Saturday, August 23, 2014

Roland Lee Receives Medal from Utah Governor Gary Herbert in Ceremony at Governor's Mansion

Utah Governor Gary Herbert and First Lady Jeanette Herbert pose with artist Roland Lee after awarding him the Utah Governor's Mansion Artist Award for Visual Arts August 20.
     It was a grand night indeed! An intimate dinner with Utah Governor and Mrs. Herbert. My paintings on display in the Governor's Mansion. A wonderful outdoor concert. And receiving a medal from the Governor. The only thing that made it even better was having a few of my choice friends and family there to enjoy it.
    The Governor's Mansion Artist Series Awards are given each year to a visual artist and performing artist who have made contributions to the arts in Utah. I was thrilled to be in the company of Dr. Craig Jessop, formerly Music Director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, as he and I both received the awards on August 20 in Salt Lake City. Now the founding Dean of the Caine College of the Arts at Utah State University, Dr. Jessop brought a group of outstanding students and faculty to perform.

Honoree Craig Jessop is greeted by Governor Gary Herbert at the Governor's Mansion
The lovely decor and antiques of the historic Kearns Mansion were a perfect backdrop for my paintings. Gallery owner and committee member David Ericson assisted with the display of the paintings.
The program for the evening's events
     The evening began with dinner in the mansion, joined by the Governor, First Lady, a few wonderful event sponsors and lovely music from Utah State University music students. The elegant meal was catered by Lori Tolbert.

An intimate dinner at the Governor's Mansion prior to receiving the Governor's Mansion Artist Award
     A beautiful outdoor reception followed with many invited guests witnessing the art show, awarding of the medals, and an incredible concert by the Fry Street Quartet.  Threatening storm clouds and occasional bursts of lightning added just the right touch of drama to the event. Finally at the conclusion, a cloudburst opened up, and guests dashed into the mansion to enjoy refreshments and viewing of the paintings. It couldn't have worked out better.
     We all owe a debt of gratitude to Governor and Mrs. Herbert for their love and support of education and the arts. I would also like to thank the Brent and Bonnie Beasley Foundation, Dell Loy and Lynnette Hansen, Greg and Denise Ericksen, Friends of Roland Lee, the Governors Mansion Foundation Members, and Governor's Mansion Artist Series Committee Members for giving of their time and resources in support of the Governors Mansion Artist Series.
     A special thanks to Mary Bangerter, Lorelie Andrus, Carolyn Loder, and David Ericson whose careful attention to details made everything run smooth. Also to O.C. Tanner for providing the beautiful medals. And finally, how could the arts survive in Utah without the ongoing support of Zions Bank, the George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation, and the Utah Division of Fine Arts and Museums.
     Thanks everyone for making a magical night!

The Fry Street Quartet from Utah State University gave an incredible performance
Guests enjoy the Roland Lee Art Exhibit at the Utah Governor's Mansion
Left to right: Utah Governor Gary Herbert, First Lady Jeanette Herbert, artist Roland Lee, wife Nellie Lee, and son Jim Lee
Some of my family were able to attend. Left to right: Jason and Jennie Maestri, Andrea Conley, Barbara and Jim Lee, and my dear wife Nellie. 

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Governors Mansion Artist Award and Art Show

Roland Lee will receive the Governors Mansion Artist Award August 20 at a reception and art show of his paintings at the governor's mansion in Salt Lake City, Utah on August 20, 2014. Photo by Roland Lee
I will be honored with an art award at the Governors Mansion in Salt Lake City, Utah on August 20, 2014. Utah Governor Gary Herbert and his wife Jeanette will host a reception and art show at the historic Kearns Mansion (now the governors mansion) that night. If you've ever wanted to snoop inside the governors mansion and see the cool artwork and antiques, let me know. I'll get you an invitation. "The Utah Governors Mansion artist awards are presented each year to individuals who have made significant contributions to the visual and performing arts in Utah."

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Budding Artists Visit My Studio

My daughter's friend Kirstin Anderson teaches weekly art classes to children in Cedar City, Utah. She brought some of the students to St. George today for a visit to my studio and gallery, as well as make some pottery, and visit the St. George Art Museum. The young people were interested in my watercolor paintings, but especially liked the travel sketch books. They had lots of good questions and it was fun talking to them.
Kirstin Anderson's art students visit the Roland Lee Studio and Gallery

