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.
I’ve gone back to my comfort zone (black and white) and I couldn’t be happier.
The best part about painting winter landscapes is working on capturing movement with brush strokes. This piece didn’t have as much movement as Whistler since it was more of a static scene, but I was still happy with how the snow and trees turned out. Trees have become a recent favorite of mine to paint, but the exposed rocks on the mountain ridge have proven to be a fun new challenge for me as well. It really makes me focus on shutting down my right brain and just letting the brush do what it may. It’s more about capturing shadows and highlights than trying to paint what a rock looks like. Meanwhile, trees are all about keeping the brush moving, using lines and the abstract to portray something real we see every day.
I finally made it out of my artist’s block!
I was snowed in this weekend (and nursing a concussion I got snowboarding in Utah earlier this week) so naturally I sat down and stared at a canvass until something happened. If I can’t be playing in this epic snowfall, I might as well paint an ideal snowscape and escape mentally.
The main goal with this piece was to capture movement with a static environment. The brush strokes were done in a way to imitate the route and turns a skiier/rider would be taking so even though I couldn’t physically be snowboarding, my brain and hand were.
“Whistler” 2014. Acrylic on Canvass. 8×10