Sunday, December 30, 2007

San Antonio Texas Watercolor Workshop

I will be presenting a four-day watercolor landscape painting workshop for the San Antonio Watercolor Group February 20-23, 2008. The workshop will consist of painting demonstrations, powerpoint presentations, and plenty of student one-on-one time as we explore methods for making fantastic landscape paintings in watercolor. Click here for more watercolor workshop information

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My New Grandson

Early this morning we celebrated the arrival of a new grandson. He is our 16th grandchild, so we are very experienced grandparents--professionals actually. We had no idea our grandkids would be so cute. My wife Nellie headed north this morning to help out with the other kids. I'll join them on Thursday and see the little guy first hand. But until then, here's a photo, compliments of Jason's cell phone camera.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Painting of Temple and Utah History Paintings in Pioneer Magazine

Roland Lee watercolor painting of the St. George LDS Temple
Pioneer Magazine featured my painting of the St. George LDS Temple on the cover of the current issue. In addition two more paintings were used in double page layouts on the interior articles. "Temple Morning" is also available as a limited edition print through my website.

Roland lee watercolor painting of the Washington Cotton Factory

Washington Cotton Factory is available as a limited edition print.

Roland Lee watercolor Painting of Temple Street

"Bus Stop on Temple Street" is available as a limited edition print.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Old Red Barn Painting -- Painting Demonstration How to Paint a Sky in Watercolor

Painting of old red barn by Roland Lee

I started this painting earlier in a watercolor class at Passion for Painting Art Gallery. I was demonstrating how to paint skies in watercolor in just five minutes using a wet-into-wet technique. Of course the reason it only takes five minutes is because by then the watercolor paper is dry, and I cannot get soft edges anymore.This sky was actually done by adding a second glaze after the first was dry to give the clouds more contrast and drama. The barn is the same one I used previously in another painting, "Open Barn."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Watercolor Painting Demonstration at Dixie State College -- 2 New Paintings

Watercolor Painting of Desert Study showing negative painting watercolor technique
Painting above: "Desert Study"

Roland Lee watercolor painting of West Temple in Zion National Park
Painting above: "Zion Light West Temple"

I finished up a couple of small studies today and took them with me to give a guest presentation at the art department of Dixie State College. I gave examples of how to plan a painting, and the importance of preparing value studies. We also talked about negative painting techniques and how to use aerial perspective to create depth. I then let them choose one of my value studies and did a painting demonstration for them. Although it was a beginning watercolor class, I was impressed with their level of skill and dedication. Their teacher Mindy Deschamps had been encouraging them to begin with a good value sketch, and I reinforced that message with my painting demonstration.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas

Photo of Saddle Bronc cowboy Cody Wright with artist Roland Lee at the 2007 National Finals Rodeo.
Roland Lee with #1 Saddle-bronc rider Cody Wright at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

My son Jon, his dad-in-law Dan Chidester, my grandson Travis, and I slipped away to the National Finals Rodeo last night in Las Vegas and had a great time. We stopped by the Cowboy Christmas Show at the Las Vegas convention center where we saw some great cowboy paintings and sculpture, and Travis picked out some new boots. I visited for a few minutes with NFR Saddle Bronc competitor Cody Wright from Utah (photo above) who took 3rd place in his event tonight. We'll go back down on Monday night to see another go-around.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Virgin River Painting Study in Zion Canyon

Watercolor painting of the Virgin River in Zion National Park

I was inspired by our trip to Zion National Park and did a little study today from the photos and sketches I made last week. The yellow leaves were still on the Cottonwoods then, but most are gone now with the cold snap that brought snow to Zion. I hope to work this up into a larger painting later. I loved the deep shadows and the warm glow of sunlight hitting the canyon wall.

Step by step painting of Zion National Park(Click on the photos for full-size view) I am working on Arches 140 lb and the image size is 8 in. x 12 in. A quick pencil sketch on the paper is all I need to brush on the first wet-in-wet glazes.