Monday, June 23, 2014

Field Studies and Paintings on Utah's Grand Staircase Geology Trail - Part 1

Roland Lee painting Thor's Hammer along the trail below the rim at Bryce Canyon National Park. It's amazing how many people want to stop and look over your shoulder when you're painting on the Grand Staircase Escalante trail or in Bryce National Park. This photo was taken by an oriental tourist who insisted on having his picture taken with me. 
In the next few posts I thought I'd show a few of my sketchbook field notes, drawings and location paintings from last week's research trip along the Grand Staircase in Utah. I've been painting the Utah landscape for many years, but it was fun to make the trip with a couple of geology professors. It was like having my own living "on-site" Google reference. Any time I had a question I could just ask and they would tell me. And I had lots of questions. Of course their perspective is about the geologic details, and mine is all about the light and shadow on the landscape. Theirs is about accuracy and mine is all about artistic license. So it was a fun pairing. We had a blast together.
    These studies were done in Bryce Canyon. Of course Bryce is not in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument (since it is its own national park), but it showcases the Pink Cliffs of the Claron formation on the geologic Grand Staircase, and is probably the must stunning and well-known spot on the route. We spent one whole day here.

My on-location sketchbook study of Thor's Hammer in Bryce Canyon National Park
My on-location plein air painting study of Thor's Hammer in Bryce Canyon National Park
My outdoor plein air painting box made by Sienna holds all my paints, brushes, and paper and sits atop a tripod. It can be set up in minutes anywhere I want to paint. Even on the trail in Bryce Canyon National Park. On the pochade box is my watercolor painting of Thor's Hammer. 140 lb. Arches watercolor paper and Daniel Smith watercolor paints.
Thors Hammer and Temple of Osiris. Watercolor studio painting by Roland Lee

Friday, June 20, 2014

Sketching and Painting the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

Artist Roland Lee making a sketch in his field book on a research trip of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. Photo by Dr. Robert L. Eves
What a week! Nellie and I enjoyed four days traveling the backroads of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument taking in the sites, studying the geology of the region, and making sketchbook studies and plein air paintings. Now that's what I call a fun week all in the name of work. We were joined by Nellie's sister Tricia and husband Dr. Robert Eves, and his colleague Dr. Larry Davis--both geology professors. Our goal was to retrace the steps they took in producing a road guide to the Grand Staircase geology about 12 years ago, and update it with illustrations and original artwork. That's where I came in. They provided the geologic information and I provided the artwork. We hope to have laid the foundation for not only an update of their previous road guide, but possibly a new guidebook aimed at simplifying the geology of the Grand Staircase for artists and photographers.
Roland Lee, Professor Robert Eves and Professor Larry Davis at LeFevre Overlook on Highway 89A. From here you can see all the geologic layers of Utah's Grand Staircase which extend northward for 150 miles from Grand Canyon to Bryce Canyon.

From LeFevre Overlook we survey the landscape we will cover over the next few days.

Dr. Robert L. Eves and Dr. Larry Davis discuss the development of the sandstone narrows of Willis Creek on the Skutumpah Terrace section of the Grand Staircase in Utah. Photo by Roland Lee

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Painting the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

We will be traveling the incredible scenic backroads of Utah for the next three days as I explore and paint the geologic wonders of the Grand Staircase. I will be traveling with two noted geology professors, Robert L. Eves from Southern Utah University and Larry Davis from the College of St. Benedict, St. Johns University as they work on a research project. My job is to tag along, try to learn something, and paint what I see. I kind of envision myself in the role of artist Frederick Dellenbaugh accompanying John Wesley Powell on his early explorations, but I think I might be over-glamorizing things a bit, since we will spend our nights in motels. Anyway, I am excited to get to go exploring in the land that I dearly love with like-minded individuals. Hopefully I can post some of my sketches soon. We will start near Kanab in Johnson Canyon, head north to Bryce Canyon area, and end at Escalante, covering over 275 million years of geologic history in a few days. Amazing!
This awesome illustration by Dick Beasley shows the grand staircase from the Grand Canyon to Bryce. 275 million years of geologic history are laid bare for the visitor to see.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Hitting the Road in my Rolling Studio

Primitive camping at Sand Hollow Reservoir with my 1992 Six Pac Super Mini Camper and classic 1988 Toyota 4 x 4 pickup
Some people may call it vacationing, but for an artist any trip into the country is a chance to sketch and gather painting reference material. That's just what I did last week and this week with research trips to Snow Canyon and Sand Hollow Reservoir. My little Six Pac Super mini camper makes it easy to be on location for those great morning sunrise and evening sunset images. I have the camper outfitted with my plein air painting supplies, and everything I need to stay on location a couple of days at a time. My classic 1988 four wheel drive Toyota pickup is the perfect offroad rig as well, with its high clearance, off-road tires, and small footprint.
Six Pac Super Mini Camper on a 1988 Toyota pickup. Just the right size for off-roading.

