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.

 

 

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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!

 

Summer in the City

I came home a month ago after a grand adventure in the west, where I spent one month painting on the American Prairie Reserve and one week showing new work at the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival. Time is flying, and I’ve been busy teaching, working on a new commission, and preparing for my next trip to the prairie. Here are some highlights from the past month in New York City.

FIRST PLACE WINNER!

My painting “Fortitude” won first place at the Mills Pond House Gallery juried show. You can see this and another painting of mine “Saco River” at the gallery in Saint James, NY (Long Island) until July 22.

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Fortitiude

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Saco River

EXHIBIT IN NEW YORK CITY

These two paintings are in an upcoming juried show at the National Association of Women Artists. 80 5th Ave, New York, NY. July 8-29. Opening reception is July 16, 5-7 PM

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Portrait Study

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Ball Mason

NEW ONLINE STORE

I came home to my studio and couldn’t find enough room to hang up my latest paintings from the prairie, so it’s time for a spring clearance sale. In the past I’ve sold my work through emails and Facebook connections, so I hope this new store will help make the process more efficient.

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TEACHING IN CENTRAL PARK

We managed to dodge the frequent thunderstorms for my Tuesday plein-air painting classes in Central Park, but for the workshop last weekend the weather caught up with us. Despite the rain we had a productive weekend and everyone made great paintings!

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These two paintings were done by students in my class

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staying dry under the terrace

APPLETON FARMS

Commissions like this are a dream. One of the shareholders at Appleton Farms in Ipswich, MA, asked me to make a painting of this very special place. The farm was founded in 1636 and operated by the Appleton family until 1967 when it was acquired by a local conservation organization. It is the oldest continuously operating farm in America, producing dairy products, beef, and produce. Sustainable farming practices ensure that the landscape also provides a safe habitat for wildlife and birds. I spent two days working on location and have since been finishing the final painting in the studio.

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BACK TO THE PRAIRIE

From August 15 – September 15 I’ll be in Wyoming at the Jentel Artist’s Residency where I’ll be working one of my big studio paintings inspired by my time on the American Prairie Reserve. Jentel is located in the Bighorn Mountains, just five hours south of the Prairie Reserve, and offers writers and artists a quiet place to focus on their work. They don’t even have cell or internet service, I can’t wait! After the residency is finished, I’ll be driving north to the Prairie Reserve for a week of plein air painting in mid September. It will be interesting what this landscape is like in a completely different season.

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RECENT PUBLICATIONS

An essay I wrote for Alpinist Magazine’s fiftieth issue can be read online as well as in print. The Dumpster Diaries, Then and Now  reflects on an adventure I wrote about for the Alpinsit ten years ago. It involves climbing, art, and the Trader Joe’s dumpster. Read the original 2004 article here. An article I wrote about my ongoing project on the American Prairie Reserve was published in the RISD XYZ spring/summer issue, free to read online here.

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The Mountainfilm Experience

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opening night at my gallery exhibit

After spending three weeks on the American Prairie Reserve in quiet isolation, I was joined by photographer Eugenie Frerichs and composer Jessica Kilroy. Jessica was making field recordings on the prairie to use in a musical composition, and Eugenie was documenting our work. For several days it rained so hard that the roads became thick with slippery “gumbo” clay and impossible to navigate, delaying our departure by an extra day. Even then the prairie gave us a challenging escape through axel deep mud, our vehicles fishtailing down the road for twenty miles until we reached the highway. Three hundred miles later, we were in Bozeman for some quick meetings, then we set off for another 800 miles to the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival where I had the honor of being the artist in residence this year.  After an all night drive which included some fun surprises like a flat tire, we arrived in Telluride on May 20th just in time to kick off the weekend festivities at an event where I gave a presentation about my work. From May 22-26 I had over 25 of my paintings and drawings from the prairie on view in an exhibit at the Stronghouse gallery. Jessica Kilroy’s audio installation allowed visitors to listen to a loop of music she composed that incorporated the sounds of meadowlarks, rabbits, prairie dogs, and percussion made with bones and rocks.

