Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

Davida Schulman has awarded me a Kreativ Blogger Award. The rules for accepting this award are the following:

Enter your "acceptance" on your own blog. List seven things about yourself and then list seven other art bloggers that you admire. You'll be tempted to list bloggers who are not artists or artists who are not bloggers but stick to artists who blog!

About myself:

1. I live in Sunset, Utah in the same house that I grew up in
2. I have painted since I was 10 years old - my first painting had a $2 price tag on it!
3. I have a great studio that is two doors down from my home, making for a great commute every morning
4. I have been married to my best friend, Jeanette, for 23 years and we have three amazing kids, Ryan 21, Amy 20 and Wesley 16
5. My painting buddy is Jade, our Jack Russell Terrier
6. I have the greatest family and friends (they're all family) in the world!
7. I once golfed 27 out of 31 days in a month during a painting class in Helper, Utah

Seven Artists who blog that I greatly admire:

1. Karin Jurick
2. Jennifer McChristian
3. Josh Been
4. Eldon Warren
5. Lane Bennion
6. Zach Procter
7. Wendy Chidester

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Masterpiece of Another Sort - November 2009

With as much as we were gone this summer, you would have thought that our garden would have been a big flop! But thanks to our 16-year-old Wesley, (youngest of our three beautiful children, pictured below left to right: Wesley, Amy and Ryan) who faithfully got up at 6:30 am all summer long to water our garden, it was the talk of the town! Right on the main drag in Sunset, many couldn’t believe the Braithwaite garden. The zucchini provided zucchini brownies for half the neighborhood, which included a plate to sample, an exact two cups of zucchini in a baggie and a recipe to make and share!

One of our admirers was our sweet neighbor, Charlyne Wise. Passing by one day, she asked “What in the world is that gray plant?” We finally figured out that it was an artichoke--a new addition to the garden this year. “Well you know you’re supposed to cut off the mother choke first, don’t you?” What?!! Choke the mother? I didn’t get it. Well this was news to us, so Doug and the kids finally (about mid August) had a ceremony in which they decapitated the mother choke and finally the artichokes began to grow!

Charlyne’s walking route includes a stroll by our garden every day so she was thrilled when we finally “dechoked” the mother! Needless to say, with such a short growing season left for the “chokes,” our biggest artichoke was barely bigger than a pea! It was our “joke” of the garden. We enjoyed telling that story to our friends.

One day while Doug was showing our friends, Bret Bryant and Julie Auguson around the garden, he told them the story of the artichokes. As he told them about the failure and the pea-sized artichokes, Bret looks in the center of the one plant and, with a befuddled look on his face, sees a full-size artichoke. He looked confused – “what’s this then?” he asked. Doug’s mouth dropped open as there in the center of the 2nd artichoke plant was a full-size beautiful artichoke! “What the . . ?” He reached down and picked it up. It was neatly severed at the stem . . . he looked at me and back at the artichoke and almost simultaneously, a smile came across our faces as we both said out loud “Charlyne!” We had a good laugh!!

In the midst of finally getting back into the studio, Doug and I have been trying to get our garden harvested and the yard and house winterized. So other than the artichoke failure, our garden was amazing.

Yielding probably over a thousand tomatoes, some of what are still in the “cool” back room getting promoted from the green box to the pink box to the red box! Salsa, melons, potatoes, peppers and zucchini, and apples coming out of our ears. Oh and I finally found my carrots after pulling up the pepper plants! (this is the other “garden joke” - - we put a $500 chain link fence around the garden to keep Jade from eating my 12 carrot plants!)

Some potatoes were almost as big as Doug’s head! I took a picture and sent it to my friend, Julie Williams– she sent a note back saying that she thought there was quite a resemblance between the potato and Doug, and wondered if he’d been cheating on me! hahaha good one Julie!

The apples kept coming – seriously if I didn’t get the bucket emptied by the end of the day, there was another bucket magically appeared the next morning. Applesauce, dried apples with sugar and cinnamon and apple pie filling. Plus eating apples with peanut butter was a treat!

