 © Nelia Harper
Bobcat Autumn

Walk through the foothills of Colorado in the fall and the world alights in yellow, orange and gold.  This pastel painting was inspired by a walk through Bobcat Ridge Natural Area.  Located in the foothills of Fort Collins, I return again and again for inspiration and the display of fall color as the leaves turn from green to orange, yellow and gold.

Pastel, 12×16

Winner of the Guerilla Painter Award – 2016 Pastel Society of Colorado Mile High National Show

unframed

$225.00 Add to cart
Fall Afternoon, Oil on Canvas 8x10 © Nelia Harper
Fall Afternoon

Each fall the trees beckon.  “Come and paint me”, they call.  “Look at how beautiful I am.  Do you see how inviting it is in the cool shade of my canopy?”  Inspired by a plein air painting session at Bobcat Ridge Natural Area just outside Fort Collins.

8×10, oil on panel

unframed

$80.00 Add to cart
"Beside Still Waters" Oil on Canvas 8x10 © Nelia Harper
Beside Still Waters

Mist hung in the air.  Clouds filled the sky.  I rounded the corner, and was startled by the blaze of fall color.  The trees seemed lit from within.  I was drawn to the tumultuous contrast of rioting color against the mirror like smoothness of the river.  As I painted, stillness hung in the air.  Two fishermen worked their way up the Poudre River, calling out as they cast and caught fish.  Completed en plein air.

8×10, oil on canvas panel

plein air

unframed

$80.00 Add to cart
Follow Cow Creek, oil on canvas, 16x20 © Nelia Harper
Follow Cow Creek

It was a cool brisk morning in early spring. The snow had melted and the sun was shining down. The promise of summer was in the air. After a long hike, I returned to this scene. The light was perfect.

“Follow Cow Creek” was part of the “100 Years of the National Parks” juried art show in Estes Park, CO in 2016.

16×20, oil on canvas panel

studio

unframed

$480.00 Add to cart
Autumn Leaves, Egg Tempera, 9x12 © Nelia Harper
Autumn Leaves II

In a last burst of colorful glory, autumn fills the senses with leaves, wet soil and the hint of snow on the air.  Autumn Leaves II revisits a pile of leaves, tossed on the ground in a multitude of color.

egg tempera, 9×12

unframed

$450.00 Add to cart
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You Sing to My Spirit, Pastel, 18x24 © Nelia Harper
You Sing to My Spirit

Just as the sky began to lighten, I wound my way up the Thompson Canyon, and bounced over the well worn highway to the Wild Basin turnoff in Rocky Mountain National Park.  Meeting other painters, we started up the trail with our 30 pound packs.  About a mile in, the trail became steep and covered in snow.  We carried on, and the reward was well worth the effort when we reached the tumbling Cascade Waterfalls.

pastel, 18×24

$800.00 Read more
"Loveland Feed and Grain" - Pastel - 12x16 © Nelia Harper
Next Stop: Feed and Grain – Loveland, CO

It was hot!  At 9 am, the ambient temperature was already reaching 90+ degrees.   I searched for a spot in the shade, where I could focus and not fry my skin.  Spying a level, shady spot next to the train tracks, I setup and began to outline the lines and angles of the old building.  Not long into the painting, a train roared past, carrying shiny new windmill blades.  Where once we were fed by the trains that carried grain, now the trains carry windmills to feed our hunger for energy.  Although abandoned, the building will soon undergo a renovation and be transformed into a home for artists and galleries.

pastel, 12×16

plein air

unframed

$225.00 Add to cart
"Old Friend" Pastel 12x15 © Nelia Harper
Old Friend

Along my favorite hiking trails, I look forward to seeing particular trees.  I’m drawn to their shapes, the curvature of their limbs, the shade they offer, or the feeling they invoke.   Over time, I feel like I know them, and that they know me.  I’ve had my eye on this particular bend in the trail.  I like the way the tree leans over, toward the bridge and the rock, greeting those that pass.  Just as people are unique in their character, so are trees.  As I painted this tree’s portrait, I felt like I was painting an ‘Old Friend’.

