Thursday, August 23, 2007

New Painting of Swiss Castle

Roland Lee watercolor painting of Schloss Rietberg in Switzerland

Roland Lee travel sketchbook drawing of castle Rietberg in Switzerland
I've taken a little artistic license with this painting, but it is primarily based on sketchbook drawings I did in Switzerland of Schloss Rietburg. The scene was striking, but I intensified the contrast and used dramatic lighting to emphasize the castle tower.

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New Painting of Switzerland Barn

Roland Lee watercolor painting of a barn in Switzerland

After completing a series of paintings of Zion National Park, I started going through my old European sketchbooks and images. That prompted a couple of new paintings from my last trip to Switzerland. We mostly stayed in the southern part of Switzerland along the Alps, and the architecture had a definite Romanesque or Italian influence. I found this big old barn as I hiked in the foothills near Chur.

Roland Lee painting demonstration of a watercolor painting of barn in SwitzerlandI begin the painting with a light pencil sketch on Arches watercolor paper 140lb. My initial washes are very loose, and I can tighten the edges later.The distant hills and soft trees are painted wet in wet which naturally diffuses the eges. This gives the illusion of distance caused by aerial perspective. Notice how I allow pigment to mingle in the wet areas such as the shadow on the right of the barn.
Roland Lee painting demonstration of a watercolor painting of barn in SwitzerlandAs I move further into the painting I can delineate edges by using darker values. This is the pioint where the loose images begin to take on more form and shape.We see edges due to changes in value or color. The greatest attention is drawn to areas of highest contrast.

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

New Painting Demonstration of Zion's Great Arch

Watercolor painting of the Great Arch in Zion by Roland LeeIn order to get to our cabin on the east side of Zion National Park we must travel from one end of the park to the other, which I thoroughly enjoy. Of course I stop many times to enjoy the view, sketch, and take photos. This is one of my favorite scenes as you start up the switchbacks to the mile-long tunnel in Bridge Mountain. It is commonly known as the "Great Arch of Zion." I took careful care with the lighting on this painting to emphasize the drama.

Watercolor painting demonstration step by step of the Great Arch in Zion by Roland LeeI started this painting by doing an outline sketch with a 4H pencil on 140lb Arches paper. Then I blocked in the large value areas letting the pigment mingle and flow naturally using wet in wet techniques. I followed this up by tightening edges and using overglazes to deepen the values. Darkest darks and Smallest details are done last.

The two detail images below show my painting process.

Watercolor painting demonstration step by step of the Great Arch in Zion by Roland Lee

Watercolor painting demonstration step by step of the Great Arch in Zion by Roland Lee

Friday, August 03, 2007

New Painting of Kolob Canyons

Roland Lee painting of Kolob Fingers area of Zion National Park
This past couple of weeks I have been working on several paintings of Zion National Park. It's easy to be inspired by that magnificent place, and I never seem to tire of painting its awesome scenes.This painting called "Stone Buttress - Zion" features the Kolob Fingers area of Zion National Park. It is reached from Interstate 15 near New Harmony, Utah, rather than through the usual Springdale entrance. The best time to go is the end of the day when the sun shoots its horizontal rays and lights up the rocks in brilliant reds.

Roland Lee Article in St. George Magazine

Brian Passey did a nice article for St. George Magazine which spotlighted some of my historical pioneer paintings. The article appeared in the current July 2007 issue and included eight of my paintings. "Watercolor West" watercolor society also mentioned some of my recent awards in their member newsletter this month.

Fire and Rain in Zion - Cabin Meanderings

We've been able to spend some time at our cabin in East Zion over the past two weeks. The weather was magnificent, with huge thunderstorms and much cooler air. There is nothing like being up in the Ponderosa Pines when the wind is whistling through the branches and raindrops are glistening on the pine needles. The downside is lightning fires which have played havoc with Zion National Park and Utah all summer. I hiked up on the Observation Point Trail which you can hike to easily from our cabin and was amazed at the damage from recent fires near Orderville Gulch and Mystery Canyon. I pray that we never get a strike near our cabin. I did this little sketch of some of our nice Ponderosas surrounding the cabin.