Creative Vision

November 7th, 2018

Here is the first self portrait I’ve created in 11 years: “Creative Vision.”

Creative Vision. 20" x 20", Oil on Canvas, © 2018 Cedar Lee

Creative Vision. 20″ x 20″, Oil on Canvas, © 2018 Cedar Lee

It is about being an artist and an agent of purposeful change and action–the process of conceiving new ideas, and initiating the process of actualizing them.

Creative Vision. 20" x 20", Oil on Canvas, © 2018 Cedar Lee

Creative Vision. 20″ x 20″, Oil on Canvas, © 2018 Cedar Lee

A new idea, inspiration or goal that has formed in my mind is represented by the electric blue orb floating between my outstretched hands. It is rotating, flickering, in constant motion as it forms itself under the complete focus of my eyes.

Creative Vision. 20" x 20", Oil on Canvas, © 2018 Cedar Lee

Creative Vision. 20″ x 20″, Oil on Canvas, © 2018 Cedar Lee

This orb of creative power puts off a glowing light like a bright candle flame.

Close-up detail: Creative Vision. 20" x 20", Oil on Canvas, © 2018 Cedar Lee

Close-up detail: Creative Vision. 20″ x 20″, Oil on Canvas, © 2018 Cedar Lee

Visualizing what could be is the first step of setting an intention, which is the precursor to any action. It is the way that I get things done, whether I’m thinking of new paintings, or things I want to manifest in other areas of my life.

Close-up detail: Creative Vision. 20" x 20", Oil on Canvas, © 2018 Cedar Lee

Close-up detail: Creative Vision. 20″ x 20″, Oil on Canvas, © 2018 Cedar Lee

The abstract pattern in the background is reminiscent of champagne bubbles rising in a glass, negative shapes of light glowing through tree branches, or sparks shooting from the flames of a bonfire into the sky.

Close-up detail: Creative Vision. 20" x 20", Oil on Canvas, © 2018 Cedar Lee

Close-up detail: Creative Vision. 20″ x 20″, Oil on Canvas, © 2018 Cedar Lee

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back– Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

–William Hutchinson Murray / Goethe

Thor: A Rare Portrait

September 10th, 2018

I don’t always paint portraits, but when I do…

Thor. 16" x 16", Oil on Canvas, © 2018 Cedar Lee

Thor. 16″ x 16″, Oil on Canvas, © 2018 Cedar Lee

I paint my handsome cousin Thor!

Thor. 16" x 16", Oil on Canvas, © 2018 Cedar Lee

Thor. 16″ x 16″, Oil on Canvas, © 2018 Cedar Lee

These days portrait commissions are something I do only occasionally, usually for friends and family.

Detail: Thor. 16" x 16", Oil on Canvas, © 2018 Cedar Lee

Detail: Thor. 16″ x 16″, Oil on Canvas, © 2018 Cedar Lee

The blue and gold colors in this painting work well together. The turquoise pendant of the necklace brings out the blue in the eyes.

Thor. 16" x 16", Oil on Canvas, © 2018 Cedar Lee

Thor. 16″ x 16″, Oil on Canvas, © 2018 Cedar Lee

The hammock in the background creates interesting geometric shapes.

Dog portrait: Zoey in the Snow

February 26th, 2016

A family member recently contacted me after his friend’s dog, Zoey, passed away. He commissioned this painting as a gift for his grieving friend, to have as a memory of his beloved canine companion.

This was one of the pictures he sent me when we were considering what to use for reference photos. I thought it was perfect, because it gave me an opportunity to paint this fantastic tree in the background, trees of course being my specialty.

Reference photo for Cedar Lee dog portrait

Reference photo for Cedar Lee dog portrait

Here is what I painted in the end. I simplified the image somewhat, removing the busy look of the many tiny twig-like branches, added a lot of color, and put a bit of my own style into it.

Zoey in the Snow. 16" x 12", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Zoey in the Snow. 16″ x 12″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Rest in peace, Zoey dog.

Painting in Cedar Lee Studio: Zoey in the Snow. 16" x 12", Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Painting in Cedar Lee Studio: Zoey in the Snow. 16″ x 12″, Oil on Canvas, © 2016 Cedar Lee

Coming up next: more Tree of Life pieces I have been creating for my upcoming Spring Sale!

Sweet Sibling Portrait

November 14th, 2015

This commissioned painting was going to be a surprise gift from a husband to his wife, but he decided he couldn’t exclude her from the planning process. So he told her about it, and now it’s going to be their Christmas gift to themselves, for both of them!

They sent me a lot of pictures of their two kids on a recent camping trip to use as reference photos, and it was difficult to narrow down the options. This one ended up being the winner–I was drawn to the obvious expression of affection between the brother and sister as much as the composition made by their heads and bodies.

Sweet Siblings reference photo

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a portrait, so I was a bit out of practice, but I truly enjoyed the challenge, and I’m happy with the result! I brightened up the colors quite a bit so they appear to be standing in full sun rather than under the shade of trees.

I think the overall effect is that the painting glows, and the children have a sort of halo of soft light surrounding them.

