8 Affordable Pieces By Me, Amidst Hundreds More!

November 19th, 2014

I will have 8 of my small paintings on display, each for sale for $100, below their retail value, as part of the 2014 Winter C Note Exhibition at San Diego Art Institute’s Museum of the Living Artist in Balboa Park. The sale opens on Saturday, November 22, but you can preview the exhibition on November 21.

The location of the museum in Balboa Park: 1549 El Prado, San Diego. If you’re standing in front of the big San Diego Museum of Art, facing out, SDAI/Museum of the Living Artist is across the courtyard, past the fountain, in the building on the right. Walk down the arched breezeway of that building and you’ll see it.

8 Paintings by Cedar Lee available in 2014 Winter C Note Exhibition at SDAI in Balboa Park

8 Paintings by Cedar Lee available in 2014 Winter C Note Exhibition at SDAI in Balboa Park

The hours you need to know are:

C-Note preview: 11/21 & 11/22/14 from 10 to 4 pm
C-Note Sale: 11/22/14 from 5 to 7 pm 
C Note Exhibition at SDAI Museum of the Living Artist

C Note Exhibition at SDAI Museum of the Living Artist

All artwork for sale will be priced $100-$300! Proceeds of the sale benefit arts programs in San Diego, so it’s a chance to get art at very good prices while also doing something good for the public. Check it out if you’re local!

1 more place to see my art: Earth’s Elements

November 11th, 2014

Exciting development: I’m now showing my work at a gallery in Encinitas, CA, Earth’s Elements.

Description from their website:

Earth’s Elements is a unique jewelry and fine art gallery in downtown Encinitas, California.  We offer beautiful handcrafted jewelry, fine art, furniture, Tibetan bowls, sacred art, tapestries and home decor items, books, and music.  We feature local artists, musicians, and authors as well as offering one-of-a-kind items from around the world.

This little gallery is tucked in amongst sidewalk cafes and boutiques in historic Encinitas’ shopping district along Coast Highway 101.

Cedar Lee art now available at Earth's Elements in Encinitas, CA

Cedar Lee art now available at Earth’s Elements in Encinitas, CA

If you didn’t know it was there, you might miss it, but then you step inside into a peaceful, colorful oasis of beautiful things.

Cedar Lee art now available at Earth's Elements in Encinitas, CA

Cedar Lee art now available at Earth’s Elements in Encinitas, CA

In addition to showing the work of California artists, the owner, Hem Rai, travels all over the world to find the handcrafted jewelry, furniture, sculptures and textiles on display.

Cedar Lee art now available at Earth's Elements in Encinitas, CA. Owner: Hem Rai

Cedar Lee art now available at Earth’s Elements in Encinitas, CA. Owner: Hem Rai

We just hung 5 of my paintings, which, if you’re local to Southern California, you can now go see in person anytime. You can see here at the top left a couple of my Tree of Life series as well as one of my cosmic pieces, “Passion.”

Cedar Lee art now available at Earth's Elements in Encinitas, CA

Cedar Lee art now available at Earth’s Elements in Encinitas, CA

And here at the top right, two of my images of redwood trees. For scale, the larger one, “Bright Woods” is 48″ x 36″. The walls of this open gallery space are soaring.

Cedar Lee art now available at Earth's Elements in Encinitas, CA

Cedar Lee art now available at Earth’s Elements in Encinitas, CA

The gallery is a 3-minute drive from Moonlight Beach, one of my favorite spots in the San Diego area. Another reason to make the trip. :)

Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, CA. Near art gallery Earth's Elements where Cedar Lee artwork is available.

Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, CA.

In other news, here’s me at the most recent Escondido Art Walk, with three of my recent large-scale paintings at Art Tradition Gallery in Escondido.

Artist Cedar Lee with her paintings at Art Tradition Gallery in Escondido, CA

Artist Cedar Lee with her paintings at Art Tradition Gallery in Escondido, CA

With 8 of my small paintings also going up for sale at SDAI Museum of the Living Artist’s upcoming 2014 Winter C Note exhibition opening on November 22, this month I am ridiculously busy showing my work all over the San Diego area!

Oxygen

October 31st, 2014

I just finished this big painting that I’ve been working on for weeks! I had a hard time titling it, because I wanted to choose a title that describes how the image makes me feel, and I ended up rejecting “The Richness of Life” (too cheesy), “Thrumming Color,” “Vibrant Forest,” and many other possibilities before finally settling on “Oxygen.”

