Delivering Christmas Cheer

Submitted by Gary on Wed, 12/17/2014 - 16:54

Delivering Christmas Cheer

Once again, Christmas and the holiday festivities are upon us! We have lots of traditions that go with the season. One of them is to ask, "Where did the year go?" Since I have a birthday early in January, it also begets the tradition of asking whether I've learned much in the last year. Looking back, I do see progress in lots of places and, as usual, some things that could use a little more work. On the plus side, I have a new series of paintings that are being closely held under wraps until the spring unveiling at the "Out West Art Show," in Great Falls, March 18-21. The series is called, Squaring the West, if that gives you any clues.

Also on the positive side of the year's ledger, I've made considerable progress in getting name recognition around the country, and if Facebook Friends are any measure, around the world. Numerous awards in prestigious shows have been one part of that success and another is recognition by major art magazines like Southwest Art, Art of the West and Plein Air Magazine, who have either run features about my art or sponsored awards I've won.

All this leads me to be very positive about the prospects for 2015. For the art market I see signs of encouragement. The housing market continues to improve and lately there have been gains in wages for middle class Americans which have been stagnant for years and those are the people that buy original artwork in my price range. Tourism has hit all-time highs in our National Parks, showing there is a lot of interest in natural wonders and beauty. Add to that my level of enthusiasm for the work I'm creating and you can see why I am fired up for 2015!

Our beautiful Christmas card was a product of my wife Ann's choice of a painting and a photo we took in the back yard of us leaning back in the canoe to simulate going over the falls. Ann did a great job of posing, paddle in water, as if she were driving us forward over the brink of an uncertain future with a smile on her face. I see her doing that every day in real life. With her behind me in confident smile, not knowing what the future will bring, I have no doubt we will rise to whatever challenges await.

The painting is one of the first in the new series and is of the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River from the northern brink of the falls. The original pastel painting is 24 inches square and the card contains only a cropped detail of it. Click on the image at the right to see it larger. In person, like the falls themselves, the painting is fairly imposing and gives you a felling of being right at the edge. It was fun merging the images together and adding a little froth and foam behind Ann's paddle and along the canoe's waterline. It took year's of experience canoeing for me to be able to make that realistic effect! ;) you'd think I might have learned to read the water a little better so as to avoid going over waterfalls - especially ones 307 feet high!

Thanks, Ann, friends, family, students, patrons and followers for a very successful year. May you have all the very best blessings of Christmas and a terrific new year.

At the Brink, Lower Yellowstone Falls