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

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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!

 

Commissions, Residencies, and Good Fishing

As I write this, I am waking up on my first day at the Jentel residency in Banner, WY. I’m here for a month to work on one of my six foot wide prairie paintings, and I’m looking forward to turning off my phone, unplugging from the internet, and taking a digital detox while I focus on this amazing opportunity to paint with no distractions. Before I go, I wanted to post a quick update and share my work from the past month. I’ll post again at the end of the month before I go to the American Prairie Reserve for a week of plein air painting and research in September.

APPLETON FARMS COMMISSION, IPSWICH, MASSACHUSETTS

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This is the final painting for the Appleton Farms commission I wrote about in several of my earlier posts. The painting is 18″x11″

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This is a drawing I did on location at the farms, which provided all the detailed information I needed to complete the commission.

PLUM ISLAND COMMISSION, NEWBURYPORT, MASSACHUSETTS

I spent three days on Plum Island making studies for a commission. This is a hidden gem on the North Shore of Boston. Thirteen miles of protected sand dunes, beaches, forest, and marshes provide an important habitat for many species of migratory birds and other wildlife. There are also public beaches for surfing, swimming, and fishing. The painting I am working on depicts a sand dune in the foreground of the view from my client’s house. Below are three of the studies I made while researching different options for the commission idea. We settled on the sand dune in the end.

Plein air study for commission on Plum Island

Plein air study for commission on Plum Island

plein air study on Plum Island

plein air study on Plum Island

plein air study on Plum Island

plein air study on Plum Island

HUDSON RIVER FELLOWSHIP, WHITE MOUNTAINS, NEW HAMPSHIRE

After visiting Plum Island and delivering the Appleton Farm’s commission in Ipswich, I drove north to drop in on the Hudson River Fellowship. For five years in a row, I participated in this month-long painting residency, and for three years following that, I’ve tried to drop in for a few days. During these summers, I really honed my landscape painting technique, made new friends, and felt challenged by the motivated and skilled artists that this fellowship brings together. This summer, I could only manage one day, but I was grateful for that.

during one day with the Hudson River Fellowship

Painting at Jackson Falls was pure bliss during one day with the Hudson River Fellowship. There’s nothing like taking a break from painting to jump in the cold water and pick wild blueberries!

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It was a treat to paint with my friends Leeana Chipana and Mary Jane Ward atop Cathedral Ledge.

Cathedral Ledge, NH

I spent many years obsessed with climbing this impressive granite cliff in North Conway. When I was 15 I climbed my first multi-pitch route here, and afterwards made a series of wood-block prints inspired by the experience. I always think of this place as one of the important creative forces in my life.

RABBIT ISLAND, LAKE SUPERIOR, UPPER PENINSULA MICHIGAN

On July 20th I went to Rabbit Island, an artist residency in Michigan’s U.P. Each year, 3-5 artists are selected to spend several weeks creating work on the 90 acre island, which is located in Lake Superior, 4.5 miles from the mainland Keweenaw Peninsula. (The deadline for 2016 applications is August 26th, by the way!) Artists live in a simple lean-to structure, cook over a coleman stove or a campfire, and create work in the outdoors. There is no running water or electricity. While I was there, I overlapped for one or more days with three of the artists – Beau Carey, a painter from New Mexico, Noam Enbar, a musican from Tel Aviv, and Josephina Munoz, an installation artist from Chile. We also did a lot of fishing, painting, projects around camp, and spent time exploring the mainland.

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I was thrilled that Beau Carey took the time to pose for me on the last day of his residency.

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On this day, I was so excited because after 8 days of hot sun and no wind, we finally got a bit of a storm!

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This is one of my favorite spots to hang out and paint along the shore. Photo by Ports Bishop.

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I love the challenge of painting these waves and the striking transparency of Lake Superior’s water.

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Gouache and graphite on watercolor paper toned with graphite powder and shellac.

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Amit Goldstein posed for me while she meditated in the shade. Painting with a live model is a form of shared meditation, and this morning was so soothing, listening to the water lap against the rocks and trying to interpret the dappled light.

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I knew that after Rabbit Island, I wouldn’t have time to work on commissions until November, so I brought one with me. I spent a few days working on it in the outdoors setting on the island, and antother 5 days working on it in a house on the mainland.

