Cedar Lee Artist
Cedar Lee

My name is Cedar.

I create large-scale original paintings of forests, flora and fauna.

I sold my first painting at age 12, had my first solo show at age 16, and have sold my art through galleries since 2006. I hold an art degree from Goucher College in Baltimore, MD.

I’ve worked as an artist in many capacities: murals, large contracts, book illustrations and covers, and commissioned work.

My experience includes working with art consultants, designers, architects, and individual clients to provide original art as well as art prints for home and office settings. I work with publishers to provide art illustrations for books, other publications and websites. I license my artwork for various business and personal uses.

Additionally, I offer consulting services to provide advice on art materials and techniques, marketing for artists, decorating and interior design, and general art world knowledge.

My workspace is a small, light-filled studio in my back yard.

Artist Cedar Lee with paintings from her Looking Up Collection

New collectors of my work often discover me through social media, including Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

My original paintings are valued from $500-$7,000. I offer a selection of affordable art prints, with new images added each year. My artwork is printed on a variety of products through Fine Art America.

When I’m not in the studio, I’m often writing about and marketing my art, shipping and delivering paintings to galleries and buyers.

Here are some other things that I love: laughter, dogs, plants, health and fitness, travel, outdoorsy stuff, community, justice, science, literature, my family, and everything that’s beautiful.

Artist with painting: Sunshine Wishes. 30″ x 40″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2019 Cedar Lee

Art Inspiration:

I’ve created more than 700 paintings so far, depicting tree canopies and forests, flora and fauna, the sun and sky, the symbolically rich Tree of Life, colorful images of solar eclipses and the cosmos, as well as portraits and various landscapes. Practically all of my hundreds of original works have been sold, to private art collectors as well as corporate and public art collections.

I’m best known for my paintings of the forest and trees. I began painting trees during my college years, when I attended Goucher College in Baltimore, MD. The campus is in the middle of about 300 wooded acres. I spent my time between classes hiking alone on the trails in those woods, and that inspired me to try to paint how that felt.

Then, years later, having moved to the west coast, I finally got to see the California redwoods in person, in 2014. That incredible experience really made me fall in love with painting the forest all over again.

Artist with painting: Wind Swirl. 36″ Diameter, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2020 Cedar Lee

Many of my paintings are filled with sparkling light, rainbow prisms, bursting rays of light and lens flares, all in the context of standing under the peaceful shelter of a forest. The result is joyful, energizing images that give my viewers a peaceful feeling of wonder and help them celebrate their own experiences of Earth’s beautiful forests.

Artist with painting: Sun Through Fog. 36″ x 60″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2022 Cedar Lee

Nature, ecology and the connectedness of life on Earth have always been prominent themes in my work. Living in the Pacific Northwest, surrounded by my own veggie and flower gardens as well as the glorious wilderness: trees, rivers and mountains, has influenced my work in recent years.

In 2020 I painted the “Plant Mama” series, which continued my exploration of brilliant sunlight and vibrant colors. In this series, as the Covid-19 pandemic hit, I decided to paint the plants in my garden and the potted house plants throughout my home. Plants have been a source of joy and endless fascination for me throughout my entire adult life. I began exploring my own relationship to my plants, and all the emotions they inspire in me, by incorporating the plant life around me into self-portraits.

Gratitude. 18″ x 36″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2022 Cedar Lee

Working with these themes led me into animal symbolism art, with my 2023 body of work entitled the Archetype Collection, illustrating character archetypes using the symbolism of animals and flowers from various world cultures.

My art encourages self-reflection and intentionality of life purpose. Much of the symbolism in my work has addressed the immense challenge of trying to be my best self, and I want to help others feel empowered to take on the same challenge in a way that allows them to experience beauty through the ups and downs of life.

Artist Cedar Lee with paintings from her Archetype Collection

All my work celebrates humanity’s connection to the natural world. I intend for my imagery to serve as a reminder of our shared responsibility to protect our environment, and to have a peaceful and healing effect on viewers. My hope is that when people see my paintings, they will dwell upon how much they love this world, and that they’re not separate from it, but a part of it.

Nature imagery has always helped me to zoom out and feel connected to the whole universe, to look at the big picture of my own life as well as all life on Earth. We are here. We are now. What are we gonna do with that?

Artist with painting: Hydrologic Cycle. ~27″ x 32″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2021 Cedar Lee

Art Process:

Acrylics are my current medium of choice. Throughout the years I have painted with oils as well.

I don’t limit myself to any specific substrate and I love working with different materials. I paint on canvases, wood panels, and live edge slabs. A live edge slab is a cross-section of a tree with the organic curved edges of the trunk left alone, in contrast to piece of lumber where the edges are cut to be straight.

My usual process is to plan out my painting with the help of photos and collage, then make a printout of my plans to work from. Once I transfer the important parts of my plan onto my canvas, I look at the plans less and less as I let the painting process take over. I usually block in all the large areas of color first, then add more layers of detail until it feels finished. For me, art is a combination of careful planning and intuitive play.

Artist painting: Earth’s Forest. 48″ x 48″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2022 Cedar Lee

I use a variety of techniques and textures in my paintings, including thick impasto texture created with acrylic molding paste, fluid paint dripped down the canvas, subtle thin glazes of color creating glowing light effects, and details painted with small brushes. I often switch between palette knives and brushes to achieve a variety of textures and effects within one painting.

Within my continual experimentation in the studio, I pride myself on my knowledge of art materials and best practices for creating art that is professionally finished, ready to hang, durable, and made to stand the test of time. In this area I am always learning more and improving.

Much of my work is extremely large-scale, including works up to 10 feet across. There is nothing more exciting to me than creating large-scale, dramatic and inspiring art that makes people say “Wow!”

My work celebrates the endless beauty of this world, inspires environmentalist values, and evokes the calm, grounded feeling that humans have when they connect deeply with nature.

I love creating things that make people happy.

View my CV.

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