Category Archives: Paintings

A Painting Commission for a Triathlete

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Earlier this year, a long-time friend came to me with a request – to create a unique gift for her triathlon coach.

I am in awe of anyone who does triathlons. I ran cross country in high school and never attempted more than a 5-mile race. I tried mountain bike racing a few years ago, and I decided then that the nerves that come with athletic competition just aren’t for me.

So I admire anyone who takes on any kind of race, let alone a race involving three different sports. Jesse is no doubt a strong, talented woman. She completed an Ironman race just a year after having her daughter! In case you’re not familiar with the Ironman Triathlon, that’s 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of cycling, and 26.2 miles of running. Incredible!

Jesse wanted to thank her triathlon and Crossfit coach, JP, for inspiring and pushing her to reach her goals. We worked together to come up with the perfect gift for JP, who is of course also a triathlon racer.

Initially Jesse thought she wanted to represent all three sports in one triathlon painting, but I suggested that we do a triptych instead. This worked out nicely, because it allowed me to incorporate different color palettes representing the different times of day throughout a race day.

After several emails back and forth for swapping inspiration photos and ideas, plus one phone call, we had a plan. I also provided Jesse with computer-generated mock-ups of what the paintings would generally look like. Sometimes for a commission I’ll do a pencil sketch, but for this painting I really wanted to give her an idea of what the colors would look like and how there would be a common theme across the three paintings. The colors play an important role in depicting the energy of each sport and the mood of each event.

A few weeks later, the paintings were complete. Since she lives in California, Jesse approved the photos of the paintings I sent her via email. After two more weeks of drying time, I shipped them off and they arrived safely in a couple of days. Both she and JP and loved them!

triathlon painting - swim

triathlon painting - bike

triathlon painting - run

If you’re looking for a unique gift for someone special in your life, check out my commissions page for more information, or shoot me an email!

Painting Time Lapse Video: Bluebird Glade

I just love tree skiing…especially on a gorgeous, bluebird day! The next painting in my skiing series celebrates these beautiful, blissful days spent floating through the woods. It’s titled “Bluebird Glade”.

My first painting time-lapse video was so popular, I decided to do another one of me painting this particular piece. Check it out!

This painting is currently drying in my studio and will be available for sale on my website soon! It’s 24″x24″x1.5″, oil on canvas. Give me a shout of you’re interested or have questions!

Paintings for “Rock for Rescue”

Last week I blogged about my connections to our local search rescue team and why what they do means a lot to me. Here is the second painting that I am donating to the team for their silent auction at the Brewers’ Rock for Rescue fundraiser on January 30th.

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I figured not everyone wants a search and rescue scene hanging in their living room. But a lot of folks attending this event will be skiers, so I wanted to do something for them, too!

This painting is titled “Morning Mosaic”. It’s 8″x8″x1.5″ (sides are painted) and is oil on canvas. To find out more about Rock for Rescue, click here or call 970.262.7370 to buy your tickets.

Time Lapse Video of Me Painting “Plentiful Powder”

Yesterday and today I painted a new ski painting, titled “Plentiful Powder”. Painting and skiing powder are two of my most favorite things…so why not combine them?

I took a time lapse video of the painting process, from starting with the underpainting to putting on the finishing touches (flying snow!).

Who’s ready for some powder skiing now?!

Please excuse the couple short sections of blurriness; I’m new at making videos, so I apologize!

If you enjoy this video, please sign up to receive my newsletter, and you’ll be the first to know when I publish new videos like this one!

The Story Behind “Twilight Rescue”

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Today I finished up a new painting of a rescuer rappelling down a cliff side, tending to a patient in a rescue litter.

This is a little different than my usual subject matter – skiers, cyclists, hikers, and mountain landscapes. Why did I paint such a subject, you ask?

My husband and several of my friends are long-time members of our local search and rescue team, the Summit County Rescue Group. SCRG is one of the busiest rescue teams in the country. They respond to folks who have gone out for a fun adventure and have found themselves lost and/or injured. Volunteers assist people in emergency situations throughout the year, through feet of snow, during treacherous thunderstorms, and in the blazing summer sun. The group is very committed and dedicated to helping community members and tourists who get into sticky and sometimes dangerous situations. This year they even went out on Christmas day to help a party in distress. The work they do is pretty incredible.

On an even more personal note, I found myself in need of a search and rescue team’s assistance back in May of 2012. I was mountain biking with a group of friends in Moab, Utah and crashed on some slickrock. I broke my femur and needed surgery. Even though I was with my husband, who is a wilderness paramedic, and some other friends with medical training, extricating me would have been extremely time consuming and painful for me. I am forever thankful that the local search and rescue team was able to assist me on one of the worst days of my life.

I am sometimes in awe of search and rescue team members. Even though I’m an athlete, I’m not sure I would have the physical strength or mental stamina to do what they do. I am very thankful we have such a stellar group of volunteers here in my own county. Our little resort community gets flooded with visitors throughout the year, and the work the team does to keep visitors and locals safe is so important.

