“Early Snow on Cathedral Peak”

117 Early Snow on Cathedral Peak std

This is a scene from  are from a hiking trip that I took to Colorado in the early fall of 2012; the painting is 20″ x 30″ oil on linen.  The challenge for the week or so that I was there was that the sun rarely came out, mostly the skies were filled with overcast clouds and light rain.  On this day on a hike up to Cathedral Lake the sun came out for a half an hour before clouding over again and a snow squall blew in.  This painting represents the approach to the lake which is over the ridge in the background at the foot of the main peak.

The sky was a brilliant blue with light wind blown clouds, soon to disappear. The foliage of the growth along the valley floor contrasts with the evergreens and blue spruce.  A cloud blocks the sun along the ridge on the left and the mountains show a dusting of new snow proclaiming the start of winter.  There are contrasts of complimentary colors and styles of brushwork, the rock formations are simply expressed, the trees are represented in contrasts of light and shadow against the multi-layered vegetation on the lower slopes.  There are several other works from this trip which I’ll post soon.

“Maroon Bells from Elk Camp”

116 Maroon Bells from Elk Camp

This painting portrays one of my favorite views in the Aspen/Snowmass area.  The format is 24″ x 36″ oil on linen support.  I was a resident in the area in the 1970’s and 1980’s and skiing was a favorite sport; Snowmass is an expansive ski area with a varied terrain so every time I was in this area of the mountain I would pause to enjoy this view.  This scene is from the south east corner of the resort above the lift serving the Elk Camp area.  After a short climb you are able to look down the Maroon Creek Valley with the dramatic Maroon Bells in the background.

The challenge that I found in portraying this scene was the absence of a diversity of color.  The work became a study in values.  Anyone who has observed snow in light and shadow has seen a subtle spectrum of yellows, pinks, blues and lavender.  This day was a cold mid winter morning with a crystal clear sky.  While it is hard to detect from this digital image, the painting is filled with multi-colored undertones that vary from the cool colors of the shadows to the areas in direct sunlight.  An interesting contrast is found between the stronger brushwork representing the foreground ridge compared to the the looser representation of the distant views.  Viewing this painting directly reveals a diverse spectrum of colors from the under painting.