This was a commission from my brother, who was just made bishop (leader of his local congregation at church). He wanted something special to gift to the outgoing bishop to thank him for his service. And since that outgoing bishop had recently sold their lovely home, in anticipation of an overseas move, Cort thought that a "house portrait" would be the perfect gift. I love creating these house portraits, because of the lovely sense of place they inspire. Whether it's an old ancestral home, or a more recent dwelling, these places are important receptacles of our memories, even sacred spaces.
Just as the focal point of a face is the eyes—often referred to as the windows to our soul, the focal point of a house portrait is the entrance itself. The front door and porch, along with any walkway leading up, make us feel welcome and make the home feel more approachable. I love the way the sidewalk leads to the porch and the door, and even the "Logan Ave" stamped into the concrete give a beautiful sense of time and place.
July 24 is a day when, here in Utah, we celebrate those who walked a thousand miles or more, braving hardships of weather, disease and famine to settle this place. There leader, the great colonizer Brigham Young, upon entering the Salt Lake Valley, declared, "This is the right place." I have felt that same sense of certainty in every home where we have lived, sensing that this is the right place for us at this time.
Lyon, France -- Another commission, where my friend's father-in-law lived and served for three years.
Final ink drawing followed by finished painting (Vignette).
St. Phillips of the Highlands — beautiful old churchyard and cemetery in the Hudson River Valley
Question: What places give you a sense of identity, connection and purpose?
We spent most of our adult life in Southern California, starting when I ventured off to Otis Art Institute, later as missionaries, and finally as young newlyweds we spent our honeymoon making the trek down I-15 to become permanent residents in Los Angeles County...or so we thought. All of our children are California natives. We owned two homes there, and two businesses. We also buried one baby there -- something no parent should ever have to do.
At the end of May we returned for a brief visit. Our kids invited us to spend a few days with them in L. A., and the clincher was when our son-in-law asked us to "show me the Los Angeles you guys love." That journey begins and ends with the people, of course. We have so many wonderful friends there, friends who feel more like family. We also love the surprisingly great hiking in SoCal, and because we ministered to la gente hispana while we served there as missionaries, we also love the strong Latino component of the culture. Each of these paintings captured a moment from that brief trip where we returned to our California roots. And there are so many more! Next Stop: Downtown Los Angeles.
QUESTION: What do you love about Southern California? What faraway place might you still think of as home?
"Sunrise Over Bear Lake," (June 30) 11 x 14 and "Fireworks on the Ridge Trail," (July 4) 12 x 16
Nearly every summer I spend 3-5 days at a cabin in Bear Lake with a group of dear friends for a Writing Retreat. It is the safest of havens and they are the most refreshing people. Early mornings and late evenings we often go for long walks on the gravel trails. This particular morning, right at dawn, completely took my breath away. Something about the sun rising behind the distant mountains, reflecting off the lake and blurring the edge of the mountains in front just begged to be captured.
Another favorite tradition (spring, summer, and fall, but especially during July) is hiking the Ridge Trail at the summit between Provo Canyon and American Fork Canyon. This trail boasts amazing vistas, reaching clear into the Heber Valley, way up to the tip of Timpanogos, and deep in the recesses of American Fork Canyon. This particular July 4 morning waist-high wildflowers flanked both sides of the trail in spots. I couldn't help but notice that the Delphinium leaves were shaped like fireworks, a little celebration of their own!
The Utah Watercolor Society's Cache Valley chapter is hosting a show called "Midsummer Moments." I love participating in these shows because the people are wonderful and the drive up there is refreshing. I chose two very specific moments with particularly vivid memories to enter in this show. (I think they make a handsome pair, so I matted and framed them identically, just in case some lucky person wants to take them both home as a matched set!)
2018 UWS-CVC Exhibition
July 13-August 3
Fuhrimans Framing and Fine Art
75 South Main Street
Logan, UT 84321
QUESTION: What are some of your favorite midsummer moments?
UPDATE: "Sunrise Over Bear Lake" received an Honorable Mention award in this show.
I am an artist and art instructor working in water media. Just knowing I can watch colors run together makes it worth getting out of bed every morning! Helping students capture the same excitement is equally rewarding.