Out of necessity, I got in the habit of painting sunrise in Yellowstone.
Designing and building a home and studio ourselves, designing and building lighting together while keeping up on our commission deadlines, AND painting while taking care of 2 small children – with no day care – proved very daunting indeed! Time management was needed in a big way.
I saw a window of opportunity from 4:30 AM to 7:30 AM that I could have for myself.
Both kids were sleeping... I could sneak out of the house! Meaning, I could get into the Park in the summers to paint sunrise and be back before they woke up for breakfast. (Don't worry, John stayed.) No one would miss me :) AND I could keep my painting practice in place.
Reluctantly, I began. That was EARLY! But very quickly, I fell in LOVE with my morning routine. So every single morning, and yes I mean every. single. morning. I would go into the Park and paint sunrise.
Oh, those gorgeous morning colors that were changing so rapidly. I learned a lot by trying to get them down onto my canvas FAST...
Over the years of my morning painting routine, eventually I began a project I called Yellowstone Squared. I was interested in showing the wide diversity of the Park. One image does not do it. Yellowstone is truly an amazing place - waterfalls, geysers, boiling mud, hot springs, rivers, mountains, forests, valleys and abundant wildlife. The scenery seems to change around every corner. Certainly an interesting place to paint.
My goal was to amass a group of 16 plein air paintings. Small square vignettes, to show the variety throughout the Park, in one large square grouped image.
Different landscapes and different seasons. Some famous spots…
Some not so famous – but beautiful still...
As I got to know Yellowstone in her 'morning glory' (pun intended for you "Yellowstone-ites"), I consciously tried to 'mix it up' and get to all corners of the Park. I explored with my easel. I stood in silence for hours each morning - watching, observing, painting. Appreciation and reverence come to mind. I saw a lot and learned a lot during those hours, as the colors changed and the wildlife went about 'their morning business' - and I was fortunate enough to be there, too. An awe inspiring way to begin a day.
Yellowstone National Park is a special place that has my heart, and I hope it shows in my painting.