My painting rig on the Beach at Sand Hollow Reservoir near St. George UT

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Watercolor Workshop for the Dixie Watercolor Society

Michelle Manriquez opened her beautiful home and studio for a special fund-raising workshop for the Dixie Watercolor Society. Roland Lee agreed to teach the workshop and donate all fees back to the organization to sponsor their upcoming projects. I chose a potpourri of subjects and techniques for this "best of" workshop presentation. Fortunately all the participants were seasoned artists and brought lots of ideas and strengths to the table, making it a fun experience for all of us. This will be my last workshop until winter 2014-15.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Plein Air Painting Workshop Day Two - Zion National Park

The Court of the Patriarchs in Zion National Park provided ideal subject matter for a day of painting outdoors. Artist Alice Robinson enjoyed painting from her perch on a fallen log. 
Our second day of the plein air workshop featured some serious outdoor painting in one of nature's most spectacular locations - Zion National Park.
     We carpooled from St. George, arriving at Zion Park by 9:30am. The day was perfect with a light cool breeze and big fluffy clouds drifting across the landscape. We boarded the wonderful shuttle and started up Zion Canyon, getting off at the Court of the Patriarchs. A short walk took us to one of my favorite spots along the Virgin River, where a series of wide waterfalls interrupt the slow, steady flow of the meandering river. Above us, stood the massive peaks of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, named for the Bible prophets. The roar of the falls created perfect background music while we painted. I first did a demonstration painting of "Mount Moroni" with its sharp jagged peaks and pointed out how value, temperature, and detail are affected by the direction of the sun on the surfaces.
     By noon we had enough work completed for a friendly critique and art show as we lined our paintings up along side a fallen tree trunk. It was exciting to see the different interpretations. We boarded the shuttle back to our cars and drove in to Springdale for lunch. The afternoon was spent visiting the LaFave Gallery and painting from their park-like grounds. Our subject matter there ranged from large rocks and cactus clusters, to the big cliffs above, to an old panel truck which sits rusting on the premises. By the time our second day ended, we had a healthy body of work under our belts and a greater understanding of the challenges and rewards of plein air painting!
Dixie Stoddard and Margo Cook paint along the Virgin River

Mark Rose is a veteran outdoor painter who came all the way from Idaho to take the Roland Lee workshop

Connie Madsen hurries to bring her masterpiece to our outdoor critique as we lined paintings up along a fallen tree trunk

Painting from the park-like grounds of the LaFave Gallery in Springdale Utah at the mouth of Zion National Park

Plein Air Painting Workshop Day One - Red Cliffs of Kayenta Near Ivins

Outdoor painting workshop posing at the Ivins Reservoir. Back Row: Alice Robinson, Marsha Owen, Kelly McKelvey, Paulette Triplett, Mary Brown, Mark Rose. Front Row: Connie Madsen, Cindy McGregor, Dixie Stoddard, Sally Valiton, Margo Cook.
We were all tired by the end of two days, but we packed in a lot of plein air painting at the Roland Lee Plein Air watercolor workshop last week.
     After a short orientation session and Powerpoint presentation at Passion for Painting Studio, we carpooled out to the Kayenta area near Ivins, Utah to start our outdoor painting efforts. I began with a quick watercolor demonstration using the brilliant red cliffs and amazing views as my subject. My goal was to give the artists a few tips on capturing the fleeting and constantly changing shadows on the cliffs. They were eager to learn, and picked it up quickly, moving on to their own paintings.
     We took a noon break with lunch at Kayenta's Xetava Restaurant, viewed the artwork at the Datura Gallery then went to work again in the beautiful desert gardens adjacent to the art village. Some chose cactus flowers and others keyed in on the native flowers as we once again worked on capturing light and shadow. We finished the day with a visit to the spectacular Ivins Reservoir where we gathered for a group shot.
The Red Cliffs of Kayenta were spectacular against the vivid blue sky and billowing clouds

Cindy McGregor hard at work

Mark Rose, Margo Cook, and Dixie Stoddard each chose different vantage points

Marsha Owen traveled from Arizona to participate in the Roland Lee plein air workshop

Sally Valiton is a seasoned artist from Ridgecrest California

Alice Robinson works among the Desert Marigolds

Mark Rose happily works on his painting in the Kayenta Art Village desert garden

Cindy McGregor is ready to go

Paulette Triplett has a comfortable set-up

Roland Lee painted a cluster of yellow desert flowers

Dixie Stoddard looks relaxed as she works on a painting of cactus flowers

Dixie Stoddard's brilliant little study in watercolor

Connie Madsen found a shady spot in the Xetava Gardens at Kayenta Art Village
Mary Brown painting in the garden at Kayenta Art Village
Kelly McKelvey looking content and happy as she paints in Kayenta Art Village's garden