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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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…
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
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?
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
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
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 for the painting stemmed from thinking about how children embody characters through costume and the evolution of this over time. As children 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, 21×18.5
As I was walking through this meadow in Rocky Mountain National Park, there was a light mist in the air from an early morning rain. Sun filtered through the spring leaves and bounced off the grass and mist, creating a soft glow. What a treasure. I often think back to that day, the light filtering through the aspens and the lightness I felt at seeing such beauty.
Painted from memory and imagination.