Penelope and Louis are at it again. In my last painting, they found themselves in the desert. This is the third in a series. After playing in the desert sand they made their way east to Fall Creek Falls State Park. Although Penelope and Louis are a figment of my imagination this location is not. It is very much a real location. Piney Falls is one of many in this Park. The noise of the falls, and the peace and beauty surrounding it make it a great destination for our two love birds. Their artic snowy memories have faded into wooded bliss, and so they will stay awhile and relax. World Penguin Day is April 25th. Crazy I know. But hey, it helps me with coming up with silly painting ideas. This painting was painted on three pine board planks.
I named this painting Window To Pikes Peak. Back in October of this year (2016), my wife took a photograph of Pikes Peak through a rock opening located in the Garden Of The Gods. The rock formations here are spectacular! Garden of the Gods is the top geological wonder in Colorado with incredible rock formations and an activity playground that lets people hike, bike, horseback ride and explore this free attraction in Colorado Springs. When we got back home from this vacation I came across the photo she took. I knew right then I had to paint this. I added a hummingbird at the bottom of the painting only because I just wanted to. My wife loves hummingbirds, so it felt right. Pikes Peak is 14,114 feet high. On our visit there we decided to drive up this behemoth. I have to say it was one of the most frightening drives I had ever driven. Altitude sickness is a real thing folks. For me it kicked in around 12,000 feet. Feeling a little dizzy with beads of sweat on my forehead I pressed onward and upward. Having a death grip on the steering wheel, it was worth every white knuckle moment getting to the top though. There are no guard rails, so one false move and you will take your final leap. This painting will be a reminder of this adventure for years to come. This is a good size painting that is just under 2 feet wide and just over 2 feet long painted on six vertical pine wood planks.
I call this painting Owl Mountain. My wife loves owls, and we both love nature. I wanted to paint a painting dedicated to owls for her. I didn’t want to just paint a single owl. I wanted this painting to exploit owls in some kind of new way. At first, I couldn’t figure out how to do that. I was having painter’s block. I wanted to be outside the box on this one.
Then one day, out of nowhere it had hit me. We recently took a trip to Colorado, and the Rocky Mountains and Pikes Peak were still fresh in my mind. This is how I came up with Owl Mountain. I wanted to combine a mountain range with some owls. So, I started to formulate a plan for the scene in my head. All kinds of thoughts started to pour in. This painting is a culmination of those ideas. These are not the Rocky Mountains. They are made from my thoughts only. A fictitious place dedicated to owls.
The owls are actually part of the mountains, like the wood I paint on is part of the art. When you think of it, this isn’t to odd. Presidents are carved into Mount Rushmore, so to me (albeit weird), this wasn’t to out of the ordinary. This mountain pays tribute to owls in a grand and unusual way. Frankly, if there was such a place…I would like to visit. All said and done, I accomplished what I set out to do I think. My wife thinks so as well, and she really loves this painting. Satisfied. I can now move on to my next painting quest.
The American bald eagle. What an amazing creature. I just had to paint this guy. I made up the background, but I was inspired by the infinity pool I had seen when I was at Johnson Shut-Ins two weeks ago. The eagle is in action eyeing his river prey. Soon he will have his fish in his mighty claws. No escape. I used seven cedar wood planks in vertical fashion. I wanted to enhance the river violently going over the falls, and thought by placing the wood planks vertically that it might help? I’m not sure it helped at all, but I don’t think it hurt either. It’s a fictious scene for sure, but I think it’s not to far off the mark. A similar situation may play out on any day in Alaska for instance. There are many Bald Eagles nesting near where I live here in the American midwest. There are also many eagle watching places and days here to spot this magnificent animal. Mainly in the spring, fall and winter months. For me, painting nature in action is my favorite subject. I’m still learning how to splash acrylic paint around together to learn what it does. It dries fast, so you sort of have to be quick with your decision of what you want from it. Again, I’m no teacher on the subject. Quite the opposite. I’m just trying to encourage anyone looking at my paintings that maybe some day they could give it a try. Of course, you will mess up, but like anything else with each try it builds a little more confidence to try again. You might surprise yourself on your abilities. Over thirty years ago I started out with water colors and poster boards. That medium doesn’t cost a lot of money if cost is a concern. For that matter acrylic isn’t that expensive either. Oil painting is a different story and it will eat you alive. Back then, living in the military on base with a couple small kids it was a concern. So, painting with water color was a cheap and fun outlet for me. Then I got away from it for decades until this year where I have gone ape painting on wood with acrylic paint. I never knew my love for wood would be incorporated with painting. Glad I stumbled on it. So, whoever is looking at this, consider grabbing a paint brush and let your imagination flow through your hands. For me it makes me look at the world through a sharper lens. I find myself focusing more on what a cloud looks like or a tree or whatever. Stuff that we just take for granted on a daily basis all of sudden comes alive a little more. Like the blog says….Shine On, and don’t be dulled by what others think.
This painting is quite large (4 feet long x 2 feet high). It’s a depiction of what I remember from the current river. This river I have floated what seems like a hundred times in my lifetime. There are many high bluffs along its path. There are a few caves and trails along its many miles. Birds like King Fisher, Great Blue Heron, Hawks, Owls and Buzzards are also plentiful. The clear spring water contains a variety of fish as well. There are snakes and turtles and beaver too. It’s a beautiful river, so it was easy for me to paint from memory. Spending several days with some overnight camping on its gravel bars is a wonderful experience. Did you notice I even put a fire at the bottom left of the painting? I have dedicated this painting to my dear niece Angie, who also floated this river on many occasions. The canoe in the painting has the number 47 painted on its bow. It represents the age of Angie who unexpectedly and tragically passed while I was painting this. I do get a little emotional when I look at it. I love it for the river of course, but now I always think of Angie when I see it. Love you Angie. Always and Forever….Uncle Kevin.