Monday, August 26, 2013

New Painting: "Silver Ledge"

I FINALLY finished a new painting that I was frantically working on to enter in an exhibit. I still gave the piece all of the TLC it deserved, but I think I've been painting more than I've been sleeping!

Silver Ledge, 18" x 24"
Silver Ledge is the name of the mine -- or what's left of it -- that sits a little south of Silverton, Colorado along the Million Dollar Highway (aka Hwy. 550). Behind the structures lies the sprawling Chattanooga Valley which used to hold the small town of Chattanooga (not to be confused with the one in Tennessee!). The town was destroyed in the late 19th century, but I haven't found a definitive reason for how that happened: it was either by avalanche, flood or fire. In any case, the town was never rebuilt and only a few buildings remain there today -- none visible from this vantage point.

Far in the distance sits Bear Mountain. Much of the region displayed the glorious golden yellows of fall aspen, but this view seemed to show few aspen and lots of Colorado blue spruce.

The Silverton area was known for producing lots of mines, many of them silver. But the Silver Ledge's primary commodity was tungsten. It also extracted smaller amounts of gold, silver, lead and zinc.

The painting shows how the mine looked the last time I was there -- September, 1997. I understand efforts were being made in 2010 by a preservation group to prevent further deterioration of the minehead and also to cleanup the tailings which were leaching lead, zinc and copper into Mineral Creek (which runs below the embankment on the left and off into the Valley).

I've been wanting to paint this image for almost seventeen years -- and I've finally done it! It isn't the desert, but the site is in southwestern Colorado and we can see lots of distance from this spot. So it fits my tagline which you would find on my website and on my business cards: The Vast Spaces of the Southwest!

Monday, August 12, 2013

More Inspiration!

As a landscape painter, I love it when I stumble across artworks that I've never seen before that manage to take my breath away once I "discover" them.

Curescanti Needle, Colorado
George Frederick Bensell, ca. 1875

This is one such painting. I had Googled images of Colorado paintings, and this is one of the items that came up. Curescanti Needle is located in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison (one of the country's National Parks) near Montrose, Colorado. I suspect the artist took some liberties with how the place actually looked, but some 19th century painters did that -- they were more interested in capturing the mood of a place than re-creating every rock and tree that exists.

OK, it isn't a desert painting, but I still love it, and I DO paint Colorado scenes on occasion (in fact, I'm working on a Colorado painting now). The size is 66" x 48"/168cm x 122cm and is in a private collection. Lucky peeps!!

Very inspiring!!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Mojave Nocturne

Mojave Nocturne is the latest painting in my ongoing (never-ending?) series of desert paintings. The size is 14" x 11" / 35cm x 28cm, acrylic on panel:

It depicts Joshua Tree National Park at night as a full moon rises and shines through the clouds. I've always loved being in the desert under a full moon: the bare ground lights up more than grass or shrub-covered landscapes do, and the place takes on a special magic that must be experienced. And the Joshua trees appear as apparitions from a Halloween night, with many ghostly fingers and arms reaching out to grab you!

Still, in spite of those thoughts, the desert by moonlight isn't at all scary to me (unless one were to step on a rattlesnake in the darkness, but there are no snakes in this painting). The moon, the glowing clouds (when present) and the shapes against a starry sky have a beauty all their own.

Can you tell I love the desert?