Art By Cedar Spring Sale

May 7th, 2017

Are you ready? The Art By Cedar Spring Sale begins today at noon Pacific time!

(1pm Mountain, 2pm Central, 3pm Eastern.)

Available artwork from studio of Cedar Lee, Spring 2017

Available artwork from studio of Cedar Lee, Spring 2017

Once the sale page is live, get in quickly and claim the artwork you want using the PayPal button under your painting before someone else does! After you pay the 10% deposit, you’ll receive an email to finish your transaction, including deciding on a payment plan if you need one.

Be sure to read the terms of the sale carefully. There are lots of great perks for this sale. I hope to hook you up with some beautiful art you will love for a long time!

Let me know if you have any questions at all. Email or Facebook.

Artist Interview

December 12th, 2016

Today I was sent some questions by a college student requesting an interview. Scroll down to read my answers.

Earlier this week, I also took some new head shots in the studio to use on my website and social media accounts. The paintings in the background are “Oxygen,” and “A Dream of Joy and Sorrow.”

Artist Cedar Lee

Artist Cedar Lee

Artist Cedar Lee

Artist Cedar Lee

Artist Cedar Lee

Artist Cedar Lee

Right now in the studio: I’m hoping to finish one last large Eclipse painting before the year ends. I’m working again with silhouetted people in this next one! Coming soon…

Interview with Cedar Lee:

Your artwork seems to have a common theme; how would you describe your art?

I currently have four different series of paintings I’m still adding to, and I skip around from one to another: “Looking Up”— tree canopies and giant sequoia forests, “Lotus”—stylized lotus flowers, “Eclipse”—exploring the moment of a total solar eclipse, and “Tree of Life”—different images of the Tree of Life, often showing the roots underground, and some including small human figures.

These themes are pretty varied but are all obviously nature-inspired, and they all include a bold use of color. My work is a combination of realistic imagery and things pulled from my imagination.

Who and what are your inspirations in your work and as a professional artist?

I take a lot of photographs and I’m always collecting mental images that find their way into my paintings. I’m heavily influenced by my travels and many different places I’ve lived—this is most evident in my paintings inspired directly by nature hikes through forests, but in my more whimsical images as well—there is often a spirit of wonder and adventure to be found in the image, and sometimes there is even a human adventurer pictured.

In the studio, I like the challenge of mastering the materials. My inspiration is often found in the act itself of creating artwork, as things I discover while experimenting or solving a problem will lead into the next piece.

How did college prepare you for your career as an artist?

I have a BA in studio art from Goucher College in Baltimore. They have an excellent art department. Beyond the obvious benefits of taking art classes—introduction to different art mediums and techniques, and art history, during my time there I learned how to think about and talk about art with my fellow art students. My senior year was most valuable to me as a painter, when I did a semester of independent study, which was my first experience creating a cohesive series of paintings for my senior thesis show. This was my first time seeing a long-term creative project through to the end. Persistence towards bigger goals than just whatever current art piece you’re working on is such an indispensable part of artistic success.

Notably lacking from my college curriculum was any focus on art business—something that I had to figure out afterwards on my own. I think that college art programs should all include courses on entrepreneurship, marketing, and small business strategy. Most don’t, and this is a great disservice to many students who are serious about pursuing careers as artists, but aren’t being given the tools they need.

What do you consider to be your most important accomplishment to this date?

I have just recently created my 500th painting! (Not including any artwork created in my childhood and teens before I started cataloging my artwork.) The work is always my biggest accomplishment. Selling artwork is exciting, exhibiting is exciting, but without the paintings themselves, none of that could happen.

Please note: arguably much more important than this, I am also raising two beautiful children.

What advice would you give to an aspiring artist today?

Never stop. To be a professional artist, you have to want it more than anything. You have to have a certain kind of stubborn personality that won’t ever let you quit, and you have to have just the right balance of ego and humbleness. You have to understand that you suck while also believing in your work enough to keep striving to be great. You have to commit to figuring out your blind spots and teaching yourself everything you need to learn.

