As I have been sharing with you recently (on my social media outlets) this painting is being featured in a group show at The Lone Tree Center for the Arts. During the opening reception last week, my painting and I were invited to share at the upcoming SPARK! event.
SPARK! is a free program offered in conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Association for people experiencing mild memory loss, early-stage Alzheimer’s, or a related dementia, and their family, friends, and guests. These programs feature interactive and engaging cultural experiences in a welcoming environment. Specially trained facilitators and artists engage participants in lively discussions and hands-on, multi-sensory activities using such genres as art, music, and movement. Following all sessions, attendees enjoy complimentary refreshments and conversation with the facilitators and each other.
The upcoming SPARK! event at the Lone Tree Arts Center will feature my work. I preparation for the event I submitted answers to questions that will be given to the audience. I thought you might like to read the questions and their answers…
WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO CREATE THIS PAINTING?
I always work from photographs. After this trip to Chamonix, when I reviewed my photographs, there were a few details in this composition that really struck me. The depth of field, and the contrast of light and shadow, were both so impressive. I knew I wanted to paint it, and paint it big.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT THIS LANDSCAPE?
The perspective. It’s a bird’s-eye view, not a worm’s eye. Many images of huge mountains are from the ground up. Here, I was able to capture it from the top.
WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND THE PAINTING?
When I paint, I enjoy working from a vacation photo. This painting is the perfect example of that. I was on a snowboard vacation in Chamonix, France. We had enjoyed much of the resort. On this particular day we hired a guide to take us into the backcountry. We rode the lift to the very top of the Aguille du Midi, 12,600 ft, and we were preparing for a 4 hour ski tour down the glacier named “Mer de Glace”. Mer de Glace means Sea of Ice. It was very exciting to be in a foreign country on foreign terrain. I used a large canvas and bold colors to convey my excitement.
HOW WAS THE PAINTING CREATED? WHAT WAS YOUR PROCESS?
I work in a studio from photographs. I build the canvas with wood and fabric. I seal the material with primer. Once the primer is dry, I draw the image onto the canvas. I select a portion of the composition to spray paint, in this case it is the sky. I cover the rest of the composition in tape to protect it. With an exacto knife I cut away the zig-zag horizon line, peel back the tape and expose the sky. Then I color it with spray paint, straight out of a can, bought off the shelf from the hardware store. This is the quickest part of my process, and the most fun. Once the spray paint dries I get to peel away the rest of the tape. It reveals the stencil-like image on the surface. I then begin on the rest of the composition that will have many layers of color, applied with paintbrushes and acrylic paint. The mountains; their rock, snow, and shadows are applied in a multi-step process that involves a base layer of bright colors like neon yellow, red, and green, laying beneath the finished surface of more acceptable colors for these entities. The combination of all the layers gives the finished product its energy.
AFTER STUDYING THIS PAINTING, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE US TO TAKE AWAY FROM WHAT WE SEE?
The take-away here is the enjoyment of our world; getting out and doing something you love and making memories, discovering who you are through learning about different people and new places. Also it’s about the enormity of the planet, the vastness of nature, and the majesty of mountain tops.
Thanks to Barb Wisler and the SPARK! program for the opportunity!