The reason I chose “Oxygen” is when I am in this scene, experiencing it and absorbing it, yes–the colors are rich and exciting and full of emotion, but overall I just get a sense of breathing the fresh, clean air this gigantic forest is producing. The negative spaces in the sky–the light and the air–are what define this image for me as much as the dramatic forms of the trees themselves.

Oxygen. 30" x 40", Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Oxygen. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Standing small under these trees, we are surrounded by the exact formulation of atmosphere that allows humans to breathe, and it is mind-blowing to consider the specific course of events that had to have happened to even make life on Earth possible, much less such a beautiful phenomenon as this! Breathing in the clean oxygen-rich air while standing surrounded by deep woods gives me an exhilarated, heady feeling–and being in the giant forest is truly a humbling experience.

Of course I have used lots of artistic license here with my color choices and the way I’ve painted the forest. These deviations from realism are purposeful and meant to inspire in the viewer these emotions I feel.

You can see I am using a think impasto technique, which is especially cool as the tree trunks actually appear to have the rough texture of sequoia tree bark.

Detail shot of painting by Cedar Lee: Oxygen. 30" x 40", Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Detail shot of painting by Cedar Lee: Oxygen. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Most of the painting was done with a palette knife. I came in at the end to add smaller details with brushes.

Detail shot of painting by Cedar Lee: Oxygen. 30" x 40", Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Detail shot of painting by Cedar Lee: Oxygen. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee

The painting continues onto the edges.

Oil painting by Cedar Lee: Oxygen. 30" x 40", Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Oil painting by Cedar Lee: Oxygen. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Artist Cedar Lee in the studio with her painting: Oxygen. 30" x 40", Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Artist Cedar Lee in the studio with her painting: Oxygen. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee

At 30″ x 40″, my most recent pieces have a powerful presence. There are 2 more paintings of this size currently in progress.

Art By Cedar in Top 100 Art Blogs

October 25th, 2014

Exciting news! A journalist who writes for the NY Times has contacted me for permission to be included in this list of the top 100 art blogs for 2014. This is the second time I’ve been on this list–this time coming in at #72. Pretty cool!

Top 100 Art blogs

An infographic by the team at Rebates zone

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Quest For Light

October 23rd, 2014

This painting is called “Quest For Light.” It shows two giant sequoia trees growing towards the sun, side by side. This competition for light between the individual trees in the forest, a fact of nature, is what has allowed some of them to grow to such tremendous heights.

The tree on the left is in shadow as it is back-lit by the sun–the light flowing around the edges of that tree strikes the tree on the right directly, so it lights up in red and gold. The differences in the colors of the two trees–the left one cool and the right one warm–creates a dynamic tension.

This painting is thrumming with life and bursting with light!

Quest For Light. 30" x 40", Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Quest For Light. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee

This was enormously fun to paint–not just because the light, color, and forms here are exciting to me, but because this painting was my first major experiment using cold wax medium, allowing for an incredibly thick, rich texture to the painting’s surface.

The painting continues off the edges of the painting and around the sides.

Oil painting on birch panel in art studio of Cedar Lee: Quest For Light. 30" x 40", Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Oil painting on birch panel in art studio of Cedar Lee: Quest For Light. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee

It looks amazing in my studio in the afternoon, with the green leaves outside the window and the sunlight streaming in. Perfect.

Oil painting on birch panel in art studio of Cedar Lee: Quest For Light. 30" x 40", Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Oil painting on birch panel in art studio of Cedar Lee: Quest For Light. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee

At 30″ x 40″, it is quite large-scale and makes a huge impact when hung on the wall. Just right for a large wall in an entryway, or the space over a large sofa or bed.

Artist Cedar Lee with her painting: Quest For Light. 30" x 40", Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Artist Cedar Lee with her painting: Quest For Light. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee

It looks different under different depending on the lighting. This photo was taken in the studio shortly after dark, under indoor lights.

Artist Cedar Lee with her painting: Quest For Light. 30" x 40", Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Artist Cedar Lee with her painting: Quest For Light. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee

The Clearing

October 2nd, 2014

This painting is called “The Clearing.” It’s inspired by my hike around the Big Trees Trail in Sequoia National Park, which is a 1.2-mile loop that meanders around a gigantic open meadow. This easy hike was a unique experience during my visit to the Giant Forest, because it was the only place I visited where you could look across an open space from a distance and see an entire giant sequoia tree from the ground up.