Figure out early on how to create a professional image and how to present your work well to the public. A website is a must. Create a consistent body of work, photograph it well and keep your files organized. Use the best quality art materials you can afford. Value your own time and expertise, and refuse to work for free.

Read about art business, make strategic plans, and work your plans. Subscribe to Professional Artist magazine, the email newsletters from Alyson Stanfield aka “Art Biz Coach” and Jason Horejs’ “Reddotblog.” Read “The War of Art,” “Steal Like an Artist,” “Art and Fear,” and all the other books you can that help you gain perspective.

If you must work an unrelated job to keep your finances afloat, or you have family responsibilities that limit your time, that is okay. Just keep the thread of your art alive throughout the years, and you’ll be glad you are prepared when opportunities present. Take the long view. Being an artist is a lifetime endeavor.

Seek out and surround yourself with artists that inspire you. When in doubt, look at lots of great art to re-ignite your passion and commitment to your own work. Just as they say, “write the book you want to read,” it’s important to paint the painting you want to hang on your own wall. Create the thing that you need to exist in the world, and if all else fails, you’ll still have experienced one of the best parts of being human.

Re-Working “Red Trunks” During Portland Open Studios

October 17th, 2016

This was my first year as a participating artist in Portland Open Studios. It was a much bigger event than what I’d pictured when I applied to be part of the tour, but I’m glad I did!

This was the event that gave me a hard deadline for finishing the interior of my new studio and getting moved in. It was a lot of work all at once, but if I hadn’t had that deadline pushing me, I may not even have walls up in there right now!

During the two weeks of the event, I sold a few paintings to new collectors, which is always exciting. I got to meet a lot of nice art lovers. Some of my favorite people to talk to were the younger teenage artists who brought their parents along with them as they got to geek out about art.

I took a time-lapse video on Saturday this past weekend. Traffic was very slow that day because there was a rain storm with high winds going on outside. I took advantage of it being relatively slow to finish re-working my painting, “Red Trunks.”

This is what the painting originally looked like:

Red Trunks. 48" x 36", Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee

Original version of Red Trunks. 48″ x 36″, Oil on Wood, © 2014 Cedar Lee

I had called it finished and even exhibited it in its former state. Don’t get me wrong–I liked the painting. I just did not feel completely satisfied with it or ready to move on from it. It would not leave me alone.

About a year ago, I took the painting down from my website and stopped exhibiting it, determined to re-work it until I absolutely loved it. I re-worked it quite a bit, changing the colors a lot as I painted over the original image, but it wasn’t yet where I wanted it to be. I put it aside to work on other things, where it has been sitting for many months in an in-between state.

That’s what you see at the beginning of this video–big painting on the easel towards the right of the frame. At the beginning of the video, you’ll see me prepping three 12″ x 36″ canvases to paint on later. From then on, I’m focused on the big painting on the easel for most of the day. Later in the afternoon, I get a crowd of visitors when the sun comes out. You’ll see me welcoming people and giving talks about the various artwork in the studio. One amusing detail throughout is the frequent interruptions from the little figure in magenta: my 5-year-old, who is very persistently seeking to be hired on as my official studio assistant.

Enjoy watching the transformation of this painting into its new incarnation over the course of my day in the studio!

Here is what the finished painting now looks like!

Newly re-worked painting: Red Trunks. 48" x 36", Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Newly re-worked painting: Red Trunks. 48″ x 36″, Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Red Trunks. 48" x 36", Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Red Trunks. 48″ x 36″, Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

The end result of re-working this painting is a much brighter, more three-dimensional, textured, and overall more vibrant and beautiful image. I’m so glad I stuck with this one.

