Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Tribute to my brother Blaine Nelson Lee Jr.

Photo of Blaine Nelson Lee Jr. Photo by David ConleyLast night we received word that my older brother Blaine Lee had passed away unexpectedly. It was a huge shock to me as I worked through the reality of what had just happened and measured the magnitude of my loss. Physically and emotionally, I felt crushed. Blaine was a friend, a mentor, an example, and a true brother in every sense of the word. He taught me to play the guitar and to love music. He helped me believe in myself and do things I would have never attempted without his guidance. He encouraged me on my life's vocation with the advice I've oft repeated to others, "Find something you love to do, and then find a way to get paid for it." Blaine's soft council and brotherly wisdom helped save my life during a time of excrutiating personal turmoil. He gave me spiritual strength in times when my heart sagged.

In later years when he faced the same challenges, I was able to be there for him. That's what brothers are for. I will miss him here, but know without doubt he lives again in a world without pain, and at this very moment is having a grand reunion with my father and grandparents. One day soon we will all be together again. Goodbye my brother, but just for now.

Blaine Nelson Lee family photo
My widowed mother with her four children. Left to right: Roland, Grant, Blaine, and Andrea.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Kreg Harrison Sculpture Brings Back memories of "Simpler Times"

Artist Roland Lee and sculptor Kreg Harrison in Kreg's studio
Kreg Harrison and I in his studio in Santa Clara Utah.

Simpler Times - sculpture by Kreg Harrison in the collection of Roland LeeI'm never happier than when I can acquire a new piece of artwork to add to our collection. Today we consummated a deal with renowned sculptor Kreg Harrison and brought home a wonderful bronze sculpture called "Simpler Times." It depicts Kreg's own grandfather as a young man in Pinto Utah, bringing home a rabbit for the dinner table. His single shot rifle and faithful companion are by his side. When I saw the piece it reminded me of my own son Jonathan who spent his childhood wandering the hills of Dammeron Valley with my old single shot 22 and a Brittany he raised from a pup. Today Jon lives in Annabella Utah where he raises hunting dogs, game birds, and six kids. I will treasure this new sculpture which will always bring back memories of "simpler times."

Monday, January 19, 2009

Red Desert Wonder New Painting

Roland Lee painting of southern Utah red cliffs

I was inspired to do this painting after a hike last week in the desert foothills of St. George. My favorite time to wander the desert is during the last hour of sunlight when the red cliffs light up with the last rays of the sun.

"Red Desert Wonder" step by step watercolor painting demonstration

Friday, January 16, 2009

Advanced Watercolor Painting Class

Artist Karen Bettilyon

Artist Shari Cannon

My January watercolor painting class was very special. I enjoyed spending two days with three excellent upper-level artists who pretty much outclassed their teacher in all of their paintings. I did three watercolor demonstration paintings showing watercolor techniques that were common to both desert paintings and snow scenes. Since it was an advanced group we also had the chance to discuss in-depth the specific chemical and physical characteristics of watercolor pigments -- definitely an advanced topic I wouldn't share with less experienced artists.
Artist Gayla FolkmanPhotos: Top - Karen Bettilyon, Above - Shari Cannon, left - Gayla Folkman

Saturday, January 10, 2009

For the Beauty of the Land

Roland Lee photo of Pine Valley Mountain

Sometimes a guy just has to get away to think. I had one of those times yesterday afternoon as I stole away for a quick hike in the desert. The winter sun was warm but the air was still crisp from the recent snow. The red desert sand stood in stark contrast to the clear blue sky and the snow-covered peaks of Pine Valley Mountain off in the distance. I often find myself stunned by the perfect beauty of God's creations and feel like more than a casual observer as I walk among them. What a beautiful place this is. I am thankful for my time here.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Snowy weekend results in Icy River Painting

Roland lee painting of river in Utah snow

Boy, it's been cold in Utah the past couple of weeks and we've had more than our share of snow. Over the weekend we travelled to Annabella Utah, near Richfield, for a big Holiday party with my kids and grandkids. It was cold, but didn't stop us from enjoying the snow. When I got back to the studio I launched into this painting of a scene along the Fremont River with the sun casting long blue shadows across the snow.

See Step-by-step watercolor painting demonstration on this painting