Almost daily painter, traveler and art lover
It's all about art, what else is there?
@lisahutart on instagram

Monday, July 25, 2016

Day 205 Tin Roof - Rusted!

Well, I was caught up on day 203 ... but that didn't last long. I'm in the middle of a move and it's wiping me out. So, I'm taking a week off from the daily painting to finish getting the art studio set up, unpack some boxes and get back to normal.

Meanwhile, I did get out on Saturday morning (with my friend Anita) and painted along the Highline Canal just west of Santa Fe. We both thought this batch plant looking interesting to paint. No idea what it is, or what it does ... but I sure liked all the shapes, shadows (it was 7 am) and always enjoy rusty metal. Now I have "Love Shack" by the B52's stuck in my head.

Tin Roof - Rusted!
9x12 oil

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Day 204 Near Many Glacier

This pastel was inspired by the fields and fields of lovely wildflowers we saw in Glacier. I just got home and I'm going to try and spend much of August painting from my reference pictures. I'll still paint plein air - because I'm hooked and learning a ton.
Anytime I travel I shoot hundreds of photos with the intention of painting them ... and never get around to it. I've been doing that for years. So here's to breaking some old bad habits, positive changes, keeping goals and painting everyday.

Near Many Glacier
8x8 pastel

Day 203 Elusive

Indian Paintbrush are one of my favorite flowers. Driving through Glacier, the paintbrush had a tendency of gathering along roadsides where there was no turnout. Over and over there would be a stunning group of paintbrush ... with not a single spot to turn around or pull over. It got to be a bit of a joke, there they would be, in massive groups along Going To The Sun Road and no access. We finally got creative and I hung out the car window for photos in a couple spots.

I read that the flowers were consumed in moderation by native americans. Maybe I'll try that? but then I read that the roots and leaves can be very toxic. Maybe not. I read a lot about the Lewis & Clark Expedition as we followed their trail, also read a lot about native americans, bison, Custer, and oddly, old post offices. I was obsessed with taking pictures of the post offices in teeny tiny towns. Paintings on that to come.

pastel 8x10

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Day 202 Cherries for Dinner

So, here we are driving back south along Flathead Lake and discover a cherry festival today in Polson!!! More cherries purchased, eaten and painted. Again, we bought from a really nice family, the kids had picked boxes and boxes of them last night and we had a great conversation. They were so ripe we decided we had better eat them all immediately. It was cherries for dinner for us. We'd like to bring some home but they are too ripe and I mentioned how much stuff we have in the car right? I did buy some cherry jam that may make it home.

Cherries for Dinner
9x12 pastel

Day 201 The Best Cherries!

Last week we decided to drive north along the east side of Flathead Lake not knowing that we would be passing dozens of cherry stands as harvest had just started a few days before.

We stopped at this stand and they gave me a tour, showed us how they are picked and all the basics that I never knew about cherries. Did you know they use helicopters to hover over the trees and dry the cherries after it rains? The rain ruins them, they swell and split if too wet. They even said I could paint in their orchard - SO tempting but we were anxious to get to Glacier. The daughter was from Ft. Collins (a french teacher) and comes back in the summer for a couple of weeks to help the family business. They were so nice and it was the best $3 we ever spent. Yep, only $3 a pound picked fresh off the trees.

The Best Cherries!
8x10 pastel

Day 200 Evening at Lake McDonald

I should have stopped about 20 minutes sooner. This painting looked GREAT in my head. I liked it at one point, but I messed around too much with the water. Honestly though, the experience of watching the light and changing reflections was just wonderful. Elizabeth Mowry taught me early on to appreciate the moment, the place, the memory. I have learned to slow down and I truly appreciate having this peaceful evening to paint.

Evening at Lake McDonald
8x10 oil

Day 199 Just Because

This painting is what I finished from the false start on Logan Pass where the mountain goats chased me off. It's quite abstract, something I like experimenting with along with representational work.

Ed decided to ride this afternoon to Canada "just because he can". I'm currently about 10 miles south of Canada at the Glacier Cafe having lunch and sucking up the 1 small bar of internet connection on my hot spot. It is safe to say it's the middle of absolutely nowhere. I feel pretty safe, even without my passport - lots of border patrol folks having lunch too.

The sign by the cash register says: "If you are grouchy, irritable, or just plain mean we will change you $10 just for putting up with you". My waitress does not seem too happy with her job, so I may leave her an extra $10 just because.

Just Because
8x8 oil

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Day 198 Many Flowers II

Not one to give up on this field of flowers, I zoomed in (channeling Georgia O'keeffe?) to paint those flowers again. I pulled out the black paper for some drama and like how this one turned out. It has more of the contrast that I was trying to show - the photos don't even capture the beauty up here.

Many Flowers II
9x12 pastel

Day 197 Glacier Flowers

I needed some pizazz - my paintings aren't reflecting at all the drama and joy I'm experiencing here in Glacier NP. I switched it up and went for black sanded paper, good thing I overpacked on the paper. There are fields of every color flower possible - with a backdrop of stunning mountains. I'm unable to capture it - but I'm gonna keep trying!

