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

Friday, September 30, 2016

Day 250 Cliff-like Trees

I'm headed back to the mountains this weekend to catch the last of the aspen turning. I hope I see some spots with fresh snow and maybe some leaves still on the trees.
I did this painting in a class with Cliff Austin earlier this week at Park Hill Art Club. You can certainly see his influence with my use of a palette knife. Not the first time he has inspired me, I remember painting some peaches last year after looking at his work and I've tagged along on more than one plein air outings. Cliff was one of the first artists I met in the world of plein air painting a few years ago.

This road was east of Rabbit Ears Pass as we drove around a few weeks ago taking pictures like crazy. The light was really great and I wished I could have set up in the middle of the road and ignored the ATV's and hunters occasionally passing by. I noticed a nice bright orange vest yesterday at Eddie Bauer - think I'll go back and buy it, it's getting a little chilly for just my orange t-shirt to protect me.

Check out Cliff's great work at

Cliff-like Trees
8x10 oil

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Day 249 Experimental Tree

This aspen tree is just a little more graphic and I'm just playing around with pastels on black paper. I recently listened to an Artists Helping Artists segment with Leslie Saeta about oil painting on copper. I actually bought a sheet of copper from a roofing company and am dying to oil paint on it. It sounded fascinating. I can't find the BlogTalkRadio segment now ... but I remember something about a blowtorch and the cool colors you can achieve. What am I thinking? Can someone please stop me from experimenting? I don't have a blowtorch anyway ...

Experimental Tree
9x12 pastel

Day 248 Fire!

This pastel was done up in Rocky Mountain National Park last week during my painting frenzy. It was the first one I did during the week and is a shining example of needing to "warm up".
It looks like I painted a forest fire, when really those are beautiful aspen in the background. Ick. Why did I paint those awful dead trees on the left? Because they were there. I have found that when I go on a big painting frenzy I need to get a couple bad ones out of my system first. Most artists don't post the bad ones (and wisely so) but I want to finish this year out showing what can happen when you paint every day and work really, really hard to keep the goal for 365 (Leap year 366!) days.

Let's just say this one is not for sale and when I look at it I hear a voice yelling FIRE! Now that's making me kind of laugh because I kinda want to take a match to this one.

Update - a friend bought this painting even after I pointed out every single thing wrong with it. An individual with a wonderful art education and art background. Fascinating ... how art speaks to us all individually. Thank you friend!

9x12 pastel

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Day 247 Up Close

This morning was spent photographing as much scenery as I can for future studio paintings, because this "gold" will end and it will all be white soon. We headed up to Rand, then towards the Chimney Rock area north of Kremmling. It's beautiful, lots of yellow and orange but still many green aspen waiting their turn. I think next weekend this area will be peak for those of you out leaf peeping.

I was slightly stunned to see one of the mountain peaks was named "Granny's Nipple". Seriously. On the map. I then spent way too much time thinking about what circumstance could have enabled someone to name this mountain. Onward ...

I did squeeze in one small painting (I'm itching to paint something big right now) and faced a hard choice, paint the aspen in the distance or up close.

Up Close
9x12 pastel

I do have an orange bandana on!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Day 246 GL Lodge View

I didn't paint today because I hiked all day, 15.5 miles to be exact. Colorado River trailhead to the Grand Ditch, Lake of the Clouds, up to Lulu City and painfully back. You can reference the map below to see the progress of our hike:

#1 - #3 8am start, 28 degrees out - everybody happy looking forward to a nice hike!

#6 Already 6 miles into the hike and I send Ed off to Lake of the Clouds because this is how the guidebook described this section "... lubricated by permanent ice beneath, traverse a large boulder field of large, shaky, angular rocks, among which live a healthy population of black spiders". So I took a nap on a comfy rock and a caterpillar crawled across my face. Ed gets bonus points for adding this on and logs over 17 miles total.

#9 We feel good "Let's tack on and go back through Lulu City, it should only add a couple extra easy miles, right?"

#14 I start to bitch about how much my feet hurt and Ed says "No, no, no - we are still way too far from the car to complain now, finish strong". I give him the silent treatment. He doesn't notice.

#16 We pass a crowd of tourists gazing at an elk right off the trail and I stomp loudly by because I don't care about seeing a stupid elk. I need to get to the car, I've gone 14 miles and the last 1.5 may do me in. It's 4 pm for pete's sake. I'm sure they are all horrified at my rudeness.

Parking Lot - At the car and immediately over being mad because I can sit down. My feet hurt, lots of things hurt and there is only one ice pack, just sayin'.

Ummm, back to the art. I painted this from the parking lot at Grand Lake Lodge a couple of days ago. Since I'm probably unable to walk tomorrow, I'll be painting something from photos I took today.

