"Surely, the Spirit of the Lord is in this place."


Garden of the Gods, Manitou Springs, Colorado, September 2011. After the rain and the fog of yesterday, I find the perfect day and the perfect place to do what I came to do. Parking the car nearby, this spot with its glorious colors seems to be just what I’ve been looking for. Plein air painting presents some challenges: finding the perfect view, trying to park your vehicle within walking distance of that view, transporting your supplies down or up the hill before the shadows move, dealing with thirst, hunger and other needs that come at inconvenient times, to say nothing of heat or cold, wind and bugs. Ah, there’s nothing like it!

It’s a little windy, and maybe a bit intimidating to be out in front of God and everybody, but I came to paint, and so I will!

Starting with the shadows, I rough in the rocks, trying to decide what to define as the most important information I want to show.

Yep, with the ultramarine blue sky, cad red medium and a little burnt umber, the shadows are beginning to appear. Maybe I can do this.

I can see a resemblance. I’m tempted to stop right now, but womanfully, I plod on. I love stopping to talk with the other tourists – a family of New York City firefighters here for a memorial service, some folks from Napa Valley, California, and a University of Southern California professor wanting to take my picture. Sure hope he isn’t an art teacher! That is really intimidating!

The wind has come up and is really drying my paint. I sort of wish I had brought my oils, but acrylics are so portable!

The sun is really beating down! I wish I’d brought a hat – I’m starting to bring in the greens – they look good against the rocks.

Barb and Tony from California take a number of photos. Nice folks, and very interested in the way the painting is shaping up. This is one of the best things about plein air painting, the people you meet!

Just a few more finishing touches. Besides, that sun is REALLY burning my little gray matter!

Perhaps a little bright, but not bad, for a field study. I can’t wait to paint a BIG oil painting of this one. I can definitely see it over my fireplace!



2 Responses to “GOD’S GARDEN”

  1. Shirley, It’s so good to see you out on the road, owning what you want. The picture IS a glorious study, and I cannot wait either to see the larger new one over your fireplace! Thinking of you…
    Love, peace and blessings, Laura


    • After a brutal summer, cruel in many ways, this vacation was just what we needed. Now, if we can get those temps down out of the 90’s, I think I’ll live. Thanks for your kind words. Love, Shirley


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