Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hiking to Angels Landing in Zion National Park

Photo of Angels Landing in Zion National Park
Above: Angels Landing rises 1500 feet above the Zion Canyon floor. Below: The view from the top.
View from the top of Angels Landing in Zion National Park

I figured it was time to get out of the studio and fill the creative bucket, so I spent the day today in Zion National Park. I had in mind to get "above it all" with a hike to Angels Landing. It's not a long hike but takes about 4 hours round trip. It was 28 degrees when I parked my truck and took the canyon shuttle to the Grotto. But things warmed up considerably as I started up the switchbacks that led to Refrigerator Canyon. The leaves still haven't turned yet, but there was enough color to add drama to the scene.

Chains assist the climb to Angels Landing in Zion National ParkA series of 21 switchbacks called "Walters Wiggles" made my legs burn and my lungs ache by the time I leveled off at Scout Lookout. Here things get interesting with a Class 3 scramble assisted by well-placed chains across a narrow 3 foot wide passage with 1500-foot drop offs on BOTH sides. Not for the faint of heart, but it was all worth it as an incredible view opened up on both sides of the canyon from the small perch at the top.

Roland Lee on top of Angels Landing in Zion National Park
Giant Condors in Zion National ParkWhat a place to relax and enjoy my baloney sandwich while taking in the view and the crisp wind. I ignored the hopeful appeal for a handout from the resident chipmunks, but couldn't ignore the two huge Condors that appeared with a rush of wind and soared on their huge wings right past the peak. Finally I started down the chains and worked my way back to civilization. Now that's the way to spend a day!

Monday, October 20, 2008

You're Invited to My Art Show featuring New Paintings from England and Europe

Village in Kent, watercolor painting of England by Roland Lee
"Village in Kent" a watercolor painting by Roland Lee which will be in the upcoming one-man-show at Mission Gallery November 6, 2008

Travel sketchbook drawing of England by Roland LeeI will be presenting a One-man-show at the Mission Gallery during the month of November, and you are invited. You can download an invitation here or go to my website for complete information. I will be presenting my new paintings of England and Europe, along with my travel sketchbooks. I will also give an art talk about our travels and the new paintings at 7 p.m. on Thursday November 6, 2008. An Artists reception will be held the same evening from 6 - 9pm at the Tower Building in Historic Ancestor Square next to the Painted Pony Restaurant. For the remainder of November the Art show will move to the Mission Gallery at 173 North main, St. George, Utah. For more information call Jane Juber at the Mission Gallery 435-688-7278.

Download an invitation (pdf)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A trip to Zion National Park, and a Visit to my Studio

Visitors to Roland Lee Art Studio

I had a nice visit at my studio this morning with three nice ladies spending the weekend at Zion National Park. Theresa, Brenda, and Linda were visiting from northern Utah, basking in the warm sun and cool canyons of Zion. While there they purchased a "Century of Sanctuary" book and one of my Zion prints at the ZNHA bookstore. They also enjoyed the Zion Centennial art show at the St. George Art Museum where they saw my original painting of Zion's West Temple. It's always fun to meet those who appreciate my work.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

New Watercolor Painting of Historic Bloomington Schoolhouse

Roland Lee watercolor painting of old historic Bloomington school house

Historic Bloomington School House
22 x 30 Watercolor by Roland Lee

All that remains of this old school house in Bloomington, Utah is the foundation. But using a few old photos and interviewing some descendents of early teachers, I was able to re-construct this wonderful brick building. The structure was used as both a church and schoolhouse, as well as a community center between 1879 and 1929. I wanted to put life back into the building by adding the figures in the painting. At the doorway is the school teacher greeting a young girl (notice the flower behind her back for the teacher.) Two brothers walk down the lane on their way to another school day. Jeff and Connie Morby, early residents of the modern community of Bloomington, own the land where the foundation sits, and also purchased this painting.

