Best Paintings of 2020January 19, 2021
This Bear Painting Hits the Big TimeJanuary 18, 2022
What was your experience of 2021?
At times, it seemed that there was too much going on to fully focus on art-making. To my surprise, once I sat down at the easel or drawing table, the practices would take on a life of their own despite what might be happening in my own head. If I showed up and open the door, the image would eventually emerge. That’s what happened in this mule dear doe conte drawing.
In this piece, I love how the focus is on the moose but there’s just enough suggested to understand his high desert habitat. Moose are the largest big game animal in Wyoming and the largest member of the cervid family. In my lifetime, I have seen the Wyoming moose population decimated from an estimated 13,000 moose in the 1980’s compared to 3,500 moose in 2020 according the Wyoming Game & Fish. This steep decline is due to a number of unfortunate factors. In my work, I hope to honor and celebrate this majestic species.
This is a simple piece, but that’s what I love. A teacher once said, “Paint just one idea at a time.” In this image, I wanted to celebrate the graceful, elegant shape of a bull elk.
Another moose piece makes the countdown! I chose to include this one because it feels timeless and that is an overall goal of my work. First I stained to paper with tea which gave it an antique look. The moose figure took shape from those organically formed marks. I love the abstracted blue hue that flows gently into the water because it adds mystery and movement.
Since as early as I can remember, I have been moved to paint the experiences of my life. This watercolor is a postcard memory of Nankoweep, my favorite campsite while rafting the Colorado of the Grand Canyon with my family this summer. How rich it is to process through my brush what I am seeing and feeling then share this expression with all of you!
This painting was created on location at Schwabacher Landing—a rich riparian area with access to the Snake River’s main channel and one of my favorite spots in the valley. In this piece, I really challenged myself to push the level of abstraction in the landscape while still capturing the essence of that particular summer evening when the haze of wildfire smoke was thick, obscuring the view and diffusing the light.
Painting cranes is not unusual for me, but at 73″ high and 51″ wide, this painting was a formidable size. Working on such a large scale is exciting because it makes a big impact. To paint the top of this piece, I had to turn it upside down! I have some large paintings planned for 2022 and I draw courage from this undertaking! Stay tuned!
Every now and then, I paint watercolor portraits of children. I find this a delightful challenge and a refreshing change of pace from my usual oeuvre of wildlife and landscape paintings. This is my cousin’s daughter, Molly. It was a treat to try to capture the twinkle of her eyes or the dimple of her cheeks! I believe the trick to watercolor is to keep it fresh and I was glad that I stopped working when I did. It is so easy to over work a watercolor!
Bless you if you are still reading this!
Now for our last selection, I am kind of cheating by not picking one single painting but instead the entire collection of What Owns the Sky. In creating this bird series, I learned a great deal about composition, color and design. It was a great opportunity to unleash my creativity and take bold risks. Now I am thrilled that it is permanently installed in St. John’s Health Sage Living Center for the residence to enjoy!
It is with gratitude for all your support this year that I wish you a very happy 2022. May it be filled with love, laughter and much beauty.