'Winter Chamisa'

Another in the small series .. was out on a photo shoot last week .. not much snow .. been warmer here than usual.  So to allay cabin fever .. nothing better than drive around in my Jeep with a trusty camera.   Here is one such scene .. ochre turquoise chamisa .. low winter light .. mountains with snow clinging all in blue shadow.

'5x7       oil on canvas panel       $110


'Totem Rock'

Another rock study in a series of small paintings .. created while a major snow storm moved in and is in the process of blowing itself out .. not to worry .. all is warm and cozy in my studio .. wind gusting .. Vivaldi accompanies to lighten the mood.

This piece was inspired by one of the many redrock formations found in this part of Utah .. it was an overcast day when I took the reference photo.  I emphasized the cool cast and underplayed the warmth from the image.  I liked how this stately group thrust up into the silvery sky .. calm and watchful .. like a totem.

5x7     oil on canvas     $110

Here is my photo used as a reference:


'Western Skies'

Winter is in full swing here in Torrey .. I am keeping cabin fever from setting in by doing a series of small oil studies.  At the same time.. I am also reworking a couple larger complex pieces and I needed to take a break and have the satisfaction of completion [which is eluding me on the big canvases] .. ergo small paintings to the rescue.

5x7       oil on canvas panel        $110

And here is the photo I took last summer .. reference for the clouds:


'Sienna Light' - Grand Canyon - evolution of a study

I thought I would show the stages a painting might go through .. the first two images were painted previously and are buried beneath the current version.  In each case .. I thought the painting was finished.. not. 

The last image is of the final painting [but I might want to tweak it a bit more .. a couple of intense sparks of light] .. is a painting ever done?

grand canyon art painting process km withers

grand canyon art southwest painting km withers

Current version:

grand canyon art oil painting of last light on a formation km withers southwest art

8x10       oil on a canvas panel        $300


'Awapa Sheep Camp' - Utah Highlands

I thought I would post a few photos of a painting that recently sold.. it took me a long time and many many revisions.  Mainly it took so long because I was not used to mixing so many greens .. a color I rarely used in my landscapes and actually avoided.  So I decided to face my fears and do a green painting.

This is an impression of one of the sheep camps you might find on the Awapa Plateau in central Utah.  It is a vast upland region close to Capitol Reef NP.. high meadows and scattered stands of trees.  The winds can be fierce.  You will not see any tourists up there.. maybe a modern day cowboy or a 4x4 adventurer.  Being above 8000'.. it's a great place in the summer when it's hot down below.. great camping.. and vey beautiful.

20x20       oil on canvas       SOLD

Here is a photo of just one very early stage of this painting:

And a later stage .. not as green as the finished piece:


'Sunflower Ridge' - Capitol Reef geology

Another effort at painting rocks .. just posted on Etsy.

rock art, capitol reef painting of a rocky ridge,painting of rocks

8x10        oil on canvas       $300

And a close-up of this painting:

painting rocks, oil painting of rocks,capitol reef formations


'Mesa Afternoon' - just outside Escalante - Utah

A quick plein-air piece created while at the Escalante Competition .. standing by the side of the road in mid-afternoon  .. overlooking faraway sandstone mesas .. the radiance was what captured my attention .. the space of the high desert.

plein air painting escalante utah red rock mesas

9x12     oil on canvas panel     $255

And here is an interim stage of this painting.. I thought it was done but was not satisfied .. thought it was too pastel .. too wimpy .. or maybe not :)

And here is a shot of this piece in it's early stages while on my plein-air easel:

.. the paint box on it's heavy-duty tripod:


'Escalante - Utah' .. Center Street

 This painting just won a HM award at the 2016 Escalante Canyons Plein-air Competition .. lots of talented artists .. juried into the top 10% .. yay :)

escalante utah plein air competition HM winner painting center street grand staircase landscape

11x14   oil on canvas panel

$425  or  $500 framed in walnut wood

And here is a pic from when I was working in the field .. amazing what a painting becomes..


'Cathedral Valley Moonlight' - Capitol Reef NP

Getting ready for a nocturne competition at the Escalante Canyons Art Festival in Utah.. should be a fun challenge.  This piece is from the northern part of Capitol Reef NP .. known for it dark night skies .. fabulous in the moonlight. 

night painting cathedral valley capitol reef nocturne

8x10       oil on canvas       $285

And painted underneath is:

Just examples of how paintings evolve and where they stay for awhile .. paintings are never really finished .. they are just versions of an idea.


'Tonto Junipers' redux

I decided to rework a painting just to see where it could go .. here is the current version of 'Tonto Junipers' .. a view from the plateau into the Grand Canyon.  Below is the original unedited version so you can compare and see how much it has changed.  I generally try not to rework a painting this much as the original impetus is somehow lost .. but in this case I remembered what I was after ... the Blue.

'Tonto Junipers'  -  Grand Canyon

12x12    oil on canvas    $385

And here is the original version .. which now lies beneath:


'High Country' - Awapa Plateau

This piece was inspired by my explorations of the Awapa Plateau .. a vast high-elevation region just outside Capitol Reef in Utah.  Large swaths of open rolling meadows are dotted with thick stands of trees clustered together as protection from the formidable winds. Nice and cool up here on hot summer days .. great camping .. one of my favorite places in this great state.

utah landscape painting high meadows square painting km withers artist

18x18            oil on canvas            $500


'Sandy Ranch - Capitol Reef'

30x30 oil   gallery-wrapped canvas
$1750 framed

Just finished this piece today.. will wait for it to dry and then varnish.  Mid-morning light in early summer.. alfalfa fields are a rich green.. blue on blue in the distance.  The iconic Sandy Ranch is a magnificent area within the Capitol Reef National Park region.. the road is steep and winding down to the ranch headquarters.  A fun drive :)

* Rainbows are common in this part of the world.. but the ones in this image were made from my crystals when photographing this piece.. thought they were a nice addition.