Old and new, side-by-side (click to enlarge):

Red Trunks. 48" x 36", Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee. Old version (left) and new after re-working the painting (right)

Red Trunks. 48″ x 36″, Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee. Old version (left) and new after re-working the painting (right)

The paintings I spend the most time agonizing over are sometimes the ones that end up closest to my heart.

Close-up details:

Detail: Red Trunks. 48" x 36", Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: Red Trunks. 48″ x 36″, Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: Red Trunks. 48" x 36", Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: Red Trunks. 48″ x 36″, Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: Red Trunks. 48" x 36", Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: Red Trunks. 48″ x 36″, Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

By Sunday, the storm had cleared and I got a constant stream of visitors all day! What a whirlwind this event has been.

Now that Portland Open Studios is over, at least until next year, my studio will now shift away from this setup that is designed to be welcoming to guests, more like an art gallery–and towards every inch of usable work space being used for paintings in various stages of completion–beautiful chaos. It’ll probably get a little messy. Can’t wait.

Redwoods in the Sun, Thick Bark

October 13th, 2016

I made this little painting during the first weekend of Portland Open Studios:

Redwoods in the Sun, Thick Bark. 10" x 10", Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Redwoods in the Sun, Thick Bark. 10″ x 10″, Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Redwoods in the Sun, Thick Bark. 10" x 10", Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Redwoods in the Sun, Thick Bark. 10″ x 10″, Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

It’s a very similar composition to my earlier painting, “Redwoods in the Sun,” but the earlier painting has a more pastel color palette and a flatter texture. In this painting, I painted the tree trunks with cold wax medium and a palette knife, so the bark of the trees is reminiscent of the rough surface of real redwood bark.

Detail: Redwoods in the Sun, Thick Bark. 10" x 10", Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: Redwoods in the Sun, Thick Bark. 10″ x 10″, Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: Redwoods in the Sun, Thick Bark. 10" x 10", Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Detail: Redwoods in the Sun, Thick Bark. 10″ x 10″, Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

I made a quick time lapse video of the painting process, condensing about 4 hours of painting into 2 minutes. As you can see, I painted the sky and background foliage first using oil medium and a brush, then switched to cold wax medium and a knife for the thick tree trunks in the foreground before switching back to a brush to add in small branches and details like highlights and shadows.

The painting wraps around the deep edges of the wood panel, an effect I always love, but it looks especially cool in this case because of the the thick texture of the paint.

Redwoods in the Sun, Thick Bark. 10" x 10", Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Redwoods in the Sun, Thick Bark. 10″ x 10″, Oil on Wood, © 2016 Cedar Lee

I’ve sold four painting in the past week, and I’ve been enjoying sharing my work and process with the steady stream of art lovers who’ve come through.

Local folks: Portland Open Studios wraps up this weekend. I’ll be accepting visitors at my studio in SE Portland Saturday and Sunday, 10-5. The weather report is calling for heavy rain all weekend. I hope this won’t stop some more visitors from making the trek over. My studio is warm and cozy in this wet weather!

Email me for the address and more info. For access to the whole tour of 106 art studios around the city, pick up the tour guide or mobile app.

Tree of Life paintings at Nectar Cafe

September 20th, 2016

Portland, Oregon folks: there’s yet another place to see my artwork!

For the next month, you can see 15 of my Tree of Life paintings in person at Nectar Cafe in NE Portland.

Cedar Lee's Tree of Life paintings at Nectar Cafe in NE Portland

Cedar Lee’s Tree of Life paintings at Nectar Cafe in NE Portland

If you’re in the area, enjoy a coffee or a snack while you check it out!

Here is the address: 1925 Northeast 42nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97213

Cedar Lee paintings at Eco Art PDX

September 16th, 2016

This week I delivered 6 large-scale paintings from my Looking Up and Lotus series to display at Eco Art PDX in downtown Portland!

Eco PDX is an existing business that specializes in unique handmade furniture from salvaged and reclaimed wood. Now, they are expanding into an art gallery as well: Eco Art PDX. I’ll be among the very first artists ever to show in this new gallery!