“Twilight Rescue” is one of two paintings I have created that will be donated to the rescue team. Saturday, January 30th, is the 2nd Annual Brewers Rock for Rescue event, which is a fundraiser benefitting the Summit County Rescue Group. Both of my paintings will be available in the silent auction at the event. There will be 24 breweries serving beer, and two Colorado bands: Oakhurst and Eufórquestra. All proceeds will benefit SCRG.

This was a super fun event last year, so I encourage you to come if you are a local or will be visiting the area! You can call 970.262.7370 to get your tickets. They are $35 in advance, $45 at the door…however, last year they sold out the morning of the event – so get yours now. Hope to see you there!

Inspired by Dreams of Alaska

A group of us are planning a ski trip to Alaska in late March, and the anticipation is starting to build amongst us! I have never been to Alaska, and I don’t think any of our friends have been there in the winter. Brian and I spend our evenings reading guidebooks, scouring maps, and watching ski movies with footage of these monstrous mountains. I cannot wait to explore and ski this wild and exotic place!

Inspired by the countless images of deep powder and cloudless skies, I decided it was time to paint some more skier paintings. Most of my ski paintings thus far have been relatively small, so it was time to go big – and I think Alaska ski scenes command a large canvas!

Chugach Dream” is 24″x24″x1.5″. Painting snow on a larger scale was so liberating…I love how the huge brush strokes depict the movement of the skier and the energy of the snow around her.

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Sometimes when I paint, there are moments of hesitation where I’m not confident I’m going to like how a painting will turn out. Occasionally I even consider starting over. This, however, was not one of those times. From the moment I started to the time I finished, everything flowed with ease. Every moment was pure joy, and when I had to take a break, I could only think about painting (I even dreamt about painting in my sleep Saturday night).

I guess the experience of painting this was a bit like powder skiing – with each turn, you can’t help but smile from ear to ear, and then dream about how good it was when you’re done for the day. The blissful energy of skiing literally came out on the canvas in this painting, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Sky of Gold

It’s now full-on winter in the mountains, but I’m still painting the colors of fall. Before the snow started to fly, I got out plein air painting a couple times during the peak of the golden hues of the aspen trees.

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One of the days I was out, the sky was such an intense blue – the kind of blue sky you only see in Colorado. While I was sitting at my easel, I snapped a bunch of pictures with my iphone, but this one was one of my favorites:

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I was so taken with the the contrast of the golden leaves, illuminated by the late afternoon sun, with the deep blue sky. I knew I’d later paint a piece inspired by this photo and this glorious day!

I’m going to tell the rest of the story in pictures (I apologize some of them aren’t 100% crisp – I was just so excited when I was painting this!).

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I’m working on loosening up my work, and it’s really fun! Once I got over the initial challenge of being a bit more bold and deliberate with my brushstrokes, it felt quite liberating. I’m also loving the painted canvas sides on this…it gives the painting a more modern feel and removes the need for framing.

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“Sky of Gold” can be purchased here.

Don’t worry, I’ll be painting some winter and skiing paintings very soon!

Step into My Studio!

With the recent remodel project at our house, I found myself totally overhauling my studio and getting reorganized. It seems like the perfect time to show you around!

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A recent visit to a friend’s house and her dedicated room for a studio got me thinking. She has a room for nothing but art, and it made me seriously jealous! Since I can’t dedicate a room in my house to just a studio, I started brainstorming on what little changes I could make to give me more space for painting.

My studio doubles as my office and a guest room. For years I’ve had an unnecessarily enormous desk that I inherited from a previous employer. Since for the time being, web and graphic design are still my main source of income, I couldn’t operate without a desk. So I downsized instead. I found a simple white desk that fits perfectly into the corner by one of my windows.

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I work on a 15″ Retina MacBook Pro, with an Asus ProArt 24″ monitor. Although I was infatuated with the giant Apple Thunderbolt display, I couldn’t justify the $1,000 cost. The Asus does a great job for about a quarter of the price. Not only do I use this set up for my design business, I also use it to edit and process the images of my paintings.

On cold days, it gets a little chilly by the window, so I sometimes find myself wrapping up in my favorite maroon and white afghan, crocheted by my Grandma Baldwin right before I moved to Colorado 11 years ago.

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It’s soooo cozy! I love working at my desk cuddled up in this blanket, sipping a hot cup of tea.

Switching to a desk with less storage required that I get better organized. The printer and router got moved into the closet, along with all my office supplies, some painting supplies, and framing components.

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I store my canvases, frames, and paintings inventory in a storage room in our basement. I really wanted to minimize clutter in my studio, since clutter always seems to distract me. I like keeping the big things in a separate place.

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By my easel, I’ve got a 4′ folding table where I keep my palette, paints, and brushes that I am actively using (I have about 4 times the amount of paints and brushes tucked away in drawers and bins!).

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I use Carol Marine‘s recipe for medium: 2 parts linseed oil, 1 part stand oil, 1 part Gamsol.

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My oil paints are Winsor & Newton Winton Oil Colors, which I have been happily using since high school. Some artists poo-poo using student-grade paints, but they work fine for me! I’ve also seen incredibly successful artists using the same grade of paints.

