Please join me at this upcoming art event! My artwork will be on display and it’s a great chance to meet some local SE Portland artists if you are in the area.
Ben Will Gallery is hosting a Portland Open Studios Preview Show for the artists in Community 6, which includes nine artists selected by Portland Open Studios to represent Foster-Powell, Mt. Scott-Arleta, South Tabor, Woodstock and Creston-Kenilworth neighborhoods.
Portland Open Studios 2016 Community 6
This Preview Show will feature live music with artists in attendance from these areas to talk with you about their art process and the Portland Open Studios Tour on the 2nd & 3rd weekend in October. All art, prints, sculpture and ceramics by the artists will be for sale at Ben Will Gallery.
The color gradient in the background goes from deep violet shadow at the bottom to bright scarlet and yellow at the top. This makes me imagine the orbs are rising slowly upwards as they float through the space. As I painted it, I was thinking of the symbolism of the Lotus, the light part of our human nature rising above the dark.
In this colorful abstract fantasy world, a happy little dragonfly flits about through spiral shapes and orbs of light, zeroing in on this pair of lush blossoming flowers.
It feels like a joyful celebration!
The composition of the two lotus flowers is similar to the twin blooms from my painting “Lotus Bubbles,” while the spiral shapes, orbs of light, circles or dots, however you choose to see them, are a motif I’ve played with in some of my previous paintings, especially “Glow Within.” I’ve incorporated a similar motif into the foreground of my Tree of Life painting”Seed Moon Rising.” And looking back, I realized that I did something similar in this cat portrait I painted almost 10 years ago!
2 feet high and 3 feet across, this is a large painting. The edges of the canvas are extra deep, so the painting comes out away from the wall more than most wall art you’ll see. I’ve created very thick paint texture with cold wax medium and palette knives. These features combine with the bold red, gold and white color scheme to give this painting a dramatic impact!
Let me introduce you to the place where I’ve been painting for the past year: a tiny room in my basement. The small window pictured here is the only source of natural light. The carpet is red. The wallpaper is 80s. The space is cramped.
It actually looks more spacious in this picture than it has in months, because I’ve just sold a ton of artwork, then moved out almost everything that was left, to clear some more work space. Since I can’t store much finished art in here, I try to move things to the walls of my home or out to exhibits as quickly as possible.
Art studio of Cedar Lee
A quick glimpse at my bare-bones setup: you can see here that I sit straight on the floor to paint, with my paints and tools spread out all around me. I do not have shelves for my supplies, a chair, or much furniture to speak of. Sometimes I have a drying rack for finished paintings set up with 2x4s on a set of sawhorses. In this photo, the 2x4s can be seen in the left background, directly on the floor with paintings drying on them.
Art studio of Cedar Lee
Many times, I have had to move things out of the way just to move around the room, turned to put something down and bumped my elbow or knee in the cramped space, and climbed or crawled over and under paintings, blank canvases, tools and supplies. My easel moves from corner to corner to accommodate whatever paintings I’m working on at the moment.
The reason I haven’t spent much time or effort on comforts or organization in this studio is that I’ve thought of it as a temporary work space since I moved in. From Day 1, the plan has always been to build a new studio outbuilding in my back yard as soon as possible. Over the past year, I have researched, planned, gotten bids for work, saved up funds, gotten more bids, and saved up more funds.
Now, about a year and fifty-two paintings later…(I just checked my files and counted. Wow!!) I am finally at the point where the new studio is really starting to happen!
This is a picture from about this time last year, when I first chose this spot to be my future build site. As you can see, last summer, the space held a mini corn field and lots of shrubs.
Build site for new Cedar Lee art studio
This is my studio build site today:
Build site for new Cedar Lee art studio
Last week I had this gravel pad foundation installed! I bartered a painting for part of the labor, which was an amazingly feel-good, win-win transaction for both myself and my landscaper. The site is now a blank canvas ready for building. Construction starts next week. I’ll be hiring a builder to put up the structure, then I’ll finish the interior myself, as I did last time with my old back yard studio in California.
