Sucker for Sunsets… Nature is amazing and I need my dose daily

"Rio", detail, oil, 40" x 30", Karen Gillis Taylor, 2013

“Rio”, detail, oil, 40″ x 30″, Karen Gillis Taylor, 2013. Click for bigger view.

If you are a student of color, you will agree with the master painters that nature is the best teacher. I do. I live in a place where there is often a wonderful ten minutes of spectacular beauty every morning if you are lucky enough to be awake to see it. The American Southwest. Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah, the Four Corners states as they are called (because they are the only 4 states in the union that meet exactly at one geographical place, all four corners meeting there.) For this experience of learning from nature’s skies, you need a sunny environment and open space. Bing! That is here, and it’s big in my life.

I started making photos of sunrises/sunsets many years ago when we lived on a pond in North Boulder. Easy access, a good (film) camera, and just wanting to capture what I knew was a special time and place. There might be a painting from that photo? Besides, this light and color was just too good to be true. CLICK!  and only one of hundreds of clicks.

"Downpour Over Niwot", oil, 14" x 18", Karen Gillis Taylor

“Downpour Over Niwot”, oil, 14″ x 18″, Karen Gillis Taylor

“Downpour Over Niwot” came from one of those photo clicks taken from our house in North Boulder, on the pond. Little did I know at the time, that our next home would be situated right in the spot that is the middle of the downpour, in the small town of Niwot, at the bottom of that hill. True story!

“Dawn at the Pond,” below, is an oil I painted in the North Boulder days of living there on the pond. I can see in retrospect, that much of my color sense came directly from paintings and palettes just like this. Maybe even from this one pivotal painting.

"Dawn at the Pond", Boulder, oil, collection Frank and Nancy Caccavallo

“Dawn at the Pond”, Boulder, oil, collection Frank and Nancy Caccavallo

I met a painter from Taos, New Mexico, Don Ward, and took a plein air class from him one summer. He told us he would set up his easel behind the Taos Walmart that had a view of the Jemez mountains in the western sunset and paint a tiny painting for  a maximum of 15 minutes each night. Just to capture the scene as best he could, before the light was gone, and he SO did. His tiny studies were wonderful. His small exercise in observing nature in trained focus and capturing his vision in paint really paid off. See his lovely painting here of the Taos Mountains.

"Taos Mountains Crown of Gold", Don Ward, 36' x 48"

“Taos Mountains Crown of Gold”, Don Ward, 36″ x 48″

Tonight I was commuting through South Boulder and was happy to see another inspiring sky. I suddenly became nostalgic for some of the places we have lived where I could capture amazing skies in photographs to inspire future.paintings.

We have lovely sunrises and sunsets I see often today, but I do miss the pond, the water moving with the wind, the waves, the reflected light. So we, in good habit, seek out new moving scenes in nature, new inspirations. Can’t dwell too much on the past, find the new. But always remember the lessons we took away.

Now here is the rub,

Once we find out how to use color as nature gives hints, we need to bring it all back into our own toolbox, to transform our learnings into new tools. Our imagination and learning take us to the new place to create.

Here is what painter Monet said,

“When I look at nature I feel as if I’ll be able to paint it all, note it all down, and then you might as well forget it once you’re working… “(Claude Monet)


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6 Responses to “Sucker for Sunsets… Nature is amazing and I need my dose daily”

  1. beatzkane2013 Says:

    Reblogged this on Beatz kane Blog2013.


  2. gabbie20132013 Says:

    Reblogged this on Gabbie Blog.


  3. Jean-Paul Says:

    very good post ♥


  4. Jean-Paul Says:

    I invite you to my new blog 🙂


  5. nsturgill Says:

    I love your paintings. I visited Taos Sante Fe area this summer. The scenery was just awe inspiring!


  6. Sound Art Creator Says:

    Reblogged this on Sound Art Creator.


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