I took significant artistic liberties with the way I cropped the image and my completely made-up swirly background trees.

Sweet Siblings. 30" x 24", Oil on Canvas, © 2015 Cedar Lee

Sweet Siblings. 30″ x 24″, Oil on Canvas, © 2015 Cedar Lee

At 30″ x 24″, I can see this painting displayed as a prominent focal point in the family’s home!

Sweet Siblings. 30" x 24", Oil on Canvas, © 2015 Cedar Lee

Sweet Siblings. 30″ x 24″, Oil on Canvas, © 2015 Cedar Lee

Sweet Siblings. 30" x 24", Oil on Canvas, © 2015 Cedar Lee

Sweet Siblings. 30″ x 24″, Oil on Canvas, © 2015 Cedar Lee

Here’s a closeup of their faces:

Detail: Sweet Siblings. 30" x 24", Oil on Canvas, © 2015 Cedar Lee

Detail: Sweet Siblings. 30″ x 24″, Oil on Canvas, © 2015 Cedar Lee

This is a special painting for me because I’ve actually painted both of these children before, when they were very little:

Zoie. © 2007 Cedar Lee

Zoie. © 2007 Cedar Lee

Tristan. © 2010 Cedar Lee

Tristan. © 2010 Cedar Lee

I have a few other paintings currently in progress, also commissioned works to be given as Christmas gifts, so I’ll have to wait until after the holidays to share those.

Portrait of a Little Boy

December 15th, 2010

It’s been forever since I’ve painted a portrait, as I made the official decision over a year ago to quit doing portraits altogether (at least for this phase of my life) in order to focus my time and efforts on expanding my other collections of art–namely the Cosmic Dance, Tree, Lotus, and Sunflower series.

So officially speaking, I no longer take commissions for portraits.  But of course there is always the exception to the rule.  I promised to do this portrait for a friend, and she really needed it done because I did one of her first child and it wouldn’t be right not to have a matching one of her second!

So, right in time for Christmas I’ve finished this portrait of the adorable young Tristan.  Having a little boy of my own has made me appreciate the innocent sweetness and boisterous energy of little boys all the more!

Here is the reference photo I worked from.

And here is the painting, Tristan, 16″ x 12″, Acrylic on Canvas.

I’m nearly done with another of my huge Cosmic Dance paintings (another 40″ x 50″!) and I’m going to attempt to finish it by the end of the year, but we’ll see how it goes.  If not, it’ll just be my first painting of the new year!

As I predicted a few months ago, I’ve completed 30 paintings in 2010.  I fell short of my goal of 40, but this has been my first year as a working mother, so I approached the whole thing as a big experiment, not knowing what to expect, and looking back on my fantastically busy year, I don’t think 30 is too shabby!  My goal for 2011 is to produce the same amount of artwork as 2010, or more.  We shall see.

I am so blessed to be able to work from my comfortable, well-appointed studio in my home, and to continue making money doing what I love even in this brutal economy.  I love my job!

I hope everyone is having a good holiday season, and I hope you’re all staying warm and cozy if you live in a place (like I do) where the temperatures outside lately have been soul-crushingly cold.  Brrrr…I am seriously considering figuring out if a tropical family getaway might be do-able for us this winter!  I just–NEED–some warmth and sunshine and ocean and sand.  Perhaps another visit to Costa Rica is in order.

Cat Portrait: Sassy

June 9th, 2009

I just finished a commissioned cat portrait, right in time to meet my deadline!  (The recipient’s birthday.)

I’m not really taking on portrait commissions right now because I have so much other work going on while keeping my galleries supplied with new art, but I made an exception for this one because it’s for my mother-in-law and aunt-in-law, who are giving this painting as a gift to their mom.  (My husband’s grandma.)

Now, while I believe all animals are beautiful, and radiate an innocence and unselfconscious simplicity of being (of which most humans are incapable,) some animals have facial markings that are more of an aesthetic challenge from a painter’s point of view.  Sassy is one such animal.

Reference Photo for Cedar Lee\'s Cat Portrait, Sassy

But once I got some momentum in the painting process, it went fairly smoothly, and I’m satisfied with the result.

Here’s the painting:

Sassy, 16″ x 12″, Acrylic on Canvas

Cat Portrait by Cedar Lee: Sassy

Now, I’m off to FedEx to get Sassy on her way, then I’ll jump into the next painting challenge on my list.

The Smith Kids

December 24th, 2008

I recently agreed to do a painting from this tiny reference photo.  This is close to the actual size of the digital photo I was given.  They tried very hard to find me a higher-resolution photo, to no avail.

The Smith Kids, Reference Photo

To get a sense of scale, each person’s head in this photo is about 20 x 40 pixels.  In a high-res photo of a person’s face, one eye would be at least this size.  Here’s one of the faces blown up so you can see what I was working with:

The Smith Kids, Reference Photo Detail

And here’s what one eye looks like in a good reference photo.  Reflections in the eyeball.  Wrinkles and pores and individual hairs.

