For another year now, I have been fortunate enough to be able to devote my time to painting. This has been a dream that I have held since I was a young girl. Thanks to the amazing support of family, friends, and collectors, I have been blessed to have the opportunity to continue to grow as an artist. This was a truly incredible year of serving as the conduit of creativity and hopefully contributing to beauty.
Each painting of 2014 was a valuable experience, but in this newsletter, I am highlighting specific ones that taught me something important.
As many of you already know, I love, love, love to dance! This is why I was especially thrilled to immerse myself in a year-long study of sandhill cranes. Their age-old dance creates shape and movement that has been incredibly inspiring to my imagery. To the right is the first crane painting I did. The image below is the last. Between the two, I explored their form and movement in more than twenty sketches and paintings. It was my ‘year of the crane’ and what a joy it was!
One of the greatest joys of being a landscape painter is the opportunity to work on location…in beautiful places. To capture this painting to the right, I set up my easel along this stream in the early morning light. Fog softened everything except my hot cup of coffee. I was able to witness the dawning of the day, silently, with my dog and a flock of songbirds.
In the painting below, I was lucky enough to join 4 other artists on a pack trip into the Wind River Mountains where we traced the footprints of Carl Rungius. I painted the image below at Vista Pass – the exact location that Rungius also did a field study.
Painting the natural world is a humbling honor and is ultimately my song of appreciation for such an opportunity. The preservation of the landscape, with projects like View 22 and Plein Air for the Park, have become important parts of my year.
I notice a difference when I approach a painting too seriously vs. with an attitude of playfulness. My artist friend, Lee Riddell always reminds me of the importance of having fun while painting. In fact, this may well be the most important thing to remember when creating a piece. When I lose sight of this, the paintings feel stiff and forced. When I approach the process as play, the paint flows and swirls. The end result looks fresh and light. The piece has a natural, spontaneous resolution to it.
This is the last painting I did this year. It was an undertaking for sure- a larger version of paintings I have done reflecting on the National Elk Refuge near my studio and inspired by a photo taken by Paul Vogelheim.
I really love the balance of abstraction and articulation in this painting as seen to the right. In order to allow this to happen, I had to resist the urge to control the outcome. A painting like this takes a long time and even more patience. I learned a valuable lesson in not forcing a solution because, in time, one will naturally, and perfectly, unfold.