The trails through the dense parts of the forest, in contrast, restrict your views as the giant trees surround you completely. You can only see the ones close to you, and only bits of the looming treetops of the ones further away. Think of it as seeing the Manhattan skyline from across the water as opposed to walking down the street in Manhattan.

The Clearing. 32" x 32", Oil on Canvas, © 2014 Cedar Lee

The Clearing. 32″ x 32″, Oil on Canvas, © 2014 Cedar Lee

I’m really pleased with the feeling of depth and the clarity in this painting. My recent experiments with very thick texture are paying off–the results are so juicy and expressive, and I get fun things happening like the texture in this sky:

Close-up detail of painting: The Clearing. 32" x 32", Oil on Canvas, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Close-up detail of: The Clearing. 32″ x 32″, Oil on Canvas, © 2014 Cedar Lee

My favorite part of this scene might be these feathery branches reaching in from the side of the foreground, lit up brightly in the sunlight to really bring out the deep jewel tones of the shadowy background forest.

Close-up detail of: The Clearing. 32" x 32", Oil on Canvas, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Close-up detail of: The Clearing. 32″ x 32″, Oil on Canvas, © 2014 Cedar Lee

 

Into The Sun

September 21st, 2014

This painting truly gives a feeling of the enormity of the giant sequoia trees. Looking at it, I can feel my neck craning and my jaw dropping in wonder as this giant tree simply towers above me!

This is my latest in the series I’m working on, with the help of photos I took recently while hiking in the Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park.

Into The Sun. 32" x 32", Oil on Canvas, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Into The Sun. 32″ x 32″, Oil on Canvas, © 2014 Cedar Lee

The part of this painting that is much better seen in person is the thick texture of the paint. I painted most of it with a palette knife, and only switched to using paintbrushes in the final layer of paint.

Close-Up Detail of: Into The Sun. 32" x 32", Oil on Canvas, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Close-Up Detail of: Into The Sun. 32″ x 32″, Oil on Canvas, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Here are a couple close-ups that really show the roughness of the texture created by the paint being spread onto the canvas freely–in places, rather than carefully mixing the paint, I simply slapped one color right next to another and smeared them together loosely.

Close-Up Detail of: Into The Sun. 32" x 32", Oil on Canvas, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Close-Up Detail of: Into The Sun. 32″ x 32″, Oil on Canvas, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Because of this loose technique, and the varying thickness of the paint, the effect is quite different when looking up close as opposed to backing up and seeing the big picture.

Close-Up Detail of: Into The Sun. 32" x 32", Oil on Canvas, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Close-Up Detail of: Into The Sun. 32″ x 32″, Oil on Canvas, © 2014 Cedar Lee

For scale, here is the painting over a king-size bed.

Into The Sun. 32" x 32", Oil on Canvas, © 2014 Cedar Lee, shown in artist's bedroom

Into The Sun. 32″ x 32″, Oil on Canvas, © 2014 Cedar Lee, shown in artist’s bedroom

Ancient Ruins

September 7th, 2014

My latest painting, which I’ve been working on for the past several weeks, is called “Ancient Ruins.”

Ancient Ruins. 32" x 32", Oil on Canvas, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Ancient Ruins. 32″ x 32″, Oil on Canvas, © 2014 Cedar Lee

When hiking through the Giant Sequoia forests in Northern California, you’ll occasionally come across trees like this–Beautiful and mysterious, (if you’ve never seen it in person you might wonder what it is) this is the charred remains of what used to be a gargantuan, living redwood tree. The victim of a devastating forest fire, its top half is missing.

What remains is a monument to the past–a sharp spear jutting into the sky. The interior is hollow and black, burned away, but the exterior, even with the dead bark peeling away in places, still shows the reddish gold tones of a living tree.

As this fire happened very long ago, you can see that new growth forest has come in all around it–many of the trees in the background, although they are already towering giants themselves, look spindly in comparison to the circumference of this ancient relic.

The painting is based on this reference photo I took in Sequoia National Forest. The sharp point of the gigantic dead tree disappearing directly into the bright sun was an irresistible image for me–both to photograph and to paint.