Below is the painting without the crystal prism highlights :)

american landscape painting sandy ranch alfalfa fields capitol reef utah km withers art

And in it's polished wood frame:


working on 'Sandy Ranch' - painting process

30x30 canvas... a few stages of the 'Sandy Ranch' .. on the border of Capitol Reef NP:

initial shapes.. first phase

adding more contrast and color

defining where the painting is might be going ...

Getting there .. firming up.. now on to the refinements.

*This is not the finished painting .. see the finished painting in the post above.


'Canyonland Clouds'

storm clouds over canyonlands utah landscape oil painting km withers art

8x10            oil on canvas             SOLD

Here in Capitol Reef country.. huge spectacular clouds are frequent during the summer monsoon season. They dwarf the massive rock formations below.. rising and floating over the land like an alien armada.. and just when you aren't paying attention.. they disappear.. or they might evolve into a fast-moving deluge.  Best to be prepared if you are out and about in this glorious changing landscape.


' Reef Afternoon'

landscape painting reef formations east desert utah near torrey

8x10           oil on canvas            $300

If you have ever visited Capitol Reef National Park.. you know there are many different reef formations in the region.  This painting was inspired by the moonlike landscape found just outside the east side of the Park.  Clay and old ancient sand dunes with hardly any plants growing.. afternoon light on the Reef.


'Capitol Reef - Torrey Glow'

8x10            oil on canvas            $300

Finding the right colors for this piece was a challenge..paints are so limited in their range.   Many of the colors used in this piece are straight from the tube.. no white at all.  My inspiration was the intense molten colors of sunset on the rock formations near Torrey.. the beginning of the magic hour. 


'Turquoise Onion'

painting of orange onion and turquoise still life fruit vegetables km withers

6x6      oil on gallery-wrapped canvas      $125

This was easier to paint than I expected.. never tried an onion as a subject and was worried about creating the papery impression of the skin.  Instead of usual sienna paint.. I used gold ochre as the base color.. lemon and cad yellow as the lights.. mixed turquoise from cerulean and lemon.. and multi-colored glazes over a grayed cool shadow.  The onion sat under a spotlight on my studio table.. so strong contrast was called for.. that's why I chose blue-green as the complement to the orange-colored subject.  Voila! .. the turquoise onion.

*This is a photo of the onion on my desk top .. painting from life is the best way to learn to see color and closely observe a subject .. still lifes are ideal.

photo of onion still life setup painting


'Turban Squash'

6x6     oil on gallery-wrapped canvas      $125

This was a great subject to paint... took quite awhile... and this photo is only a facsimile of the real thing... the paint is much more subtle and modeled.  However.. it's a worthy impression and gives you an idea of what I was trying to convey... the glowing quality and the wonderful saturated orange of the stripes.


'Red Grapes'

6x6      oil on gallery-wrapped canvas      $100

Winter is a good time for practicing close observation of objects ... painting while the cold winds blow outside.. small studies are fun to do in the warmth of the studio. Sometimes these can be a real challenge.. like this one... the red from the light shining through the bottle was beautiful... like stained glass. I may have to try this one again... I have had zero practice painting glass .. on to the next one!


'Pomegranate Shadows'

5x7            oil on canvas panel            $110

Another pomegranate painting.. a close crop with the focus on the cast shadow design. These small studies are fun to do... and using amazing reds is especially rewarding.  Enjoy!


Christmas 'Pomegranate'

pomegranate painting km withers art ruby red fruit still life

5x7     oil on canvas panel      SOLD

Getting back to the easel..decided to paint a series of still life objects.  Since it was early December and the pomegranates were ripening here in the desert.. I chose them.

Such a great subject.. beautiful rich alizarin crimson with a host of other reds from my boxes of paints.  Why use alizarin you might ask? ... because there is simply no replacement.. other substitutes are close but not nearly the same.  I say.. let this magnificent red speak for itself!


'Tonto Junipers' - Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon painting, original art, Tonto plateau

12x12         oil on canvas         

An impression of the late afternoon light... stylized Grand Canyon formations as seen from the Tonto... some of the best views can be found on this vast plateau... halfway down to banks of the mighty Colorado River.  Magical times.

** Update:  This painting no longer exists .. it has evolved into a much bluer version..
see it here.


'Grand Canyon Moment'

Grand Canyon painting original sunset oil Southwest art landscape western art

8x10    oil on canvas panel     $450

Purchase info

This is from a series of studies I did of the last light on a particular Canyon formation..one that millions of tourists see from the South Rim.  My focus in these studies was the contrast of complementary colors ... and the drama it affords.  The beautiful weathered shapes catching the warm golden rays of the sun amid pools of cool cobalt blue.  Great fun to paint!


'Desert Glory'

desert original painting, death valley plants,California impressionism

9x12       oil on canvas panel       SOLD

Desert plants have always fascinated me ... how do they survive and thrive in the harsh climate of the deserts? ...especially in the furnace-like conditions down on the valley floor of Death Valley.   This oil study is of one such hardy old survivor... which seemed to glory in it's environment.


New online shop .. ClearLight Studios

'Templar Light - Grand Canyon'

     8x10      oil on canvas panel      SOLD     

I've decided to offer my work through Etsy .. a popular website hosting thousands of artists and crafters.  Secure purchase can be made with credit/ debit cards or even Apple Pay :)

Many small studies and plein-air pieces are available .. and also a few large studio pieces.  Please drop by my gallery-shop and browse.. very affordable prices for new collectors.. direct-from-the-artist.

ClearLight Studios - online gallery shop

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