In Telluride was initially overwhelmed by the crowds after having been alone on the prairie for so many weeks, but after a few days my social skills were revived and I felt energized, uplifted and inspired by my interactions at this amazing festival. Mountainfilm brings together incredible stories about social and environmental activism, as well as outdoor adventure. The lineup of films, talks, book readings, art exhibits, performances, and parties was non-stop and I found myself among an incredible crowd of aspirational people using their talents to discover and define stories that matter. While many films had impact, the one I personally found to have the most critical message was Racing Extinction, which will arrive in theaters later this summer and should not be missed. The acidification of our oceans, alarming rate of species loss in the Anthropocene era, what this means for the future of the human race, and, most importantly, ways we can address the issue as individuals, is profound and I came away from this film with a renewed commitment to use my work to celebrate relevant conservation efforts.

With that being said, I received an incredible reception at my gallery opening and was reminded of how much my work has already stood in the service of ambitious conservation projects and how it influences people’s appreciation of wildness. Several visitors told me how my paintings made them feel at ease, which I took as a sign of success, since this is one of the primary emotions I felt on the prairie, and one of the ideas I wish to express through my work. I returned to New York City excited to move to the next stage of my project–six foot wide paintings of the prairie landscape–that will document on canvas this remarkable social and environmental effort.

Since my last newsletter I’ve had a number of exciting opportunities to write about my work. These can be seen on the National Geographic Explorers blogAdventurers and Scientists for Conservation blog, the RISD XYZ magazine (in print), the latest Alpinist Magazine (in print), and on Telluride Inside & Out. To see a full list of articles and events where I’m sharing my work, please visit my home page.

REMINDERI am teaching plein air painting in Central Park starting this Tuesday! This class meets every tuesday afternoon for the next 8 weeks. Additionally I am teaching two weekend workshops — June 27-28 and July 11-12. You can learn more and sign up on the Grand Central Atelier website.

 

MOUNTAINFILM PORTRAITS

In addition to sharing my prairie project, I sat down with Mountainfilm contributors to paint these portraits from life. Each one took 2-3 hours, you can read more about this project here. 

 

Taming the Tempest

That's me doing my thing in the Patagonia catalog! Photo by Ben MoonIt was a nice surprise to open our mail a few weeks ago and find this picture of me in the latest Patagonia catalog! The picture was taken by Ben Moon during a storm that was testing our mettle on Rabbit Island with near freezing temperatures and driving rain in late July. I love how this picture captures the tough side of plein-air painting. There’s usually a bit of suffering involved in creating this art, but the thrill of working in a storm far outweighs the discomfort of the cold and wet. This is the fourth time I’ve been in the Patagonia catalog – previous images and articles focused on my involvement in rock climbing, bio-fuels, and composting, but I’m proud to be representing the painting life this time! In fact, the entire issue of the catalog is dedicated to artists, and worth checking out.


 

NEW WINTER WORKSHOP: COPYING THE MASTERS: AN INTRODUCTION TO LANDSCAPE PAINTING WITH EMILIE LEE
Jan. 13 – March 17, 2015  (10 weeks)

Fee: $450 (installment plan available by credit card only)  Sign up online here

I know I just got through telling you that landscape painting is all about being tough in the outdoors, but hey, it’s winter here in NYC and besides the fact that it is freezing outside, the sun goes down at 4 PM! In light of this I am offering a studio workshop as an alternative way for us to continue studying landscape painting and stay sharp for spring.

In each session, artists will choose from a selection of master paintings to copy in grisaille, limited palette, or full color. This is an ideal workshop for those who have little or no experience painting outdoors.

By copying existing paintings, we will learn how a successful painting has been composed and how to approach complex subjects such as foliage, moving water, forest interiors, and clouds. We will focus on identifying value hierarchy while looking for elements of design and composition. Besides being an extremely helpful way of preparing the artist to work outdoors, this exercise will train your eye to be more efficient at recognizing values independently from their color, and giving you more control and organization on your palette.  Think of this as “pre-season training” for landscape painting! When spring arrives, we will be ready to take what we’ve learned from the masters and apply it to the living landscape.

Artists will complete one copy in each studio session. Among the artists we will be focusing on are Ivan Shishkin, Frederick Church, Sanford Gifford, William Trost Richards, and Albert Bierstadt. Artists will be welcome to add to this list or bring in their own ideas for master copies.

