My first Death Valley National Park painting

I’ve finished the first of several paintings I’ve planned to do of my trip to Death Valley National Park last February.  I ran the Death Valley half marathon in Death Valley National Park just as the wildflower superbloom was starting, and it was a wonderful experience.  Just as the sun was rising and the runners lined up at the start line, the race director lead the crowd in singing “America the Beautiful”.

deathvalley_iw-2

Death Valley Superbloom, 20″ x 24″ acrylic on canvas, copyright © 2016 Kathryn Beals

You can click on the images to see detail shots from the finished painting.  I had fun working with yellow on this one:

Here’s a gif of the painting coming together.  You can watch my coffee cup moving around:

Death_Valley_Superbloom_painting_step_by_step (1).gif

The painting is now live in my Etsy shop as a photo print or canvas print, and up on my website.  The painting is for sale and I will be entering it in several shows this fall.

New Death Valley paintings coming

Hi!  I’ve been keeping pretty busy with my three little ones and managing my print store, but when I find time to paint I’ve been working on some paintings from a trip we took to Death Valley, California earlier this year.

I ran the Death Valley half marathon in February, and we caught the very beginning of the wildflower superbloom, a rare natural event that comes after just the right combination of rain and temperature.  The race went along Hwy 190 near the Furnace Creek Ranch, and was one of the most beautiful I have ever done.

We also did some stargazing, since the site is far out in the desert and away from light pollution.  My daughter was really hoping to see a scorpion, although we didn’t find any.  It was a wonderful trip and I had lots of painting ideas when we got back.

Before starting, I painted a few quick practice studies on small canvases to try out some ideas.  Each took about 10 minutes:

I started on the uppermost scene, a field of flowers at dawn.  It’s not finished but here are a few progress shots:

Stay tuned!  I’m hoping I’ll have this one finished soon.

Finished painting: Light in the Desert

A few years ago I was asked to create a piece on the Nativity story, so I painted this scene:

Light in the desert

Light in the Desert, 20″x 24″ acrylic on canvas, copyright © Kathryn Beals

I wanted to create something peaceful but mysterious, with a dark sky.  I decided to keep the composition very simple and limit the palette to mostly blues and purples, to make the focal star more striking.

As my style developed as an artist, it kind of split into two styles; abstract/surreal and more realistic landscapes.  The more realistic landscapes tell a story or recall a certain place, the surreal ones are more emotional and abstract.   I love hearing others’ impressions of these pieces, and I’ve found that viewers interpret the surreal landscapes in very different ways.

For me, this painting shows a vast desert – sand dunes in the foreground, the star in the sky – and has a dark but hopeful feeling.  Other people have told me that this painting is the moon over huge ocean waves, and it has kind of a scary but captivating feel.  Others have said it is snow-covered mountains, cold and stark.  I like that these images can be different things to different people.

This painting is available in my Etsy store as a photo print or canvas print.  The original is not for sale.  Happy holidays!  I’ll be back to posting in the New Year.