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Story of making the painting, “Valley Light”

Oil paining, mountain, tonalist painting, tonalism, representational art, mountains, trees, panoramic view, valley, shadow line, clouds, realism, classical painting, rosemary brushes, contemporary realism, contemporary art

Presence, 24 x 38

Late one fall afternoon I was working in my studio – and I felt a hunch that I ought to go to my special view spot in the mountains.  It was faster to ride my bike than walk, as it was nearing the end of the day- so I grabbed a backpack and threw in my sketchbook and a packet of charcoal. The weather had been variable all day with patchy clouds and sun breaks.  As I headed up the trail I could see faint light glimmering through the trees.  Higher and higher I rode, as fast as my lungs would allow.  Once I reached the clearing, the sight before me stopped me in my tracks. Reflecting off the cliffs of Mt. Si was this orange-gold light – a spectacular vision that I had never seen before; orange light with a dark shadow line rising up the flanks of the entire mountain range.  The image of this beautiful valley light burned instantly into my mind’s eye.  I knew I had to create this scene into a painting.  But wouldn’t the time please stop and let me soak in the experience a little longer?  I knew it wouldn’t – moments don’t stand still do they?  They just keep unfolding, one after another.  I felt myself accepting the orange light as it sank into my bones and I stood there, silently observing.   No drawing needed.   Luckily I had been there before to draw, so, I had, at least, a record of the important elements.  If you have ever looked at a painting for a long time maybe you’ve experienced a moment through an artist’s rendering.  Back in the studio I had the opportunity to re-experience that moment many times over – from memory.   That’s why I called this painting, Valley Light.  It’s about the Here and Now.  I like Being. Here. Now.

Instagram (@lollyshera) and Other News

I have been remiss in regular blog posting and many of you now follow me on Instagram, where I post several times per week.  It has come to my realization that longer blog posts take so much time and I have mostly appeared on IG (@lollyshera) as a way of keeping up.

Since I last wrote I have some wonderful news about exhibiting in the Seattle area.  The Puget Sound Group of Northwest Artists is sponsoring an exhibition in the Rainier Club starting in early October.  I am honored to have my piece, Rattlesnake Cove, chosen as part of this show.  This painting was inspired by the early morning light shining down through the cottonwoods in a small cove at Rattlesnake Lake.  Located up in the foothills of the Cascade mountains outside of Seattle, this lake is a popular destination for swimming, fishing, hiking, and kayaking all year around.  I love the mountain scenery there and I have done several paintings of this area. The paintings in this show will hang from early October throughout the holiday season.  Stop by if you get a chance – there are some wonderful artists exhibiting!

landscape of trees and water, reflection, lake, indirect method

Rattlesnake Cove, 19.5 x 12

In other news, I am pleased to announce that my gallery, Reinert Fine Art in Charleston, S.C. is opening a new location in the small mountain village of Blowing Rock, N. C.  Located deep in the Blue Ridge mountains, Blowing Rock is a perfect getaway spot and is sometimes referred to as the “Aspen” of the east!  As a huge skier and mountain enthusiast I love the idea of someday visiting and skiing in Blowing Rock, NC!

Many of my paintings are now be shipped to either Charleston or Blowing Rock.  If you are interested in a particular painting please contact my by email and I will direct you either to the gallery, reinertfineart.com or to my home studio gallery at Lolly Shera Fine Art; my home studio email is lollyshera@gmail.com.

And finally, those of you who have been following me know that I am preparing for a SOLO show at the Clymer Museum in March/April of 2016.  The opening is Friday, March 4th, 2016 at the Clymer Museum & Gallery in Ellensburg, WA.  Their website is clymermuseum.org.  I am sharing my process of some of the paintings for this show on IG (@lollyshera).

Find me and converse with me on FB (lollysherafineart), IG (@lollyshera) and Twitter (@lollyshera)!

Lolly’s Treehouse Studio

Treehouse in the snow built by Pete Nelson

 

Here’s a picture of my Fall City studio in the winter.   I walk out here every day to work, drawing and painting fifteen feet off the ground.  During a windstorm it feels like I’m in a boat that’s moored, rocking and swaying against the dock.  When it’s not breezy it’s only noticeable that I’m in a tree if I’m conscious of how special it is – which is pretty much all of the time.

What I’m struggling with is the light inside.  I designed it after a fire lookout, with wrap around windows.  The light comes inside from three directions, the east, north and west –  and that’s not necessarily good.  For painting, northern light is best, so I’m designing window coverings that help me control the high degree of reflective light going on.   Each window covering is a panel that attaches to the interior of the window pane with a spring-loaded curtain rod.  With rods at the top and the bottom of each panel to hold them in place, I can adjust from the top or the bottom, depending on where I want the light entering.  The question of the week is which fabric to use?  I’d love to find a thick linen-colored fabric that blocks the light but is still aesthetically pleasing.  Another option is using black-out fabric – not great to look and kind of plastic-like, but it does the trick.

By the way, if I haven’t mentioned this, my treehouse was built by Pete Nelson, Treehouse Master (as seen on the second season of “Treehouse Master”, the  TV show on Animal Planet).  Pete built this structure as his first Treehouse Workshop in 2002.   His students came from all over the world to take his class; together, they built the platform, the walls, the roof, etc., all in less than a week!  Look in Pete’s book, “Treehouses of the World”, for “Lolly’s Treehouse”, p. 42.   It’s pretty great to make fine art paintings in a rustic tree house!

 

Lolly’s Studio

Here is a picture of my summer studio.  It sits 15 feet off the ground!

Lolly’s Studio