The salsa was out of this world! Hot yet sweet . . . secret ingredient: peaches ☺ Special going on this month: Buy a painting and I throw in a bottle of my amazing salsa!!

Doug just finished tilling the garden, giving it a rest and time to rejuvenate itself, preparing it for the next growing season come spring. I really think this is a special ingredient to our amazing garden. It reminds me of how an amazing masterpiece comes about. Starting with a freshly-stretched canvas or board, ready for it’s first layer of gesso, then another, then another, until finally it is prepped and ready for its first brush stroke. They both are well thought-out, laid out carefully and nurtured step by step. Taking them full-circle – start to finish. Both masterpieces – one amazing artist – well that’s just from my perspective . . . and my very lame excuse for not posting a blog for over a month!

PS: his work has been amazing since returning to the studio. Here's a sneak peak . . .

Boulders on Boulder Mountain
40 x 42
This is a sneak peak of his February 2010 Show at Terzian Gallery in Park City! This is unbelievably amazing! It's life-size . . . I want to step into it and put my feet in the water . . .

Morning Porch Light
12 x 16

This was painted at the Spring City Plein Air Competition and was on display at the Eccles Community Art Center's "Eight & Friends" Show that opened last night! Many didn't get to see it because someone who doesn't live in the valley (with exquisite taste, I must say) came in at the beginning of the night and purchased it with the stipulation of being able to take it with them!! This was painted "en plein air" in about 4 hours. Amazing!!

Weber River
8 x 10

This is also at the Eccles Center "Eight & Friends" Show. Love it - you should go see it in person! 27th and Jefferson in Ogden. Great show with some great plein air painters, George Handrahan, Shanna Kunz and Susan Gallagher to name a few! Beautiful show!

Southbound Right Lane
8 x 10

This little painting was done as a "quick draw" at an opening at the Idaho Falls Art Center in Carr Gallery in Idaho Falls. That show was up through October - a Doug Braithwaite / Brad Slaugh duo! It was a fantastic showing. This painting is also at Eccles Art Center up for the next month or so. No one can paint a freeway intersection like Braithwaite! (course, has anyone else tried? Why would they! hahaha)

Misty Cliffs
5 x 6

This great little piece is at Crowley/Wilkerson Gallery in Elevated Spaces on 25th Street in Ogden. This show opened last night as well and is a "mini" show of over 150 beautiful paintings. Seriously, it's a must-check-out show as well. This was painted in Torrey on a very drizzly morning. Certainly a rain drop or two on this painting!

12 x 16

This is one of the most recent paintings finished in the studio. This, too, was sold during a "pre-viewing" of the show at Crowley/Wilkerson Gallery! But, fortunately, is still there to view for the next few weeks! Talking with a cute young couple, who were admiring the painting, said they enjoyed the "two views" of Doug's work - up close and the "far back" view. I always say "Doug's paintings are kind've a "buy one get one free" kinda deal--one painting to look at up close and another painting to view from afar! I'm brilliant, I tell you! ;)

11 x 14

This was painted in Huntsville I believe - on a paint-out with the plein air painting group! Starting to cool off and a touch of snow in the tops of those mountains! Are we ready for winter? I think not . . . This is also at Eccles Community Art Center "Eight & Friends" show. Call them at the center if you're interested in one of these paintings - they'd love to sell you one!

Changing of the Guard
12 x 16

Last but not least is this gorgeous fall landscape that was recently painted as well. Fall colors are beautiful! This is also in the "Eight & Friends" show at Eccles.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Estes Park Plein Air Competition

Estes Park welcomed us with open arms with our first contact being a very gracious host, Diana, at Paradise on the River, a great RV Park where we set up our base camp for the next 12 days and were well taken care of by Diana, Robin, Jane and Rod. A comfortable trailer with all the necessities for comfort—soft bed, satellite TV, Wi-Fi and chairs by the river! What more do you need?

