Posts Tagged ‘Colorado Springs’

Pages from my Colorado Plein Air Journal, August 17, 2010

August 17, 2010

Pike's Peak from Garden of the Gods

Most of my blog entries are tossed in rather quickly.  But I’ve kept a journal since the late 1980’s, and tonight I thought I might go ahead and post what I wrote in my journal while on my Colorado vacation.  Following are the pages related to my Garden of the Gods plein air watercolor sketches:

August 5, 2010, 2:25 p.m.–“Today while Sandi rested and napped at the La Quinta, I met Carolye at Garden of the Gods at 7:00 a.m.  We painted three hours and produced a pair of paintings each.  Tomorrow we’ll begin around 6:00 and I’ll paint Camel’s Kiss–a huge pink rock formation with ribbons of mountain ranges behind it.”

“I jumped right into the plein air this morning.  My eye was engaged with every detail on those mountains, trees and sky colors.  I tried in earnest to match my colors to reality.  And I really studied the terrain with joy and enthusiasm.  Carolye was pleasant to visit with–totally engaged in her work.  She asked plenty of questions and I was all-too-glad to respond.  We also talked of other things.  All in all, a very pleasant morning of conversation and painting.”

“I was pleased with my two watercolor sketches.  I feel that I got the job done.  I was pleased as soon as I had ‘one painting in the box’ as I’ve heard other plein air artists say.  Words cannot capture what I feel when I’m painting en plein air. And especially today–my first Colorado mountains en plein air. I was always such a chicken shit before–taking photographs, first the 35mm and then later the digital, and still not watercoloring mountainscapes.  Well–the enthusiasm began last night as Sandi and I admired the mountain ranges along the Colorado City rest stop, and finally this morning, I did it!”

“Tomorrow, at the 6:00 a.m. Garden of the Gods excursion, I shall set up the French easel and use if for the first time.  I plan a watercolor landscape this time on a full sheet of block paper.  It will be my first endeavor, standing to watercolor at an easel.”

[O.K., there is the journal entry.  I note that there is no journal entry describing the above photo, and that is because I painted it from about 6:00-8:00 a.m., then Sandi and I dashed to the hotel to pack, check out, and drive to Denver International Airport to pick up a fishing buddy who had flown up from Arlington and arrived around 7:00 that morning.]

And finally, the last of my Vacation Posts, August 16, 2010

August 16, 2010

Morning Mist at the Garden of the Gods

One last watercolor sketch–this was my second plein air work done at the Garden of the Gods on the first morning, following my initial Pike’s Peak sketch attempt.  Yesterday, while wrapping up my vacation in Lubbock, Texas, I re-worked the foreground foliage on this to try and set it off  better.

Thank you for reading.

Kissing Camels, Garden of the Gods, August 16, 2010

August 16, 2010

Kissing Camels Garden of the Gods

On my final morning in Colorado Springs, I re-joined Carolye Asfahl at Garden of the Gods and went to work on this vista in the rising sun before my departure to Denver.  Kissing Camels is called such because of the extreme left of this rock formation, where kneeling camels in profile appear to be touching muzzles.  The morning was fresh and beautiful and the light was terrific, as usual in the Colorado climate.  I hated to leave Garden of the Gods.

I finished up this composition by re-touching the sky and some of the background trees, while finishing up my vacation yesterday, in Lubbock, Texas.

Thanks for reading.

Finished my first Pike’s Peak plein air watercolor sketch, August 16, 2010

August 16, 2010

Morning Watch at Pike's Peak

This watercolor sketch will always hold special meaning for me.  It was my primary intention while vacationing in Colorado this year to do plein air watercolor, and to focus on mountains.  It just happens that my first attempt was of Pike’s Peak viewed from Garden of the Gods.  I had the privilege of painting alongside Carolye Asfahl of Colorado Springs, my student from my first year of teaching at Lamar High School, Arlington, Texas.  Carolye is a very gifted artist who has recently committed to doing watercolors en plein air. It is my genuine hope that she will start a blog soon and post her fabulous works.

This sketch was begun on location, and then tweaked yesterday while I finished my vacation in Lubbock, Texas.

First Plein Air Painting in Colorado

August 5, 2010

Pike's Peak from Garden of the Gods

Mountain Horizon from Garden of the Gods

Colorado remains my favorite geographical point on this planet.  I’ve been to thirty-eight states, along with Italy, Greece, Germany and Turkey.  Granted I prefer to travel abroad to study art history and antiquities in general.  But I still choose Colorado for plein air painting and fly fishing.

Funny that I mention plein air painting.  I’ve only done this for fifteen months now, but the experience has opened more worlds to me than georgraphy ever did.

Today marks the first time that I painted a Colorado setting en plein air. All prior Colorado paintings were done, looking at digital images I had made myself.  In fact, three years ago I did quite a lot of watercolor work in Colorado–but all of it came from digital photographs.  I was too intimidated at the vastness of the world visible to the eye to paint from life.

All of that changed today.  I was joined by the very talented Carolye Asfahl, a former student I was thrilled to know from my Lamar High School teaching days way back in 1988.  Carolye also studied plein air watercolor with me at the Eureka Springs School of the Arts in June of this year.  She resides in Colorado Springs, and proved a wonderful “scout” for my inaugural excursion into plein air.

We chose the Garden of the Gods, and parked our vehicles in Lot 7, then walked (avoiding the bear scat) about 100 feet to this splendid location where we could see Pike’s Peak.  My attempt to paint Pike’s Peak, I suppose, was a symbolic gesture.  Why shouldn’t my first plein air Colorado painting be of a landmark?  But alas, as soon as I began laying in the sky colors, enormous clouds rolled in and completely obscured the Peak from our sight.  So, I focused on the foreground trees, and finally laid in colors that I thought might be those of Pike’s Peak.  All of the experience of painting this setting was most enjoyable nevertheless.

My second painting I have simply titled “Garden of the Gods.”  I found this one much easier to navigate, as the clouds had dispersed for the most part, leaving only scattered misty regions lurking about the mountain I chose to render.  I found this much easier to paint.

Tomorrow, I’ll try to devote about two hours to a single watercolor at the Garden of the Gods.  The two posted today took about three hours total.  I want to see what I can do by focusing on one painting early tomorrow morning before leaving for Denver.

Thanks for reading.  Colorado, on this first day, has been a blast.