High-Res Eye

You can see my dilemma.  Normally I would say “no way” to a project like this, but I really wanted to do this painting.  The people in the photo are the 6 siblings of the Smith family, and their family has been close to my own ever since we all met when I was 14.

I had to do this painting.  So I decided to jump in and do the best I could with that photo.  Here’s the result–it took me many hours.

The Smith Kids

20″ x 20″, Acrylic on Canvas

The Smith Kids

The painting was commissioned by their father as a gift for the oldest daughter (top left) who is one of my most loyal collectors and already owns several of my paintings.

The oldest son (left) is one of my closest and dearest friends.  We have grown up together and kept in touch sporadically over the years, but we’ve always kept in touch.  In the past year, he is responsible for introducing me to contra dancing!

The second oldest son (bottom left) practically lived with my family for a couple of years when he was in high school.  To this day, he is there at all our important family gatherings.

The younger 3, (bottom right, right, top right) I have not seen in person since they were kids, but I keep up with them online via Facebook and Myspace.

Details of the faces:

The Smith Kids, Detail 1

The Smith Kids, Detail 2

I had to set aside my desire to get a perfect likeness of each person.  Instead I worked on getting it close enough so you could tell who’s who, and capturing some essence of each personality.

The Smith Kids, Detail 3

I’m particularly pleased with the hands:

The Smith Kids, Detail 4

The Smith Kids, Detail 5

The Smith Kids, Detail 6

I’m writing from my parents’ house, surrounded by the raucous laughter of my family, feeling happy.

Springtime Zoie, Sassy Zoie

December 17th, 2008

I’ve just finished 2 new paintings of a little girl named Zoie.

In this reference photo, it looks like she’s in her Easter clothes, and I see her as an embodiment of the hopefulness of spring–a carefree, sweet, laughing little girl.

Springtime Zoie Reference Photo

So I titled this painting “Springtime Zoie.”

10″ x 8″, Acrylic on Canvas

Springtime Zoie

You might be interested to see how many unexpected colors you can find in a portrait painting when you look closely.  The squares of color below are all samples from the actual painting, pulled from the image with an eyedropper tool.

Springtime Zoie Colors

In the second photo, she looks silly and mischievous but also very self-composed, which gives us a slight glimpse of the woman she’ll someday be.  She wears a sassy little smirk that I can imagine on her grown-up face as she teases her friends at her kitchen table.

Sassy Zoie Reference Photo

So I call this one “Sassy Zoie.”

10″ x 8″, Acrylic on Canvas

Sassy Zoie

This is the same Zoie I painted almost 2 years ago, when she was much littler.  Despite her appearance changing as she grows older, you can see it’s the same little girl in all 3 paintings because they all have the same vivacious, shining eyes.

Zoie

Who Owns Art, Joey in the Sun

November 19th, 2008

What kind of a person buys art?

I’ve found that most people feel they’re not qualified to be art collectors.  There is a common misconception that art is for an elite class of people—that you have to be extraordinarily knowledgeable, cultured and rich to be able to buy original works of art.

There is definitely an established stereotype of what an “art collector” might be like.  You may picture someone who was born into money, and lives in a large house with a butler.  You may imagine this person going to black tie events, sailing on a private yacht, or speaking with great eloquence about fine wines.  This person went to an Ivy League school, is well-read and probably speaks more than one language.  These are all lovely images, and while it’s true that knowledgeable, cultured, and rich people do tend to buy art, the average art collector does not fit that stereotype.

People get this image in their minds because it’s usually the only one they’re familiar with. Everybody hears about the Van Goghs and Picassos selling for millions at auction. Rarely do you hear a news story about a middle-class person buying a piece of art made by a living artist–but it happens every day.

The truth is all kinds of people from all economic classes and professions buy original art. The only thing art collectors all have in common is that they love art enough to buy it. If you would like start an art collection, but you don’t know where to start, click here for a few pieces of general advice.

I’ve launched a new page on my website to honor my collectors and give the rest of you a glimpse of what kind of people own my work.

Click here to see notes and photos from some of my collectors!

Featured Collectors

I just finished a new pet portrait.  I think this dog is so adorable.

Joey in the Sun

16 x 12″ Acrylic on Canvas

Joey in the Sun

This was commissioned as a companion piece for my earlier painting, Rainy in the Sun.

Rainy and Joey

I’m going to the Big Apple this weekend to visit my brother, and I’ve also got plans to spend Thanksgiving with family.  I hope you are all enjoying the season and staying warm!

Benjamin

May 23rd, 2008

I’m out the door to pick up another load of horse manure!

But I just wanted to share this new painting with you. I’m really happy with this one.

Benjamin
Acrylic on Canvas 24 x 30″

Benjamin

Detail:

Benjamin, Detail

Detail:

Benjamin, Detail

This is going to hang in the client’s dining room, which is decorated with a lot of green and gold. With a gold-tone frame, this painting will look fantastic in that room!

I have been really on top of getting magnet shipments out right away, so if you’ve ordered magnets you can expect to get them soon.

Have a beautiful weekend–I’m going to get the most out of mine, as my wisdom tooth extraction is on Tuesday. Wish me luck…

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