This studio is going to be so cool! I have planned out a 12′ x 16′ room full of windows–one of the corners will be made of glass to let in maximum light. There will be double French doors, clerestory windows across the front, a dramatic slanted roof, and a small overhang on one side to use as a rudimentary covered porch. I’ll have good insulation, power for lights, heating and cooling, ventilation, and a shop sink outside the building for easy cleanup.
I hope to be moved in by the fall! More updates to come.
Portland Open Studios is a group of just over 100 artists in the Portland, OR metro area, myself included, who will be opening their studios up to the public during the 2nd and 3rd weekends in October.
If you are local to Portland, put it on your calendar! You will be astonished to see where and how different artists work. The variety of techniques and mediums we all use is truly impressive. It is a great way for any art lover to meet a lot of artists and pick our brains. And, if you feel compelled to seek some new pieces of art for your home, this will be a perfect opportunity to do so.
I will be at my studio greeting visitors during the whole event in October. Otherwise, I would take the tour myself!
Cedar Lee at Salem Art Festival, 2016
If you will be taking the tour, you have to buy a tour guide & map. A tour guide is $15 and covers 2 adults. Kids under 18 are free! This comes with a mobile app as well. You also have the option of buying the mobile app alone, which still gets you admission and a map, but does not include as much info about the artists, for only $4.99. You can purchase your tour guide here, anytime between now and October!
So, in between explaining this exciting upcoming event to people at the PDXOS booth in Salem, I worked a little bit on this Lotus painting in progress, working with a palette knife and cold wax medium, as well as with oil and brushes, to show some of my techniques.
Cedar Lee at Salem Art Festival, 2016
I got a lot of curious visitors. Some of my favorite people to talk to were younger aspiring artists and little kids!
Cedar Lee at Salem Art Festival, 2016
This month I am working on several of these large Lotus paintings so they’ll be ready to deliver to this handcrafted furniture store/new Portland gallery next month, Eco Art PDX–their focus until now has been beautiful handmade wooden furniture, but now they are expanding to include an art gallery. I’ll be among the first artists showing there. Pretty cool!
The Lotus paintings will be taking a lot of my time for the coming weeks, but I have other projects in the works, ready to start when this group of paintings is done–lots of blank canvases are awaiting new images!
Most of my previous Lotus paintings have featured white or pink flowers. For this painting I wanted my lotus to be primarily yellow and gold. However, because of the way I’ve built up many layers of color, when you look closely, you can see many colors shining through: pink, purple, orange, red, and even tiny hints of green.
This painting, “Lotus Bubbles,” goes along with my last painting, now sold, “Hope Bubbles Up.” That was the first Lotus painting I’ve done where I incorporated bubbles into the design. It was a purely impulsive thing I did just for fun, but now I’ve been exploring that whimsical theme more!
This painting shows a pair of blooming lotuses standing up straight with bubbles rising all around them. Huge, glossy green leaves fill the bottom of the painting.
The result is a visually rich experience when you look at the painting in person–a flat image from across the room, but with hills and valleys, ridges and lumps when you explore it up close. Surprising bits of color glow through other layers of color.
This is currently the only painting I have from my Lotus series–you can see a selection of my favorites here. I can proudly say that every single one of the originals I’ve ever made for this series has been sold to a happy collector!
This series has not been my primary focus over the past several years, as I’ve been expanding my Looking Up and Tree of Life series.
However, it is something I continue to come back to again and again, and I have no intention of abandoning this theme anytime soon. I’ve often thought of my Lotus paintings as a form of creative palate cleanser for me in between projects. “Oh, I’m tired–I need to do a Lotus painting!” There is something so sweet and joyful about creating these ones. I always have so much fun with them. I think that spirit of fun comes through in the paintings.
Next up on my easel is the largest Lotus painting I’ve done yet–36″ x 48″! It is taking me a while to finish because of the large size. Stay tuned for that one.
