ESCAPE, Celebrating the Great Outdoors

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Indian Creek Canyon, by Emilie Lee, 2019, 6×12, oil

 

Opening Reception:
Thursday, June 27, 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Free and open to the public

46-06 11th St, Long Island City, New York

Eleventh Street Arts presents Escape, an exhibition curated by Emilie Lee, featuring a collection of paintings that were created by artists who brave the elements to create their work in the great outdoors. The tradition of painting “en plein air” or “in the open air” requires an appetite for adventure, a level of patience, and a willingness to listen for nature’s voice. Each of these paintings represents an artist’s intimate communion with the landscape and presents the viewer with an opportunity to join in. We invite you to escape the city heat and see what has been created by these artists in their quest for inspiration around the world.

In honor of the wild places that have inspired these paintings, Eleventh Street Arts will donate a portion of proceeds to The Nature Conservancy, a global environmental nonprofit working to create a world where people and nature can thrive.

“Let me earnestly recommend … one studio which you may freely enter and receive in liberal measure the most sure and safe instruction … the Studio of Nature”

— Asher Brown Durand, Letters on Landscape Painting, 1855
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Painting on the Sonoma Coast

It’s been six months since I’ve updated my blog and now I will attempt to share some of what I’ve been up to since March! I like being able to look back through this blog and see all the different stages in my evolution as an artist, so I’m determined to keep it up.

In April I went on a road trip to the Sonoma Coast where I made plein-air paintings on my Cousin’s private property. I wrote a story about this trip that was just published online at Artist’s Network, so if you want to read more about it, follow this link. Below are some of my favorite pictures from that painting trip:

 

Teaching Landscape painting at the GCA

In March I went back to New York City to teach at the Grand Central Atelier. It was so fun to re-connect with the amazing community of artists where I myself spent many years as a student, soaking up as much as I could learn.

For this class I focused on teaching master copies using color photocopies out of my art books. It sounds pretty basic, but I’ve been teaching landscape painting to beginners this way for three years now and I truly believe it is one of the most approachable ways to learn painting. It’s a great way to wrap your mind around all the elements of landscape painting in a controlled studio environment before going out into nature to paint “en plein air” So here are some photos from the workshop, with student work and my demo. Thanks for checking it out! – Emilie

 

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in the skylit classroom at Grand Central Atelier

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this is my demo for the class

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student work my Patricia Scott

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student work by Varin Charnyapornpong

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catching up with my lady painter friends Savannah Cuff, Katie Whipple, and Liz Beard!

New Paintings from Japan

Kristo and I just got home after two weeks in Japan! We went to see for ourselves the legendary powder and it was such a thrill to ride untracked pow every day! We soaked in the natural hot springs, or onsens, tried new food, and hiked into the backcountry where we saw snow monkeys and kamoshikas! I made time for a few plein-air painting sessions when the sun came out and I took a rest day. The paintings are for sale in my store!

Reminder: I’m teaching in NYC March 16-17-18 at the Grand Central Atelier. sign up on their website! 

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8″x7″ oil on panel, Mt Myoko, Japan

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8″x5″ oil on linen panel, Hakuba Sunrise, Japan

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8″x6″ oil on linen panel, Happo-One, Hakuba, Japan

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8″x6″ oil on linen panel, Hakuba, Japan

 

 

Gallery Opening Recap, Patagonia Essay

Last weekend I was in Bozeman, Montana for the opening night of my show titled “Infinite Landscape” at Old Main Gallery. The paintings will be on view until December 30th 2017. It was an incredible feeling to see all my work framed and hung on a gallery wall, and I sold four paintings on the opening day! To read more about my work on the American Prairie Reserve, scroll back two posts on this blog, or you can read my essay that was recently published on Patagonia’s blog where I discuss the historical context of landscape painting and wilderness conservation and how I was inspired to paint in this part of Montana.

 

 

Painting Bears Ears National Monument

On my way to Bozeman for my show opening at Old Main Gallery last weekend, I spent four days painting in Bears Ears National Monument, near the entrance to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park in Utah. I was specifically in Indian Creek Canyon, an iconic rock climbing destination that is also home to the Dugout Ranch and Canyonlands Research Center, owned by the Nature Conservancy. Below are the paintings that came out of this short trip. I’m excited to use some of these as inspiration for larger paintings in the studio this winter! Six of these small paintings have sold already, but I have seven available for sale, so if you’re interested in getting one, send me a message at emlee7@gmail.com

Thanks!

 

Save the Date: Gallery Show Nov. 4th!

