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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.

My Cigar Box Travel Paintings

These postcard-sized paintings were really fun to make. I gave myself the challenge of painting one a day during our 12-day trip to Florida over the Thanksgiving holiday. When I travel by plane, it’s less convenient to bring a full-size easel and canvases. So years ago I created a homemade pochade box by repurposing an old cigar box (which smells great) and stocking it with a limited number of paints, a tiny solvent cup and small brushes. The inside of the box becomes the palette and the top holds small paintings up to about 8×10″ size.

I love this setup because it fits in a camelback pack, so I’ve taken it to Hawaii, Florida and even on hikes. I’ve painted at bar tables, on the beach and in my dad’s boat while floating in the Haulover Canal and listening to the breath of manatees breaching the water. It provides a certain freedom and allows me to paint while on vacation. Finishing one every day means less time fussing over details and the result is a more loose and fluid painting. It’s been a fun exercise and has become something of a travelog.

Some of these little paintings were left behind as gifts. The rest are on sale for $65 and will make really great gifts for someone else. I’ll make more of these little paintings in the weeks to come so be sure to check my online store for details.

VISIT MY STORE ON SQUARE

painting on beachangle-sm6. canoe-sm2 ocean-sm

 

My Fabulous Fall Road Trip

Two Magical Places: Taos and LaVeta

I needed to get out of the studio and step into the New Mexico sunshine to rediscover my joy. The trappings of Denver lately, with its heavy traffic, aggressive drivers and construction madness were making me feel a little lost. So I was happy to attend an artist retreat in Taos a couple weeks ago, led by Peggy McGivern, through the Blackridge Arts School. Taos for me is a little like home. There’s a main street that has a rush hour of about seven blocks. The pace feels relaxed and all forms of creativity are celebrated. There are probably more artists and galleries per capita than anywhere in the world. One of my favorite days was spent at the Taos Wool Festival with my artist friend Denice to hear her friends Mark Dudrow and Kate Mann play music from their latest cd, which I bought and listened to all the way home. And best of all, I got to “binge-paint” for nine straight days. I even got to camp on the Rio Grande. That night I woke up to what seemed like high beams shining right into my tent and wondered who in the hell was doing that. When I stepped out of the tent, I could see the whole canyon was illuminated by the light of the moon – clear and full. I definitely was in my happy place.

I spent hours painting along rivers with high canyon walls and in lovely fields (Denice’s cat Jasper decided to hop up on my easel and oversee the operation for awhile) I got to soak in the hot springs at Ojo Caliente. I got to travel and stay part of the time with two artists I admire from Colorado, Gina Astorino and Faye Crow. Together we generated a collective energy that was buzzing with productivity and pushing our boundaries.

Luckily for me, the journey wasn’t over when I left my adopted home. I had a stopover in LaVeta to look forward to. Another friend invited me to stay and so I had the pleasure of traipsing around their scenic property with my easel for 3 more days.

For more photos of the tour and the paintings being finished in my studio, visit my Facebook page.

painting with cat small Road to Dixon Easel at Dunn Bridge IMG_4451 SecoDog

A Good Problem to Have

You might say my problem was a good problem to have, and you’d be right. But still I had to find a solution. I recently had the good fortune of creating a painting that three people wanted to buy.

About a year ago, I considered making prints of my paintings on canvas. I researched various shops in town but was unable to find an affordable option. My criteria: the print needed to be of good quality, gallery wrap canvas, but be less expensive than the original art. Since my art is currently priced on the low side to fit my “emerging artist” status, that scouting trip didn’t pan out. Good quality prints were costly.

ShadowsClarks View 11x14 800-adjDoudyDraw-11x14-sm

So when my good problem arose last month, I decided to try again. Luckily, the cost of reproductions seems to have dropped considerably since I checked last year. I was able to find a printer in town that was quite reasonable so I sent them a painting to try them out. I was pretty pleased with the result. It looked quite good even next to the original. Problem solved.

But solving this created another challenge: setting up a sales channel. While the printer could handle production and fulfillment, they couldn’t handle the initial transaction. I needed to do that, and I wasn’t sure I was ready for it. Setting up a shopping cart and handling things like sales tax seemed daunting.

Then I found another printer. They can do the production (which costs a little more) but they also handle the transaction and just send me a check each month. For now, this seems like the simplest option. They also have a Facebook shopping cart, which I like for its ease of use. So I’m giving it a try.

You can find my shopping cart on FaceBook HERE. If there’s a painting you’re interested in that isn’t yet posted on the cart, you can contact me to request that it be added. If you’re interested in an original, contact me for that too. Another cool feature is the ability to order the painting on canvas, metal, wood or greeting cards. I’m looking forwarding to exploring the options. Heck, who knows what’s next…?
Cornice on skis