Thursday, July 23, 2009

Boulder, Utah

Many of you have voiced your interest in painting with Doug so I thought I would tag along and see what all the hype was about! Many of you HAVE been painting with him, and I welcome your feedback as well, but for those of you who haven’t, I’m going to share with you my experiences on this blog " . . . from my perspective.”

Not being a painter myself, I may not understand all the technical painting terms, so I will be asking lots of questions as I go, which hopefully will not get me banned from tagging along! Jade, our jack russell terrier, has been tagging along for quite some time now and she’s actually treated like royalty so let’s see how it goes for me!

Our venture this past week has been just outside the beautiful little town of Boulder, Utah, just 30 miles from my hometown of Escalante. For those of you who have been to Boulder, you’ll understand there’s a new meaning to the word “laid back.” No one is in too big of a hurry, and everyone would literally give you the shirt off his back if you asked for it. You also get very straight-forward conversation, as I did when I ran into an old high school classmate who had no problem telling me he didn’t recognize me because I had gained weight since he’d seen me last! Ouch! The truth hurts!

We spent the week in my brother’s beautiful yet rustic log cabin, which is just far enough up the mountain that the nighttime doesn’t just turn the lights down, it brings pitch-black darkness! It is also eerily quiet with the exception of some crickets, hoot owls and an occasional bellowing of a lost cow! The stars, however, are nothing short of spectacular! Scouring the sky looking at bagillions of stars (yes, in Southern Utah, that’s a word!) is breathtaking! Spotting shooting stars is a nightly event that brings many “ooos and aaahs.”

Okay, so back to the main event here – this is a painting trip, isn’t it? Well, yes, eventually Doug pulled the paints out after a few days of R & R, (Doug carrying our friend's 60-pound dog with burned paws out of Calf Creek Falls is kinda like rest, isn’t it?) and teaching me to ride a motorcycle was also very relaxing for him I’m sure!

One evening on our way to Escalante, we stopped on the highway just above Calf Creek Falls to get a shot of the breathtaking view of the Escalante River going up through these magnanimous red mountains with bright green trees lining the river. The road is narrow and it’s straight down on both sides (yikes) but we shall stop anyway – apparently this is the perfect shot . . . except for the sun . . . it’s behind a cloud. "Let’s just wait a minute and wait for the right evening light – I want to see the sun hit on this side (pointing to the left), and the dark shadows on the other." Dramatic light! Oooh, interesting . . . Of course, the cloud is NOT budging, and we wait for quite some time . . . never fully getting the shot he wants (like sitting around watching grass grow).

Finally, I say, “Ooh, there ya go, now there’s some nice light!” (because I’m hungry and I’m ready to go). He gives me a look, “Nah, that’s not the light I'm after.” Dang it! Never realized how important the sunlight is to a plein air painter. I’ve heard Doug talk about “nice light” or “flat light” which I always just went along with. Now, I find that early morning light and evening light are “nice light” because it drags wonderful dramatic shadows across his painting . . . flat light being straight up above, offering no shadows whatsoever. I had never noticed shadows before, but in looking at some of Doug’s paintings, the shadows are amazing! I was taking them for granted.

Well, we didn’t get the light we wanted on that tiny little ledge (where I held my breath until we got on our way). He set out early the next morning to do a great color study. He wants to do a very large painting of this spot and this color study gave him all the right colors of each of the rocks, the trees, clouds, and sky. As he takes the detail from his digital images, the colors from the study will help him create the right view from that tiny ledge. That larger painting will be forthcoming in the months to come!

Our ventures onto the Boulder Highways (dirt roads) were hot and dusty. Jade panted patiently in the back of Doug’s Element as the heat took its toll on her. Doug looked for places to paint where there was some shade for his dog and of course, his lovely wife who is now tagging along asking questions! Ah, that’s tender! These paintings were painted on the same road, but facing three different directions on three different days.

