Paintings of the Caribbean Sea

January 22nd, 2018

In 2003, I visited St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands and took a lot of pictures of the island and the sun reflecting off the water at sunset. In 2007, I created this small series of seascapes inspired by those photos. This goes to show how traveling to new places can be of immense value to an artist’s work, even years later.

If it is cold where you are right now, I hope these paintings momentarily transport you into a moment of paradise: A gentle, warm breeze, salt in the air, the sound of water lapping against the hull of a boat, and sunshine on your face.

departing saint thomas

Departing Saint Thomas. Acrylic on Canvas, 24″ x 36″, © 2007 Cedar Lee

glowing water

Glowing Water. Acrylic on Canvas, 24″ x 36″, © 2007 Cedar Lee

sailboats at sunset

Sailboats at Sunset. Acrylic on Canvas, 18″ x 36″, © 2007 Cedar Lee

sundown on the shore of saint thomas

Sundown on the Shore of Saint Thomas. Acrylic on Canvas, 24″ x 36″, © 2007 Cedar Lee

Being near the ocean makes me feel more alive! I try to get a dose of warm ocean every year, or at least as often as I can.

July’s Abundance

January 8th, 2018

Sunflowers have held a special place in my heart my whole life. Growing up, my mom always grew them in her garden. As an adult, every year that I have had a garden of my own, I’ve made a point to do the same.

In the past, I’ve created whole series of paintings with a sunflower theme. My “Sunflower” series came about when I discovered how many varieties of sunflowers there are, and how unique some of them look. My “Sunflower Heart” series was based on my fascination with the hypnotic pattern of the seeds in the center of a sunflower.  You can see them all on this page. (Scroll down past the lotuses.)

July’s Abundance. Acrylic on Canvas, 30″ x 20″, © 2007 Cedar Lee

I painted this photo-realistic image from a snapshot of sunflowers in the front garden of the little house I lived in for 10 years in Baltimore, MD. The little bit of the house that’s visible in the background here fills me with nostalgia. Notice the two bees on the flower!

To me, sunflowers symbolize abundance–good times, beautiful harvests, long days of sunshine, the active lifestyle of summertime. Last year, I got my first ever tattoo, of a sunflower and a bee on my shoulder.

Visions of Rain

December 31st, 2017

Here is “Visions of Rain.”

Visions of Rain. 12" x 36", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Visions of Rain. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

It is the same panorama-format and theme as my painting, “Pacific Northwest Dreams.” With the theme of nature and trees, these paintings are related to my “Looking Up” series.

Visions of Rain. 12" x 36", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Visions of Rain. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

With the panorama landscape view and the addition of human faces superimposed on a landscape, they are also a bit of a departure in style, an artistic exploration.

Artist Cedar Lee working in painting studio: Visions of Rain. 12" x 36", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Artist Cedar Lee working in painting studio: Visions of Rain. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

In this painting, dark rain clouds are rolling in from the left. The sky is full of water–clouds of mist as well as heavy rain spatters. The trees below are soft and muted shapes, made vague by the moisture in the atmosphere as well as distance, with the trees closer to the foreground a bit more defined.

Detail: Visions of Rain. 12" x 36", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Visions of Rain. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

The woman, with her eyes intently closed, is looking inward. The title, “Visions of Rain” implies that this dramatic landscape is possibly being created in her mind’s eye.

Detail: Visions of Rain. 12" x 36", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Visions of Rain. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Or possibly, while she is immersed in such a real landscape, her sense of self has dissolved into it. She is translucent, almost ghostly. You can feel her connection to the sky and the land.

Detail: Visions of Rain. 12" x 36", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Visions of Rain. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

As I live in Portland, Oregon, and we are currently in the rainy season typical of winters here, this painting is my way of embracing the wet weather. The chill and the gray skies have their own austere beauty. While we are induced into feelings of hibernation, the water outside is giving green life to the lush forests for the whole year to come.

