Monday, July 25, 2011

Painting Colorado's Most Iconic Subject

"Ancient Roots" Mixed Media on Canvas 36 x 48
Now, I've not conducted an official poll but I've been a Colorado based artist for almost my entire adult life. In that time, I've conservatively assert that I've proudly attended hundreds of art shows, festivals, workshops, etc. so I feel that I'm a fairly good judge of popular and beloved subject matter.

Now you might think it would be our Rocky Mountains--in particular snowy capped peaks. Yes, I've seen many versions of mountainscapes so that's a possible landscape favorite but even more than mountains, I'm going to go out on a limb (pun intended) and say that Colorado artists have an undying passion for shimmery, quaking aspen trees. In all seasons, forms, shapes, and sizes. How can you resist a tree with patterns?

I've painting aspens before of course but it's been a while and I this time I wanted to paint on a relatively large canvas help express the scale of a towering pale forest. In this painting on stretched canvas, I used many layers of acrylics, molding paste (for bark texture) and oil pastels for line work and details (personally my favorite  part). 

I recently read that aspen trees grow as large stands of genetically identical trees (technically, stems) connected by a single root system. The largest known fully connected aspen is a grove in Utah nicknamed Pando. Some experts believe this aspen grove to be the heaviest organism in the world.

I really loved working on this and can't wait to paint another with I think a warmer background next time. But I may need to taking a painting break later this  week for the new Ikea Grand Opening! Don't think I'm going to camp out, but I have been waiting for years for the store to arrive in Denver. I'm certain I'll be able to find an interesting and colorful studio accessory--if I can get into the parking lot. Wish me luck and in the meantime enjoy all your creative endeavors!  


  1. Do you use oil pastels or dry pastels and what is your process for sealing it, if you do seal it? Love this painting and well I love tree paintings anyway!

  2. Thanks so much Melody. Wow. I'm a HUGE fan of your work. Readers, be sure to visit Melody's website ( some gorgeous color inspiration!

    I use oil pastels which I seal with my favorite varnish for paintings--Krylon spray Kamar. Thanks again for you kind words!