We met some amazing people while in Estes Park! For starters, Ron and Ann Wilcocks, owners of Earthwood Collections, were among our favorites! Down-to-earth and genuine were some of the ways we described them. We received warm greetings by them, both at their gallery and at their home where food and fun were plentiful to dozens of artists. Ann made all feel welcome by keeping drinks in hand and delicious food on our plates while Ron invited all to the kitchen to having a bonding moment with tequila shots, giving everyone the full blown experience offering the very best of tequila, along with the salt on hand, topped off with the slice of lime! Ah, smooth going down!

We met many terrific artists to whom we are now thrilled to not only follow their work, but also to add them to our circle of friends. I have added their blogs or web pages over under “links.” A favorite couple we met at the social at Ron and Ann’s home were Lou and Maggie Renner. Lou is a rock-climbing instructor and learned to get a better feel of how to climb the mountain by being encouraged to sketch the mountains he was going to climb. Maggie enjoys climbing with Lou, while Lou has become very proficient in painting while supporting Maggie’s profession! What a great team!

From On the Rock

16 x 12

From all the wonderful artists we met, we learned that there are people who do art for fun and those who do art to teach. Then there are those who are in the trenches to make a living. This was the group that we met. These were hard-working artists, performing like rock stars, making a living . . . not afraid to pack up their painting gear and make a 4-mile hike to paint a beautiful mountain peak, or set up in a crowded park and “perform” in front of hundreds of people.

Peaceful Valley

8 x 10

With the loaded Element, we debated whether we had room for Jade, but the sad look on her face as we packed our bags, told us we best squeeze her in! She thoroughly enjoyed her time out painting with Doug or sitting outside near the trailer. She was entertained for hours either way, just “watching” for critters! Driving through Rocky Mountain National Park, she begged to get back up on my lap so she could see the elk out the window! (notice the scratches on my leg from her excitement!) Estes also had a great playground for Jade . . . a dog park! What a dog-friendly community! When we arrived at the dog park, there were 7 or 8 fairly good size dogs there already and they came bounding to say “hey” to Jade! All tails wagging and ready to play, with no threat of “this is my territory!” Jade was in “sniff” heaven! Sooooo much to sniff and so little time! Also water nearby and Jade swam a few “laps” playing fetch while Doug threw a tennis ball out into the water.

South Saint Vraines

12 x 16

Food was amazing as we always try to enjoy the “local” restaurants and food. Best in the West wings were pretty amazing .. . we tried those a couple of different times, along with Poppy’s Pizza and Mountain Home CafĂ© for a great breakfast! And let’s not forget Fish Fry Night at our RV Park, where everyone in the park brought a pot luck dish and the park provided fish from the river! It was amazing and we met some great friends who thought we were a little young to be retired! We decided if we ever retire, we’ll be doing pretty much what we’re doing now - - painting and golfing!

A childhood friend of mine, Cozan, who moved away when she was in 6th grade, came one afternoon to take me to lunch and shop in town! We had a fabulous time laughing and reminiscing over a great enchilada at the Grumpy Gringos and then window shopping and giggling, like a couple of school girls, over fashion merchandise that looked EXACTLY like the “perdy outfits” we used to wear in Escalante. We were also pretty easily amused by the t-shirts - maybe you had to be there, but we thought they were hysterical! “Dude - I Think This Whole Town is High--Estes Park, Elevation: 7,542 feet” being one of our favorites. So seriously, did you think that was funny or were WE high that day? haha I also finally got to vent my dissatisfaction of her getting the cutest boyfriend in 4th grade and “assigning” me to, I think, my 3rd cousin! what the heck was that all about? Well anyway, glad to get that off my chest. We ended the afternoon with a visit to the chocolate shop, where, if we spent $18, we got a ¼ pound of chocolate free! I mean, seriously, who can pass up a bargain like that! mmm, toffee, chocolate covered caramels, suckers, and turtles, just to name a few of the bargains we walked outta there with . . . They are now permanently affixed to my thighs, however . . .

