Recently we enjoyed meeting Denver artist Lisa Dianne Martin, who is in the process of climbing all of Colorado’s 14,000′ peaks (there are 53 of them!) and doing a plein air painting from the summit. She says it’s much more rewarding than taking a photo of the view, because of all the subtleties it makes you notice while you’re there.
To save time, she plans her trip using the web resource www.14ers.com and pre-mixes some of the colors she’ll need. Some of the mountains actually have a road to the top, so she can carry more gear, but some peaks require technical climbing with ropes, and she’ll go with experienced companions.
It’s not just the climbing and the time constraints that make it challenging, but also the changeable light and weather conditions at the summit.
“It made me realize how quickly the weather changes up there in terms of lighting,” she says. “You can be looking at the summit and painting it and in 30 seconds it’ll look night and day opposite, because at that altitude the sun changes in a snap. So you have to improvise, and you have to remember what you want to paint.”
We enjoyed a conversation recently with pastelist and photographer Kahne Smith, who was the winner of *three* Judsons awards last month at the Connecticut Pastel Society. She actually lives in Texas, but she’s a member of pastel societies all over the country and paints in wide-ranging places, as described in her blog. Shown above is a Montana landscape, Storm Over Belt Creek Ranch (9″x19 1/2″), and below is her easel alongside a canal in Dusseldorf, Germany.
At right is an award-winning 24″x18″ pastel done from a photo she took on a hot afternoon in Texas. She and her daughter were on their way home from a funeral and had stopped to watch the sunset.
“I pulled the truck over. As we got out in a mutual silence to watch the sun set, my daughter slipped her arm over my shoulders. The blistering air was heavy in our lungs, and the Texas countryside rang with the music of heat bugs. The dead grass cracking underneath my feet, I took a photo of this dead but glorious old tree; with greenery rapidly clothing her in vines and flowers.Thank God for daughters, and sunsets, and the promise of another day.”
We enjoyed a visit today from oil painter and pastelist Rebekkah Jackson. Raised on the eastern plains of Colorado, she went to live overseas in 1985. In the 1990s she was able to combine her love of teaching and art while volunteering working with Bosnian refugee children. Here she found that one of the only ways to reach traumatized children was through art. Now, back home in the States, she is enjoying plein air painting and travelling with her husband, Frank.
“I am now at a point in my life where I have more time to devote to painting and am enjoying the camaraderie of other Colorado painters.”
Rebekkah has had pastels juried into National Pastel Shows and her oil paintings have been accepted into the 2013 Plein Air Painters of Colorado exhibition and the 2014 Colorado Governor’s Art Show, among others. She is a past Board Member of the Pastel Society of Colorado, a member of Plein Air Painters of Colorado, and the Artists Association of Northern Colorado.
Originally from Chicago, award-winning artist Paul Zegers has been living and painting in Oregon since 1975. The climate allows plein air painting year-round, and the landscape is varied and engaging. Shown here (above) is an 8″x8″ plein air oil sketch entitled Mendocino Headlands. Below is an 11″x14″ entitled Above the Falls.
“My goal is to make a record of a time and place that holds interest and creates an invitation for exploration. I paint wet-in-wet oil on canvas and try to complete a piece in one sitting.”
Sometimes the plein air sketch becomes a finished painting, but he might also use them as source material for larger paintings. Below is Burnside Bridge Portland, OR (36″ x 48″).
He has also painted a triptych cityscape that measures 4 feet high by 9 feet wide.
Colleen Caubin has been painting all her life, beginning with abstract art and moving on to animals and landscapes. Now she paints the ever-changing ocean, the merging of nature with the abstract.
“For the past 2 years I’ve devoted countless hours to the sea, painting hundreds of studies. The only way to really learn to paint it is with constant observation, small studies and more observation until you can do the water nearly from memory.”
Shown here are two oil studies, 6×8 (above) and 8×6 (top).
Her blog covers many topics, including painting on copper (see Portrait of Radar, oil 5×7, right), waves, painting exercises, RV tales, plein air and art appreciation .