Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Plein Air Painting at the Red Rocks

My April painting workshop featured a potpourri of my favorite tips and techniques for working in watercolor. The second day we drove up to Pioneer Park above St. George for a morning of painting in the Red Rocks. It started quiet enough but we were soon overrun by excited and enthusiastic hikers and families out enjoying the warm sunny day. No problem, we just kept on painting, and the hikers enjoyed glancing over our shoulders as they passed by.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Art of the National Parks Art Show April 25 through May 17 at Split Rock Gallery

This Roland Lee painting of East Temple in Zion National Park appears in the book, "Art of the National Parks" and will be displayed at a book signing event and show April 25 at Split Rock Gallery in St. George UT
Article published in Spectrum newspaper, written by Lyman Hafen, Executive Director of Zion Natural History Association.

The Zion National Park Foundation, in cooperation with Split Rock Gallery in St. George, will host a major art show and sale April 25 through May 17, highlighting the work of artists featured in the new book “Art of the National Parks.” The event is designed to celebrate the role art has played in the creation of national parks, and in particular Zion National Park, and to raise funds for the Youth Education Initiative in Zion.

Jill Burt, director of operations and development for the Zion National Park Foundation, said the event is actually part of a national tour introducing the book that features paintings by some of the country’s finest artist in many of the nation’s most beloved national parks.

“We are very pleased the book includes a magnificent section on Zion National Park,” Burt said. Among the artists featured in the Zion section are Roland Lee, Royden Card, Arlene Briathwaite, Ron Rencher, Kathryn Stats and John Cogan, all of whom will be present at the artists’ reception, sale and book-signing from 6 to 9 p.m. April 25 at Split Rock Gallery in the tower at Ancestor Square.

The work of two other artists, Joshua Been featured in the Rocky Mountain National Park section, and Linda Glover Gooch featured in the Grand Canyon National Park section, will also be part of the show.

Burt said on April 26, the guest artists will be painting in and around Ancestor Square from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“This will be a great follow-up to the St. George Art Festival held a week earlier,” Burt said. “We’re excited to give the area’s art enthusiasts an opportunity to meet these excellent artists, see them work, and have a chance to buy a piece of their work for their own collections. And the best part is that when you buy something for this show, you are supporting Zion National Park.”

The book itself will also be on sale. The 432-page tome is a compilation of images and text sharing the story of the important role of original art in the creation of America’s first national park and subsequent national parks. In her introduction to the book that includes magnificent reproductions of historic art as well as the work of more than 60 contemporary artists, Jean Stearn quotes William Henry Jackson, who wrote that his photographs and Thomas Moran’s watercolors made during the Hayden Expedition to Yellowstone in the early 1870s “… were the most important exhibits brought before the Congressional Committee. The wonderful coloring of Moran’s sketches,” he wrote, “made all the difference.”

Lyman Hafen, executive director of the Zion National Park Foundation, said the art show and sale at Split Rock Gallery is a continuation of the story of art in the national parks.

“It’s a story that began with those iconic early painters who came out west and created amazing images of these landscapes and took them back to the nation’s population centers to help people truly see what they had the power to protect,” Hafen said. “Today, great artists continue to interpret these majestic landscapes and help us remember that they are still worth protecting. Visitors to this show at Split Rock Gallery will have a unique opportunity to see some of the best contemporary art of the national parks, and to meet the great artists who produced them.”

For information, call the Zion National Park Foundation at 435-772-3264. Or email znha@infowest.com.

Outdoor Sketching Class

Here is a group photo sent to me by Deena Millicam of our March drawing class in St. George. The photo shows our group on the red rocks above St. George where we studied the effects of light and shadow. this was an outstanding group and their sketches were amazing. Thanks Deena!
What could be more fun than being with a group like this sketching outdoors in sunny St. George?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Art of the National Parks - A compendium of artists who are at the forefront of twenty-first-century American landscape and wildlife art

The paintings of artist Roland Lee are featured in this new award-winning book. Eight of the featured artists will participate in a special show and book signing April 25-26
Book signing and art show reception April 25 6-9pm at Split Rock Gallery. The Zion landscape paintings of Roland Lee are featured in the new book: Art of the National Parks, Historic Connections, Contemporary Interpretations (Fresco Publications 2013) which was named the Winner of the 2013 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards for Arts and Best Book. This wonderful new coffee-table-sized book illustrates the role artists continue to play in sharing the views and interpretations of nature and wildlife in our National Parks. In Art of the National Parks, seventy painters and sculptors offer unique visions of eight of the nation’s most loved National Parks: Acadia, Everglades, Grand Canyon, Grand Tetons, Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion. Susan Hallsten McGarry, well-known author and former editor of Southwest Art Magazine, does an admirable job of explaining the artists’ various styles, techniques, and philosophies. Art historian/author Jean Stern, director of the Irvine Museum, talks about the history behind the early artists who started a landslide of national interest in our country's wild lands--eventually resulting in the establishment of the National Park system. Terry Lawson Dunn, biologist and educator, highlights the national parks’ ecological successes and challenges. With more than 450 full-color images, this heavy, large-format book is a must for anyone who enjoys our National Parks. According to reviews "It is an indispensible compendium of artists who are at the forefront of twenty-first-century American landscape and wildlife art."

