Salvaje (Wild)

As I traipsed across the Flying Horse Ranch, I encountered various bands of horses roaming freely within assorted massive pastures.  They would look my way, then return to grazing.  Some curious horses would approach me with lowered heads and relaxed ears, eager for a scratch under the chin.  However, there was one bay who stood out from the rest.  As I approached him and his band from a sizable distance, this trail horse raced out in front to meet me, head tossing, nostrils flaring, ready to protect his little band if I were a threat.  In that moment, I felt like he reached out and squeezed my heart.

 

Like this horse, there is a wildness in me I can’t contain.  It’s difficult to capture in words, so I shan’t even try.  Suffice to say, some people think it is inspiring; others find it unnerving and unacceptable.  I would love to say I have encountered far more people who celebrate my inner wildness, rather than those who try to exterminate or regulate it, but that is simply not true.  If I am honest, that truth was a source of pain for many years.  I longed to be a bit more tame and conventional so I would encounter more acceptance and understanding.  Oddly enough, healing came through painting, not through the acceptance and understanding of others.   

 

Salvaje (Wild) celebrates every wild heart.  I painted it for the trail horse that sometimes still acts like a band stallion, for myself as wild speaks to wild, and for every person who moves for the sheer joy of it, who envisions more than the eye can see, who explores simply because the mountain is there, who dances to music that others can’t hear, and whose hearts and souls do not conform to this world.  Stay wild.

 

36" x 24" Acrylic Painting, (Museum-quality prints available under "Reproductions" tab)

After the Rain

 

Inspired by two of my obsessions: water droplets and the mystery of how the human eye interprets color.  While every water droplet is like its own masterpiece, full of light and color, the color of the poppy creates a mystery. Though the flower appears red to our eyes, to accurately create the different planes of light, much of what appears to be red in the poppy is actually painted with greens and violets!  

(Acrylic on acid-free mixed-media paper, 16.5 x 23.5", $3,800)

I Choose Hope

 

It is said that with every sunrise and morning, God’s mercies are new, giving us a reason to have hope each day. In 2020, 213 mornings had come and gone, streaming rays of sunlight into my room each morning, but that light and hope never seemed to reach my heart. It had been a hard year for me long before the global pandemic. As the year unfolded, it seemed the world became more hopeless each day, fraught with a merciless virus, and increasing division and hate. 

 

One day I was hiking before dawn for a nocturnal photoshoot. Afterwards, I was trekking back when the sun broke over the horizon. I felt something within me whisper, “Choose hope.”  As the sun turned the wild grasses into drops of gold, I set aside my anxieties and the state of the world as I watched a darkened landscape transform into sun-kissed waving wheat and rose-colored mesas.

 

I call this painting, I Choose Hope, because each morning will indeed give me the gift of a new sunrise, despite the burdens of our broken world. However, what I do with that gift is my choice. It is not easy to choose hope amidst the tempests of a global pandemic, economic crises, hatred, disunity, and personal storms. It's far easier to close the curtains of my heart to try and ease the onslaught of a despairing world, but in doing so I shut out the light, not just the dark. That's not who I want to be, so I choose perseverance, knowing hardship strengthens character, I choose to paint because art has the power to transform, and I choose hope because there's still beauty and goodness in the world. I Choose Hope invites viewers to open wide the curtains to their hearts and choose hope in their own lives.

10" x 20" Acrylic Painting; $2,800

The Mountain Hunter

I love the red rocks of the Rocky Mountains--their color, designs, and sheer artistry never cease to amaze me, as do the creatures who call it home.  

 

Acrylic, 11 x 14"; $2,100

Autumn Joy

A lot of people love Spring because it represents new beginnings and life, plus it means summer is on the way. However, I believe every season has its beauty. This is true in the mountains, and true in our lives. Some seasons are easier than others (like climbing a 14er in the predawn of summer instead of winter!), yet there is purpose and beauty in every season, if we will look for it. 


I titled this piece, Autumn Joy, because there is something about the sights and smells of the mountains in the fall that lift my spirits, no matter how low they are, and fill me with an indescribable joy at the gift of life, even when life is hard. 


The mountains always bring me renewal, restoration, and joy, but especially in the Autumn when the leaves blaze with color beyond imagination, the wind whispers of the hope and excitement of changing seasons, and the mountain-tops are kissed with the first hints of winter. I hope that wherever you are, when you view this painting, you can hear the sounds of the wind carrying the sweet smells of Autumn, feel your spirit lifted, and find joy in your current season of life.

Acrylic 24 x 18" $5,900

The Testament

A common misconception of the Christian faith is that since God is for us, we will not suffer, despite scripture to the contrary. However, the greatness of God is not defined solely by His ability to keep us from pain, but also His promise to bring us through the challenges of pain, catastrophe and evil. He promises to never leave us, and to make beauty and perfected character in us out of our hardship and trials. (Deut 31:6; Rom 5:3-5; Heb 2:10; Is 61:1-3). 


The twisted juniper tree is a living testament to these truths of God's character. Twisted junipers face environmental hardships of hurricane force sheer winds, extreme drought, severe cold, and blizzards on an annual basis. To combat these hardships, their root systems plunge up to 30’ through the solid rock of cliffs and mountainsides to find sustaining water. Thus, where other trees would die in such extremes, the tenacious root systems and twisted growth patterns allow the twisted juniper to persevere against such extreme trials, creating trees of unparalleled beauty.

I painted this twisted juniper simply because I want to be like this magnificent tree! I want to be a testament to God's sovereignty, goodness, and faithfulness, and to be the kind of person whose character triumphs over hardship no matter the season. Looking up at this tree's twisting and patterned bark from a worm's eye view creates a beautiful interplay of value, color and texture, while showcasing the magnificence of this 150-200 year-old tree.

Acrylic, 11 x 14; SOLD

Limited edition giclées available under Reproductions..

Midnight Majesty

am drawn to the wilderness at night and early morning.  There is something so magical and majestic about these times of day; I feel like Creation reveals to me its awe in ways I would miss by the bright of day.  This piece is from a midnight trip in the backcountry of Northern New Mexico in O'Keeffe country. New Mexico is called the Land of Enchantment for a reason!

 

Acrylic, 11 x 14; Available at https://governorsartshow.org