Of course, we couldn’t have a “working trip” without some golf where you get to share the tee box with elk! No kidding! Elk not 10 feet from the tee box and people just walk right up and tee off without giving them a second thought. Met one of Doug’s framing suppliers, Amy Lorenz and her husband Rick, for a great 18 holes at Estes Park Golf Course. It wasn’t our best round of golf, but when Doug finally got his driver to cooperate, was affectionately called a jerk-ass by Rick for making such an amazing drive! They were a lot of fun!

Downtown Ward

12 x 16

One of our painting days was spent in Ward, Colorado. I’m trying to find the right way to describe this little mining town without offending! Quaint yet sweet . . . friendly, yet, almost “ghost-town” spooky! Doug’s painting of “Downtown Ward” might help you visualize the setting. We were approached by the town sheriff who’s “look” resembled the rest of the people we saw—beard halfway down his chest, with hair length about the same, except HIS hat said “SHERIFF” across the front. He was very friendly and said we weren’t the first “of our kind” to come and set up and paint their little town. Also said he thought we’d be "jist fine parked there as it didn’t seem too busy" that day. We also had a visit from a 3-legged dog that was as close to a bear as I saw. We also got a kick out of a couple of the “locals” who just “chilled” in the middle of the road – and I’m not sure, but I think they were the designated crossing guards during rush hour!

The final day brought a quick-draw in the downtown park which meant 90 minutes to paint a painting and there were over 300 spectators walking around watching them paint! Doug did a great painting of an Estes alleyway. 50+ artists set up all within a one-block radius was very entertaining for Jade and I, and all the spectators.

Estes Alley

5 x 7

The competition ended with a gallery stroll and announcement of winners. Doug received a third place for Glacier Creek, of which also won the Director’s Purchase Award! Yahoo! Very exciting for "the new kid on the block."

Glacier Creek

12 x 16

Estes was a wonderful experience. The people were warm and friendly—the countryside was beautiful and serene. And did I mention, the chocolate was to die for! It’s a place now vividly imprinted on the “timestamp” of my journey through life that I won’t soon forget. And that, my friends, was our Estes adventure from my perspective . . .

Lunch Tables

8 x 10

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Dog's Life in a Painter's World

Jade is on alert – standing on the tailtage of the Element she is watching for any movement at all and keeping us safe from any and all unwelcome wildlife! Her head jerks from side to side as the brush rustles in the breeze. It’s drizzling and a balmy 62 degrees here at the lakeside of Pineview Reservoir. Jade’s little body is shivering but she refuses to go inside the truck and lie down on her blanket. She is dying to jump off the tailgate and dive into those bushes to see what lies beneath.

Doug is painting this morning in the Ogden Valley Plein Air competition in Huntsville, Utah and I’m along for the ride. We haven’t had a drop of rain for a month and now it decides it’s ready to unload on the 50+ painters out doing their thing this morning! Such is the life of plein air painting! After getting the rest of the I’s dotted and T’s crossed (coffee, breakfast, crucial ipod and a jacket for me) we’re ready to settle down.

I’m taking pictures with “Photobooth” on my mac because I forgot my camera (I’ve been fired twice already this morning! We were late for registration as well ☺) Pi-shaw! You can’t fire me, I’m free labor! We’re here overlooking Pineview and the rain has finally stopped! Doug plugs in the ipod which is set to "shuffle" and gives him a variety of 5000+ songs to listen to--everything from classical guitar music to Pink Floyd to the soundtrack from Chicago. I, however, am snuggled in the Element with a jacket and blanket! Doug’s a true plein air painter, can handle any of the elements, but I’m more of a . . . what you might call, a "fair-weather-painting-reporter!”

Going out painting has always been something our “painter dogs” have enjoyed. Buddy was our first.
Buddy was a beagle that was supposed to weigh between 18 and 20 pounds. However, over the years, he grew to be over 60 pounds! He was so big, Doug would put him on a dolly or in the wheel barrow to take to the studio to work!