Step by step painting of Zion CanyonAfter putting a second glaze on the cliffs I sketch out the tree trunks which will be easy to paint dark over light.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A Day in the Snow at Zion National Park

Bear in Zion National Park

We had our annual Christmas party of the Zion Natural History Association tonight at Zion Lodge. So Nellie and I went up to Zion early today and drove on up to our cabin on the East Rim. While Zion was mostly dry, when we got up on top we found about six inches of snow which surprised us. The dirt road into our cabin was fresh snow-pack on top of mud from the two days of rain last weekend so it was a slippery mud-slinging ride. We repaired one of the doors on the main cabin and closed everything up for the winter, bringing benches and chairs indoors etc. The sun broke through and sparkled on the pristine blanket of white, and I relished my last visit of the season to my Zion sanctuary.

Picnic in Zion National parkA picnic on our tailgate at East Zion gave no clue to the snow we'd find just a few miles further at our cabin.

Winter 2007 in Zion National ParkJust a skiff of snow here and there and a light dusting on the tops of the cliffs. A few hundred feet higher would be very different

Friday, November 30, 2007

A visit from Artist Dan Cross and a mini Watercolor Painting Lesson

watercolor painting of the West Temple in Zion National Park
Dan Cross and I have communicated via email a few times this past year. He is an architect from Des Moines Iowa, who has begun working in watercolor recently. While in Las Vegas for a business conference he decided to take the two-hour drive to St. George and say "hello." In actuality he didn't really drive up just to see me -- he Architect and artist Dan Cross holding Roland Lee's Mukuntuweap bookstopped by my studio on his way to Zion National Park. I happened to be in the middle of a painting of the West Temple in Zion when he arrived. It gave me a chance to give him a mini art lesson on watercolor painting technique.

Above: The finished painting of Zion National Park, "West Temple Autumn."
Left: Artist/architect Dan Cross from Des Moines Iowa visits my studio.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Lake Powell Morning Painting

Roland Lee Watercolor Painting of Lake Powell
This is a painting I have been working on all week. I did a little study for it last year, but on this larger painting I incorporated the flat still water reflections of early morning. The location is somewhere on the upper lake near Moki Canyon. Each morning when we are on the houseboat we start the day with a refreshing morning swim. This is the view you get when your head is bobbing just above the surface on one of those peaceful mornings.

Click to see a step by step painting demonstration of this painting

Click for more information on this painting of Lake Powell Morning

Thoughts on Thanksgiving

We're expecting our kids and grandkids to arrive this afternoon to spend a few days, eating turkey, visiting, and hopefully spending time up in Snow Canyon. The weather is so gorgeous I can't wait to get outdoors. But this morning I am in my studio finishing up a couple of paintings I started earlier in a watercolor painting workshop.

Even before picking up the brushes, though, I have to stop and reflect. As I gaze out my studio window at the incredible view of red rocks and blue sky I know I am blessed beyond measure. Our family has a lot to be thankful for. Everyone's health is good, the kids all have nice homes, and we have two new grandbabies on the way to join the 15 happy grandchildren we already enjoy. Each morning I kneel and thank God for what we have and the life we live here on this part of the earth. It doesn't take much travelling to realize the blessings we enjoy. So many people struggle each day just for enough to eat while we have more than we need. Thanksgiving time helps strengthen my resolve to follow more fully the teachings of Jesus Christ to "Do unto others..." (Luke 6:31) We have lots of opportunities daily to give freely of our time, talents, and substance and I hope I can do a better job of giving without so much judging.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Zion Angel's Landing Sketchbook Drawing

Sketchbook drawing by Roland Lee of Angel's Landing in Zion National Park
I had a chance to scan one of my sketchbook drawings from yesterday's hike in Zion Canyon. I spent most of my time along the Grotto Trail. This view is looking north from the Virgin River with the morning light hitting the top of the cliff face. The sketches are for a big new painting I am planning of Angel's Landing. I will hopefully start it in the next two weeks.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Hiking in Zion National park

