Friday, August 1, 2014

Figurative Fridays: Pioneers and Plein Air

This has been a busy summer. We kicked it off with the Easter Show at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, which I mentioned yesterday, and then we had a lot of fun at the Plein Air Fest in Jackson Hole:

Oil Painter Richard Lance Russell at Plein Air Fest in Jackson Hole

My wife Josi and I had a fantastic time in Jackson Hole at the Museum of Wildlife Art's Plein Air Fest! I arrived with a blank canvas and spent 4 hours filling it with the beautiful and scenic East Gros Ventre Butte.

East Gros Ventre Butte by Richard Lance Russell at Plein Air Fest Jackson Hole

Timed competitions are always intense, and this one was no exception. There was a great crowd, though, and the painting sold at auction that afternoon, benefiting the amazing Museum of Wildlife Art.

Capturing a little piece of the beautiful and rugged terrain of Wyoming added some perspective to the pioneer paintings I tackled when we got home. Those early settlers traveled so far and sacrificed so much. And, just last weekend, we spent a great time at Deseret Book in downtown Salt Lake City unveiling two of those new pioneer paintings and doing a live painting demonstration for Deseret Book's lunch and learn:

 Richard Lance Russell live painting demonstration at Deseret Book in downtown Salt Lake City

My beautiful wife was kind enough to pose for me in a pioneer costume. It really made Pioneer Day come alive! As many of you know, July 24th is Pioneer Day in Utah, a day commemorating Brigham Young's 1847 entry into the Salt Lake Valley with the first group of Latter-day Saint settlers who had crossed the plains. It's a day that represents family, and history, and culture, and reverence, and fun.

I've been working on a new series of pioneer paintings and I thought the Pioneer Day weekend, across the street from the Salt Lake Temple, was a great time and a great place to unveil the first two pieces in the "Come, Come, Ye Saints" series:

With Joy Wend Your Way
Come, Come, Ye Saints Series #1

With Joy Wend Your Way: Come Come Ye Saints Series #1

Grace Shall Be As Your Day
Come, Come, Ye Saints Series #2

Grace Shall Be As Your Day: Come Come Ye Saints Series #2

Another great model here, both for life and for paintings: Josi's mom, Carol, posed for this one. She makes beautiful quilts off the canvas, too.

Keep an eye out for some more from the "Come, Come, Ye Saints" Series. They're in the works. I've also been commissioned to do 6 murals for the new Monticello Elementary School, so that has me busy! And now, back to the easel . . .

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