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This is a copy I did in grisaille of a painting by Ivan Shishkin. I wanted to understand the value structure of the tree trunks and how to achieve the feeling of depth in a forest interior.

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the original by Ivan Shishkin


 

This is my latest painting, a self-portrait painted from life in the new studio. Last year was a bit rough for me, mainly because I had to move my studio three times and my apartment twice. It felt like New York City was trying to spit me out and I began questioning why I fought so hard to live here. Without planning on it, I poured all those turbulent emotions right into this painting. My intention was only to paint a self portrait that incorporated a landscape, but the result became a much deeper narrative that reveals my inner emotional landscape. I can happily report that I’ve emerged from this storm into a more stable life, but making this painting has been a unique experience in reflection and vulnerability.

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Fortitude, 30″x36″, oil on linen, 2014

’tis the season for openings and parties

Please come celebrate the opening of Eleventh Street Arts — our new gallery in Long Island City — during our inaugural group show on December 5th. The show will feature over eighty works by fifty artists from the extended Water Street and Grand Central Atelier community. Adjacent to the gallery, in our individual studios, guests will be invited to explore even more artwork, both finished and in progress. Over the last few months I’ve been working on a new painting–one that is much larger than my usual landscapes and that combines my plein-air work from Rabbit Island with a life-sized self portrait. I’m looking forward to publishing photos online but will wait until after the show opens before doing so.

 December 5th, 6-10 PM at The Grand Central Atelier, 46-06 11th St, Long Island City, Queens. On view until January 23, 2015.

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 PORTRAIT COLLABORATION WITH BEST MADE COMPANY

I’m excited to share two portraits I made of iconic conservationists John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt. It’s great to have my work commissioned by the Best Made Company and included in their collection of classic and timeless products. And what a great era in American history to be celebrating! John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt were instrumental in launching America’s early conservation movement through literature and legislation while many of the landscape painters I admire were heading into the mountains and using their art to promote the same cause. Limited edition signed and framed prints available in the TriBeCa flagship store or online.

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SEASONAL STUDIO SALE

In preparation for the Grand Central Atelier’s open studio event on December 5th, I’ll be continuing to promote the smaller paintings I have for sale through social media. The response I’ve received from patrons has been wonderful and within the past month I’ve sold the following paintings to collectors who came to visit my studio in person or found something they liked online. I still have dozens of paintings like these for sale. Please see this album and don’t hesitate to contact me for my current price list if you are interested.


ON VIEW ELSEWHERE

Four of my paintings are currently on exhibit in the group show Art in Nature at the Oyster Point Hotel in Red Bank, NJ. Proceeds from this show will benefit the Monmouth County Conservation Foundation–preserving open space and wildlife habitat in this unique area along the New Jersey Shoreline. These two paintings are still available at the show, which will be up until Jan 5th.


TEACHING NEWS

For eight Tuesdays in a row my students and I enjoyed perfect weather during my plein-air painting workshops in Long Island City. It was such a pleasant treat to spend afternoons along the New York City waterfront observing clouds, sailboats, the skyline, and basking in the sun. During each session we spent two hours working en plein-air studying nature, making quick paintings, taking notes, and sketching with the intention to later recreate these scenes from memory in the studio. Once in the studio our memories were tested as we worked from the gathered notes and sketches.  This is an important exercise to introduce techniques needed to execute studio paintings without the use of photography, a rare skill in our modern age.

Recently winter has been knocking on New York City’s door and soon will be here to stay. Thus we are taking a break from plein-air painting and will resume again in April. In January I will be leading a workshop in the Grand Central Atelier studio that introduces landscape painting through the practice of performing master copies. I will be teaching students how to approach the landscape by copying in gray scale, limited palette, and, ultimately, in full color. I am excited about this workshop as it is an ideal way for the beginner to learn landscape painting and a great way for experienced painters to hone their skills in time for the coming spring. Think of it as pre-season training for the summer. Read more and register online through the GCA. Here are some pictures of the recently concluded Plein-Air to Studio classes.

 

Show Opening this week!