Glacier Flowers
9x12 pastel

Day 196 Many Flowers

This is been a great trip but I've not been too happy with my paintings so far. To redeem myself, I stayed at the campground yesterday and painted - and took my time. I did a couple pastels and finished the small oil from the attempt on Logan Pass. When I say painted most of the day; that includes cleaning brushes, reorganizing supplies and continually trying to organize the overpacked car. Besides the paints, pastels, camping, hiking, biking and fishing stuff there is barely room for us.

This area is near Many Glacier -but I see many flowers. As Ed put it, "It's hard to keep Lisa away from the flowers".

Many Flowers
pastel 9x12

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Day 195 Surrounded!

I started out this morning painting a great view near the top of Logan Pass on Going To The Sun Road. Unfortunately, I had 3 mountain goats that were very used to people hanging out a little too close. They kept circling around and had no qualms walking down the metal grated path I was on. After looping around me for about an hour, I got tired of jumping every time one would wander by again - I gave up with a barely blocked in painting.

I picked Ed up from his bike ride from the West to the East side of the park, we had lunch and explored some more. Right after seeing our 3rd bear of the day, I sat on a rock in a field of wildflowers doing a quick pastel. Surrounded by flowers this time. I don't like how it turned out and will use this study for a better painting in the studio. Not a bad day at all - even though I ended up with 2 incomplete paintings.

8x10 pastel

2nd painting attempt

This guy (gal?) hung around just under the platform I was standing on

Loved this spot but I spent more time looking over my shoulder than painting

This was what I kept seeing over my shoulder, you'd give up too, eh?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Day 194 Devil's Tower

Here's another small painting I did of Devil's Tower from a few days ago. The visitor center was crowded but the walk around the base (just over a mile) was very pretty and a lot less people. On the drive up I went through the town of Aladdin, WY (population 15) which had a pretty country store. I wanted to paint it but will have to tackle later from a photo. Also, a sign that said "employee parking only" in front of the store. hmmm. We've also passed a couple signs that said "Slow - Turtle Crossing" which seems really odd too. Love traveling.

Devil's Tower
8x8 oil

9x12 pastel

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Day 193 Unexpected Change

While driving to Missoula today we saw a sign that said "Garnet Ghost Town" and decided to check it out. It took us all afternoon, we ended up getting to Missoula many hours later than planned but it was worth it. I'm a planner, this is not my preferred method of travel. Change is hard, but I'm forcing myself to embrace it.

Garnet is a very cool ghost town with 30+ buildings and (just for me) a field of purple flowers in the dead center of it. We hauled my gear from the car, I quickly set up ... then it started hailing.
Change. So, I had to duck under the roof of the "Newlywed House" and paint what I saw from there. Change of view.

Side note - one thing I love about Facebook is following the art from artists I admire, paint with and learn from. I was inspired to paint the path because an artist friend posted a really nice plein air  painting with a path in it. Check out her work at

And go embrace the changes in your life whether you want to or not!

Unexpected Change
8x8 oil on linen

Day 192 Lunch in Livingston

Earlier this week we stopped for lunch in Livingston (just east of Bozeman). I didn't have time to paint but did take a few photos of the downtown area. I think every town in Montana has an old historic mill, what a beautiful country.

This was a pretty quick pastel I did this morning and I will have to take more time and try it again.  Those hotel and restaurant signs were awesome - when I get back in the studio I'll redo it to give it justice.

Lunch in Livingston
pastel 9x12

Monday, July 11, 2016

Day 191 Gallatin River at Storm Castle

Today started off with rain, brutal wind and a drop in temps by 40 degrees. We got a late start and took our time traveling - no plans for cycling or painting in this weather. We stopped in Livingston for lunch (nice town) and then headed to Bozeman. The weather cleared and a local fly fishing shop gave us a recommendation for a place that Ed could fish while I painted along the shore. We backtracked south and found this one lane bridge at Storm Castle along the Gallatin River.

This was pretty much the only spot to stand, no shoreline to speak of and dense greenery blocking me in. I really liked the bridge. The sun came and went - the birds were chirping and I only screamed once ... because I was startled by a big fat caterpillar that was hitchhiking on my backpack.

Gallatin River at Storm Castle
8x8 oil on linen

Ed Fly Fishing the Gallatin

Hitchhikers - yes, there was more than one - eek.

Day 190 Bear's Lodge

I started out this morning dropping my husband off close to the South Dakota and Wyoming border for a 50 mile bike ride while I headed to Devils Tower to paint. I much prefer "Bear's Lodge" named by the Cheyenne Indians. It's a sacred place for native americans and here's some interesting history and facts.
Somehow, I manage to find secluded spots to paint even at popular tourist destinations. Last year at the Grand Canyon I found all kinds of places along the rim to paint, tucked into corners or behind trees. I thought there would be nowhere here, then I decided to turn down a road near the top and had my own little private parking lot by a hiking trail. I saw only a handful of people, had a couple nice conversations and the morning went by way too fast.

