“Engulfed By Peak-and-Pine” is a 12×9″ original oil on canvas. This setting is at the base of “rock pile” next to Moraine lake in Banff National Park. We spent several days camping there this past summer, scouting out places to paint in the future. It is definitely a trip I want to make again there are a million paintings waiting to happen there. While we were there it was overcast most of the time and we were in quit a bit of rain. The one thing I like about cloudy overcast days like the one I painted in is that the colors are so much clearer. While a beautiful sunny day creates dramatic shadows to paint, the sunlight steals the natural color. So, coming from the desert where the sun always shines, it was nice to have some cloud covered days where the colors were the center of attention. It does make for much cooler paintings overall, so as an artist I push the warm colors a bit more.
A Little About Moraine Lake
Photographs of Moraine Lake are world famous. Most recently it has appeared as a background on Blackberry Pearl, Palm Pre, and Window’s 7 as well as many other very popular venues such as National Geographic. You’ve probably seen Moraine lake even if you didn’t know what you were looking at. I have several references from the lake itself that I will be working on in the studio this coming year and I’m excited to paint them.
One of the attractions for me as an artist is the incredible color of the water in Moraine Lake. In fact while we were there my daughter Kristi kept commenting about how she had never seen water so clear and blue. The reason for the amazing color is that it is a glacially-fed lake. (Fay Glacier and Larch creek) The down side of a glacially-fed lake is that it does not fill to capacity until mid to late June. If you are visiting, especially artist who want to paint it, know that you will be seeing different water levels based on the time of the year.
The view of the mountains behind Moraine Lake is known as the Valley of the Ten Peaks (yep there are ten, we counted them!). Again a highly recognized setting as it is photographed a lot. (It was actually on the Canadian twenty dollar bill in the 60s and 70s). I’m planning on a Valley of the Ten Peaks painting this year, it will be a large canvas for sure.
Why The Info?
Sometimes I have people ask why I get so much information about what and where I’m painting. Great question and one that I love to talk with artist friends about. It’s imperative to know your subject matter. In the same way I prepare as a speaker/communicator for every talk I give, I want to know so much more about my subject matter than I will ever talk about or paint. It is reflected in the confidence of each brush stroke in a painting. When an artist tries to take a short cut and not get to know his/her subject matter, there is a sense about the painting that it lacks understanding. That’s our job as artist, and for that matter as communicators. Whether it’s through words or canvas, at my very core I’m a communicator.