Photo of Zion National park in the Fall by Roland LeeThe weather is so beautiful that I had to slip away this morning and go to my favorite spot -- Zion National Park. Because of the lower elevation the Cottonwoods are still rich with golden yellow leaves down in Zion Canyon. So I spent most of my tiime hiking along the North fork of the Virgin River sketching in my sketchbook and shooting a few photos. the weather was crisp early this morning but really warmed up once the sun rose over the canyon walls. I was surprised to see so many people in the Park today, but it was fun to see how each person discovers the canyon for themselves. There were the usual serious amateur pohtographers with their tripods and gear vests setting up in the usual locations trying to get the lighting just right. And of course there were the foreign tourists, all decked out in European hiking wear and shooting pictures of everything. Then there were the little families, kids scuffling their feet through the piles of leaves and dragging sticks along the river banks, while parents smiled at their wonder. Of course, the mule deer just go about their business, pretty much oblivious to the human traffic. I think the funnest thing is to listen to the chatter of the hikers just coming down from the rigorous and sometimes frightening hike up Angel's Landing. After that hike everyone feels like they've done something wonderful. I'm back in the studio now in the early afternoon, tired and energized by my time spent in another amazing part of God's creations.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New Lake Powell Painting

Roland Lee watercolor painting of Lake Powell
I just finished this painting today. I enjoyed the contrast of warms and cools in the rocks and water.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Art Books Presented at Southern Utah Watercolor Society Meeting

Sue Cotter Art Book Fossil RidgeAt the monthly meeting of the Southern Utah Watercolor Society tonight we enjoyed a presentation by Sue Cotter on methods of making "Art Books." I was amazed at the many methods of constructing these one-of-a-kind wonders. It looks like a fun way to prepare sketch books and travel journals. Pictured is Sue's handmade book called "Fossil Ridge." You can see more of her work at

Snow, Jensen, and Reese Law Firm Purchases Roland Lee Painting

Sagebruch Serenade watercolor painting of red rocks by Roland Lee
The Law Firm of Snow, Jensen, and Reese selected one of my largest watercolor paintings for their new offices in the Tonaquint area of St. George. They chose "Sagebrush Serenade" a watercolor painting of the red rock area near Snow Canyon in southern Utah. Jane Juber, the owner of The Mission Gallery, which handles my work, completed the sale today.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Watercolor Painting Workshop

Roland Lee Watercolor Painting Landscape workshopWe had a great group of artists at our November Watercolor Landscape Painting Workshop held at Passion for Painting Gallery the past two days. It's always fun to rub shoulders with those who have an interest in painting the landscape. This was an especially solid group of artists who picked right up on the techniques of Negative Painting or what I call Back-painting. Photo above: Back row - Mary Hardy, Glen Bessonette, Edith Austin, Roland Lee, Tina Scott, Betty Barnhart. Front - Glenda Caskey, Kami Taylor, and Shirley Pyper.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Watercolor Painting of Duck Creek

Watercolor painting of Duck Creek on Cedar Mountain, Utah

Watercolor painting of Duck Creek on Cedar Mountain, UtahI did this little 8 x 12 painting last Friday just before leaving for a quick trip to northern Utah. The subject is a pastoral fishing lake on Cedar Mountain called "Duck Creek."

Watercolor painting of Duck Creek on Cedar Mountain, UtahI used the painting as an example in a two-day workshop I'm teaching right now. I used my usual approach, beginning with a rough sketch, then working on 140 lb. Arches watercolor paper. I began with a simple sky with just enough interest to set the mood, but not overpower the foreground. Then I began simple washes on the background Aspens and the water.

Watercolor painting of Duck Creek on Cedar Mountain, UtahI chose to darken the foreground in shadow to contrast with the glowing Aspens. The dark green Spruces helped to set off the golden leaves as well.

Click here for purchasing information on this painting of Duck Creek

Halloween Night Visitor

photo of a Common king snake

On Halloween night we had a scary experience. I left our front door open to watch for Halloween spooks, and we soon found a really scary visitor in our living room--a 3-foot long King Snake! Yikes! At first we thought it was a Halloween prank, but we soon realized it was real when it started to slither across the carpet with its tongue darting in and out. Well, we ushered him out the door, and I transferred him out to the desert behind our house where I thought he (and we) would be much happier. Desert creatures are commonplace around our home but this is our first snake encounter. I guess I won't leave the front door wide open for tricker-treaters again!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Painting of Southern Utah Cliffs

Roland Lee watercolor painting of southern Utah Red Cliffs

The weather has been so beautiful here the last few days, I have been dying to get out in the desert. So today I did the next best thing. I painted our wonderful southern Utah cliffs. This view is near the mouth of Snow Canyon. I love the way the sun lights up the cliffs and casts long purple shadows across the desert.