pastel, 12×15

en plein air

unframed

$225.00 Add to cart
"Cliffs of the Poudre" Pastel 12x15 © Nelia Harper
Lazy Day at the Poudre

Not far from the city, along the Cache la Poudre River, there’s a fishing hole that’s popular with anglers seeking trout.  Originating in the northern range of Rocky Mountain National Park, the ice cold water quenches the thirst of the residents along its path before joining the South Platte and traveling to the Gulf of Mexico.  The water gurgled past, the trees were just beginning to turn, and I wished I’d worn my bathing suit for a quick dip in the river.

pastel, 12×15

en plein air

unframed

$225.00 Add to cart
Fall Along the River 6x8 Pastel © Nelia Harper
Fall Along the River

Watching fall arrive along the South Platte River in Colorado is a special treat. The water drifts past, placid and gentle.  The cottonwoods shift from green to shades of orange and bright yellows.  The grasses glow, almost iridescent in the sunshine.  Yet, in the shade, the air is cool and refreshing.  While sitting on a log, painting this scene, I watched flock of wild turkeys fly across the river, minutes later, a pair of doves drifted past.  And, while I didn’t see them, I know that deer, beaver and muskrat are nearby, busily preparing for winter.

pastel, 6×8

en plein air

unframed

$75.00 Add to cart
A-Maze-Ing - Pastel - 5x7 on UArt Paper © Nelia Harper
A-Maze-Ing

Rocks pile and tumble against the alpine blue sky of Wyoming.  From a distance, the rocks appear to be building blocks for a giant toddler.  Here they sit, forgotten in the eons of time.  Contrasted to the hard, sharp rock, aspens dance in the breeze, their golden fall colors warm and bright.

pastel, 5×7

en plein air

unframed

$50.00 Add to cart
Lake Marie - Pastel - 18x24 © Nelia Harper
Lake Marie

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.

pastel, 18×24

unframed

$450.00 Add to cart
Snowies in Summer 18x24 Pastel © Nelia Harper
Snowies in Summer

Each summer, I spend several days exploring this mountain range.  On this particular day, I hiked from Lake Marie (the far distant lake) to the top of this 13,000 foot ridge where I 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.

pastel, 18×24

unframed

$450.00 Add to cart
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Sand Dunes 9x12 Egg Tempera on Panel © Nelia Harper
Sand Dunes

The sun slowly arcs through the sky, kissing the sand and the foliage with a deep warm glow.  The waves lap at the shore and the tranquil scene invites us to breathe deeply and rejuvenate our bodies.

egg tempera, 9×12

 

$400.00 Read more
The Hibiscus ~ Egg Tempera 6x6 © Nelia Harper
The Hibiscus

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.

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.

egg tempera, 6×6

unframed

$360.00 Add to cart
Doggie in the Window 10x8 Pastel © Nelia Harper
Doggie in the Window

Located in the heart of France, there is a village built of red sandstone with roofs of slate, covered in lichen and moss. As I strolled through the village on a crisp fall day, I spotted this little “Doggie in the Window”. He was so excited and happy. He clearly wanted to come out to play.

Collonges la Rouge, France

pastel, 10×8

unframed

$125.00 Add to cart
Fall Bouquet © Nelia Harper
Fall Bouquet

Autumn brings splendor to the mountains of Colorado. The mount mahogany shifts to deep purple, the cottonwoods burst forth in gold and orange. The grasses pulse in waves of color. Set against the red sandstone hogback, fall creates a bouquet of color.

pastel, 12×9

unframed

$145.00 Add to cart
Reynolds Hill 12x9 Pastel © Nelia Harper
Reynold’s Hill

A popular climbing area in Vedauwoo, Wyoming, Reynold’s Hill, a monolith of 1.4 billion year old granite, stands proud and strong.   Surrounded by its court of lush aspen trees and meadows of willows, it reflects on its image in the still pool.

Vedauwoo, Wyoming

pastel, 12×9

unframed

$145.00 Add to cart