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A detail from a finished section of the Plum Island commission. I will finish this in November, so stay tuned!

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Rob and I spent a day orienting artist Josephina Munoz before leaving her alone for three weeks of total isolation.

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Catching Lake Trout out by the Huron Islands,  at some points during this trip the water was 800 feet deep!

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. 

 

Prairie Plein Air

It’s hard to believe I have only nine days left out here on the prairie. I’ve been enjoying some quiet time alone, observing the daily changes as spring brings new life to this landscape.

Tonight I have more images than words to share, so I’ll tell my stories through my most recent artwork. Click on the images to see a larger version.

Inspiration In The Wide Open

Sunset Color Study, 8x10, oil on linen

Sunset Color Study, 8×10, oil on linen

I’ve been drawn to the big open skies and the feeling of distance in my paintings here, but the real challenge has been deciphering the characteristics of the sage brush and grass that plays a role in every scene here. When it comes to the studio phase of this project, I imagine a richly textured foreground in my large paintings, with accurate representation of different plant species and ecosystems. I’m thinking of Andrew Wyeth and Albrecht Durer … it is fun to imagine how these artists would paint here. In the painting to the left, I have some good color notes, and when combined with accurate drawings, this type of study will be extremely helpful in bringing my idea to life on the large canvas in the studio.

Snow Flurries, Andrew Wyeth, 1953

Snow Flurries, Andrew Wyeth, 1953

Speaking of inspirations, Wyeth has been on my mind a lot. I love how he takes a mundane subject and imbues it with such weight and power. For instance this hill, looming in front of the viewer, gives me an ominous yet excited feeling about what lies beyond the horizon. I was thinking of this painting when I stopped to paint the above Sunset Color Study, and how intriguing I find the subtle topography here.

On my long walks and runs across the prairie, I am starting to notice which scenes really light up my imagination. There are the wide open vistas and big skies that feel expansive and boundless, the tangled sage brush and grease wood in the foreground that allude to the wildness of this place, and the abstract simplicity of sky vs. grass. In the below painting, Prairie Swoop, I was attracted to the curve of the horizon, the swaths of color, and the gentle wisps of clouds that gesture in unison with the land.

Prairie Swoop

In my ten days out here, it’s rained a few times and the landscape has started to become green. I’ve been covering more miles hiking with the ASC Landmark research crew, and on adventurous trail runs – my favorite way to clear my head and explore new territory for painting. I have yet to make a trip into town, which is an hour away. The local radio station has been an amazing soundtrack for my drives out here – from 7 AM to 1 PM they play only Native American music, which seems to emphasize the feeling I have of being so remote. Way up here near the Saskatchewan border, between two Indian Reservations and in the middle of millions of acres of undeveloped land, this does feel like a rare oasis where the drama of nature has become the dominant presence in my life.

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Prairie Noon, 8×10, oil on linen

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Larb Hills

Larb Hills

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storms, 16×8, oil on linen

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Getting to Know the Prairie

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There are 305,000 acres in all those blue sections

In my first three days on the American Prairie Reserve, I logged 24 miles of hiking and running through this vast landscape in an effort to acquaint myself with this place. Much of those miles were with the Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation Landmark crew as I tagged along on their daily rounds. This group of volunteer researchers have been out here since March 1st traversing the landscape by foot, collecting data that is crucial to understanding wildlife populations. Covering this much ground right away and in the company of people who have a scientific perspective has been an amazing introduction for me. As we walk along, I ask questions about plant species, wildlife behavior, and the prairie ecosystem. If I was alone, much of these fascinating details would go unnoticed under my foreigner’s gaze.

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Just after sunrise on our way out after finding the Sage Grouse lek

On my first morning, I woke up at 3:30 AM to meet the crew for a pre-dawn hike in search of mating sage grouse. These birds return to the same location every year to perform an elaborate mating dance, so we were able to use a GPS system to find our way to the exact spot. There are many of these “leks” on the prairie and the crew has been checking them regularly for the past month. We split up into pairs and set off through the dark. My team had to go three miles across the prairie to find our lek and we were almost running to reach the location by sunrise. If we arrived any later, we risked missing the birds. Before we could even see them, we could hear their guttural whooping calls. We followed the sound until we saw about 30 birds in the distance, with their white chests puffed up, they looked as big as turkeys. Watching through binoculars, I could see them bouncing their chests and strutting around, while only a few females wandered close by acting uninterested. We watched them for about ten minutes and then without warning the entire group took flight and disappeared.