The space is beautiful: a huge, high-ceilinged warehouse with brick walls, onto which they’ve built gigantic display panels for artwork.

The handmade wooden furniture is really interesting–each piece with unique details–and fills the center of the space.


Here’s my display panel. The titles of these large-scale paintings are, from left-right, top-bottom: Dance of the Redwoods, Golden Lotus, The Clearing, Dragonfly and Fish, Explorers, and Three Dragonflies. They range in price from $990 to $2,490.

I love how the most prominent colors in this arrangement alternate between red and teal, with pops of gold, green and white throughout.


As I was the first of the gallery’s new artists to deliver artwork to hang, in these pictures all of the other white wall panels are still blank, this one panel standing out as it’s filled with my large, colorful paintings. The other panels will be filled over the next two weeks as all the artwork goes up.


Here’s me with Eco Art PDX’s curator, Elliott Bennett, who contacted me a few months ago with the invitation to show here. It’s always great to work with people who believe in the vision behind my art!

The gallery is not officially open until the weekend of October 1st and 2nd. All that weekend, they’ll be hosting a big grand opening event.Mark your calendars: Saturday and Sunday October 1st & 2nd from 12-6pm. There will be beer, wine and nibbles. I believe I’m one of about ten local artists to be featured.

Address: 2289 N Interstate Avenue, Portland, OR 97227


And, Portland people, don’t forget–if you’re looking to enjoy a happening art event this weekend, I will have a few pieces (small framed works on paper) in this PDXOS group show at Basic Space Gallery tomorrow:


Portland Art Show Next Week!

September 9th, 2016

Portland, OR folks: Come see me and my work at this pop-up art show next Saturday 9/17! I will not tell you anything about the paintings I’ll be showing, as it’s supposed to be a surprise. But I will tell you they will be smaller, more affordable pieces.

I can tell you right now the variety of work on display will be truly impressive–I’m in excellent company with the other artists selected by Portland Open Studios.

Even if you don’t find any art pieces calling your name at this event, tickets for the studio tour in October will be on sale there. Don’t miss it!

New Cedar Lee art studio, still under construction

New Cedar Lee art studio, still under construction

Press release follows:


Buy Tour Guides, review artists in the October lineup, buy small works

PORTLAND, OR –  On the second and third weekends of October each year, Portland residents must traverse the entire city to visit 106  artists’ studios selected to participate in the annual Portland Open Studio event.

But on Sept. 17, you’ll be able to see nearly half those artists’ work in one place – at the one-day Portland Open Studios preview show at Basic Space Gallery in the Everett Station Lofts, located at 625 NW Everett Street, #111.

“There hasn’t been a group preview show in several years, so we are excited to bring it back this year,” says Leah Kohlenberg, vice president of Portland Open Studios and co-organizer of the event.  “We think we’ve got the best artists in the city on this tour, and now we can showcase them in one room.”

Visit the show, open from noon-8 pm, to get a preview of some of the artists you might want to visit in the fall, to get some amazing deals on art, listen to music, nosh and mingle with some Open Studio artists.  For a unique experience, artworks displayed will be identified not by artist name, but by their studio number in the 18-year open studios event.  The only way to discover who has created the works is to either buy the piece of artwork, or buy the $15 tour guide “ticket” to Portland Open Studios, all available at the gallery.

“This is what art is supposed to be about,” says Christopher Roberts, who co-owns Basic Space with Kenny Saylor, and who served as a juror for this year’s Portland Open Studio event. “This show will  give you the experience of being attracted by a piece of art for the art itself, and what the artist is attempting to convey to you, rather than being  guided by a label. The event will allow you to see the many varied ways artists choose to create their art to convey their artistic inspiration,  art forms you may have never seen.”