Visions of Rain. 12" x 36", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Visions of Rain. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

First on my agenda in 2018 is to create more new “Looking Up” paintings. Happy New Year to all!

From the Art By Cedar Archives: Delicious Warmth

December 18th, 2017

Here’s a perfect painting from my past to share with you as we near the Winter Solstice! It captures the feeling of warming your hands on a hot cup of tea on a chilly day.

Delicious Warmth . 20" x 16", Acrylic on Canvas , © 2006Cedar Lee

Delicious Warmth . 20″ x 16″, Acrylic on Canvas , © 2006 Cedar Lee

Wishing peace and coziness for all this winter.

Window

December 12th, 2017

Here is “Window.”

Window. 48″ x 48″, Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Window. 48″ x 48″, Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

The tops of the trees frame an opening in the sky, like a giant window looking out from the forest into the heavens.

Window. 48″ x 48″, Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Window. 48″ x 48″, Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

There is another subtle window within that window, created by the white fluffy clouds framing a patch of blue sky.

Detail: Window. 48″ x 48″, Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Window. 48″ x 48″, Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

The trees in the distance are partially obfuscated by brilliant light, giving only a sense of their shapes as they stand in the sun far away.

Detail: Window. 48″ x 48″, Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Window. 48″ x 48″, Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

The foliage in the background evokes the sound of a gentle breeze rushing through the trees. In the foreground, the tree trunks are in deep shadow, almost black.

Detail: Window. 48″ x 48″, Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Window. 48″ x 48″, Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Dark shapes of leaves are contrasted against the brightness of the sky.

Detail: Window. 48″ x 48″, Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Window. 48″ x 48″, Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Light peeks through the tree branches. These negative spaces throughout give the painting a soft, colorful glow.

Detail: Window. 48″ x 48″, Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Window. 48″ x 48″, Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

This painting is the last of six of this size that, earlier this year, I set out to finish.

Window. 48″ x 48″, Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Window. 48″ x 48″, Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

With only a few weeks left in the year, I have finally completed the challenging goal I set for myself!

Cedar Lee painting studio. Art: Window. 48″ x 48″, Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Cedar Lee painting studio. Art: Window. 48″ x 48″, Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

I happened to catch the painting in the studio illuminated by the bright rays of sun streaming in from above: A fitting image to celebrate this winter solstice, the gradual return of the sun, and the window of possibility that is 2018.

Cedar Lee art studio. Art: Window. 48″ x 48″, Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Cedar Lee art studio. Art: Window. 48″ x 48″, Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

From the Art By Cedar Archives: Into the Winter Sun

December 4th, 2017

I used to take walks in these woods bordering a little park near my home in Baltimore, rain or shine. This painting was inspired by one of those walks.

Into the Winter Sun. 45" x 30", Acrylic on Canvas, © 2006 Cedar Lee

Into the Winter Sun. 45″ x 30″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2006 Cedar Lee

I love how the whole painting is in warm tones, but it still gives a feeling of cold. It’s the bare branches of the trees, and that faint little sun, so low in the sky even though it’s probably 4pm. The brilliant sunset hues are mixed with frosty white in the atmosphere.

Pacific Northwest Dreams

November 29th, 2017

This oil painting is a little divergence from my usual style: “Pacific Northwest Dreams.”

Pacific Northwest Dreams. 12" x 36", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Pacific Northwest Dreams. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

My inspiration is the rainy season in Portland, Oregon.

Detail: Pacific Northwest Dreams. 12" x 36", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Pacific Northwest Dreams. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

On the left, the face of a young woman, semi-translucent to show her mind is completely immersed in the setting, is superimposed on the blue-green landscape, her eyes gazing dreamily upward. She is soaking in the fresh, cleansing rain-scented air.

Detail: Pacific Northwest Dreams. 12" x 36", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Pacific Northwest Dreams. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

She feels the healing, refreshing power of nature. She absorbs a calm, sleepy feeling from the uniquely soft cool grays of winter in the Pacific Northwest.