(This is a video I found on youtube, so you can see what I’m talking about)

My crew mates took detailed notes on the sighting, data which will be used to understand the health of the Sage Grouse population, including whether or not they should be considered an endangered species.

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Elaine and Caitlin check a camera trap they set in a spot where they saw a cougar two weeks ago. So far, the cat seems to be camera shy.

Later that day, we went out hiking again, this time to check motion sensitive camera traps to see what kind of animals have been through the area. By this time I had hiked nine miles since waking up and I was glad I had sturdy hiking boots and gaiters as we strode through the prickly pear cactus and knee high sage brush. On our way back, we found what we thought was cougar scat, which was exciting because just two weeks ago, a cougar had been seen in this area but until photo evidence exists, the cougar presence cannot be officially acknowledged.

 

what kind of prairie is this?

what kind of prairie is this? I didn’t sign up for hill hikes!

On day two, I hiked eight more miles to check camera traps and I was surprised at the variety of terrain I was discovering on the prairie. Contrary to my expectations, it wasn’t all flat ground. We were hiking up and down quite a lot and even went through a Ponderosa Pine forest and discovered some lakes. On this trek we spotted a few groups of Pronghorn and Mule Deer, crossed through a Prairie Dog town, and saw a Kestrel.

 

First Light, Prairie Peas. oil on linen

First Light, Prairie Peas. oil on linen, 4/22/15

I’ve also been finding time to paint. In the early morning from 6 – 8 AM, the light is magical and the meadowlarks are singing. It’s a little cold, but I am loving these peaceful hours spent alone with the wind and the grass, soaking in all the details. This quiet time in a remote landscape is such a gift, when I’m out there all my anxieties are gone and I just think about how lucky I am to be present in this place.

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First Sunset on the Prairie, oil on linen 4/20/15

The time spent covering ground with the research crew has been incredibly valuable. Now when I approach my paintings, I’ll know a lot more about the landscape and I’ll pay attention to the subtle differences in ecosystems that exist all across this region. I’ve also seen some spots that I know I’ll return to paint, like the early morning lek trek, which left an impression on my memory. I’d like to take my tent and spend a few days working out there. It’s only day 4, and I’m feeling pretty inspired out here. I’ll try to keep up with the blogging and share as much as I can along the way.  Thanks for following along – Emilie

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Painting the Prairie

I am excited to announce my latest endeavor, a project that unites my interest in wilderness conservation and my love of adventure in a landscape that provides remarkable inspiration. In less than a week, I’ll be heading to Montana for a month of painting on the American Prairie Reserve (APR), a conservation area in the Great Plains that has caught my attention.  This organization is a unique voice in the field of conservation because of its creative method of merging previously-owned land into one encompassing open space. To do this, APR purchases land when it comes on the market and leases adjacent government parcels, then merges them to create a new wilderness. When it is complete, the reserve is expected to be three million acres, the largest wildlife refuge in the lower 48 states.

As an artist who has spent the past six years studying the Hudson River School painters and the world they lived in, I am interested in how my work can investigate the subject of wilderness in the context of our time. We no longer have vast expanses of undeveloped land to claim for conservation, which makes the innovative vision of the American Prairie Reserve an inspiring model for our generation. Nature’s power to reclaim the land calls to attention the impermanence of our human-built world and highlights our own vulnerability as a species. It is important to preserve these wild areas not only for biodiversity and the health of our planet, but for our own consciousness as a civilized people, a sentiment beautifully summed up in this quote:

“Wilderness is an anchor to windward. Knowing it is there, we can also know that we are still a rich nation, tending our resources as we should — not a people in despair searching every last nook and cranny of our land for a board of lumber, a barrel of oil, a blade of grass, or a tank of water.”