Basic Space Gallery is an up and coming gallery in Portland’s diverse gallery scene, located on the edge of Chinatown and the Pearl District of NW Portland in the Everett Street Lofts Building.  The gallery displays emerging and professional artists whose work conveys the artist’s deeper understanding of self and in sharing in that story without words.

Cedar Lee art studio

Cedar Lee art studio

What is Portland Open Studios?

Portland Open Studios is an annual event during which 106 professional artists open their studios to the public for the second and third weekends in October.  This is the tour’s 18th year, and the dates for Open Studios 2016 will be Oct. 8-9, and Oct. 15-16, from 10 am-5 pm.  The tour offers a unique and inspiring form of experiential education: interacting with local artists at work within the context of their workplace.   Each year, the artists are selected through a professional juried process to participate in the Open Studio tour.

The tickets to find these artists during the tour itself is a $15 full-color tour guide, organized into 12 neighborhoods, with contact information for each artist, and directions to their studios.  The Tour Guide and mobile apps are available at New Seasons Markets, Muse, I’ve Been Framed, Blick, and Artist and Craftsmen,  or via our website . There will also be a free map-only mobile app available on the website within the next few weeks.



Event invite

Portland Open Studios

Basic Space Gallery


See you on the 17th!

Portland artist Cedar Lee painting

Portland artist Cedar Lee painting


Cedar Lee & Local Artists: Community 6 Show at Ben Will Gallery

August 15th, 2016

Over the weekend, the Portland Open Studios Community 6 Preview Show went up at Ben Will Gallery in Portland’s Foster-Powell neighborhood.

Cedar Lee art at Ben Will Gallery, Portland, OR

Cedar Lee art at Ben Will Gallery, Portland, OR

This gallery doubles as the studio space for local painter Ben Will. It’s a cool space–like a big open warehouse! I remembered to get a few snapshots before the crowd arrived for the opening.

Cedar Lee art at Ben Will Gallery, Portland, OR

Cedar Lee art at Ben Will Gallery, Portland, OR

Artwork shown on the wall below, hung salon-style, includes work by myself, Ben Will, Nicole BereczkiJill Torberson, John Shlichta, Shawn Demarest, and Kelli MacConnell.

We will all be participating in Portland Open Studios in October.

Cedar Lee art at Ben Will Gallery, Portland, OR

Cedar Lee art at Ben Will Gallery, Portland, OR

I hung five small paintings for this show, from my Tree of Life series.

Cedar Lee with painting: Giant Moon

Cedar Lee with painting: Giant Moon

Cedar Lee art at Ben Will Gallery, Portland, OR

Cedar Lee art at Ben Will Gallery, Portland, OR

I enjoyed the live music that was going on in the gallery, and had a good time meeting new friends. Here I am with Melissa Moline, a Portland-area jeweler and architect.

Artists Melissa Moline & Cedar Lee at Ben Will Gallery, Portland, OR

Artists Melissa Moline & Cedar Lee at Ben Will Gallery, Portland

This art show will be on display until September 7th. If you’re local to Portland, you must go check it out: 4533 SE 67th Ave, Portland, OR.

Cedar Lee art at Ben Will Gallery, Portland, OR

Cedar Lee art at Ben Will Gallery, Portland, OR


PDXOS Community 6 Preview Show

July 29th, 2016

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

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.

Mark your calendar! Saturday, August 13, 5:30 pm at Ben Will Gallery4533 SE 67th Ave, Portland, OR 97206.

Ben Will Gallery, Portland, OR

Ben Will Gallery, Portland, OR

The artists in this exhibit are Cedar LeeNicole Bereczki, Shawn Demarest, Kelli MacConnellAlison O’Donoghue, Ben Will, Jill Torberson, Vicki Wilson, and John Shlichta.

Salem Art Festival & Portland Open Studios

July 17th, 2016

On Friday, I worked a booth at the Salem Art Festival, spreading the word about Portland Open Studios!

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

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

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

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!

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