GL Lodge View
8x10 oil

Ed's Garmin recorded the hike for us

Wearing my Alzheimer's Association shirt in support of the walk today
and the hunters and deer can see me
multi tasker!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Day 245 Peak on the Hill

Once a year the aspen are in their glory and peak in mid september. I usually get up to the mountains to see them for a day or two. There have been several years when I completely missed it - life just gets busy darn it. This year, I've got 10 full days of driving around, painting, taking reference photos and being in aspen heaven. I set this time aside a year ago - and I am already blocking off the days for 2017. I'm missing all kinds of things in town; fall art classes have started and I'm missing the Walk to End Alzheimer's. But, oh these trees.

Peak on the Hill
8x10 pastel

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Day 244 The Lights and Music are On

I painted this in a favorite spot in RMNP on the Colorado River trailhead. It's about a 30 minute walk from the parking lot and then you have to scramble over a rock field to work your way up toward the trees. It's a little more difficult with a 20 lb. pack of art supplies - yes, I need to lighten that load.

When out painting plein air, a painting buddy will occasionally yell out "turn the lights on!" as the sun keeps playing hide and seek behind the clouds. Which makes me laugh. This time, as the wind was blowing and the aspen leaves quaked loudly, Anita says "listen, the music is on too".

Thanks Anita for the title.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Day 243 Late Afternoon

I painted this while I stayed firmly and safely on private property ... mine! I haven't done an oil painting for awhile and I was feeling a little frustrated with my pastels the last few days. I'm happy with how it turned out so oil painting it is for now. Funny how just switching something up a little can get you out of a groove you may be stuck in.

It's also always handy when nature tells you the painting is done, by raining on me and chasing me back into the house.

Late Afternoon
8x8 oil

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Day 242 Up the Road

This was painted this morning from a spot just up the road. A friend let us intrude on her property and bribe her horses with carrots. Jack and Willie were very sweet horses and I could tell have some personality to boot.
My painting buddies all painted the horses but I struggled with the aspen trees instead. I need much more drawing practice before I attempt a moving model. Maybe I'll give it a try from one of the photos I took.
Very grateful to Lindsey for sharing her lovely horses and view with us!

Up the Road
8x10 pastel

Day 241 Centered

Yesterday morning, after painting in RMNP, I sat in a chair for a few minutes listening to the wind and water trickling by in the Colorado River. I love these quiet places. Feeling centered.

Then in the afternoon while painting on BLM land close to my house, a hunter walked by. With 2 guns. I knew it was bow and black powder season, but didn't realize you could hunt on BLM land, I had never seen a hunter in this area. I was wearing orange but my friends weren't. Then we heard a couple - 3 to be exact - gunshots. Wearing orange btw does not make me feel safe in the least. An armored vest or riot gear perhaps would have made me feel better.
Not peaceful.

I have nothing against hunters ... until they walk 2 feet past me with a gun in a thick forest of aspen trees. Out we hiked. Pissed that I won't feel safe hiking again in this beautiful grove of aspen that is a 5 minute walk from my house - anytime during hunting season. Today I'm searching for another spot to paint in my orange clothes and I'll pay a little more attention to avoid men with guns.

6x6 pastel

Monday, September 12, 2016

Day 240 Sunrise Memories

Here is another sunrise painting over lake Granby. I'm borrowing words from a facebook friend that she posted yesterday on 9/11. I can't say it any better. Thanks Priscilla.

"We take comfort in knowing that the people we have lost are still with us. They aren't in the things that are left behind, but in our hearts and thoughts, in every sunrise and sunset. They are in the gentle whisper of the breeze, and every laugh and smile we share. We carry them with us. Never forgotten."

Sunrise Memories
5x9 pastel

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Day 239 Little Aspen

This was a small watercolor I did as a demo the other day for our Memories in the Making art class. Really, I was talking about some basic techniques, blending and design elements to the other facilitators in the class.

I don't pretend to be a good watercolor artist but I'm trying to catch up on my posts and do the #30in30paintings for September that I committed too. And you can never paint too many aspen trees, right?

Little Aspen
8x8 watercolor

Day 238 Slow Sunrise

I'm in the mountains and the aspen are turning. I'm so excited to have made painting a priority this week and setting aside the rest of "life". You know - bills, errands and umm, netflix. All time suckers that keep me away from daily painting.

I've been watching the sun rise and set almost every day lately. I wish I could paint each one, that may be a goal one month, maybe just for a week? It makes me realize how fast the time is going by too. The days are suddenly shorter and the weeks flying by. Summer was filled with lots of good things but all at a slightly much faster pace than I wanted. Isn't that always how it goes? I'm already planning 2017 - and working hard to keep the goal list down to a manageable list.

Slow Sunrise
5x10 pastel

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Day 237 Turning Towards the Sun

This was also painted at the Littleton Historical Museum. It was a cloudy morning and I thought we might get rained on. Since it was not sunny, there was no moving light which actually helped me slow down enough to get two paintings in. Sunflowers, old barns, pumpkins, farm equipment, sheep, pigs - so much to paint out here. Eventually, the sun did come out and then the sunflowers started moving. Nature. Gotta love it.

