Big Mountains on Small Canvas

My favorite way to remember a trip is to paint it. My favorite way to get over painter’s block is to do small paintings. Luckily this past year I took a lot of really great, beautiful trips so I had plenty of inspiration for when I wanted to do something small. Unfortunately, now my problem is that I want to move to the PNW (and I’m also running out of wall space). But these are good problems to have.

Crested Butte

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.

Crested Butte

Crested Butte in January. Acrylic on Canvas. 24×36. 2017

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Crested Butte in Color. 8×10 acrylic on canvas

Four Seasons Bear

After seeing my Inktober Hedgehogs, an acquaintance in Maine commissioned me for a set of seasonal teddy bears. I had so much fun painting these 8×10 watercolors. If only I could quit my day job and become a children’s book illustrator.

4seasons spring

Spring. 8×10 Watercolor on paper

4seasons summer

Summer. 8×10 Watercolor on paper

4seasons fall

Fall. 8×10 Watercolor on paper

4seasons winter

Winter. 8×10 Watercolor on Paper

4seasons

Four Seasons Bear

Inktober

My friend and I decided to do an “art a day” month beginning in October in order to be more diligent about practicing/making art. Turns out that the month of October is also “Inktober”. We didn’t follow the Inktober prompts but it was really neat to see what other artists did on a daily basis and being a part of that mini community was also a great motivator.  Since I’m just starting out with watercolors, I had a lot of new styles and techniques to practice. Below are a few pieces I did in October showing the different subjects, styles, and techniques I tried out.

Flatirons Practice

flatirons practice Sept 17, 2017

Trying to paint the most iconic view in Boulder requires practice and a lot of it. With that said, I’m pretty happy with how things are coming along.

Once I get back into the artisan fair rotation and begin to focus on my business more, I hope to offer my watercolors (mountains, flatirons, skylines, etc) as cards for sale.

WA in August 2017

WA in August 2017 Series

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.

Trying Something New

Acrylics have always been my strong suit. However, my style requires a lot of time and patience and recently I’ve had little of both. So in order to  make me feel productive and challenge myself, I’ve picked up watercolors. Turns out, nice quality liquid watercolors are WAY more fun to use than the little crayola disk watercolors we got as elementary students.

I’m excited to see the progress I’ve made in such a small amount of time and how drastically different my watercolor technique is compared to my acrylics.

I also realized that making cards with watercolors is way more fun than trying to buy one from the store.

Working small

Dream Lake. 2017. Acrylic on canvas 4×5.

I’ve realized the best way to get out of an artist’s block is to think small. So I bought a bunch of little canvases, gathered up photos and ideas from recent trips, and then poured myself a bunch of coffee. So expect a bunch more little paintings.

Portland headlight II. 2017. acrylic on canvas. 4×4

My mom special requested a small painting of Portland headlight (one of the best pictures I took while in Maine last October) so I used one of my mini 4×4 canvases and happily obliged. Once again, quick small paintings helping me out of my painting slumps.

Resolution Bowl. 2017

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Resolution Bowl. 2017. Acrylic on canvas. 8×10

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!

Upcoming Art Show: Jackalope Denver

December 10-11th from 10am to 5pm I will be manning my very first art booth! I was accepted to participate in the Jackalope Denver Art Fair. I’m really excited about this event as it should be a really great place to find unique gift ideas and best of all, it’s free! You can find out more information, including info on all participating artisans (myself included), at http://www.jackalopeartfair.com/denver.

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It’s less than a month away from the show and I still have so much to do! Most of my ducks are starting to fall into line, but I still have my biggest project to figure out and complete; building my booth. Since it’s my first show I decided to rent the cheapest spot available, however that only leaves me 6×6 ft to work with so I’ll have to get creative. Luckily I’m dating an engineer so he’s decided to make this task his special project. Bless him. Meanwhile, I’ll pour myself more coffee and get back to painting.

Wish me luck and I hope to see you there! Look for me on the 3rd floor, booth 106.