After my big Spring Sale, I’ve been packing and shipping the sold paintings every week, managing all the invoices, and getting the bonus gifts of greeting cards printed and shipped out to each buyer.
Sold artwork waiting to be sent to buyers, art studio of Cedar Lee
So now that I’m coming to the end of such a great sale, and with a few more unexpected sales since, I’ve finally gone through the process of taking inventory of what I have left.
This seemed like a good time to update my pricing structure to be more streamlined–something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I now have only 7 prices total, ranging from $290 to $2,490 (with exceptions for custom or very large-scale pieces.) I have 1-3 of my commonly used canvas sizes assigned to each price point.
As I assigned each available piece to one of my new price points, it worked out in such a way that some of my paintings moved slightly up in price and some moved slightly down. So, if you’ve had your eye on a particular piece, make sure to check if the price has changed! You can see my currently available art here. You’ll notice that all I have now are several of the large-scale redwood forest paintings, and about 20 of my recently completed small Tree of Life paintings on 12″ x 16″ canvases.
My plans for the coming months, in addition to working on new Lotus paintings, include creating more paintings for my long-lost love, my Eclipse series! I have a big solo show coming up in 2017 with an eclipse theme, and as of yet no artwork for it. More news about that to come!
Oh, and in the meantime, I probably should not neglect my Looking Up series, as that is the theme I submitted to Portland Open Studios, which I am IN, in October, and I’ll have to have some new pieces to show people then. (I’m thinking…maybe some new ones with autumn leaves…) By the way, if you’re in the Portland area, it is worth looking into getting tickets to this awesome event that will be happening in artist’s studios all over the city. I will be in the good company of about 100 absurdly talented and diversely skilled local artists.
My Spring Sale will be coming to a close in only 3 days. Many are sold, but there’s still time to claim a painting before the sale is over, and get free shipping, a free gift, and more. Go check it out!
The giant full moon hangs near the horizon over deep green hills. And standing on top of one of the tree’s roots, which rises up out of the ground like a lookout tower, is this little person. She surveys the landscape spread out below, the streaks of atmosphere in the starry sky, and the quiet, beautiful moon.
This is one of many new paintings in my Spring Sale that have sold before they’re dry! You can expect several of the newly sold pieces to become available as prints on my Fine Art America page over the next few weeks.
If you haven’t yet visiting my big sale, check it out. People are taking advantage of the extended payment plans and free shipping to get beautiful art onto their walls. The sale will be up until May 30th!
Invoicing, packing and shipping is keeping me busy this week. I am available if you have any questions–just email.
To me, it looks like the tree, with its curved branches reaching, is calling out, beckoning towards the moon on its path through the sky.
After I painted that part, I sat back and looked at the painting, asking myself what else it needed. Suddenly, I envisioned this little person, sprinting down the hill towards the tree, his path lit by the big moon overhead. It had to be. I added him, and it transformed the image into something fun and exhilarating!
The Art By Cedar Spring Sale is officially underway as art lovers are making their choices and taking advantage of the free shipping and payment plans! Make sure to go check it out if you haven’t yet. There are still plenty of awesome paintings left to be claimed!
They can hardly believe how far they’ve come and that they are still intact after the overwhelming whirlwind of stress and big changes that life has thrown at them. The feeling is a mix of deep gratitude, accomplishment, celebration, relief and joy.
Their long shadows spread out into the foreground, as they are silhouetted by moonlight.
This shared moment is made particularly memorable by the vision of the impossibly gigantic full moon! I took time with the details of the moon’s cratered surface. The moon is painted in a warm white, in contrast to the cool whites in the rest of the painting, giving it a golden glow.
You can see a price list for many of my new works of art that will be available, here. I will be posting updates on Facebook when the sale goes live, so follow me there if you haven’t yet.
I’m hoping that the perks I’m offering–free shipping, multi-painting discounts, and no-interest extended payment plans, will make it possible for a lot of art lovers to get something beautiful to add to their homes. If you have any questions regarding the sale, as always, you may email me!