Contemporary Tradition FLTApril 11 – May 25

Edwards Art Gallery at Holderness School

Plymouth, NH

Opening reception is April 11, 6:30-8:30 PM

 

     Well, this should be fun! I’ll have about 20 paintings ranging from figure to still life to landscape.  There will be plenty of small landscapes for sale from my time painting in the White mountains, and a few larger canvases too.  Jonathan Sherman is a very talented artist who spent six years in Italy studying the techniques of Rennaisance masters.  He keeps a low profile online, so this is a special opportunity to see some of his work in person!  We are both alums of Holderness School and we will be spending a day on campus talking about traditional drawing and painting methods.

Holiday Exhibits and More

Here in the city, the chill of winter is setting in but memories of Rabbit Island are still stoking my creative fire.  While my collection of paintings from that trip have been away at the De Vos Museum of Art exhibit, I’ve been busy working on some commissions in my studio. Recently I published another story about Rabbit Island on the Stio blog and I hope you  check it out!  As an ambassador for Stio, I share my writing on their blog throughout the year, you can find links to other articles like this on my press page.  Big thanks to Stio for keeping me warm and dry!

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Taking in the endless expanse of Lake Superior! Divide Henley by Stio.

PAINTINGS FOR SALE:

I always have small paintings for sale in my studio and I usually sell them through word-of-mouth.  If you are interested in buying something, my small paintings are all between $200- $800 (sizes range from approx 5″x7″ – 9″x12″) These are all plein air paintings that I’ve done on my travels and excursions out of the city.  Each one comes with a story behind the day I created it!  I’ve tried to organize an album of available paintings here, and I hope that before too long I’ll get a real online store up and running. Meanwhile please email me if you are interested in learning more about a painting or buying something: emilie@emilielee.com

Salmagundi Club Thumb Box Exhibition, 47 5th Ave, NYC:

November 18 – January 3. Reception is Thursday, December 5th, 6-7:30 PM.  All paintings in this show are under 108 square inches.  Here are the three paintings I’ll have in the show:

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Consternation, 8″x10″, oil on linen, 2013

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Straightforward, 8″x10″, oil on board, 2013

Afternoon Melt, oil on archival bookboard, 8"x10"

Afternoon Melt, oil on board, 8″x10″, 2013

Group Show at the First Bank of Greenwich, Cos Cob, CT.

Reception is November 20th, 5-7 PM. These paintings will be on display (and for sale) at the bank throughout the holiday season:

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Greenwich Point Park in Gray, oil on linen, 6″x10″, 2013

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Sunset from Red Hook, 5″x12″, oil on board, 2013

wave study, 8"x6" oil on linen, 2011

wave study, 8″x6″ oil on linen, 2011

Stay tuned for more exhibits coming up this holiday season!

Three Shows in June

Man, time has been flying lately!  Tonight we celebrated the end of another year at the GCA.  It was a year ago that I finished my own studies there, and this is the first time in four years that I won’t spend the next three days on my knees scraping gunk off the floors as part of my work-study duties.  It’s been an incredible first year out on my own, I’ve grown and gained a lot of self-confidence and skill.  In the past few months my anxiety about survival has begun to subside and I’m having more fun with the challenges of this wild ride.  I feel surrounded by opportunity in NYC and my biggest concern is how to divide my energies efficiently so that I can make time for the most important thing: putting brush to canvas.  Tomorrow morning I’m heading north to spend a week painting in Vermont – I’ll be gathering plein air studies for a commissioned studio painting.  I crave these uninterrupted blocks of time when I can sink into the tranquility of nature.  I’ll try to get another blog post up with some thoughts on how that experience goes.  For now … here are some events I have to look forward to when I return from my little retreat:

June 1st: Rabbit Island Benefit Party and Silent Auction

Saturday, June 1st 981 Dean St, Brooklyn, NY.

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This is Rabbit Island. 

 

Rabbit Island is a 90 acre wilderness island in Lake Superior which was preserved and then developed into a remote artist residency. Each summer the island hosts collaborations between artists, architects, writers, scientists and chefs and each winter they apply lessons learned to conservation and cultural projects on the mainland.