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I prefer working from a monitor rather than a printed photo. I use my 8-year-old Dell laptop, which as you can see has accumulated some paint smears! One of these days I’ll upgrade to a larger monitor, but for now this gets the job done.

Since I committed fully to my art about 15 months ago, I’ve been back and forth about painting in oils vs. acrylics. I’ve been experimenting with both, trying to decide if I want to go in one direction or keep painting in both. To clarify, I don’t ever use both oils and acrylics together in one painting. The only exception is if I do an acrylic underpainting and actually create the painting with oils.

One of the things that is most frustrating about painting in acrylics is how fast they dry. Last year I tried plein air painting in Colorado for the first time, and I almost threw my palette into the river because the paints were drying so fast!

However, over the summer I saw David Gonzalez, an acrylic painter from the Colorado Springs area, painting at an outdoor event with one of these:

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The sun was beating down, and it was hot, dry and breezy. And he was painting in acrylic! I asked him how he was managing, and he introduced me to the magical Sta-Wet palette.

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A large, damp sponge is placed in the tray, a special piece of palette paper is placed on top, and your acrylic paints are kept moist! I went home and immediately ordered the Sta-Wet palette for myself.

A couple of weeks ago I went plein air painting up on Baldy Mountain. I brought my new palette, and when I was finished I closed the lid tightly (it’s air-tight, but not completely moisture-proof). Today I opened up the palette and my acrylic paints were STILL wet! Amazing!

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Here you can see how dry my hands get – I wash them all the time when I’m painting, and no matter how much lotion I use, they are always dry and cracked.

Another side affect of being a painter is the smudges of paint that appear in your house. Here’s a smear of blue – I swear 95% of the time it is some shade of cobalt blue – on my closet door.

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If anyone has any tips for avoiding this, please let me know! I’ve come to accept surprise paint smears (on furniture, my car, my clothes, etc) as a fact of life.

So probably the best part about my studio is the light. Some artists prefer Northern light, but personally I like a bright, cheerful studio. I guess I’ve lived in enough homes over the years with poor light that I just want sunshine! My windows face East and South.

My East facing window’s view:

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The brown grass is a little drab this time of year, but you can’t beat that Colorado bluebird sky! I occasionally see critters roaming by – mostly dogs, birds and fox, but also deer and even the elusive moose. Neighbors have seen bears, but I have yet to see any (although we’re pretty sure our garage had a visit from one a couple months ago – we accidentally left the garage door open over night – whoops!).

My South facing window’s view:

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This is actually pointing more Southwest – the neighbor’s house is directly South and isn’t all that exciting for a blog post 🙂 The mountain range is the Ten Mile Range, which has just recently turned white with snow. You can see Peak 7 at Breckenridge Ski Area, as well as some of the runs cut into the trees on Peak 6. I know I am spoiled to have this view from my home and workplace!

I am so thrilled to finally have my studio all set up after a remodel-induced hiatus from painting! I started painting again over the weekend and it feels so good to be getting back into my groove. I’ll be posting new paintings very soon. I hope you enjoyed this little tour!

 

A Ski Painting Just for Us

If you’ve read my blog before, or follow me on social media, you know that my husband and I love to backcountry ski. I’m pretty sure Brian first fell in love with me seven years ago when I told him I was a big fan of it! We’ve been skiing together ever since, and get out as much as we can from November to May every year.

Unfortunately over the last few years, we’ve both faced more than our share of injuries and physical challenges. We actually went two whole years without skiing together. In our world, that feels like a lifetime. When one of your mutual favorite activities gets taken away, it’s hard! But we made it through.

Last winter was our first season back at it together. I remember the first time it snowed enough last year to just skin around the Frisco Peninsula. It’s pretty flat there, and we didn’t make any turns. But just being out in the woods with my sweetie, with snow coming down in big, fat flakes, was pure bliss.

Since then we’ve been lucky to get out a lot together. We even spent our anniversary (May 4th), skiing Loveland Pass. I don’t know what it is, but backcountry skiing just brings us closer together. There’s something about being out in the wilderness, depending only on each other, our backcountry skills, and gear, that just makes us both feel at home.

For a long time, Brian and I had been talking about wanting a large skiing painting for over our bed. In the painting, I wanted to bring that feeling of “home” from the backcountry into our actual home.

Our bedroom has been the most-neglected room in our house from a design perspective. It was just plain boring! So I was excited to bring some major color into the room with a new painting. After completing new floors, new interior doors, and adding a gray accent wall in October, we finally hung the finished painting last week.

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A side note: we are not normally this clean! In fact, we are both quite messy. But we’d just put the room back together and managed to keep it looking beautiful for a few days (it doesn’t look quite so perfect any more!)

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Working this large was a real treat – I used very large brushes (#10s and #12s), which was liberating! You can really see the brushstrokes in the above shot. It’s a great technique I’d like to carry over into some of my smaller pieces.

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This painting is just so “us”! I love having something on our wall that represents how we love to spend our time together. It’s a daily reminder of some of the things that we value the most, and also a reminder to always have fun!

Bring winter on…we’re ready for more adventures!