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My Bike Paintings at RiNo Made Store

If you haven’t yet been to the RiNo Made store at Zeppelin Station in the River North Art District (RiNo) you’re missing out on a wonderfully-curated art store featuring works by some of the finest artists in Denver. You’ll see a better-than-expected sampling of what’s happening in the RiNo Art District, where the largest concentration of Denver artists work today. It’s making art accessible. Plus it’s situated at Zeppelin Station, the latest in ultra-cool hangouts off the light rail station in the heart of RiNo. There you’ll find food, an upstairs bar, coffee, ice cream and unique merchants, all wrapped in a fun, contemporary setting.

Some of my new bike paintings are on sale at RiNo Made now. Check it out at

3501 Wazee St
Suite 109, Zeppelin Station
Denver, CO 80216

 

Hikes & Bikes Show

With Colorado often ranked the most active in the nation, it’s no wonder so many of its residents are enjoying the Rocky Mountains in every way possible. We hike to amazing places to ski. We bike scenic byways and mountain trails. Simply put, we love our outdoors. Artist Leslie Jorgensen travels across the Rocky Mountains and the West skiing, hiking and biking along the way. She paints the landscapes she visits and our outdoor activities within it.

Show Runs Aug 24 – Sept 9

Opening Reception: Friday Aug 24, 6-9pm
First Friday Reception: Friday Sept 7, 6-9pm

CORE New Art Space
900 Santa Fe Dr, Denver CO 80204

Gallery Hours
Thursdays: 12 -5
Fridays: 12 – 9
Saturdays: 12 – 5
Sundays: 12:30 – 3

Camping on the Rio Grande

I love to go camping. Sleeping in a tent with the sound of a river and the light of a full moon makes me feel alive and in tune with the natural world. There’s a favorite place I like to camp along the Rio Grande River near Taos, NM. My sister and I camped there last week during a brief painting trip.

After a quiet Thursday night under the stars, Friday night brought cars and people, with noise, music and the sound of voices into the wee hours. Thankful for earplugs! But what began that night as slightly annoying sounds of strangers wrecking our tranquility with nature transformed into a morning of newfound friends and fun.

We shared coffee with Geo who, with his dog Cosmo and girlfriend Veronica, lived in a van and collected crystal treasures. He was so excited about them and so grateful for the coffee on that cold morning that he gave me a handful of crystals, which we brought back for Lorie’s girls.

There were two friendly women sitting at the river reading about cacti. I enjoyed their conversation as I set my easel in the shade, since by 8 am, it was already too hot to be up on the road any longer. Painting by the river opened a dialog with our resident college students, who were very much enjoying their summer break.

There were 4 of them – engineering students at UNM Albuquerque. The interesting thing about them was that they spoke with distinctly different accents. I could hear South African, Puerto Rican, Jamaican. They were fishing, swimming and enjoying the river with an openness that invited others on the bank to laugh along at their antics. They were polite, smart and happy. They had life stories that were eye opening, including Leon’s story of growing up in Apartheid S. Africa. At 35, he’s a contemporary of Trevor Noah, who’s book, Born a Crime, I had just finished reading. Leon had a similar background, the son of a father who was Dutch and a mother from Cape Town. While police squads would routinely come to his town and shoot people at random with automatic rifles. Yet his smile was broad and his demeanor pleasant. I asked him how he keeps his optimism and openness toward people. He said anger didn’t serve him. It was better to be happy and draw more of the same.

And he did attract smiles, as he and his friend Mark went around sharing food with us and our other camp neighbors. I’m grateful to Leon for reminding me about keeping an open heart and meeting new friends along my journey. And for the people who enhanced our enjoyment of that natural place. We are all part of our world.

Special prayers for the people of northern NM and firefighters battling the Ute Park fire and other fires burning in the Southwest.

 

The trip wouldn’t be complete without a stop to visit my friend and talented artist Denice Weinberg at her home with her photo bomber dog Lucky.