 

Red Hook Sunset #6, 4.5"x12" oil

I’ve donated this painting to the auction: Red Hook Sunset #6, 4.5″x12″ oil

Proceeds raised during the event via silent auction will be distributed amongst this year’s artists in residence program.

Rabbit Island Benefit raising money for two initiatives: Art & Land Conservation.

+ Silent Art Auction
+ Live Music by bluegrass trio, Morgan O’Kane
+ Food by Sweet Deliverance & Stumptown Coffee
+ Performance by modern dancer Giorgia Bovo
+ Guest Speaker TBD
+ Bonfire

 

June 8th “En Plein Air” at the Drawing Room Gallery, Cos Cob, CT

I have TEN paintings in this group show.  It will be up until August 8th, so if you’re in CT check it out!  Here is a painting (that will be in this show) I did when I was in the Cos Cob area a few weeks ago for Edward Minoff’s show opening at Cavalier:

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Greenwich Point Park in Gray, oil on linen, 6″x10″

this one will also be in the show:

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Red Hook Sunset #5, 4.5×12 oil on archival bookboard

 

June 15: Small Works Show at The Bennington Center for the Arts, Bennington, VT

This show is up until December 22!  The opening party on June 15th sounds fun – there will be a gypsy band playing – Caravan of Thieves.

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Ball Mason 10"x12" oil on linen. (for sale at National Arts Club) Miatta, 8×10, oil on linen …. and  Ball Mason, 10×11, oil on linen will be in this show

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOLD! See what went at the studio sale

Last weekend’s studio sale was a huge success, thank you so much to all of you who bought paintings last weekend!  I am completely blown away by the response I got, and feeling very encouraged by your support.

Here’s what’s up next – it’s looking like another busy and fun summer full of painting adventures!

*Im teaching a workshop this weekend in Prospect Park Brooklyn where we will focus on careful studies of nature in the tradition of the Hudson River School Painters.

* I’m busy making some new paintings for a group show in Cos Cob, CT at the Drawing Room Gallery, the opening reception is in June 8th.

*  I’ll be exhibiting at the Bennington Center for the Arts in my home state of Vermont – June 15th is the opening reception

* I can’t wait to start on my next big studio painting project – a commission of a spectacular private view on Lake Champlain!  Looks like that project will occupy my month of June.

* I’m teaching another workshop at the Hudson River Fellowship July 21-24 in Jackson, NH.  Sign up through the GCA.

* This will be my 5th year as a fellow at the Hudson River Fellowship and I’m just as excited as always for our annual summer landscape painting retreat.  I was on the selection committee this year and the applicants we had were the strongest group ever.  I’m so excited to meet the new fellows who are accomplished academic artists coming from all over the world to follow in the footsteps of the Hudson River School Painters.  This annual experience has been the most defining influence on my work and I feel so fortunate to be a part of it.

Meanwhile, here’s a recap of the open studio last weekend:

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I turned my studio into a little gallery – salon style!

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talking with visitors

Below are the paintings that sold, either online, or at my studio.

Liberty Sunset

Liberty Sunset, 6″x8″ oil on linen

My first NYC plein air of the 2013 season!  Sunset from the Red Hook Pier. 5"x10"

Liberty Sunset # 1,  5″x11″ oil on archival bookboard

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On the Saco River, 8″x10″, oil on linen

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Mud Season in Vermont, 8″x10″ oil on linen

 

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Desbarats Sunset, oil on paper, 7″x11″

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Shoreline Study, 6″x8″, oil on linen

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Morning After the Blizzard, 5″x11″, oil on archival bookboard

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Warm Shelter, 6″x8″, oil on linen

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Liberty Sunset #3, oil on linen, 6″x8″

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Ranch Road, Sonoma. 7″x10″, oil on linen

to be in plein air exhibit 11/30

Highline Sunset, 5″x7″, oil on panel

Silver Lake, Storms, oil on panel, 6"x12"

Silver Lake, Storms, oil on panel, 6″x12″

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Chocorua Sunset Study, 3.5″x10″, oil on panel

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Study of Chocorua, pencil and sepia ink on paper, 9″x12″

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Notes on Chocorua, 9″x12″, pencil and sepia ink on paper