Although many painters would like to visit the inspiring locales of Southern France and Italy, (me too!) I have been making new oil paintings from recent journeys into the hills of Boulder County, where I live, and discovered I don’t have to travel that far. Sounds like a belated revelation, almost a ridiculous “aha” moment I should have seen before. But give me a little break for the moment.
This small but wonderful revelation began last summer/fall with a day trip on winding roads from our prairie home in Niwot, CO, up about 20 minutes entering a “foothills” road into our higher country. We sometimes take our country for granted, and don’t go trekking as often as we should, to restore our souls in Nature, right?
I was really wanting to get over to the high country while the aspen were still golden before late October set in with its more drab colors without leaves. RT was on board, so off we went. Climbing into the canyon outside of Boulder, we could still see so many remnants of the destructive (1000 year) flood of 2013. Many signs which read “Save our Canyon” were along the sides of the road, fallen trees uprooted, some homes still in need of repair. The elements of Nature are still a force to be reckoned with.
We arrived at the small town of Gold Hill, clearly the high summit of the landscape before descending down again. After enjoying the quaintness of the homes displaying their historic signs by the road, we stopped at the local museum. Our very knowledgeable guide and resident reminded us that the flood came on the heels of the forest fire of awful devastation as well, yet fortunately sparing many homes and the town. Since my dad was a mining engineer, I appreciated a bit of the history that brought people to settle this rugged and beautiful place.
We later drove back down through Sunshine Canyon into Boulder, a broader expanse that supports a lovely valley easier to navigate. The time of day was magical as to the light.
Weeks later, I began to translate my quick thumbnail drawings into ideas for paintings. First I painted “Sunshine Canyon Memory”, then came “Gold Hill Morning” and the “Abstract Prairie” painting. The prairie hill is right outside our back door.
I have visited the places in our world that inspire painters with wonderful light and color of the Mediterranean sights. The enchanting light and color of New Mexico is real and has captivated many an artist, myself included. The good news is, we can remember these experiences and infuse them into our own paintings, because Nature belongs to all of us. There are no boundaries or customs agents telling us to leave our remembered sightings behind. We carry it with us, as artists, if we really look and remember.
Painters create their own vision of their worlds, and interpret their experiences into a new combination of colors and illusions set on to a 2 dimensional surface that is transformed into something almost dream-like. I think that is what keeps us painting. And we hope that others are looking and appreciating these dreams too.