Saturday, November 5, 2011

Heavenly Morning

"Heavenly Morning" 18" x 24" Oil on canvas

This scene is from a location in Pagosa Springs while I was there for the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters National Show. The river is the East Fork River that snaked it's way through a canyon and then came out into this open area. I came on this scene around 6:30 in the morning. The clouds were low and just starting to dissolve as the warmth of the morning sun increased. The glow of the mountain was peaking through those clouds displaying the start of a new day as the sun's light bathed the mountain. The experience was just a split moment in time and like most staggering beauty, lasts but a few moments. It was long enough to get off a couple of frames with my camera. I painted a sketch from those photos, and then ended up with this studio painting trying to capture the romance and calm of what looked to me to be Heaven  on Earth.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Colors Of Colorado

"Last Light On Elk River" 24" x 18" Oil on canvas  "Last Light On Elk River-Study" 10" x 8" Oil on canvas
Copyright Jake Gaedtke, 2011

The Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters have a new show that just opened this Labor Day weekend at The Steamboat Art Museum in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The name of the show is Colors of Colorado. It is a new kind of plein air show. We asked our members to participate in four separate paint outs in four separate locations throughout Colorado during the four seasons in 2010. Those locations included Ouray in the Winter, Grand Junction in the Spring, Buena Vista in the Summer and Steamboat Springs in the Fall. We asked the participating members to create one studio painting from one of the study paintings they did at one of the paint out locations. The results being this show we call Colors of Colorado where we show the field study plein air painting along side it's studio painting. Members were invited to show two other plein air paintings they did during the paint out as well. As a group we felt it is important for the public to know how we use our plein air paintings as references for our studio paintings. They aren't always an end in itself but a means to an end as well. We used to call them "field studies" before the name plein air became so popular. That's what they are.......studies.......note-taking to be used in the studio.
The painting shown here, I did in Steamboat Springs in the Fall on The Elk River. I love this river. It meanders through all kinds of cottonwood trees and aspen trees. I just finished another painting in the late afternoon when I saw the sunlight hit the cottonwood tree as it was going down. I quickly set up again and worked for about 20 minutes to capture that last bit of light. It was so fleeting, I had to do most of the painting from memory because it was gone in a matter of minutes. But I feel I got it.
The RMPAP are honored that our show is the inaugural exhibit for the newly renovated addition to the Steamboat Art Museum. It's a real funky and exciting space. Our show looks fabulous there. Opening night was very well attended adding a lot of interest to what we do.
I might add that in the main space of the museum is an amazing exhibit of the work of Scott Christenesen. An inspiring show that includes some of his very large work as well as studies and everything in between. The two shows combined makes this a very worthwhile trip to see.
Both shows run through October 15, 2011.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Power & The Glory

"The Power & The Glory" Oil on canvas 20" x 30" Copyright, 2011 Jake Gaedtke

This is the studio painting of The Power & The Glory from the study I did that is shown on a previous blog post. This is my first studio painting of a seascape. Norman Maclean's last sentence in his book and the last line to the movie "A River Runs Through It" he writes "I am haunted by waters." That line rings so true in my life and my work. There is something so appealing yet so mysterious about water that haunts me. It can be a small slow running creek, or a roaring thunderous river bringing the melted snow from high atop the mountains down to lower elevations like there is no tomorrow, or a calm ocean with it's waves coming to shore and the sunset glistening the waters like sparkling crystals. As a young boy my family would take our summer vacations to my Grandparents place on the shores of Rice Lake, Wisconsin. Our days were filled with water related activities, especially swimming and fishing. Countless hours of aquatic adventures and exploration kept us occupied. Sometimes I would just sit and watch those waters of the lake and it's rhythmic swaying waves up and down reflecting earth and sky lapping against the boat keeping time with nature. Hypnotic and timeless, the waters put me in a trance of deep thought and wonder. It still does. Water is life and water brings life. Water can take life and destroy the very things we love. The eternal vastness of the ocean  and it's ultimate Power of crashing against it's sandy and rocky shores reveals the Glory in it's beauty and majesty.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Late Afternoon On The Colorado

