Archive for Western

Day Eight: Clear Creek Plein Air

Excited to report we have already sold two paintings during this 10 day sale! Our next piece was painted on location, on the Washington Street Bridge, looking at Clear Creek, in Golden, Colorado. Barely a stone’s throw away from this spot sits Coors Brewery. Day Eight’s offering is titled Clear Creek Plein Air, oil on canvas.

Size of art: 9″ x 12″. Sold with optional frame as shown. Size of frame: approx. 12″ x 16″.

When I endeavored to paint this original on location, I did not anticipate working in 95 degree heat. Needless to say, the summer’s sun hitting down on me and glaring off of the wet paints made creating this painting one of the more enduring pieces I’ve done to date.

Complain, I shall not, as the great masters Winslow Homer and Claude Monet were known for dragging their easels into the most brutal of elements, as the only way to truly depict nature on canvas was to observe it in person.

Painting was made sitting on the Washington Street bridge looking west. Lookout Mountain is in the background.

$99 for today only!


Day Seven: St. Mary’s Glacier

“St. Mary’s Alice” oil on board. Framed as seen in picture. Size of art: 10″ x 16.” Size of framed art: approx. 13″ x 21″ Comes with a certificate of originality.

Above Idaho Springs sits St. Mary’s Alice, formally St. Mary’s Glacier, where an ice field straddles between two mountain ridges. The bottom layer of the ice field has existed in its present state for thousands of years, as the snow and ice never completely melts during the summer months. What does melt pools into a beautiful and pristine lake at the bottom of the glacier, which then drains into a creek, surrounded by lush vegetation. This is where I chose to paint this image.

Landscape to Paint: Colorado’s Hill Country

In today’s edition of New Art!, I’m always impressed with some of the spectacular scenery the state of Colorado has to offer, from the flat Eastern plains to the sharp cliffs of Ouray and Telluride. In the middle of teaching a landscape painting class, I painted this piece as a class demo from a photo we took on one of our Rocky Mountain excursions. If you are ever looking for a landscape to paint, Colorado is a great place to start.

Enter our contest!

This photo was taken from a very specific town in Colorado. Perhaps you may recognize it. The first person to guess the name of the town either here or on our Facebook page will win a box of Colorado Landscapes cards.



“Colorado’s Hill Country” oil on canvas

Pikes Peak with Wild Lavender (or Purple Mountain Majesties)

I am reminded of a few lines from one of our most beloved patriotic songs. “O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, For purple mountain majesties Above the fruited plain…”The song was first written as a poem titled, “”Pikes Peak,”” written in 1895 by Katharine Lee Bates, inspired by a trip she took to Colorado’s own legendary Pike’s Peak. It was published on July 4th. The rugged beauty of the sculpted mountain reflected the rugged individual spirit that typifies so many Americans.

Thus, from this, this painting was created. It serves as an homage to the freedom we have in this country to celebrate life.

“Pikes Peak with Wild Lavender (or Purple Mountain Majesties)” original oil

After The Cattle Drive: The story behind the art

It’s the end of the 1800s and cattle ranching is a good profession into which a young man can invest his life. This isn’t to say that it’s easy living. For months on end, the elements of outdoor nature pound brutally against him as he tries to make sure not a single head of cattle gets lost. Bathing infrequently in cold creeks, there is no time to shave and hygiene is a thing of the past. He brings with him the clothes on his back, something special to remember his family by and not much else.

Yet, when arriving at their destination, there is nothing a cowboy looks forward to more than buying a new set of clothes and taking a nice, long hot bath. You see, a cowboy usually only purchased new clothes once, after the end of every drive, discarding his old stinky, sweat stained clothes in exchange for a fresh pair.

Hot baths were a luxury—requiring hot water to be heated from a stove or fireplace and then meticulously poured into the tub, over and over, until full. Hot baths was one of the amenities a hotel or an inn could provide its patrons. And it wasn’t just cowboys who took advantage of the muscle relaxing soothing water, it was also gold miners and prospectors, ranchers and herders, farmers and bankers.

A Day in Plein Air

Since I will be teaching plein air painting in a few weeks, I realized that I had better get back to the swing of things and start painting on location again. My last paintings have all been studio paintings, where I’ve had the luxury of working from photos, taking my time, and listening to the ball game while I paint.

Painting in the elements is a whole different story. The first hurdle is simply getting there. I packed my French Easel into my backpack, along with some water, Gatorade and powerbars, threw it in the back of my car and headed to Flat Irons Vista, 15 minutes from my house.

The trail is a beautiful one, especially at the beginning. However, I wanted to get some hiking done, so I hiked for about 1.5 miles before I realized that I could no longer see the Flatirons and that the trees were really starting to get thick. I turned around and finally found a location that provided a decent composition.

The second problem is that whatever you forget to bring, once 30 mins in, you will have to do without. I realized that I forgot to grab my camp stool.

The French Easel does not raise up high enough, so I had to find some way to elevate the painting. I found my fattest brush and used it as a shelf. I also brought along a huge tube of burnt umber, which I had thought was white, due to the fact the label had fallen off. Now I had to create this painting with no white! Thankfully, I grabbed ivory at the last minute. This now became my white.

In the elements, bugs fly into the paint, the wind will blow the canvas down into the wet paint, and the heat becomes a factor to contend with. It’s all part of the gig, the fun of the job. After three hours, it started to get real cloudy and look threatening, so I came to a stopping point and packed it up. The result is as you see here, just another day at the office.

This piece will be displayed at our upcoming show on September 10.

Octopus Tree: The story behind the art


Octopus Tree

New Art! The title of this painting is “Octopus Tree,” an affectionate name it has had for many, many years. This is an old tree that sits in Arapahoe National Forest, and its branches tell of its storied past. It is a limber pine (Pinus Flexilis). The limbs are very flexible and springy — perhaps an evolved characteristic to withstand intense high country winds.

Limber pines have 5 needles per bundle. Needles are between 1.5 and 2″ long.  They are a kind of white pine. They are thin-barked. They are considered an important or “keystone” species as corvids (jays and crows), especially the Clark’s nutcracker, and timber rats harvest their seeds and cache them all over the hillside.  Fire is rare at high elevation, but when it comes, most trees will die.  However, due to those seed caches, the limber pines will persist and even expand their territory post fire.

Limber pines are found in the Rockies and in the Great Basin. The oldest known limber pines are around 1700 years old (one in Idaho and one in N.M.). (Thanks to Margaret Ruby for this detailed explanation.)


You can own this 8” x 8” painting, as it will be part of RMCAD’s 4th Annual Art Bash, a silent auction supporting the Foundation’s student scholarship fund.

Online viewing of the Exhibition and bidding on the canvases begins November 23. The final evening of the Exhibition (Saturday, December 5, 2009, 6pm-9pm) is open to the public and will include a wine and cheese reception and a silent auction.

buy-now-buttonOr if you wish to order a print of this painting now, it is available as an 8″ x 8″ signed and numbered limited edition (30) giclee print for the great price of $35. Buy one for yourself or purchase one as a gift.

Barefoot Path: Pa’s Violin

Pa’s Violin by Cherish Flieder was selected for the cover of
Barefoot Path: Exploring childlike wonder and faith
Summer 2005, Cherished

Pa’s Violinevokes memories of family life on the American prairie, as depicted in the Little House series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Ma gathers the children as the sun begins to set. Pa’s violin rests on a quilt, ready for their evening of joyful music and loving family harmony.