Lavender Sky, pastel, 11x15 © Nelia Harper
Lavender Sky

Pastel, 11×15

unframed

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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

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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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"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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"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

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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

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"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

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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
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