My collection of prairie paintings will be in an exhibit at Old Main Gallery in Bozeman, Montana alongside artwork by Monte Dolack and Carol Guzman. A portion of all proceeds will go to benefit the American Prairie Reserve. Opening reception is from 5-7 PM November 4th and will be on view for one month.

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Over the past two years, I’ve made three different trips to study and paint on the American Prairie Reserve (APR) in Montana’s northern great plains region. I began this project in 2015 when I was living in New York City and looking for a meaningful story that combined my interests in wilderness conservation, outdoor adventure, and plein-air painting. Located south of Saskatchewan and north of the Missouri River, this zone of eastern Montana has seen very little human impact which makes it feel eerily removed from time. At nearly 3.5 million acres, it is one of only four large-scale intact prairie ecosystems in the world – ninety percent of the ground has never been plowed. The APR is a privately funded conservation organization that is purchasing privately owned land when it comes on the market and then merging it with with leased government parcels. The reserve is currently a patchwork of parcels totaling almost 400,000 acres, and each year it continues to grow.

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When complete, the APR will be the largest protected landscape in the continental U.S. and home to all the native animals that once roamed the Great Plains. It will provide visitors an unparalleled opportunity to experience the history and heritage of this landscape in all it’s wild, hostile beauty, and it will be proof of nature’s inherent ability to  re-establish balance when given the chance. At a time when so many of our wild places are under threat, the story of the APR offers hope and inspiration for us to keep fighting for wilderness conservation.

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Lee_Emilie_prairieprimrose1_oillinen_8x6_2015All of the paintings in my collection were made without the use of photographs, instead I relied on direct observation from life, or memory in the studio. These paintings represent two years of exploration and research, celebrating the beauty I found on the prairie, from the fleeting gumbo primrose to the infinite horizons.

 

Lately I’ve done a lot of writing to share my story and promote this show, so if you’re curious, below are all the links where I’ve written about this project and what it has meant to me!

 

November 2017, online: Essay for Patagonia’s Blog “The Cleanest Line”

September 2017, online: Interview with Wylder Goods

September 2017, online: New Wave Art Palettes Interview

September 2017, online: She Explores: Painting the American Prairie Reserve

May 26 2015:   Online Publication: National Geographic Explorer’s blog

May 15 2015:   Online Publication: Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation Landmark Blog

April 29 2015: Online Publication: Grand Central Atelier Blog

April 20 2015: Online Publication Telluride Mountainfilm Blog

April 16 2015:  Print Publication: RISD XYZ Alumni Magazine

My own blog posts from my first trip to the Prairie:

week#1 week#2 week#3 Week#4  week#5

 

 

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Painting My Way Across America

Wow, it’s been a whole year since I updated my blog! I’ve found it so much easier to share my news on a daily basis through Instagram, but for this blog’s record here is my latest: I’ve just moved to California!  In April I sold and gave away almost all my belongings and moved into my Honda Element with my dog Honeycrisp fora  two month road trip, camping and painting my way across the country. I left Vermont on May 7th and began an adventure I’ve been dreaming of since my early 20’s. To say the least, this trip has felt like a momentous achievement for me! After almost eight years in New York City, I moved home to Vermont in 2015 where I spent a year and a half re-evaluating my life. It felt so good to be out of the city, but I was shell-shocked from the intensity of my experience there and it took some time for me get in touch with my intuition and allow myself to follow my heart again. During my year in Vermont I experimented with a lot of different ways to use my skills – teaching workshops, working as an adjunct professor at Champlain College, teaching weekly classes, painting commissions, and selling gallery work. I realized that what truly makes my heart sing is plein-air painting and spending time outside on long trail runs in the mountains, climbing, and practicing yoga. Once this became clear to me, I started making some changes in my life so I could spend more time doing the things I love. I moved to Santa Barbara, CA to be with my boyfriend Kristo and when I decided to make this move, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to indulge my fantasy of doing nothing but plein air painting, camping, and climbing for two months as I drove across the country. In the first month I made twenty seven paintings and posted them for sale in my online store. Within four hours, almost all of them sold! Now it’s been two months and I have another twenty paintings to sell, so if you are interested in being the first to know when my next sale begins, Sign up for my newsletter.

The success of my last sale was a huge affirmation that I am doing the right thing by following my heart and doing what I love. I’m feeling so grateful for all the things that bring me so much joy, and that I’ve found a way to fill my life with them! Now that I’m in Santa Barbara, I’m getting settled in, looking for a new studio space, and spending plenty of time painting at the beach and in the mountains. Life is good and I’m thrilled to keep up the momentum! Stay tuned (instagram or my newsletter are the best ways to stay in touch with me!) for future workshops, more paintings for sale, and stories from all the new places where I’ll be exploring and painting on the west coast!

