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.
oil on canvas panel, 8×16
Steamboat Springs, CO
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.
8×16, oil on linen
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?
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…
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
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.
Currently on location at Museum of Friends, Walsenburg, CO through June 15th.
To purchase, please contact the museum at 719-738-2858
Painted en plein air
oil on canvas panel, 16×12
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