Detail: Pacific Northwest Dreams. 12" x 36", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Pacific Northwest Dreams. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Mt. Hood in the far distance is framed by the evergreens of Mt. Tabor Park, in a blue-gray misty sky.

Detail: Pacific Northwest Dreams. 12" x 36", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Pacific Northwest Dreams. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Moisture fills the air throughout the image, from soft misty clouds to large spatters of raindrops.

Pacific Northwest Dreams. 12" x 36", Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Pacific Northwest Dreams. 12″ x 36″, Oil on Canvas, © 2017 Cedar Lee

This panorama-format painting is 3 feet across.

 

From the Art By Cedar Archives: Radiant Sky

November 20th, 2017

I love the sky in this painting: pure, clear light shining down from above, a hint of crepuscular rays coming down from behind the bright clouds.

Radiant Sky. 42" x 36", Acrylic on Canvas, © 2006 Cedar Lee

Radiant Sky. 42″ x 36″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2006 Cedar Lee

While the original is long-sold, you can get a print of this painting from my selection on Fine Art America!

From the Art By Cedar Archives: Fall Jubilation

November 6th, 2017

This painting from 2006, inspired by a huge tree I used to walk by every day, outside the arts building on the campus of Goucher College, is called “Fall Jubilation.”

Fall Jubilation. 49" x 34", Acrylic on Canvas, © 2006 Cedar Lee

Fall Jubilation. 49″ x 34″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2006 Cedar Lee

I added the little robin sitting on the branch on a whim. He’s looking out at the viewer quizzically, sharing a gorgeous moment with us all.

Here’s a video of me being interviewed that year, (hello, younger me!) where I talk about how I started with my photo of a green summer tree, and used Photoshop to turn the colors autumnal.

Forest Art: Suffused With Light

October 31st, 2017

Here’s what I’ve been up to this month: “Suffused With Light.”

Suffused With Light. 48" x 48", Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Suffused With Light. 48″ x 48″, Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

This large-scale painting shows the forest on a brilliantly sunny day.

Cedar Lee artist working in the studio. Painting: Suffused With Light. 48" x 48", Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Cedar Lee artist working in the studio. Painting: Suffused With Light. 48″ x 48″, Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

White light fills the sky and washes out the top of the giant sequoia’s trunk where it falls.

Detail: Suffused With Light. 48" x 48", Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Suffused With Light. 48″ x 48″, Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Beams of light shoot down through the background trees. There’s a feeling of movement in the leaves, the sun shifting, shimmering, and glinting.

Detail: Suffused With Light. 48" x 48", Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Suffused With Light. 48″ x 48″, Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Cedar Lee artist working in the studio

Cedar Lee artist working in the studio

While the foliage of the large tree in the center is lit up in yellow, completely washed out to white in places, other trees are in shadow.

Cedar Lee artist studio. Painting: Suffused With Light. 48" x 48", Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Cedar Lee artist studio. Painting: Suffused With Light. 48″ x 48″, Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

The shadowed foliage is blue and emerald green. Two trees appear small, in the distance, in dark blue green, almost in silhouette.

Detail: Suffused With Light. 48" x 48", Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Suffused With Light. 48″ x 48″, Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Some of the thin branches hang gracefully, swaying gently in the sunshine.

Detail: Suffused With Light. 48" x 48", Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Detail: Suffused With Light. 48″ x 48″, Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

The painting continues around the deep edges of the painting. The wood panel is heavy and solid.

Cedar Lee studio. Painting: Suffused With Light. 48" x 48", Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Cedar Lee studio. Painting: Suffused With Light. 48″ x 48″, Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

One more of this size is still in progress!

Cedar Lee artist working in the studio. Foreground: Suffused With Light. 48" x 48", Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

Cedar Lee artist working in the studio. Foreground: Suffused With Light. 48″ x 48″, Oil on Wood, © 2017 Cedar Lee

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