Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Three plein airs from trip to Rocky Mountain National Park trip

Hello everyone,
I'm posting three of the paintings I did on location in the Rocky Mountain National Park, June 9-14. The first is a view of Twin Sisters peak as seen from across Lily Lake. As I painted this, there was a chipmunk who could smell the energy bar I had in my backpack. These critters are so tame that he grew brave enough to jump onto my lap and beg for a piece of my bar.

The Twin Sisters, 9X12 oil on linen panel

the second painting was painted at Mary Lake outside of Estes Park, Co.

Mary Lake Shoreline, 8X10 oil on linen panel

The third painting was done along the Trail Ridge Road at the Ute trail trailhead, in the Rocky Mountain National Park. According to the signpost nearby, prehistoric people used this path thousands of years ago. The Utes and Arapaho indians used the trail to cross from their Winter to Summer grounds. The trail led trappers and prospectors across the Rockies in the 1800's. All of this took place at an altitude of about 10,500 feet. The wind was blowing so hard that I had to sit in my car to paint it, so I wouldn't be blown over the cliffs. Being from Minnesota, where the tallest thing around are the buildings, I was pretty happy when I finished this one and could move on. Trail Ridge Road peaks at about 12,110 feet. I made it to 11,800 feet before the wind felt like it would blow the car over the side of the mountain and I turned around. The day before the park service had closed the road due to high winds.

Rocky Mountain Pass, 6X8 oil on linen panel

I always have a great time in Colorado and I can't wait to get back there again. Next time I think I'll go later in the season. Estes Park had gotten three inches of snow the day we arrived which was June 6th. I would have thought the snow was done for the season, but I guess winter goes slowly that high up. I'm really glad I over packed and brought along some warm clothing with me.


One final note. When Ann and I were driving from the Denver Airport to Estes Park, we passed through Boulder. During our breakfast we noticed that there was a western art museum a few blocks away and decided to stop in. I didn't know anything about the Leanin' Tree Museum, but immediately knew we had stumbled onto something special from the moment we arrived.

The Leanin’ Tree Museum of Western Art in Boulder, Colorado, exhibits the private art collection of Ed Trumble, Founder and Chairman of Leanin’ Tree, Incorporated, publisher of fine art greeting cards since 1949. His collection was born of a passion for American western art that has spanned five decades and continues to grow today. The scope and quality of this rare collection will surprise you. As we walked around, we were stunned by the scope and quality of this man's collection. Over the past 50 years he has assembled a virtual who's who of western art and shares it with the public (and here's the best part) free of charge. He doesn't charge a nickel for you to see it! Not only does he have a wonderful collection of paintings, but there is an incredible sculpture garden as well, with some monumental bronzes. There are 250 paintings and 150 bronzes by some of the west's art masters. If you are ever in or near Boulder Colorado, do yourself a favor and take an hour or so and treat yourself to this visual feast. I promise you that it will stay with you for a long time to come. While you're there take a moment to say hello to Sara, the museum's curator. The museum is lucky to have her.

Till next time, thanks for looking, Steve

Thanks for looking, Steve


Guillermo P. Mogorrón said...

hello there, I found your blog by total good luck, awesome use of colours, and what a solid pencil you have, sir!
i will come back often.

Jennifer McChristian said...

Hi Steve,

Sounds like you had quite an adventurous time in Colorado. Unfortunately our little southern Cali critters are not as social and tame as the one you encountered ;-)

All three paintings are exceptional by the way.
Solid draftsmanship, harmonious color and fearless brushstrokes!

Steve Atkinson said...

Thanks Guillermo for visiting and for posting. I'm glad you like what you see. Hope you come back often!


Steve Atkinson said...

Hi Jennifer,
Great to hear from you. Love the work you've been doing lately. I mentioned your name to Mark Smith @ Greenhouse. Hope he takes my advice. Colorado was a blast, but I'm such a homebody, I'm glad to get back to my studio. As far as the friendly critters go, there were signs everywhere telling you not to feed them, but absolutely no one paid attention to them ( the signs that is). Elk were everywhere, I got lots of incredible photo reference. Should keep me painting for a while anyways. Hope your show went well??


Tommy Thompson said...

Steve, I really admire your work, especially the way that you capture the atmosphere. I also like the way that you have handled your greens and the illusion of atmosphere. I have always heard that "red makes a lady out of green." Your stories add so much interest to your paintings; you are a good writer as well as an outstanding painter. Thanks for sharing information about your process. I like the idea that you substitute objects such as shrubs for uninteresting rocks; I do the same myself to create a more interesting composition. I am also a "recovering illustrator." My wife and I hope to meet you and your wife someday. All the Best, Tommy Thompson