– Clinton P. Anderson

Former Senator, New Mexico

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I will spend my time on the prairie making drawings, notes, and plein air paintings while working with the Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation Landmark wildlife research crew to gain a deeper understanding of this unique place. In September 2015 and again in the upcoming winter, I will revisit the prairie to paint the landscape in the different seasons. Over the course of the year I will be working in my studio to compose a series of five paintings, each approximately six feet in width, informed by my studies from the field. I will share the resulting body of work in a show planned for spring 2016 that will lead the viewer through an intimate investigation of the prairie with delicate botanical illustrations, sketches, handwritten notes, and large-scale oil paintings that depict the wide vistas and Montana skies. My work will depict the prairie grasslands and the effort to conserve them in the time-honored tradition of painting, forever preserving this moment in culture for posterity.

Joining me on the prairie will also be musician and native Montanan Jessica Kilroy (Roki Rej, Flitcraft, Pterodactyl Plains) who plans to record elemental sounds (wind in the grass, bird calls, thunder) to use in a musical composition that will accompany my gallery exhibit. Kilroy’s work will bring attention to the value of an unpolluted natural soundscape and add a high level sensory experience for the viewer.

During the final week of my trip, photographer Eugenie Frerichs be with us to document Jessica and I at work in the field. I’m excited to have her perspective on the project because much of her personal work as an artist and photographer explores the concept of wilderness.

Valley of the Chugwater, Sanford Robinson Gifford, 1870.

Historically, artists have played an influential part in shaping American perceptions of wilderness and its role in our national identity. I see my work as an extension of this tradition, exploring a contemporary example of wilderness conservation using a medium and a process that is identical to those of an earlier generation of artists. Among the first European explorers discovering the west were landscape painters like Thomas Moran and Sanford Robinson Gifford who recorded their findings in sketches, small paintings and journals while traversing the unknown territory beyond the Mississippi. Back in their studios, these artists created monumental paintings that glorified the pristine beauty of the American wilderness. Their work had mass cultural appeal and presented a sentimental vision of wilderness to the American people. This moment in art history became known as “The Hudson River School” and is now recognized as the first art movement to originate on American soil. Their paintings sparked the first conservation movement in this country when Moran’s depictions of Yellowstone directly influenced the creation of our first National Park.

As a senior fellow at the Hudson River Fellowship, I have spent the past six years studying this moment in art history and painting in the same Catskills and White Mountains locations where these early artists made their work. In the American Prairie Reserve, I see an opportunity to celebrate an exciting new chapter in conservation history, recognizing nature’s ability to restore itself when the right conditions are created by a group of well organized individuals. This work will inspire not only our generation but those who come after us with a message of hope from the front lines of American conservation.

 

This project is made possible with support from

Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation

American Prairie Reserve

Jentel Foundation

Gamblin Artist Colors

Patagonia

*please take a moment to visit the new calendar on my website to see my upcoming schedule of artist’s talks, workshops, and exhibitions. I’m in a group show in NYC that opens next week and this summer I will be sharing my work in public presentations as an artist in residence at Telluride Mountainfilm (Telluride, CO, May 22), Jentel Foundation (Banner, WY, August) and Glen Arbor Arts Association (Glen Arbor, MI, September). I will also be teaching landscape painting workshops in Central Park, NYC in June and July.

have paints, will travel

I’ve been on some amazing trips over the past six months and I always try to bring my paints along, so here is an update with the places I’ve been and the paintings I’ve made while traveling.  Enjoy!

MYKONOS, GREECE

JUNE 30. Two of my Greek friends just got married, and they invited a whole gang of friends from NYC to come on their honeymoon in Mykonos!  We started planning the trip a year ago and it was an incredible adventure to discover Greece with Greeks who knew all the secret spots.  The trip was not without a touch of anxiety, however. The morning after the wedding in Thessaloniki, I left my oil paints in a hotel, and spent the first few days on Mykonos mourning my absentmindedness… I was forced to experiment with my watercolors – a hidden blessing, perhaps?  Then I was saved when a friend who traveled after us brought my paints to me.  Anyway, that’s why theres only a few small oil paintings from my time in Mykonos. It could also be because we were busy hiking through ancient ruins, sailing, exploring beaches, staying out late, and enjoying the food!

 

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Painting on the beach in Mykonos

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reunited with my paints!

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6″x9″ sketch from Mykonos, July 2014

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exploring the ruins on Delos Island with the gang

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Clean lines and colors in the local archtecture

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Mykonos, July 2014

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Portrait of the Groom, Leonidas Trampoukis. 4″x4″ oil paint and sand (it was VERY WINDY on the beach that day!)