Cedar Lee's reference photo for her painting: Ancient Ruins. 32" x 32", Oil on Canvas, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Cedar Lee’s reference photo for her painting: Ancient Ruins. 32″ x 32″, Oil on Canvas, © 2014 Cedar Lee

I lost some of the height as I had to squash the image to fit it into the square format I wanted to work with. However, with my use of brilliant colors and strong light and shadow, the image has retained its excitement.

Ancient Ruins. 32" x 32", Oil on Canvas, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Ancient Ruins. 32″ x 32″, Oil on Canvas, © 2014 Cedar Lee

This feels like a sacred place, similar to some of the Aztec ruins I’ve visited in Mexico, and the extreme vertical angles of the trees, reminiscent of a grand Italian cathedral full of stained glass, adds to this feeling.

A huge burned-down tree that lived for many ages and whose remains will probably be here for many ages more beyond our human lifespan is a reminder of our own impermanence, and forces us to stop and honor the past. My hope is that this series of paintings will help create awareness for these majestic forests, one of the wonders of the Earth, which we should all feel honor-bound to protect.

The painting in the studio: As you can see, the image wraps around onto the edges of the canvas.

Painting in Studio of Artist Cedar Lee: Ancient Ruins. 32" x 32", Oil on Canvas, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Painting in Studio of Artist Cedar Lee: Ancient Ruins. 32″ x 32″, Oil on Canvas, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Here’s a quick peek into the rest of the studio today: The painting on the right, on the easel, is a work in progress, still in its earliest stages.

Paintings in Studio of Artist Cedar Lee: Left: Ancient Ruins. 32" x 32", Oil on Canvas, © 2014 Cedar Lee. Right: Work in Progress

Paintings in Studio of Artist Cedar Lee: Left: Ancient Ruins. 32″ x 32″, Oil on Canvas, © 2014 Cedar Lee. Right: Work in Progress

The glare in the photo below is from the light hitting the extremely wet paint at an angle–this one will take awhile to dry because the paint is so thick.

Wet Painting on Drying Rack in Studio of Artist Cedar Lee: Ancient Ruins. 32" x 32", Oil on Canvas, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Wet Painting on Drying Rack in Studio of Artist Cedar Lee: Ancient Ruins. 32″ x 32″, Oil on Canvas, © 2014 Cedar Lee

It looks different in different lighting. Here it is in somewhat more shadowed light, as this photo was taken standing in the bright light outside the doors of the studio.

Painting in Studio of Artist Cedar Lee: Ancient Ruins. 32" x 32", Oil on Canvas, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Painting in Studio of Artist Cedar Lee: Ancient Ruins. 32″ x 32″, Oil on Canvas, © 2014 Cedar Lee

I painted much of this with a palette knife. The paint is 1/4 thick in some places. The details up close are delectable.

Ancient Ruins detail1

You can kind of see the long straight marks from the knife worked into the thick blue paint of the sky here–but it’s better in person!

Ancient Ruins detail2

I find this little area in the top right corner deeply satisfying. I think it’s because of the colors: the purple foliage in the shadows right up against the deep red-orange of the tree in the foreground, alongside the gold and deep green of the tree branches.

Ancient Ruins detail3

Wrapping Up an Eventful August

August 31st, 2014

In the last 2 weeks, I took a 3-day trip to visit friends in Arizona, I attended a productive meeting of my artist’s critique group, I went to a really fun art opening–the juried show I’m in at San Diego’s Museum of the Living Artist, and I made progress on three large paintings.

One of the photos from my Arizona road trip:

Gorgeous sunset in the Mojave desert.

Gorgeous sunset in the Mojave desert.

An inspiring critique session with my artist’s group:

North County Painters Critique Group

North County Painters Critique Group, August 2014 meeting. Art by Daniel Ketelhut.

The art opening at the San Diego Museum of the Living Artist in Balboa Park:

The museum is an impressive, beautiful space!

Cedar Lee's work in juried show at San Diego Art Institute's Museum of the Living Artist in Balboa Park, August-September 2014

Even though I arrived late for the opening, the place was packed!

Cedar Lee's work in juried show at San Diego Art Institute's Museum of the Living Artist in Balboa Park, August-September 2014

I tried to get a close-up photo of myself with my painting, but I never got an opportunity because there was a constant stream of people stopping and looking at it. This is a good problem to have. :)

Cedar Lee's work in juried show at San Diego Art Institute's Museum of the Living Artist in Balboa Park, August-September 2014

Cedar Lee's work in juried show at San Diego Art Institute's Museum of the Living Artist in Balboa Park, August-September 2014

Cedar Lee's work in juried show at San Diego Art Institute's Museum of the Living Artist in Balboa Park, August-September 2014

This is the closest I could get.

