“This field has been the inspiration behind a whole series of my work. This lovely view is actually my front yard, which also makes it very handy. Early-morning and late-evening light turn this field into something truly beautiful. HAYFIELD SERIES, JULY 29TH was inspired by the particularly lovely warm light of a late afternoon. Tall pines sent ribbons of shadow across the scene as the sun’s orange glow was skimming the bales and touching the tips of the grass—thus turning the mundane into something special. I try to point out these little things in my work. That’s my job as an artist—to show the small moments of beauty.”
“The landscape in this painting is not far from my home in Payson, UT. I was driving at the time, so I pulled over to the side of the road to take a photo. When I first saw the scene, I thought how nice was the feel of the blues with the yellow and orange of the fields. But what eventually became really interesting to me were the snow patterns on the north side of the hills where it was shaded. It was a dark, dreary day, but I think even dark days can be beautiful. Even though everything is stark and dead, and the roads are wet and muddy this time of year, it was beautiful.”
Meyer Gallery, Park City, UT; Turpin Gallery, Jackson, WY; Expressions Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ; Walt Horton Fine Art, Beaver Creek, CO; Manitou Galleries, Santa Fe, NM; Kneeland Gallery, Ketchum, ID; www.douglasaagard.com.
“ROOTED MEN was painted in a remote area of northern New Mexico. It’s a place I go to every year for vacation. I have done 16 paintings of these trees that show different times of the day. ROOTED MEN is part of that series. The painting depicts a really sunny October day, early in the morning. I have come to feel as if these trees are like people on vacation with me every year. And I feel like they have been there forever. The title is inspired by the painter Emile Gruppe, who called trees ‘rooted men.’”
Allison Sprock Fine Art, Charlotte, NC; Tyler White Gallery, Greensboro, NC; Anderson Fine Art, St. Simons Island, GA; Edward Parent & Associates, Boulder, CO; www.mollydavisfineart.com.
“This was a scene I ran into one really cold day when I was driving home to Ward from the town of Longmont in Colorado. It was a zero-degree day and late in the afternoon when I spotted, off in the distance, the scene that became the painting DEEP FREEZE. It was just so beautiful that I had to paint it. I loved the shadow colors and the patterns in the fields. And the light striking the roof of the barn was a wow! I had never noticed that barn before, even though it’s on a route I take often. I think I noticed the barn that day because it was so lit up.”
Mary Williams Fine Art, Boulder, CO; Susan Powell Fine Art, Madison, CT; Arts at Denver, Denver, CO; Bishop Gallery for Art & Antiques, Scottsdale, AZ, and Allenspark, CO; www.caroljenkinsoils.com.
“Driving into Utah’s Monument Valley at sunset is one of the most remarkable visual experiences an artist can have. It’s been the set for a lot of western movies. Jagged sandstone monoliths rise from the shadowed sands, catching the fading sun, transforming the land into a magical playground for the artist’s brush. An artist friend and I had just driven in from Canyon de Chelly. We photographed the scene and then watched the sunset. Trying to capture the intensity of nature’s colors with a few tubes of paint is what makes landscape painting so challenging. Experiencing nature firsthand is the inspiration that continually brings me back to my easel.”
“Agriculture has become very important to me. In the last 10 years my personal garden grew into a micro-farm that produced six tons of vegetables last year. I find great joy in painting the farms and fields that surround me in Taos, NM. ALFALFA FIELD AFTER THE HARVEST is a painting of a farm that belongs to my friend Mr. Ortiz. He has beautiful alfalfa fields that he has taken care of for 60 years. They are always perfect. When the light hits them at sunset, they glow. It is a beautiful sight, and [capturing it is] the ultimate challenge for a painter.”
Jennifer L. Hoffman
“I was headed up the road from my house near Jackson, WY, to paint some aspens when I saw the light on the building. I had to stop. It’s actually a favorite spot of mine. That little barn is such a neat structure. The day was hazy. The afternoon light seemed to obliterate the landscape. The colors were changing, which made it very intriguing. I have painted that spot several times and painted it at dusk in the snow. But the colors were just amazing that particular day. I mostly completed the painting on location, and I did a little touchup in the studio.”
“I was driving near Rock Creek in Montana looking for cottonwood trees alongside the river, when suddenly I turned and looked a different way. It was then I saw just a single aspen grove with a composition that appealed to me right away. It was a mid-summer morning, and the painting was just one of those pieces where everything seems to come together. I purposely limited my palette to purples and yellows and then began moving toward other hues. It became exciting, and I felt like I had captured the serenity that drew me to that composition.”
Whistle Pik Galleries, Fredericksburg, TX; Dana Gallery, Missoula, MT; Aspen Grove Fine Arts, Aspen, CO; Chasen Galleries, Richmond, VA; Buffalo Trail Gallery, Jackson, WY; www.davidmensingfineart.com.
“California is one of my favorite states to paint. This scene was on the coast near Carmel. The poetry of these cypresses is just captivating. They are dancers of the coast. The red ice plants and rocks added the right balance.
“For the past 20 years I have been working hard on my craft. The truth is, one must learn the craft in order to create art. This is the philosophy I live by and will continue to until I can’t hold the brush. Mother Nature is our well for many things. For most true artists it is the place you go to get filled up with inspiration. ‘Nature is perfection.’”
“I painted IN THE GROVES for a plein-air event in Winters, CA, in the San Joaquin Valley. There are beautiful walnut-tree groves there. That particular day, the air was soft, and the light was gorgeous. It was a cloudy, fall day with beautiful sunshine coming through the clouds. When you use pastels you ‘paint,’ but you can also draw in the pastel painting. That crossover can result in something very poetic. The center of interest in this piece is emphasized by flecks of pure contrasting colors. I live in the Bay Area, but, since Knowlton Gallery in Lodi started representing me, I have begun painting near there, and I have come to love the San Joaquin Valley’s flatlands and farmlands.”
Featured in February 2012.