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Portrait of the bride, Eleni Petaloti … 4″x4″ oil on panel … less sand here because I was smart enough to put this one in the car right away! I gave these two small portraits to Leo & Eleni for their wedding present.

PELION, GREECE

JULY 4th.  After Mykonos, I traveled to Volos where my friend  Joel has been living for the past 9 years.  Joel’s wife Anna is from Athens, and together they decided to settle down in this area where they are raising their two sons and restoring an old stone house in the mountainous region known as Pelion or Pilios.  Joel is an architect and a stone mason, and the house is a work of art, honoring old world tradition and full of personal details like custom woodworking and stone carvings, all made by Joel himself. It was really wonderful to see this project in progress and to see what Joel and Anna’s life is like in Greece. During this part of my journey, I explored a very different landscape in the mountains.  While Mykonos is extremely hot, dry and windy, the mountains of Pelion seem to be gushing with spring water everywhere I looked.  The forest felt like a jungle, which reached right down to the pristine white beaches of the Agean sea.

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The view from Joel’s house in Paleskastron, Mt. Pelion region, Greece July 2014

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exploring the village Agios Laventios, Mt Pelion region, Greece, July 2014

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9″x12″ oil on canvas, Fakistra beach, Mt Pelion region, Greece.

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painting in Agios Laventios … these villages are all built on steep mountain sides and usually have one avenue for cars and the rest is accessed by narrow cobblestone pedestrian walkways like this

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painting on Fakistra Beach … happy to be in the shade! Temperatures were in the 90’s

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this is Paleokastron, the tiny settlement where my friends Joel & Anna are restoring an old stone house

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Joel & Anna’s house in Paleokastron

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A typical view looking out over the village roofs of Agios Laventios, the Pagasetic Gulf in the Agean Sea and the city of Volos. This mountainous area is the mythical home of the centaurs, unusually lush and green for Greece.

PLUM ISLAND, MASSACHUSETTS

June 1. I had a few days to paint on Plum Island, a magical spot north of Boston that is largely protected by the Parker National Wildlife Refuge. A few years ago, I sold my first big commission to a couple who have their permanent home here in Plum Island. I got to see my painting hanging in their house and spend a few days exploring the marshes and wetlands here. This trip was a real teaser, I only had a few days to paint, but I plan to go back later this summer for more!

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The refuge is accessed by these boardwalks so that hikers don’t disturb the nesting birds

 

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It rained one morning, so I did this sketch from the car …

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then later I made this painting using my memory and the sketch as reference. fun challenge! The birds are plovers, which were nesting in the marshes. 

RABBIT ISLAND, MICHIGAN

May 26th. Rob Gorski and I spent a few days on Rabbit Island doing some spring cleaning and preparing the camp for this summer’s artists in residence.  The Keweenaw peninsula endured one of the coldest, snowiest winters on record this year – for the first time since 1979 Lake Superior froze solid!  When we were there in late May, the ice was still breaking up, which is quite unusual. We spent 3 days on the island witnessing the melting icebergs.  I made a few iceberg sketches out there, and I took a fearsome plunge into the water, which was about 34 degrees out there!  You can see some of Rob’s pictures and read more on the Rabbit Island blog: http://www.rabbitisland.org

 

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Rob navigating the icebergs on our way out to Rabbit Island

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He left me on an iceberg!

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A tiny iceberg sketch

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Yeow! that was cold!

 

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A rare springtime treat of wild fiddleheads. I stir fried them with garlic and olive oil, served on pasta it was a nice lunch!

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Spring cleaning

OSA PENINSULA, COSTA RICA

February 2. These paintings are from a midwinter trip to Costa Rica!  I went with my yoga teacher Christine Hoar, who is also an avid surfer.  This was a very active vacation – we practiced Ashtanga yoga every morning, followed by at least two surf sessions!  The surfing was super and I also did these paintings, which were quickly snapped up as souvenirs by other people on the yoga retreat. It was a very successful vacation!

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Surfing in paradise

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waking up at 5 AM to paint the sunrise

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up & at ’em! early bird gets the worm!

 

 

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!