Thursday, November 30, 2006

Finished Mural for the Children's Library

Reading - A Window to the Past and a Doorway to the Future

“Reading – A Window to the Past, and a Doorway to the Future”
Oil Painting by By Roland Lee

Southern Utah is a unique and wonderful place. The power of nature has sculpted the land into a complex labyrinth of towers and canyons, where prehistoric creatures and ancient peoples have carved their own marks as they struggled to survive in a harsh, but beautiful environment.
1. The towering walls and deep canyons of Zion National Park are evidence of the geologic upheavals that shaped our land. Today millions of people from all over the world travel to Utah to see Zion’s wonders.
2. Even before man stepped foot on this land, prehistoric creatures left their large footprints. The Allosaurus, a fierce carnivore, was so prevalent in Utah that it is now the official fossil of the State of Utah. Hundreds of tracks of other dinosaurs have been discovered and preserved near St. George.
3. Although other white explorers had visited southern Utah, the Mormon pioneers were the first to colonize the area. Travelling by covered wagon, they brought little with them as they struggled to farm the desert and tame the Rio Virgin.
4. Ancient peoples inhabited this land long before the white man came. The Anasazi left symbols of their life on rock walls, pottery shards, and dwellings. But the southern Paiutes, who came in 1200 AD and live here still, provide our strongest cultural link to human history in this land.
5. As a child I was fascinated by space flight and watched in awe when man stepped on the moon’s surface in 1969. Today, people of many nations work together in space stations and travel freely back and forth into space on vehicles such as the Discovery Space Shuttle. Who knows what changes technology will bring to the lives of tomorrow’s children?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Mural for the Children's Library

This past week I've been working on the second large painting for the new Washington County Library. this one will go in the Children's Library area. I wanted to depict the history of the area, showing a couple of young people opening a book to learn about the past as they look to the future.

In the first sketch I planned for an 8 foot painting and included a dinosaur, the Native Peoples, the Pioneers, and Space Shuttle.

2 Library mural painting by Roland Lee - Learning from the past and preparing for the Future

When I visited the spot in the library where the painting is going to be placed I decided to reduce the width of the painting to 6 feet. I zeroed in on a few specifics and added red cliffs in the background to show the unique geology of the area. Now I've got the design worked out and feel pretty comfortable with it.

3 Library mural painting by Roland Lee - Learning from the past and preparing for the Future

I started by mounting Claessons Belgian Linen to hardboard then sketched up the drawing using a prismacolor pencil. With my drawing and reference photos taped to the canvas, I started working on the children's faces before moving on to some of the other elements.

4 Library mural painting by Roland Lee - Learning from the past and preparing for the Future

The history of southern Utah is filled with fantastic subjects. On the left are two southern Paiutes, representing the indigenous peoples who lived here first. Behind them is a covered wagon used by early Mormon Pioneer settlers. The red sandstone cliffs of Zion Canyon rise up in the background to show the incredible and unique geology found here. The Allosaurus was one of the fiercest meat-eating dinosaurs who once tromped through Utah, and is now the State Fossil of Utah. Finally a space shuttle launch brings us into the present and future through space exploration.

5 Library mural painting by Roland Lee - Learning from the past and preparing for the Future

Zion Canyon Fall Colors

Photo of Zion National Park in Autumn

We usually spend a few weeks in Vermont during Autumn, painting the fall colors. But this year we stayed in Utah where the Autumn leaves are pretty spectacular too. Here's a few photos I took over the last couple of weeks in Zion National Park, as I begin working toward my March one man show "Roland Lee's Canyon Country" at the St. George Art Museum.

Photo of Zion National Park Fall colors

Photo of Fall Cottonwoods in Zion National Park

Photo of Autumn leaaves in Zion National Park

Photo of Zion National Park Fall colors

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Roland Lee November Watercolor Workshop

Roland Lee Watercolor Painting Workshop November 2006

I enjoyed a couple of days with some terrific artists in November as I conducted a special two-day watercolor Workshop at A Passion for Painting in St. George, Utah. I was impressed with the skill level of these artists as I coached them in "Learning to See the Landscape." A key element in learning to paint the landscape is being able to discern how light affects what we see. Through demos and Powerpoint examples I was able to show them how it works. We are planning another workshop some time in January.

The Library Mural Painting is Finished

Roland Lee Library Mural Painting of Story time at the library 1864 to 2006

The finished Library Mural for the Washington County Library

At last I finished the library mural painting. Upon completion I got the approval of Douglas Alder from the library committee, then we brought in construction manager, Bob Coulter to discuss placement and framing of the painting. We decided that they would construct an architectural frame of the same walnut stained red oak that was being used on the woodwork in the library. I let the painting dry for a couple of weeks then applied a varnish coat for protection.