Cedar Lee's work in juried show at San Diego Art Institute's Museum of the Living Artist in Balboa Park, August-September 2014

Me with my date. Isn’t he cute?

Cedar Lee's work in juried show at San Diego Art Institute's Museum of the Living Artist in Balboa Park, August-September 2014

I admired a lot of artwork and truly enjoyed the grandeur of the large, open museum floor.

Cedar Lee's work in juried show at San Diego Art Institute's Museum of the Living Artist in Balboa Park, August-September 2014

Here are some of the other walls of artwork in the current show. Clearly I am in good company!

Cedar Lee's work in juried show at San Diego Art Institute's Museum of the Living Artist in Balboa Park, August-September 2014

And, I have to say, San Diego’s Balboa Park in the evening is truly a magical experience.

Cedar Lee's work in juried show at San Diego Art Institute's Museum of the Living Artist in Balboa Park, August-September 2014

Cedar Lee's work in juried show at San Diego Art Institute's Museum of the Living Artist in Balboa Park, August-September 2014

Cedar Lee's work in juried show at San Diego Art Institute's Museum of the Living Artist in Balboa Park, August-September 2014

Cedar Lee's work in juried show at San Diego Art Institute's Museum of the Living Artist in Balboa Park, August-September 2014

The show is up until September 20th, and admission is only $3. If you’re local, check it out!

In the studio, I’m working on three 32″ square paintings simultaneously, and doing a lot of thick palette knife painting experimentation. Here’s a super-quick time-lapse of me working on one of the new pieces in the studio:

I hope to have something finished up and photographed in the next week.

It’s been an insanely busy month for me…and, on top of it all, I also experienced a massive hard drive failure!

Last week, my computer, where I keep all my business and personal files from the past 15 years, suddenly exhibited the Blue Screen of Death. It quickly became clear that the hard drive was a goner, and everything on it was lost forever.

I cannot even tell you how thankful I am that backups are something I take very seriously. I use CrashPlan–but at the time of this crash, only 70% of my files had been backed up on CrashPlan’s servers–see, I recently deleted all my backups there and started a fresh backup. The reason the hard drive blew up is it was a pretty new drive that I’d recently purchased and moved my files to. There hadn’t yet been enough time since starting over with my new drive for my enormous amount of data to be copied over to my CrashPlan backup. Turns out the new drive was defective and unstable from the start.

The thing that saved me from losing 30% of my data was that I back up my files in multiple locations. In addition to using CrashPlan, I also run an automatic backup to a local drive in my home. In the end, I lost only about a week’s worth of files, plus the cost of a new hard drive and motherboard. This is an inconvenience to be sure, but nothing at all compared to what it would have been like to lose all my files from 15 years, or even one year. I can’t even imagine the devastation I would have felt.

Let this be a lesson: Back up everything, then back up your backups, then have a backup backup plan. Whatever time and money it takes now to set up automatic backup systems will be worth it if this ever happens to you.

Two Reasons to Visit the Museum of the Living Artist

August 11th, 2014

One–I’ll have work on display there for the next month!

My painting “Summer Afternoon” was selected for inclusion in this month’s juried show at San Diego Art Institute’s Museum of the Living Artist.

And Two–This museum is a cultural hot spot you’ll want to check out if you haven’t been yet. From their website: It promotes San Diego as a living arts community that fully integrates visual arts into everyday life…featuring more than 3,000 works of painting, sculpture, prints, drawings, and mixed media per year, in addition to running arts education programs.

This painting is one of my newest images, inspired by hours of hiking in Sequoia National Park’s majestic forests:

Summer Afternoon. 30" x 24", Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Summer Afternoon. 30″ x 24″, Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee

The opening for this upcoming show is on Friday, August 22nd, from 6pm-8pm at 1439 El Prado in Balboa Park, San Diego. I plan to be there! 

The exhibition closes on September 21st. They received just over 300 entries, and 55 pieces (about 18%) were selected. The juror was Dave Kesting, founder of Fountain Art Fair and director of Leo Kesting Gallery and Kesting/Ray Gallery.

If you’re local to San Diego, I’d love to see you at the opening on August 22!

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