We had Buddy for over 11 years and, when he peaked out at 60+ pounds and could hardly walk, Doug put him on weight training, which included running on the treadmill and taking a thyroid pill every day! He shed 25 pounds and got his life back! We were so thrilled to have our Buddy back!

Doug has many fun stories of he and Buddy out painting.
He enjoyed finding a warm spot on the rocks to rest while Doug painted near the river. My favorite story, however, goes back to the late 90’s while Doug and Buddy were out “on location.”

To preface this story, let me give you a little more background on Buddy – he had SERIOUS separation anxiety. He HATED being left alone. Going to Home Depot was
always a crap shoot – do we take Buddy or leave him home? Leaving him home meant whining, moping, digging up the back yard, and then pouting upon our return. But taking him meant leaving him in the truck with the windows rolled down, but not enough that he could jump out, because he would, and then having him howl non-stop till the intercom at Home Depot would announce there was a dog near death in a black truck in the parking lot! (true story!)

With that being said, I’ll continue with the story. Doug and Buddy had been painting on a cold, rainy morning from the cab of his Toyota Tacoma with Buddy nestled comfortably in the back seat. As the rain subsided, Doug decided that maybe he could move to painting outside, so he got out and went to the back of the truck to drop the tailgail and set up his easel. When he returned to the cab, Buddy had, in a moment of panic, JUMPED to the front seat (seriously, he must have had a serious adrenelin rush to jump the seat – he’s 60+ pounds remember) and jumped right into the pallet of paint. In a matter of 15 seconds, he managed to get Thalo Green paint from one end of the cab to the other, running from door to door, window to window, rubbing his nose . . . covered in paint . . . with his paws . . . covered in paint . . . to get this green stuff off.

When Doug walked back to the door, well, you can only imagine the expletives that described his . . . surprise . . . (words that I'm certain he hasn't used since) . . . The entire cab covered in paint, seriously, this included every single window, dashboard, steering wheel, not to mention the dog, completely covered in paint, licking his GREEN wounds! Well . . . needless to say, the painting didn’t get finished, I’m not sure how Doug got it all together and got he and Buddy down the mountain . . . ALIVE . . .
he says it’s all a blur . . . ☺ but in the end, Doug and I enjoyed a long, but somewhat EXPENSIVE, lunch while we dropped off Buddy at the pet salon for a detoxifying “wash and color treatment” (green was just not a good color on him!) and the truck off for a deluxe wash and upholstery cleaning!

I've seen this companionship between Doug and his dogs over the last 23 years--
I guess being a painter is somewhat of a lonely profession! Talking and answering yourself is one thing, but when you start to argue with yourself, well, there's where we need to get some help! So having a "buddy" to take to work with you has pretty much saved his sanity! It's a great life for both Doug AND dog!

Well,the painting is getting it's final touches and I’m sitting here taking pictures of Jade trying to lick my face off. Part of my job as "head reporter" is to REPORT what is going on outside this warm car . . . so in an effort to not get fired a third time,
I did take "progression" pictures of the painting which I will post at a later time as I have Doug walk me through the steps of a painting from start to finish. Don't thank me now, thank me when you see me with something wonderful! :)

I know, most of you are saying, "well it's about time we got to the painting part of this blog!" Well, I aim to please, so here is the "dessert" you've all been patiently waiting for . . some recent plein air paintings Doug has done in the last couple of months, out paintin' just he and his dog, and of course, their trusty reporter, just tagging along giving you a little insight "from my perspective . . ."

Spring Shelter
8 x 10

Summer Trees
8 x 10

Shelter Study
8 x 10

Torrey Fields
8 x 10

Saturday, August 1, 2009

"What?! You're Painting a Used Car Lot?"