River Cactus 18×18″ Oil on Canvas

Painting to be featured in Durango Show

My magical year continues! My painting Field of Purple Aster, painted on location in Taos, NM last fall was selected to be part of the 22nd Annual National Plein Air show in Durango, CO.

Field of Purple Aster 11×14″ painted en plein air Acrylic on Canvas

22nd Annual Plein Air Artists Colorado National Show 

Sorrel Sky Gallery
Durango, CO
October 5 – 28, 2018

DZ Content Strategy

I’ll tell you what, this chick can WRITE. I love good writing, so when my brilliant writer friend Dena Zocher asked for my help with her new website, she was maybe a little surprised by my enthusiasm. Fortunately she was happy with the result and was kind enough to include an article about my art series Art of the Backcountry. She makes me sound way better spoken than I am, which is why you should know about her too. If you ever need writing for corporate, blogs, social media, you name it, give her a call. Check out her blog post and the new website HERE.

Introducing Gallery 307 Jackson

I’d like you to meet Regi Stone. Regi is about to open the next artisan gallery, called 307 Jackson, opening next week in downtown Jackson, Wyoming. Regi is an associate pastor who happens to make beautiful leather products, like belts and handbags. He has friends in town who make other cool things, like furniture and turned wood bowls. His friend, artist Nathanial Mather, will have his art on the walls. I was thrilled when he asked to include my work as well.

Since the gallery is in the historic Wort Cabin, it seemed fitting to deliver several of my wood paintings. I’ve been searching for a mountain ski resort town for my Art of the Backcountry series and I couldn’t have chosen a more fitting place. I met so many backcountry skiers in the week I was out painting in and around Jackson. I created a few new paintings just for the occasion, including Amphitheater, Grand Teton National Park24×48″ (shown below) that I painted on a really cool piece of reclaimed plywood I’d saved from the studio yard. Also shown is View from Sublet Chair 14×11″ Oil on canvas (JH skiers will know this view), and First Tracks 24×24 acrylic on wood panel.

Amphitheater, Grand Teton NP. 24×48″ Acrylic on Reclaimed Wood Panel

Me next to Hiking Willy’s Wide 36×40″ acrylic on canvas and Amphitheater 24×48″ acrylic on reclaimed ply.

View from Sublet. 14×11″ Oil on Canvas

First Tracks. 24×24″ Acrylic on wood panel

The shop opens this Thursday, May 17! Be sure to stop in when you’re in Jackson Hole.

 

On-the-Job Productivity

I’m fortunate to be in a position to do what I love. After more than 25 years as a graphic designer, I’ve cut back my hours to work part time so I can put full effort into my professional art practice.

When I first took a lease on my studio space at the beginning of 2017, I procured a red chair, sat in it, stared at the canvas and said, “Now what?” Luckily, I’ve managed to work through the questions, analyzed what it is I love to do and made a commitment to painting my journeys and backcountry adventures into a series of paintings and drawings. It’s been such a joy to go to work and I no longer have time to sit in that big red chair in the studio. I get to work as soon as I arrive and lose all track of time (as Ron can attest.)

I’ve learned to approach my art practice just like my business – with goal setting and intention.

My intention for this year has been to find a mountain resort gallery to represent my work. My goal has been to take several painting trips, since this is where I find my joy and reset my excitement for painting the outdoors – directly. This week is the kickoff for both. Thanks to Kim and Regi Stone, I’ll be in Jackson’s newest gallery – 307 Jackson. It is due to open this May, just in time for high season in the Yellowstone -Jackson area. I appreciate their faith in me and in my work. And because I took the rest of the week to paint in Grand Teton National Park, I made a great plein air trip out of it. More to come as we move toward opening day!

Meantime, I have some more work to do in the studio to finish some of these paintings!

