Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sketching the Autumn Leaves at Duck Creek

Artist Roland Lee sketching the fall colors near Duck Creek on Cedar Mountain

With word that the southern Utah mountains would be blanketed with snow tomorrow, I grabbed my camera and sketchbook and headed for Cedar Mountain this morning to take in the fall colors. I was rewarded with fantastic (but windy) weather, and a visual feast of yellows and golds as I explored Duck Creek, Cedar Breaks, and Bryce Canyon.

Roland Lee photo of Duck Creek on Cedar Mountain in Southern Utah
Late afternoon at Duck Creek. The light made the colors explode.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

BYU Exhibit "Paintings From the Reign of Victoria"

A Highland Croft by Peter Graham, 1873
Yesterday I had a chance to see the new traveling exhibit of "Paintings from the Reign of Victoria" on display at Brigham Young University Museum of Art through October 24, 2009. This exhibition includes over 60 nineteenth century paintings acquired by Thomas Holloway for the women’s college he had founded in 1879. All I can say is, "Wow!" The paintings are generally very large and stunning. As a big fan of realism, and genre paintings from that era, I was deeply moved by the work. If you get a chance see this exhibit before it is gone.

The painting above called "A Highland Croft" was painted in 1873 by Peter Graham.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Visions of Zion Art Exhibit

Roland Lee painting of the Sentinel at Zion National Park
Last night I attended the opening of the new art exhibit "Visions of Zion" at the St. George Art Museum. This exhibit is a regional juried show in all media and is the concluding art event in the year-long Zion National Park Centennial celebration.
I was impressed by the wide variety of styles used to interpret the Zion National Park experience. While the paintings were wonderful, I especially enjoyed the fantastic photography and the three-dimensional pieces. If you get a chance, stop by and see the show. It will remain on display through January 2010.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Plein Air Painting at Brooks Pond

Plein Air painting at Brooks Pond
Mary Jane Grow paintingThe weather was great yesterday and today so I took my September Watercolor Class outdoors to do a little plein air painting. We went up to Brooks Pond which is a quiet little spot in town ringed with cottonwoods and reeds. A few ducks made the picture complete.
Left: Mary Jane Grow from Provo, Utah sets up her easel.

Gayle Alger sketches at Brooks PondGayle Alger does some sketching at Brooks Pond in St. George.

Roland Lee watercolor classLillie Jones, from Central Valley Utah works on a watercolor painting in the studio at A Passion for Painting Art Shop.

All my ducks lined up nicely for painting at Brooks Pond.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The $800 Cash Prize Goes to...

Roland Lee won the quick Draw contest at the Thanksgiving Point Plein Air Festival in 2009

Artist Roland Lee at the Thanksgiving Point Plein Air Art FestivalME! This afternoon they announced the winner of the $800.00 cash award from yesterday's "Quick Draw" Competition, and it turned out to be my painting "Flowers and Stone." I was thrilled to win the award, and the painting was purchased as well at the Thanksgiving Point Plein Air Festival.

We met lots of wonderful people during the festival and became better acquainted with some of Utah's best artists. I also had a number of artists sign up for my workshops this fall. Now we head home for a painting workshop Monday and Tuesday.

Friday, September 11, 2009

PLein Air Festival Brings New Collectors

Roland Lee and Katherine Piper at Thanksgiving Point Plein Air FestivalThe two-day Sale portion of the Thanksgiving Point Plein Air Festival began today. I was fortunate to have Katherine Piper purchase my watercolor painting of "The Secret Garden" this morning. She walks daily in the gardens and stopped by yesterday when I was finishing the painting, so she had a chance to see me work on it in person.

Roland Lee at the Quick Draw event during the 2009 Thanksgiving Point Plein Air FestivalA "Quick Draw" event took place in the afternoon. Each artist had 90 minutes to complete a plein air painting, frame it, and submit it for judging. Many people enjoyed watching as the artists worked. Among those who stayed to see me finish my painting was Chris Cameron left, and Di Ann Mott.

Ellie and Emma with artist Roland Lee during the quick draw eventMy grandkids Emma, Ellie, and Josh stopped by to encourage me with a kiss and a hug, before heading off to do painting and sculpture at the Children's art area.

Flowers and Stone painting by Roland LeeThe finished watercolor painting "Flowers and Stone" ready to enter in the competition.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Plein Air Painting at Thanksgiving Point

Roland Lee uses a Windsor and Newton travel kit for painting outdoors
You really get to know a place when you paint it. I've spent the last three days at Thanksgiving Point Gardens participating in a fun outdoor plein air painting competition. We've had free run of the whole place and I think I know the gardens very well now. I completed four paintings and a number of sketchbook drawings and feel pretty good about the body of work. We turned in our competition pieces tonight and will spend the next couple of days exhibiting and hopefully selling our work.

artist Roland Lee with painting and sketches of waterfall at Thanksgiving Point Plein Air FestivalMany people stopped by while we were painting to watch us work. I did this little sketch of one of the waterfalls and followed it with a watercolor painting. Here I'm holding both together.

Roland Lee watercolor painting of falls at Thanksgiving PointA close-up of the sketch and the plein air watercolor painting.

Outdoor painting setup of Roland LeeI enjoyed this shady spot in the Secret Garden and was intrigued by the way the light crept over the brick wall and danced across the courtyard. I started the painting one morning, and when I came back to finish it the next day, all the benches and pots had been removed. The foibles of plein air painting! I think I captured the feel of the scene anyway.
Roland Lee painting of the Secret GardenThe finished plein air painting, "Secret Garden"

Hanging pots at Thanksgiving Point Gardens
A quick little painting of one of the glorious hanging bouquet baskets lining a footbridge over the creek.

A flower lined creek meanders through the gardens. While I was working on this little painting I spotted a skinny water snake slithering along the surface and watched the frogs scatter.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Plein Air Painting in Zion National Park

Roland Lee painting on the deck of his cabin in East Zion
Roland Lee plein air watercolor study of a Ponderosa PineOn Monday we drove back up to our cabin at East Zion for a few days so I could get a little painting done. I took my plein air watercolor gear and sketchbook so I was ready for anything. The sky was overcast again from the big fires on Pine Valley Mountain and the drift smoke from California, creating a strange haze in Zion Canyon. Up on top it was a little clearer. I set up my Anderson Easel on the deck of our cabin and did a little study of a big Ponderosa Pine Tree in watercolor.

Artist Roland Lee relaxing at his cabin in East Zion
Roland Lee plein air painting from his cabin at ZionOkay, so you can't paint all the time. Sometime you just have to absorb the view. This is my favorite spot sitting in my sky chair looking north towards Cedar Mountain. After a comfortable nap, I decided to get out my paints again and do another a little watercolor from this very spot.

Roland Lee painting en plein air in Zion National Park
I painted both days in the east or upper part of Zion. The cliffs are whiter here and with the higher elevation comes big Ponderosa Pine Trees.
Roland Lee paining of East Zion National Park
The second day cleared up a lot and the last light of the day was clear and strong. I had to race to get this sketch done as the shadow crawled up the cliffs rapidly. It was a mad scramble but I got what I needed. This is one I'll have to finish back in the studio. That's the challenge of outdoor painting, but it is also what makes it exciting.