Turning Towards the Sun
8x10 pastel

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Day 236 Right Spot

This morning I painted at the Littleton Historical Museum. I love this place and have many fond memories of bringing my kids here over the years. Todays "animal adventure" involved 2 lambs that escaped the enclosure and desperately wanted back in. The momma sheep kept bleating at them, the lambs bleated back and jammed their heads repeatedly between rails that were too close together. They got their heads stuck a few times and were pretty panicked.

We steered them to an area where there was room to slip back through, but they continued to clunk their heads over and over in the wrong spot. Finally, another woman (with a very young child) grabbed the lambs and shoved them through the right part of the gate. Hero.

Hmmm, I wish someone would come along and just shove me in the right direction sometimes.

Right Spot
9x12 pastel

Anita Winter ended up with an excellent oil painting today

Before the hero mom lifted them up to the higher rail
All's well that ends well!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Day 235 Still

I watched the sun come up today; as I have many, many times -- it really is the best part of the day.
On this particular day I was up at 5 am because the coyotes were yipping and howling. I have a marmot living in the firewood pile and for the past several days the coyotes have been pretty vocal about a possible breakfast right outside my front door. I love nature but occasionally we find some "leftovers" (like an unidentified bone, grizzle attached) in the surrounding woods. Ewww.

Anyway, there were no clouds, no bright colors bursting over the mountains, no drama at all. It felt like the sky was getting up extra slow. It felt peaceful. And still. I've been striving for that feeling of utter calm for the last several years and it has arrived. Only for brief moments but better than never experiencing it at all.

I hope each of you finds a moment to be still in all of our overly busy lives.

8x10 pastel

Day 234 First Snow

I sort of expected to see my first snow of the season this weekend. I'm anticipating a dusting of snow with the aspen trees shimmering gold and I produce some fantastic painting that is the best one I've ever done. Everybody thinks that way, right? It's why we get out of bed each morning, the optimism flowing though our minds that today will be better than yesterday. Or, you just get up because you have to pee.

Well it didn't snow and I haven't churned out the best painting - ever painted - but I've got 117 tries left in me for this year. Today is really the 249th day of the year with 117 left. I'm a little behind. Don't you hate always feeling a little behind? The coyotes woke me up again at 5 am and I worked on 6 different paintings yesterday (none completed) so instead of feeling a little behind, I've going to call today a little ahead.

First Snow
16x20 acrylic

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Day 233 Vaker Asp

My neighbor has a swedish aspen tree, its leaves are turning already. It's in the midst of a grove of good old Populus Tremuloides.
"Populus tremuloides is a deciduous tree native to cooler areas of North America, one of several species referred to by the common name aspen. It is commonly called quaking aspentrembling aspen, American aspen, Quakies, mountain or golden aspen, trembling poplarwhite poplar ... the list goes on." wikipedia

Damn beautiful I say. The leaves on the Swedish Aspen have a jagged edge rather than a smooth edge, that's about all I know. Since I don't speak Swedish I googled how to say beautiful aspen tree and there's my title. Or possibly, someone at google just made me say a swear word. Who knows.

Vaker Asp
8x10 pastel

Saturday, September 3, 2016

day 232 Fall Arrival

September means fall to me. Officially, the first day of fall is September 22 but I'm going to start enjoying it now anyway. The mountains are chilly, and if you look carefully there is a rebel tree or two starting to turn yellow. On the to do list today includes cutting some firewood, breaking out the flannel sheets and making soup in the crock pot. All after a daily painting of course. To be honest, I don't really cut the firewood, hubby does that chore.

Meanwhile, coyotes are yipping and I heard an elk bugle this morning so I say - come on fall!!

Fall Arrival
14x18 pastel

Friday, September 2, 2016

Day 231 Blending In

For this painting of winter aspen trees, I referenced a photo I took on my iPad. Then I started noticing mysterious lines of purple pastel ... everywhere but in the studio. Counter top in the kitchen. My computer. On some mail. Inside my purse. On a pile of laundry. Damn, the white sheets on my bed. Finally, I discovered the culprit on the felted iPad cover. A thick 4" line of purple dust, gleefully pollinating my whole house with pastel.

Apparently, I managed to set my iPad on a crumbled pastel then as I moved about the house I left streaks of purple EVERYWHERE. I'm easy to pick out in a crowd, I always have a blob of paint or pastel on me somewhere. Unless I'm in a group of artists - then I blend in well.

If you come over, just think Harold and the Purple Crayon. One of my favorite books; remember when you were young enough to think that magic was possible? Instead of being annoyed (let's just say the purple lines will be permanent in several areas) I'm going to smile and remember how much I loved that book. And face it, I'll apologize to my husband but probably continue to spread purple lines around my house, on my clothes and all over my world.

Blending In
18x24 pastel