 

My Happy Place

I’m excited to be kicking off my summer painting tour. I find my joy in painting out in nature and national parks are the best. This week we rented a Ford Explorer (which is really big) and loaded it to the gills with paintings, painting gear and bike gear and drove 8 hrs north to Jackson, WY, where a new artisan gallery is about to be opened. Owned by Regi and Kim Stone, 307 Jackson is a cool little historic cabin located right off the square. It’s right next to some great restaurants (we found a new favorite happy hour at Hatch Mex on the corner). Several of my backcountry paintings will be featured in the cute little gallery.

The first couple days of our stay were rainy, cold and gloomy, but Tuesday afternoon the weather cleared and became a beautifully inspired afternoon to paint (I’m fairly certain that I wished it into happening.) So after lunch, I took off to Grand Teton National Park and set up my easel at the Taggart Lk trailhead with a front-and-center view of Grand Teton, Mt Owen and Teewinot. I met people from around the world. Locals were biking in toward Jenny Lake or backcountry skiing. I felt at home.

On the way, I stopped at Albertson’s to buy bear spray, which virtually assures that I won’t see any bears. But we’ve already had two moose sightings. One was an adolescent in our driveway last night. Then tonight I picked up Ron and our bikes to pedal into the park. As we were mountain biking a very quiet dirt road on the south end of the park, we startled a huge bull moose, easily twice the size of “junior” the night before.

It continues to be a magical year.

 

For

The Walk to the Outhouse Never Ceases to Amaze me

Sometimes the most incredible views happen on the way to the outhouse. If you’ve ever spent time at one of Colorado’s 10th Mountain Division Huts, you know what I’m talking about. The Fowler Hilliard Hut sits at 11,500 ft and at that altitude, my bladder just can’t wait a full night to get me out of bed. And believe me, the last thing I want to do in the middle of night in the dead of winter on top of a mountain is go outside in the dark. But there I was, every night of our stay, donning headlamp, coat and shoes to trudge bleary-eyed outside, across a snowy walk to the latrine.

It happened every night. But on the last night as I stepped outside, something special happened. There before me a fully-lit mountain valley stretched out over the ridge and I realized my bladder had given me a true gift. That night happened to be the night before the Super Blue Blood Moon, a photo-worthy event, perhaps. But the night before? Truly amazingly spectacular.

silver moon

There were no city lights to interfere. Just the silvery-blue moonlight illuminating my walk and revealing a picture-perfect nightscape. I didn’t even need the headlamp.

The snow wasn’t perfect that week, but we still found some really fun skiing and enjoyed the long climbs with good friends back to the hut. Evenings were spent with laughter and good food followed by cards and a puzzle happening simultaneously. Unplugged. The weather gave us light for beautiful photos with mountain views that will become painting material for the studio.

RonLesliegroup deck hutlarge group

 

What’s Your Intention for the New Year?

I was talking with a thoughtful artist friend of mine today who said she had just spent time with friends setting intentions for the new year. She shared her 2018 mantra of “quiet confidence” which I found inspiring, so I decided to give some thought to my own intentions for the year.

I’d already sat down the first week of January and made some broad plans for my art practice. I gave thought to my creative direction and ideas for focusing my marketing resources; how I plan to grow my art business and where I’d like to show my work. But as I sit here now thinking about her more internal intention, I’m giving thought to my own.

I listened recently to an interview Oprah did with author Rob Bell. She said she met a house cleaner who said he didn’t clean houses – he created order out of chaos and brought beauty to families. He felt honored to be able to provide this. I thought about my own calling to create art, but I realize that’s just the “house cleaning”. My search in 2018 is to better crystallize my unique sensibilities and how to express them in paint.

Mr. Bell responded to Oprah that he didn’t ask to find success in life, but to find wonder. That feeling you get when your child is born. For me, 2018 will be my year spent as observer of my deeper self and true meaning. Fearless Introspection. Seeker of wonder.

It’s a magical year.