Click here for information on purchasing this Roland Lee painting of Southern Utah cliffs

Friday, October 26, 2007

Demonstration Painting of Desert Dance

Watercolor painting demonstration at St. George Art MuseumThis is the painting I started on Tuesday as a demonstration for the elementary school kids at the art museum. I really only got the sky and the sand laid in during the time I had with them, and pretty much painted the rest from my imagination. Of course I spend so much time in the red sands around St. George that a painting like this comes naturally to me. I especially like the soft colors in the sky which was created by letting the pigments mingle through a single wet in wet wash. The whole sky took about 5 minutes.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Museum Talk to High School Leadership Students

I was invited to speak to three groups of high school students at the St. George Art Museum today. The students were part of a special Leadership Program sponsored by Pine View High School. Earlier in the day they had participated in a downtown historical tour of St. George to learn about the pioneers who had come before them. They ended the tour at the St. George Art Museum which was built from an old Sugar Beet Warehouse adjacent to the newly restored Pioneer Opera House. Watercolor painting of the old Pioneer Opera House in St. George, UtahI explained to them that we owed a great debt to those who had gone before us, and we can learn from the past as we prepare to be leaders in the future. I showed them a painting of the old St. George Pioneer Opera House that I had done, showing how the scene may have looked in the late 1800's. I also showed my travel sketchbooks, explaining how important it is to record our own thoughts and feelings about our experiences. They were fascinated by the sketchbooks. As they left I gave each student a box of Art Cards featuring my paintings. It was a good group of intelligent and well-behaved students.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Traveling Exhibit of Paint the Parks Top 100

I was fortunate to have a painting selected earlier this year for Paint America's Paint the Parks Top 100 and another selected for the the Mini Top 50. The Show will travel during 2008. Here is the schedule of venues where the paintings can be viewed:

8-1-07 to 9-15-07
Westboro Fine Arts
3125 SW Huntoon
Topeka, KS USA 66604

Kolb Studio Grand Canyon will host the 2007 Paint the Parks Exhibit4-9-08 to 5-15-08
Kolb Studio, Grand Canyon, AZ
Grand Canyon Association
P.O. Box 399
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023
(928) 638-2481
(800) 858-2808 [toll-free in U.S.]

St. George Art Museum6-6-08 to 8-09-08
St. George Art Museum
47 East 200 North
St. George, UT 84770
Deborah Reeder, Art Museum Manager
Telephone 435-634-5942

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Watercolor Painting Demonstration at St. George Art Museum

One of the things I really like about the St. George Art Museum is their willingness to reach out to the community. I often accept the invitation to speak, or present watercolor painting demonstrations to school and community groups there. This morning I made presentations to two fourth grade groups of 10- and 11-year-olds. I'm always amazed at the thinking ability and interest levels of today's kids. This great group was no exception. Even though it took me out of my painting studio for half a day, I feel I'm helping make a little contribution to the future generations of artists.

Painting of Bavarian Street Scene

Watercolor Painting of Fusson Germany

This is the final painting in the series I've been working on the past month from my European travels in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. It's been fun to dip into my sketchbook drawings and photos to renew my memories of that grand trip. This painting features a street scene in Fusson, Germany, the location of King Ludwig's Neuschwanstein Castle.

Painting of Fusson Germany purchase information

Monday, October 22, 2007

Stone Barn Painting of Europe

Watercolor painting of a stone barn in Europe

The inspiration for this painting was a photo I shot while hiking in the European countryside. What caught my attention was the way the light streaked in from the left and warmed up the grassy field and cast a red glow on the shingles of this stone barn. I added the stone wall for interest.