"Late Afternoon On The Colorado" - 16" x 20"- Oil on canvas Copyright 2011, Jake Gaedtke

This painting is of the Colorado River on a stretch between Hot Sulpher Springs and Kremmling, Colorado. I stopped on my way to Steamboat Springs to get references of this beautiful stretch of river. It's dotted with many fly fisherman who are trying their skills as the river meanders through a gauntlet of the splashing colors of cottonwood trees. Being mid-Autumn the river runs low and slow one can almost walk across it. The contrast of the warms and cools gives a more dynamic feel against the mood of the river's grace. The painting is reminiscent of the Hudson River School artists. Maybe we can start a movement called the Colorado River School.
This painting will be available at the Greeley Stampede Art Show running from June 23rd through July 4.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Power & The Glory

"The Power & The Glory" - 9" x 12" - Oil on canvas  Copyright 2011 Jake Gaedtke

The sea is a never ceasing force of waves crashing to the shore and going out again. It's meditative cadence mingled with it's mist and salty air transforms my spirit into a blissful state of contentment. The crash and rhythm of breaking waves rolling and pounding into the sand is one of those sounds unlike any other. Like that of an elk's bugle or the rumbling echo of thunder. The foam reminds me of snow floating along the shore. I love painting these senses that only a pounding sea can create. It's power and it's glory!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Clearing

"The Clearing" - 22" x 28" - Oil on linen - Copyright 2011 Jake Gaedtke

Sunlight breaks through and shines it's light on a cluster of trees in the middle of a mountain meadow. The threat of an afternoon storm passes but not without the glistening of sunlight glowing on the billowing thunderhead. The smell of freshly fallen rain permeates the atmosphere as it cleans the air and the sounds of Clark's Nuthatcher and Ravens announce the arrival of sunlight.
As I continue to work and meditate on the work I do I realize that my work is, more than anything else, about a sense of place. I often wonder why I don't approach art and painting in a more painterly way. That is, focus on shapes or color and use the subject as the vehicle for the elements in painting. I do see the abstract in nature and that fascinates me, and I search for and include those elements in my painting. But still there is that opportunity to bring to the viewer the emotional and philosophical elements that exists in a specific place that speaks to me in a profound way that motivates my work. Maybe even move people to a point that it has the power to change lives and find a deeper sense of self and our Creator.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Harvest Moonrise

"Harvest Moonrise" - 8" x 8"- Oil on panel  copyright 2011 Jake Gaedtke

Capturing the moon as it's rising can be very difficult. I spent the prior two days coming to this location to see where the moon was going to rise, so I could get the best advantage. I checked on the Internet to see what time the moon was going to rise on that particular day. As the moon was rising, it was already disappearing into the clouds. Wouldn't you know it. The two days I did my reconnaissance, it was perfectly clear and no clouds. But this moonrise was particularly dramatic with those clouds and I loved it. I only had about a 5 minute window to get the moon down on canvas with the color surrounding it. I painted it mostly from memory after the moon went into the clouds. Luckily I had my book light I use for nocturne painting with me. I attached it to my pachade box and was able to finish the painting on location. It was the reflection I was after, though. I believe I got it.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Aspens Ablaze

"Aspens Ablaze" 16" x 12" Oil on canvas copyright 2011 Jake Gaedtke

This is a small studio painting I recently finished of an aspen grove I came across in Rocky Mountain National Park. The aspens were so tall and the leaves were throwing off all those brilliant Fall colors. Yellows, oranges, ochres were permeating the atmosphere. Contrasted by the blue of the sky and background mountains made the colors even more intense. It was like this inferno of seasonal chroma just exploding everywhere.

One of the challenges I find in painting aspens is trying to get that characteristic of the leaves. Quaking aspen leaves twirl and turn and against the sun they glimmer like jewels. It's like turning a diamond in the light and the glitter shows off the sparkle. The aspen leaves do the same thing and it's so hard to capture that animation. Many artists who paint aspens show just the big shape of the leaves as a whole, and that's okay, but I like the individual leaves as well as the big shape, because to me, it's those leaves that attract me to the aspen tree.

This painting will be exhibited in the upcoming Colorado Governor's Art Show in April.