See step by step watercolor painting lesson on this painting

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Roland Lee Featured in Documentary Film on Zion National Park Centennial

Above: Motion Picture producer Phil Tuckett and crew record Lyman Hafen and Deborah Reeder discussing the paintings in the Zion Centennial Art Exhibit at the St. George Art Museum.

Renowned film maker, Phil Tuckett, and an advanced film production class from Dixie State College are producing a new documentary film spotlighting the Centennial of Zion National Park. They interviewed Lyman Hafen and Deborah Reeder at the St. George Art Museum talking about the contemporary Zion paintings currently on display with "A Century of Sanctuary, the Art of Zion National Park." Then Tuckett conducted an on-camera interview with me upstairs in the historic art exhibit, talking about my own experiences painting Zion over the past 30 years. I was uncomfortable about being on camera, but never have trouble talking about Zion National Park. They will film more footage on location in Zion National Park as I conduct a workshop there in November.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Last weekend rain, this weekend snow!

Roland Lee photo of snow on red rose

Over the weekend we travelled up north to visit my kids and be present for the blessing of Jon and Jolynn's new baby Dallin. It was fun to get the families together for good times and good food. Unfortunately the weather turned very cold and we awoke Sunday morning to a dusting of snow everywhere. I took a little walk and used my macro lens to shoot a few close-ups of the snow and ice on flowers and pine needles.

Roland Lee photo of ice on pine needles

Below: My two sons, and grandson Dallin James Lee before the baby blessing. My oldest son Jim, on the right, and second son Jonathan, middle holding little Dallin. I'm the old guy on the left.

Roland Lee, Jim Lee, Jon Lee, and baby Dallin James Lee

Monday, October 06, 2008

A Rainy Weekend at our Cabin with the Grandkids

Roland Lee macro photo of rain drop at Zion

With rain falling, and the forecast of more for the weekend, we headed up the slippery roads to our cabin at Zion National Park. We accompanied my daughter Jennie, her husband Jason, and grandkids Emma, Ellie, and Joshua who would not be denied their three-day vacation by the threat of foul weather. The slick muddy roads gave their mini van a little trouble, but we made it to the cabin in time to get the wood stove fired up and make our cosy beds. The unusually crisp air and the sounds of gentle rain dripping from the pine needles made for perfect sleeping as we snuggled into our beds.

Roland Lee cabin at Ponderosa Ranch on the east rim of Zion National Park

After a wet night, the dawn broke to a thin fog which veiled the pine trees around the cabins. It wasn't long however, til the haze broke up allowing the morning rays of sunlight to sparkle like diamonds on the wet leaves. Jennie cooked up a delicious cabin breakfast of deli bacon, fried eggs, toast and hot chocolate which got the day started in fine form.

The Maestri family at Roland Lee cabin at Zion Naitonal ParkJason set up his hammock, I strung up my sky chair, Nellie found a comfortable lounge chair, and the grandkids busied themselves in fun craft projects as we lazied our way through the day.

Jennie, Jason, Emma, Ellie, and Josh on the big swing

The oak leaves are starting to turn, but we're still several weeks away from the real show of color in Zion.

Friday, October 03, 2008

October Watercolor Painting Class

Artist Roland Lee Watercolor Painting Workshop in Utah
The watercolor painting class was small, but the work was powerful. I was very impressed with this group of artists. We were able to concentrate heavily on critical elements of learning to see and understand the landscape. We especially delved into the watercolor techniques of Negative Painting to paint trees, shrubs, and grasses. I was impressed with their value study drawings and finished paintings. Class members included Shari Cannon, Vicki Clayton, Gail Alger and Patsy Dayley.

Roland Lee Watercolor Painting ClassShari Cannon

Roland Lee Watercolor Painting ClassVicki Clayton

Roland Lee Watercolor Painting ClassPatsy Dayley

Roland Lee Watercolor Painting ClassGail Alger