Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Snow in St.George

Now just a few days ago I was bragging about the flowers blossoming and Spring being in full bloom. All that changed today. Take a look.
Snow on Roland Lee Art Gallery
My studio from the parking lot.

Snow in St. George Utah
The view out my studio window.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Lake Powell Quiet Canyons Painting

Quiet Canyon painting at Lake Powell by Roland Lee

I feel like I'm catching on to it a little. With a nod to my hero David Drummond, I used a photo I shot near Bullfrog on Lake Powell and tried to capture the glassy undulating feel of the smooth water beneath the striated cliffs. I can almost hear the "plop" of my bass lure as I sling it near the rocks. I had this one framed with a knotty alder frame in a light stain, with ivory mats, and the whole package looks great. Maybe I ought to just keep this one. Ah, but it's going in the upcoming St. George Art Museum Canyon Country show in March. Click for purchase information

Quiet Canyon painting at Lake Powell by Roland Lee step 1The first step is to sketch out my drawing on 140 lb. Arches paper. I then begin with a wet-in-wet wash for the sky. It is completed in just a few minutes and allowed to dry with no overglazing.

Quiet Canyon painting at Lake Powell by Roland Lee step 2I also use a wet-in-wet watercolor technique for the water and the rocks. After they are dry I can use wet-on-dry overglazes to add color, contrast, and detail.

Quiet Canyon painting at Lake Powell by Roland Lee step 2A good way to build up texture on the rocks with watercolor is to splatter with clear water just before the glaze dries. This creates a fun random texture that looks very much like stains on the canyon walls.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Washington County Library Dedication 2007

Roland Lee and family members at the washington county library dedication February 20, 2007

Photo above l to r: Ben Rogers the library architect and his wife Michelle; Ben's mother and Nellie's sister-in-law Anna Marie Rogers Budge; Nellie Lee; and Roland Lee standing in front of one of Roland's historical murals.

Yesterday, on President's Day they held a wonderful old-time ceremony celebrating the dedication of the new Washington County Library. Since I painted the murals, Nellie and I attended the whole event. It started at 10am with a packed house in the historic St. George Tabernacle to hear a dedicatory address and prayer by LDS Apostle Jeff Holland. After the ceremony we formed a cavalcade led by a brass band in pioneer costume and marched together arouind the corner to the Library. Here hundreds of people filled the facility to overflowing exploring every inch of the new library. Designed by Nellie's nephew, Ben Rogers, it is constructed of natural sandstone in the same style as the other pioneer buildings on the town square. I stood by my mural answering questions about its production. We finished the day with a nice luncheon especially honoring all the donors who contributed so much to the facility. My two large murals were commissioned by the Larkin family in honor of Montrue Larkin who fought for many years to acquire this new library.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Kayenta Art Festival at Coyote Gulch

Roland Lee painting on location at the 2007 Kayenta Art Festival
What a gorgeous southern Utah day it was today! I was invited to join a few other artists to demonstrate painting at the huge Kayenta Art Festival. The setting is absolutely spectacular with the red Kayenta cliffs rising in the background and surrounded by natural desert vegetation. As the desert sun rose, so did the temperatures, reaching into the high 60's. Other than a little sunburn I enjoyed the day working on a watercolor and chatting with festival attendees and the other artists. Those painting together in the Xetava Gardens included Sam Lawlor, Ben Patten, Bonnie Conrad, Ron Larson and me.

Photo of The 2007 Kayenta Art FestivalThe annual Kayenta Art Festival is the fundraiser and sole support for the Xetava Desert Arboretum, a garden formed of native desert plants beautifully laid out and carefully tagged - giving visitors the opportunity to become familiar with desert flora. Nearly 100 artists participated this year. Those of us painting on location each donated a piece for the silent auction, with proceeds to benefit the Xetava Desert Arboretum.

Sam Lawlor painting at the Kayenta Art FestivalSam Lawlor worked on a couple of oils, while chatting with artist Larry Bees.

Bonnie Conrad painting at the Kayenta Art FestivalBonnie Conrad finished up a painting of a young Native American girl and had enough time to start another nice painting.

Artist Ron Larson with show organizers Barbara Aikens and Cherie StoddardArtist Ron Larson with show organizers Barbara Aikens and Cherie Stoddard.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Award at the Sears Invitational Art Show

Roland Lee with award winnning painting at Sears Invitational Art Show
I have participated in the Sears Invitational Art Show for some years, which is held annually in the Eccles Art Gallery at Dixie State College. I entered two very large paintings this year and received a second place award in Watercolor with my "Lake Powell Panorama." One of my favorite watercolorists, Spike Ress, took first place with a fine painting. We attended the banquet and show opening tonight and enjoyed visiting with past collectors and the other artists. My good friends Frank and Kathy Richards were honorary guests, and painter David Koch judged the show. Michael Malm won this year's purchase award.
Photo of The Eccles Art Gallery at Dixie State College

Emma Paints in Grandpa's Studio

Emma Maestri painting in Roland Lee's studioMy daughter Jennie and my two little granddaughters Emma and Ellie came to spend the week with us. I always like to let the grandkids have a turn painting in my studio. Today it was Emma's turn. She carefully put on the apron, then dove right in -- grabbing explosive colors and painting with wild exuberance. It's amazing how children have no fear of making art. They love the tools and they love the process. That's the way it should be for all of us. Art is a joy!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Winter Reflections Workshop Demonstration

Winter Reflections 14 x 21 transparent watercolor painting by Roland Lee

"Winter Reflections" 14 x 21 transparent watercolor by Roland Lee

This is the painting I demonstrated in my February workshop. I had the class participants work from the same resource material which I shot last weekend along the Sevier River near Richfield, Utah. My emphasis was how to use natural wet in wet techniques along with drybrush to create realism in the landscape.