Bear's Lodge
5x7 oil

Not a bad spot to set up at all!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Day 189 Center Lake

This is Center Lake in Custer State Park, SD. I loved the way the sun was hitting the grass and the edge of the trees, great late afternoon light. There were swimmers in the lake but I decided to stop and not add them. Have I mentioned that it was 99 degrees today? Really, really hot. I'm not complaining, I love summer.
This was painted sitting at my picnic table at the campground. The lake was just down the road but I didn't want to haul my gear. I'm working on remembering how a place looks and feels and using the reference photo in a limited way. The goal is to capture the feeling of the place, not necessarily how realistic I can paint it. That's the direction I'm headed.

Center Lake
8x10 pastel

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Day 188 Bison Blobs

I painted at Wind Cave National Park today in South Dakota. Lots of wonderful sky and grasslands - and tons of buffalo. I mean bison. A small girl who had just been through a ranger talk told me they are called Bison, NOT buffalo. Tomato ... tomato. Apparently, it's interchangeable.

There was a very cute calf and mom right in front of me but they moved off before I even got done with the sky. I took lots of photos to paint from later though. One group of visitors parked next to me were so concerned for one of the babies lying flat on the ground, sleeping perchance? They were convinced he was dead. Convinced.

As the herd moved off, the mom finally nudged the baby, he popped up and joined the rest. The crowd burst into high fives and yee haws. I asked a ranger about it and she rolled her eyes and said the rangers are constantly flagged down by well meaning tourists worried that a calf is dead. She said they are always just sleeping. She had stopped to tell me to dash for the car in case they moved toward me. Yep, already knew that.

While I painted, Ed rode 30 miles through the park to our camp spot in Custer State Park. Bison are unfazed by the numerous cars that drive by, but a bicycle? One bull grunted at him as he was going by, Ed grunted back and the dang bull gave him a few charging steps. Suddenly Ed was pedaling much faster and text me later that he would not be riding back down highway 87 to our meeting spot. Fun day all around.

Bison Blobs
8x10 oil

Painting close to the car for a reason
Open range means don't be stupid and get too close

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Day 187 Rusty

Today I was in Pawnee National Grasslands in north-eastern Colorado. The hubby went for a 30 mile bike ride while I painted. A plan that we hope is going to work well for the next couple of weeks.
It was great getting back outside. I'm rusty. A huge wind gust took out my easel and pastels within the first 5 minutes. Then I remembered to weigh my easel. Good news, no pastels broke as I was standing on a nice soft ant hill.

The mailboxes and rusty wagon wheel had a lot of character ... and there was a place to pull off the road without getting run down by the truckers. I wonder about those 3 families at the end of this remote road, are they friends? Have they lived there forever? Wondering.
Also, a group of tiny ants are currently confused ... racing around the inside of my car wondering how they crossed two state lines this afternoon and ended up in South Dakota.

8x10 pastel

Day 186 Floral on the Fourth

This small floral painting was the closest I could come to July 4th fireworks. I'm hitting the road for some well needed plein air painting. I'm not sure about internet access but hopefully I'll catchup on my paintings and my posts. As I've fallen further behind over the last several weeks I'm still ever hopeful!

Floral on the Fourth
8x8 oil

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Day 185 Lost in Joy

I've spent some time reflecting on loss this weekend. I have several friends deep in grief and loss, my heart aches for them. Then there is mine, it is abundantly large and multi-faceted.
I have found the secret for me for healing, for happiness, for joy. I paint. They don't always turn out how I want and I always want to be better. But it's so big - I get lost in it.

I am so full of joyful painting nothing can stop me. Here are more flowers to get you through any storm that comes your way.

Lost in Joy
20x20 oil

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Day 184 Socked In

Since I was buried in a landscape of clouds over the last two days - I gave in and painted them. It's unusual to be socked in like this. Normally, the clouds blow through, we have short intermittent rain showers with lots of sun in between. I've spent many July 4th weekends watching the clouds roll past Lake Granby but the last couple of days, the sun was on vacation. I'm still struggling to keep up, I feel like a fast moving cloud myself. Maybe I'll go back to those bright flowers tomorrow.

Socked In
20x20 oil

Friday, July 1, 2016

Day 183 Rose Colored Glasses

I think my last post said something silly like I was embracing my crazy life. Not so much now. I'm in the middle of a move and there were some complications. My new studio is not set up, my old studio is a mess and I just couldn't paint. Sometimes things don't go as planned. I could have squeezed out an hour here and there but I certainly couldn't find the joy in it - and who wants to see non-joyful paintings?

I painted most of today and it felt good to get back to the easel. I planned to paint plein air but it was a gray rainy day. I have these great wildflowers blooming - and the pink skyrocket and wild roses really stood out. So even though it was gray out I chose to see things today through rose colored glasses. I'm going for a hike in the morning, I wonder what I will see to paint?

Rose Colored Glasses
11x14 oil