I love Crested Butte. Not only do I always have the best times there (birthday weekend snowboard trips with amazing people) but the scenery is top notch. It’s hard not to be inspired to paint these mountains. The beauty and the memories make Crested Butte one of my favorite subjects to paint.
This August I finally made it to the PNW and fell in love with Washington State and the national parks they have there. Unfortunately, during my visit the the British Columbia wildfires were going on so the sky was constantly filled with smoke and hid the mountains in haze. I still had amazing views since the North Cascades and Mount Rainier are simply breathtaking, but this presented a new challenge when trying to paint from the photographs I took. Everything had to have more muted colors and softer lines with essentially zero visible details. This required me to focus more on the movement of the brush strokes and use of color than in trying to capture finite details (which is always great/hard practice for my perfectionist brain). Luckily, using small canvases makes that challenge a bit easier.
People are really into engagement photos and capturing the moment the proposal happens. Typically in Colorado, that’s done in a beautiful place. By random chance, a friend’s friends got engaged at Dream Lake the same day I completed a 4×5 painting of that location. My friend immediately contacted me about buying it as a gift for them. This sparked a little idea of doing engagement paintings (at least as gifts for friends). A few days later that same friend contacted me about commissioning a painting of her engagement as a gift for her fiance. It was then I started to think that this could be a really cool market to dip my toes into: Engagement Paintings.
Colorado is full of so many picturesque spots that having an original painting of where you got engaged or tied the knot is a cool really unique way to memorialize it.
The painting I ended up doing was surprisingly way harder than I had originally anticipated, but I’m (and more importantly “the client” is) pretty happy with the finished product.
My friend (and former roomie), Sam, bought a condo a couple months ago and asked me to help fill her walls– which I obviously said “yes!” The first spot to fill was, of course, above the fireplace. She gave me a target canvas size, color preferences, and “aspens” and the rest was up to me. It was really great to work on my largest piece to date and it was my first piece to paint entirely without photo references. It may have taken me a long time (at least 39 hours) but I’m really glad with how it turned out.
The best part about the Jackalope Art fair was the feedback I got from people. I got a lot of great responses for all of my work, but the pieces that people liked the most (and that sold best) were my black and white mountain paintings/prints. That made me incredibly happy. My black and white mountains have really been my true style, but I began to doubt if people would be receptive to these pieces. After seeing that strangers actually do really like my mountains, I can get back to working more on these pieces in the new year. It was almost fitting that the first painting I completed in 2017 is of Resolution Bowl at Copper Mountain.
Time to go on even more trips to the mountains!
Since the painting “Four Brothers” never made it to the intended party (a certain son decided to keep it rather than give it to his mother), I decided it’d be a good exercise to try painting this piece again.
This time around, I focused on creating more contrast between the shadows and highlights the folds of the clothing. It was definitely a fun piece up until I had to do the faces. But perhaps if I keep forcing myself to work on painting faces, I’ll get better at them.