Black Ledge Road
8 x 10

Boulder Back Drop

8 x 10

On occasion, a local will stop and ask “whatcha doin?” A brilliant and clever comeback is always tempting, but kindly Doug generally responds with a polite “just paintin!” He’s always gracious with a thank you when they come back with “well, that’s perdy darn good!”

Summer Clouds
8 x 10

Capturing the simplicity of this little community and the genuine goodness of its inhabitants is what makes these paintings so amazing to me. The paintings captured the feel of the dust in my mouth, the grit in my hair and the heat from the sun.

Let me know what you think . . . I might be prejudice but I think they’re amazing . . . course, that’s just from my perspective . . .


  1. What a great way to share your art with everyone! The blog looks great and I love the art. Can't wait to see your upcoming work.


  2. Hi Doug and Jeanette.
    Great way to share with everyone. Stuff about pace, light and locals very fun, and make me want to get out there. Hope we'll have a chance to paint together again, (now that my excuses have been removed.)
    Keep up the good work.
    Love you two!

  3. Great idea Jeanette. Love the paintings. Thanks for sharing..

  4. Jeanette: great of you to share these experiences: I can go there vicariously for now and look forward to the real thing in the future. Great work as always; Doug you are a really a master; I love all of my memories of painting with you (and I can hear those crickets and smell the goat nearby) and each of your paintings that I have here with me.


  5. Jeanette,
    You write as well as Doug paints. What a team you guys make!
    Thanks for your perspective. It's quite humorous!

    Amy Lorenz

  6. Jeanette,

    I loved the story. It brought back memories of when we went to Escalante camping. I remember driving up there in Steve's van that we borrowed and making sure we dodged all the cows on the road.

    I also remember that place on the road and just telling mysel, do not look down lol.

    There was a time that I remember Doug explaining to me about shadows. He was painting a child's toy and had positioned a light in a way that it casts shadows. He did a great job bringing out the shades and lighting.

    Loved reading about the trip!


  7. Jeanette,

    You too are an painted a picture in my head of what you were looking at.

    Always enjoy admiring Doug's work!


  8. Hi Jeanette and Doug: Love the paintings and the story! From the Green Mountains of Vermont, I'm longing to be in Utah. Just yesterday, I talked to a couple after church who told me all about Boulder, UT- what a strange coincidence. Thanks for sharing...Ann Spencer

  9. Wow! All I can manage to type right now is Wow! I am kinda new to this blog/art world and have never actually seen Doug's work before...I have been missing out! I also love the blog being written by you Jeanette. It makes a very interesting perspective. Thanks!

  10. Hi Jeanette
    Thank you for this entertaining blog, I´m german and some blogs are difficult to read. The paintings of Doug are beautyful! Greetings from Berlin, Maike

  11. Jeanette,
    you are a very entertaining commentator. It's interesting to hear your perspective. I'm sure that you and my husband could have quite a conversation about living with a painter. Hmmmmmm..... My parents used to say, well, you know, she's an artist, It was only partly, a compliment and I knew that.
    Anyway your husband's painting are slammin' works. Aaron Lifferth included your link in his blog post today so you will be getting visitors and they won't be disappointed.
    Fantastic paintings by an artist who knows his subject is light :)

  12. Great story telling, Jeanette, and beautiful light capturing, Doug!

  13. Jeanette,

    It's so fun to relive the details of our Boulder trip through your humor-filled writing. You are as good a scorekeeper in this adventure as Doug is a painter. LOVE this blog and thanks so much for sharing.


  14. Oh, and I'd like to include that the dude who said something about your weight had no teeth and actually looked twenty years older than us. Consider the source, right?

  15. Aunt Nettie this is so neat. What a great idea. I love Uncle Doug's artwork. I have always thought it was so awesome. Thanks for sharing. You did a great job putting it all together. Love, Jill

  16. This blog is a fantastic read and Doug your paintings are too good to put into words.
    I see a book in the future, Jeanette.

  17. Great painting, you did a good job.