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Award Winning Painting at Sears Invitational

Artist Roland Lee stands by his award-winning painting at the 2014 Sears Invitational Art Show at Dixie State University in Utah
I submitted two paintings to the Sears Invitational Art Show at Dixie State University. Both paintings were done as demonstrations at recent watercolor painting workshops. My watercolor painting "Irish Welcome" depicted my interpretation of the entry to a thatched cottage with red windows and door. The idea came from a sketchbook study done in pencil on location in Ireland. The second watercolor painting in the exhibit, "Shakespeare Memories" was stimulated by a visit to Shakespeare's Stratford-Upon-Avon in the UK. Both were painted during a recent workshop on how to work up a studio painting from sketches.
Award-winning Roland Lee painting "Irish Welcome"

Roland Lee painting "Shakespeare Memories" based on a visit to Stratford-Upon-Avon

Monday, March 17, 2014

Roland Lee workshop - How To Draw Anything

Drew uses his sketchbook to study the values and shapes of the red cliffs during a Roland Lee drawing class

Because drawing is so fundamental to all the visual arts, I try to teach at least one drawing workshop during the year. Last week we held that class in St. George and 12 wonderful artists attended. Learning to see with the "Artists Brain" instead of the "Intellectual brain" is critical. The artists brain sees shapes and values while the intellectual brain wants to identify and record data, information, and things. I taught this class how we identify shapes because of their edges. We see edges because of value changes. Once we learn to look for edges, values, and shapes we can draw anything from portraits to landscapes in just a few minutes. I showed the class how I use travel sketchbook vignette drawings to record my experiences, and often use those drawings and my memories to develop larger studio paintings. We also learned how to use small "thumbnail" value studies as a preparation for full-size paintings. This was an exceptional class, and they succeeded in picking it all up very rapidly.
Two students sketch the red rocks during Roland Lee drawing class

Deerdre sketches the Woodward school Tower in Roland Lee's drawing class

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Amazing Death Valley

We are in Ridgecrest California for a few days, teaching a watercolor workshop for the Desert Artists League. Yesterday on the way down we took a sidetrip through Death Valley National Park. Being the lowest point in the nation you expect it to be sweltering hot, and it usually is. But with a rare series of heavy rains over the past two days, the valley was inundated with water and we enjoyed a real visual treat both in the sky and on the ground. Enjoy the photos.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Book Signing Planned for Art of the National Parks- Historic Connections, Contemporary Interpretations

Paintings of Roland Lee are included in the book, Art of the National Parks - Historic Connections, Contemporary Interpretations from Fresco Publishing
Last night I was able to have a nice visit with the publisher and designer of the new award-winning book, Art of the National Parks, historic Connections, Contemporary Interpretations. Kay Fowler, owner of Fresco Publishing, and Nancy Stem, publication designer were at the Association of Partners for Public Lands conference in Albuquerque New Mexico to promote the book. Five pages of my watercolor paintings are featured in the new book in the section on art of Zion National Park. The gorgeous coffee-table book was released recently and sales have necessitated a second printing soon. Watch for a special book-signing event and art show by seven of the participating artists in St. George during April 2014.
Left to right: Nancy Stem, book designer; Roland Lee, artist; Kay Fowler, publisher; and Jill Burt, Zion Natural History Association marketing director in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

YouTube Interview with Artist Roland Lee

The Arts to Zion Art Studio Tour recently filmed a short video interview with watercolor artist Roland Lee in his studio. Roland talks about his painting career and how he draws inspiration from nature for his watercolor paintings. Click on the photo to view.
Watch a 3-minute interview with artist Roland Lee in his studio

Do You Know the Way to Santa Fe?

Enjoying a few days in beautiful New Mexico with APPL meetings in Albuquerque and gallery hopping in Santa Fe. Santa Fe is one of the great locations for western art with literally hundreds of fabulous galleries. We especially enjoyed the Mountain Trails Gallery and the paintings of fellow artist and Zion National Park Plein Air Invitational participant Dave Santillanes.
Here's a photo in Santa Fe that invites your own caption!