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
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.
Winner of the Guerilla Painter Award – 2016 Pastel Society of Colorado Mile High National Show
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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’.
en plein air
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.
en plein air
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.
en plein air
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
en plein air