Painting of Stone Barn purchase information

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Best of Show Award Visual Arts Association

Roland Lee receives Best of Show Award at Visual Arts Association Fall Exhibit

Best of Show painting of Utah Snow scene by Roland Lee
I was pleased to receive the Best of Show Award at the 2007 Fall exhibit of the Visual Arts Association. My entry, "Thawing Out" is a transparent watercolor painting of a snow scene near Annabella Utah. The same painting also received an award previously this year at the Shenandoah Invitational at Southern Virginia University.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Best of Show Southern Utah Watercolor Society

Roland Lee wins Best of Show award at SUWS exhibit at St. George Art Museum

Roland Lee watercolor painting of Zion National Park Kolob Fingers Section
Last night I was honored to receive the Best of Show award at the annual Fall juried exhibit of the Southern Utah Watercolor Society. The society, which consists of about 80 active members, is one of the more vital watercolor groups I've been involved with, hosting many workshops and exhibits annually. I was surprised and honored when the award was announced by Southern Utah Watercolor Society President Dick Rose for my painting "Stone Buttress", a transparent watercolor painting of Zion National Park, Kolob Fingers section. The watercolor exhibit will continue through December 22, 2007 at the St. George Art Museum 47 East 200 North, St. George, Utah 84770. Telephone 435-627-4525.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Watercolor Painting Workshop

I just finished up teaching a watercolor painting workshop with a great group of fellow artists. I love getting to know artists from many parts of the country and seeing the wide variety of styles they use. this class included: Dan Ludwig from New Mexico; Janice Jones from Heber, Utah; Stanley Cyr from Minnesota; John Iverson from St. George, Utah; Peggy Peterson, Joanne Johansen, Diane Taterka and Barb Worley all from Mesquite, Nevada.

Watercolor Painting Workshop by Roland Lee at A Passion for Painting Gallery in St. George, Utah

Roland Lee Watercolor painting of utah SnowJanice Jones purchased this painting of a Utah snowfall during the watercolor painting workshop. I used the painting as an example while demonstrating how to paint snow in watercolor as part of the watercolor workshop.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Green Shutters - Watercolor Painting of Switzerland

Painting by Roland Lee of home in Switzerland

I zoomed in on a set of green shutters framing the windows of this large Swiss home. It seemed right to add the flowers since they are everywhere in Europe. I used the technique of softening the distance mountains and trees by creating hazy edges and less detail. This effect, called aerial perspective, enhances the sense of depth in a painting.

Click for information on purchasing this painting of Switzerland

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Watercolor Painting of Swiss Chalet

Roland Lee watercolor painting of Swiss Chalet

On this little painting I just loosened up quite a bit on the sky and the hillside field, letting the brushstrokes tell the story. Examining the field you can see evidence of the backpainting or negative painting technique I use frequently in my landscapes.

watercolor painting demonstration of swiss ChaletLooking closely you can see the rough pencil sketch on Arches watercolor paper. I use very loose washes for the sky.

Watercolor painting lesson of Swiss ChaletNow I begin tightening up the edges by using darker glazes over the light passages. Since the chalet is darker than the sky I can paint right over it. click to see painting of Swiss Chalet on my website

Monday, October 01, 2007

New Painting of a European Country Garden

Country Garden - watercolor painting by Roland Lee of a European Garden

I'm still working on a series of small painting of the European countryside from sketchbook drawings I did on previous visits. I came upon this scene while taking a walk in the countryside in Switzerland. The vegetable garden was lush and rich, while the flowers added just the touch of color and vibrancy the scene needed. Although the inspiration came from a trip to Switzerland, the scene could really be almost anywhere in the European countryside.

Click here for purchase information

Watercolor step by step demonstration - European Country Garden by Roland LeeThe painting begins with a small thumbnail sketch to help me determine the overall composition and value relationships.

Watercolor step by step demonstration - European Country Garden by Roland Lee I am painting on Arches 140 lb. cold press watercolor paper which is stapled to a board and trimmed with tape. After lightly sketching in the outlines with a 4H pencil, I begin by laying in loose washes of color wet in wet.

Watercolor step by step demonstration - European Country Garden by Roland LeeWhile preserving the whites in key areas I continue to layer on glazes to identify edges. As I use more drybrush techniques, the objects begin to come into focus.

Painting of an Autumn Farm in Vermont

Watercolor Paintng of a New England Farm scene in Vermont

I love painting the pastoral New England countryside, especially in the fall. We have visited Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire many times to paint the fall colors. This painting is based on a farm I found in upstate Vermont, although I have changed many elements of the scene to capture the warm glow and peaceful feeling I was looking for.

Click here for Purchase information for my painting of Autumn Farm in Vermont