Cross-Country Road Trip Painting Collection

Farm-to-Canvas Workshop Report

Last weekend’s inaugural farm-to-canvas plein air painting workshop at Golden Well Farm and Apiaries was a huge success! I had eight students, three who stayed in B&B rooms at the farmhouse (and one who opted for the $20/night camping option) these folks were treated to a beautiful farm-to-table breakfast each morning while the rest of us convened at 8 AM for a full morning of painting. While the weather was a little wet, we managed to work around the rain and get some good painting time in. For lunch we sat down to a three course meal made with ingredients picked that day on the farm or sourced from nearby dairy and meat producers. A special treat was the honey kombucha, and honey caramel sauce sourced from Golden Well’s own bees!

I am so grateful to our hosts Nicole and Ryan for their hospitality, generosity, great cooking, and for sharing their home with us. As I mentioned in an earlier post, this is the farm I grew up and it’s been the most wonderful turn of events for me to feel welcomed back to the farm by it’s current residents. While our group was quietly painting, we were able to witness the rhythm of life and work on the farm, which involves several employees, visiting interns, and  Miela, Nicole and Ryan’s 3-year old daughter who was a constant source of entertainment for all of us. We were also treated to an impromptu yoga class taught by Jennifer Parmelee after painting one day, and I am now convinced this will be an integral part of my next workshop. As any artist knows, the long hours focused in front of your work can leave you feeling stiff, emotionally drained, and tired. The yoga session was just what we needed to loosen up and re-set our energy with a positive vibe. After this I am excited to plan future painting workshops that intentionally combine yoga and mindfulness practices.

Our workshop also coincided with some fun local events – Friday night we went to Lincoln Peak Vineyards a mile down the road for picnic party with a live band and 300 people in attendance! Saturday night we strolled through downtown Middlebury and went out to dinner together, and Sunday night ended with a community pizza night on the farm with live music, brick-oven pizzas, rustic hay bale seating, and desserts made by neighboring farmer V Smiley Preserves. Currently we are looking at some dates in September for the next workshop/retreat at this location! Scroll through these pictures for more detailed account of our weekend on the farm. Thank you to all the wonderful students who took the time to travel up to Vermont and spend the weekend with us!

 

Just an Update!

Spring came and went and now it is summer. I have been busy painting, teaching, and thanking my lucky stars each day that I am living in Vermont. I’ll share a quick update on what I’ve been up to and get back to it! I have an open studio event tomorrow night from 5-8 if you want to come see the latest paintings in person.   – Emilie


JUNE 24,25,26 FIGURE DRAWING WORKSHOP, BURLINGTON, VT, $325

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Morning session: 9 -12, Afternoon session: 1-4

This weekend intensive will be an introduction to academic figure drawing methods, emphasizing an intuitive approach that combines expressive drawing and comparative measurements to achieve accurate proportions and anatomy while expressing the gesture and flow of the  pose. Some warm-up exercises from the 19th century Charles Bargue drawing course and lessons in anatomy will be included. The studio is furnished with a model stand and controlled lighting. There is only room for 5 students in this class, so you will be sure to get plenty of hands-on instruction! SIGNUPHERE


JULY 8,9,10 FARM TO CANVAS LANDSCAPE PAINTING WORKSHOP,  $400

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Three days of instructed landscape painting and drawing on a 100 acre historic Vermont farm. Instruction will emphasize a logical approach to planning and executing a successful piece while considering the unique challenges of working outside. This will be a supportive environment for beginners and experienced artists alike with plenty of one-on-one instruction tailored to your goals. Swimming on the property and chef catered farm-to-table lunch provided each day! (Lodging available on the farm at extra cost). New Haven, VT. MORE INFO HERE


*Paintings in group shows this month: FOFA Art’s Alive Show at 1 Main St. Landing, Burlington, VT  June 3-27, and SEABA 404 Pine Street, Burlington, VT


* ONGOING: paintings for sale at Edgewater Gallery in Middlebury VT


Now for some pics from all the fun things I’ve been up to:

MARCH: An energizing trip to the 4-corners region to work with an inspiring crew of artists while being filmed and interviewed for Convergence Film, a project by 3 Strings Productions. Film release to be announced, so stay tuned!

APRIL: It was still winter up here. So we did some skiing and worked in the studio:

MAY: SPRING!!!! Painting outside, lots of hiking, teaching plain-air class along the lake, loving life!