Friday, February 09, 2007

February Watercolor Workshop

I enjoyed spending the last two days with some wonderful artists at my February watercolor workshop. I took a different approach with this group, and we did a lot more hands-on work actually completing two paintings in class. It was a test run of sorts for me, since I usually approach my classes with a little more discussion and theory using powerpoint demonstrations. This time I used actual examples and demonstrated on the spot. I think it was successful judging by the student comments.

Workshop participants: front row - Shari Cannon, Lola Krummenacher, Karen Bettilyon, Gwendolyn Joy Mitchell, Luzon Glines. Back row - Gary Fawson, Roland Lee, Glen Bessenette. Not pictured - Viona Wilson

Students included: front row - Shari Cannon, Lola Krummenacher, Karen Bettilyon, Gwendolyn Joy Mitchell, Luzon Glines. Back row - Gary Fawson, Roland Lee, Glen Bessenette. Not pictured - Viona Wilson, who won Best of Show at the Southern Utah Watercolor Society juried show currently on display in Mesquite Nevada. We are all proud of her.

Workshop participant Karen Bettilyon during the Roland Lee painting during the workshop

Karen Bettilyon (above), a fine watercolor painter, became a second-time collector by purchasing my demonstration painting from January called "Classic Clouds."

Roland Lee watercolor painting purchased by Karen Bettilyon

"Classic Clouds" (above) watercolor painting by Roland Lee

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Zion Canyon Reflections Painting Step by Step Watercolor Demonstration

Photo of Roland Lee painting of Zion Canyon
In late fall Zion Canyon is peaceful and quiet. The crowds are gone, the streams have dwindled to standing pools, and the leaves have begun to fall. In this scene the afternoon glow on the cliffs above is reflected in the shallow water of a shaded canyon. The worn rocks and strewn boulders are evidence that at certain times of the year this little stream is a raging torrent. But right now all is at peace.

Photo 1 step by step watercolor demonstration by Roland Lee of painting of Zion CanyonThe painting begins with a pencil sketch on 140lb Arches watercolor paper. Following my usual pattern I begin to lay in broad washes of color, adding texture in the rocks by flipping clear water into the glazes with my brush. I also allow some of the pigment to mingle and blend on the paper.

Photo 2 step by step watercolor demonstration by Roland Lee of painting of Zion CanyonNow I lay in the distant cliffs and some of the background area using the same tecniques as I used in the rocks. I am establishing value patterns, at the same time building up a sense of texture in the foliage and rocks. I will refine many of these areas with darker glazes as the painting progresses.

Photo 3 step by step watercolor demonstration by Roland Lee of painting of Zion Canyon

The foreground grasses are painted using a technique called "back painting" or "negative painting." In objects that appear light in a watercolor painting they must be preserved and established by painting the dark (or negative) areas around them.

Photo 4 step by step watercolor demonstration by Roland Lee of painting of Zion Canyon

Once the negative shapes are in place we can see the grasses emerge in a random fashion. Now I create a little more detail by overpainting additional shapes on the weeds.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Exhibit Opening at the Mission Gallery

Roland Lee Art Collectors Charles and Jeanne Kasper from Madison Wisconsin

Jane Juber, owner of the Mission Gallery and Authentique Gallery in St. George, Utah, put on a wonderful three-day show featuring six of her gallery artists. Last night she invited about 80 of her good collectors for a full-menu dinner at Painted Pony Restaurant which was fabulous, followed by a private gallery preview for her chosen guests. Tonight the show opened to the general public and both galleries were packed! I had a chance to meet some new collectors as well as visit with some of my previous collectors. I had a surprise visit from Charles and Jeanne Kasper from Madison, Wisconsin, who own one of my paintings. They were anxious to have a photo taken with me (above), and I had fun visiting with them.

Roland and Nellie Lee at Mission Gallery opening

My wife Nellie isn't crazy about art receptions but she is always a good sport and comes with me for moral support. She is a great partner and patiently accompanies me on all my painting expeditions.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Last Light at Wahweap Painting Demonstration: How to paint a graded wash in watercolor

Roland Lee watercolor painting of Wahweap Bay at Lake Powell

This is a small painting in the Lake Powell Series. I hope to have about ten small paintings ready for the Museum show in March. However right now I am concentrating on some of the larger pieces which will anchor the show.

Photo 1 Watercolor demonstration technique Lake Powell
Photo 2 watercolor demonstration Roland Lee watercolor painting of Wahweap Bay at Lake Powell

I am using a graded wash for the sky and water areas on this painting. This is done by wetting the entire surface of the sky area with clear water and letting it soak in. I then start at the horizon with a light wash of yellow ochre and tip the paper upside down to let it flow upwards into the sky area. I add a tiny touch of Quinacridone Coral by Daniel Smith along the horizon and let it mingle with the yellow ochre to give a warm glow. Then I come in with a wash of Ultramarine blue and work from the top (zenith) of the sky down towards the horizon and tip the paper to let the blue flow into the yellow and coral. I help it along with broad strokes of a 1-inch flat aquarelle brush going back and forth from left to right and from the top down. The whole process takes only a couple of minutes, and I leave it alone to dry. I repeat the process for the water using the same basic colors. After the sky and water is completely dry I can lay in the warm oranges on the cliffs and cut in a sharp edge against the sky. Since the paper is no longer wet, the edges will not bleed.

Tonight we have an exhbit opening at the Mission Gallery in Ancestor Square. Jane Juber, the gallery owner is hosting about 30 couples including some of her best collectors along with six artists and their wives for a special dinner at the Painted Pony restaurant, followed by a gallery preview.