[caption id="attachment_1430" align="alignnone" width="400" caption=""Dreamy Aspens, Ann Rea ©, oil on canvas, Deer Valley"][/caption] I’m working on the final large-scale painting to be featured in the Montage Deer Valley Residences model home to be designed by New York City designer Philip Gorrivan. This is the underpainting of a large scale canvas for the Deer Valley Montage Residences. I’m drawn to colors shaped by light. But color and light can only be revealed by shadows. I’ve completed two studies “Early Evening Snowed” and “Snowed Dusk” that are informing and inspiring the final custom large-scale oil painting. These oil studies provide me with an outline, a starting point, so that the big blank white canvas can’t stare me down and mess with my sensitive head. The studies put me in charge with a plan. And then somewhere along the way the plan dissolves and I begin to explore new facets of the painting that I hadn’t planned. Although there is freedom within boundaries, at some point I have to let them blur to allow creative discovery to unfold. It’s kind of like life. This image is composed of late afternoon shadows formed by the backlit aspens, shadows that are bleeding down the snowy Deer Valley Mountain. Aspens in snow are familiar images that have inspired many painters over the years. When I was researching this series I looked at how other painters have approached this subject. The truth is that artists borrow inspiration from one another all of the time. My mentor, Wayne Thiebaud, half jokingly remarked that he “steals ideas from students all the time.” What I found were many beautiful images describing aspens and they were lit from the front. This is so the artist could describe the aspen's eyes, those distinct dark notches formed by the branches. I just want to imply this detail. What is more important for me express is the overall mood of the image, the emotional versus the literal content. My intention is that late afternoon light spilling long shadows down and across the landscape will create a more sensual, languid, and dreamy quality that invites and stirs the viewer’s imagination.