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.
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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
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.
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
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
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
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.