As many of you have figured out by now, Doug doesn’t paint just the same ol' “traditional” stuff! He paints what his world is made of, much the same way Charles Russell painted cowboys and indians. I remember the first time Doug decided to paint a car lot in Ogden, I thought to myself, and unfortunately out loud, "A big gorilla hanging over a couple of used cars? Are you kidding me? Who in the world would want a painting like that hanging in their living room!” Well, I ate my words. Not only ate those words for lunch but for years to come! mmmmm, how I've learned to love crow! And as they say in Boulder, Utah, they were pretty darn good! Since that time, car lots with the big blow-up "enticements" have made their way into Doug's painting archives. (some of which are on his website) The Rookie and Quality Assurance are two of my favorites.

The Rookie
8 x 10

From the car lots, he began looking for interesting compositions from just driving down a street, again, the streets that we drive every day. "Saccos Fruit Stand," that we drive by on almost a daily basis, was painted in 2004 in Roy, Utah was one of the pioneers that was recognized by locals with just the big “banana” sign! here I am, eating more crow! Who'da thunk? A banana sign? Seriously? Other iconic signs were easily recognized, such as China Nite's Buddah (Call of the Moorlocks) in Ogden, Classic’s bowling pin (6:19 Downtown) in Salt Lake City or Carls Jr. burger stand (Hunters Gatherers) in St. George are among the hundreds of cityscapes that are in Doug’s archives.

Quality Assurance
8 x 10

A little about us . . . Doug and I have been married for almost 23 years and live in the home that Doug grew up in. He has always been the "stay at home dad" and I have always worked outside the home, thus never getting the opportunity to "tag along" on painting trips . . . until this summer. Can I just say that . . . well . . . this has been THE GREATEST SUMMER EEEEVER! I've been on all these "working" trips. Yeah right . . . whatever. They were full-fledged vacations for me with all the crucial elements of the perfect vacation . . . hotel, pool, golf, reading, more golf, good food and, of course, a constant supply of ice and fresca! I tried to look busy . . . ya know, checking emails, sending in entry forms, balancing the checkbook! But seriously, it's been fantastic!

Recently we spent four days in Midway where we did a plein air competition. Notice how I say WE? :) This quaint little town with red barns and fields was so terrific! Doug would go out and paint in the morning while I "worked" vigilantly by the pool and then when Doug was done painting, we would head to Wasatch Golf Course to exercise play 9 holes of golf . . . this turned out to be a lot of work on my part--hitting the ball so many times in one afternoon is draining! WE were so tired after such a rough day at work!)

Barn Study
5 x 7

To make myself more useful and feel more a part of this "we" painting venture, I tagged along for the quick-draw competition. "Wow hon, are you sure you can work that into your schedule today?" Doug asked with a wink and a smile. Well, tagging along meant that I was going to sit in the Element and read Twilight! Oh, and of course, I'll go get water . . . we were only a half a block from 7-11! Nice choice of locations!! We had many visitors who walked by, and one in particular said "hey, that's the view from our house!" which incidentally ended up being the title of the painting!

It was great watching the painting come together. A little purple paint was used to "draw" the composition, using all kinds of things besides just his brushes, like his fingers and q-tips! I would check the progress every half hour or so (it's part of my job, ya know!) but I have to say, the last 15 or 20 minutes were the BEST!

Watching him put the final touches on this little painting was great. Mix a little paint, match the color, then balancing the “painting hand” on the other arm, make a strategic “stroke” or “dot” on a sign, post, for-sale sign, or a rose bush. One stroke. Done. Cleans off the brush. My heckling comments vary . . . “That’s it? One dot? You're done? You gonna waste all that paint? Well shoot, I could do that!” No response. I'm thinking, he's so patient with me! Then I realize, he's got his ipod in and can't hear a word I'm saying!

A View From Our House
5 x 7

He's certainly got a knack for capturing his surroundings and our lives as we know them now. . . . each painting a little time stamp of a place where Doug and his paintbrush spent a little time . . . it may be your street, it may be your farm, it may be you at a local water park (Clearfield Water Park)! Nonetheless, it's been a great way to capture the last 23 years of our lives! And that, my friends, is a little more from my perspective . . .

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 . . .