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P.O. Box 2301
Estes Park, Co 80517

The 2016 Windows to the West Art Show and Sale convenes more than 50 of the country's top contemporary Western heritage artists in one of the most beautiful mountain settings in America at the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park.  The three-day sale and exhibition in Estes Park, Colorado, June 3-5, showcases more than 200 new pieces of art, with rich opportunities to meet the artists and discuss their unique depictions of Western landscapes, wildlife and traditional Western American life.  Windows to the West is a charitable benefit event sponsored by the Estes Park Western Heritage Foundation.

Works in Progress

Just Outside the Park -- Finishing "Moose in Still Water"

James Reid

I'm starting on the water's reflections here, which take up most of the painting.

Water is fun to paint and illusive because there is constant movement, even in still water the reflections are constantly moving.

A photograph will stop the action, and you can look at that, but in the painting I wanted the motion to be felt, so that it becomes more my impression of the water reflections and implied movement.  

[Click images for enlarged views.]

The dead trees that are reflecting in the water are painted many grayed colors; they are a mosaic of color and shapes, which was fun to do, very abstract.   

I had to keep getting back to see how it was falling in place. My basic color scheme in this painting is orange and blue to purple grays.

You can see in some of the details of this area, all the color variations and brush work.  


In this photo I'm working toward the bottom to get some of the sky color and green trees indicated.  But I want to make sure they don't pull too much attention away from dead tree reflections and the center of interest-- the moose and grassy area on the bank. 

I find that in mountain scenery there are a lot of greens and blues and I mix other colors into them so that they blend into the color scheme and belong, without bringing too much attention to themselves.      

I realized the sky reflection was a little too blue and lightened and grayed it.    

If you study a moose in different lighting, you'll see quite a change. They are very dark, almost black when wet or out of direct sunlight. In full sun they look more brown. My creation here, I decided to show him out of direct sunlight when the sun hasn't come up fully.  The colors are strongest in the early morning before the full sun bleaches out the colors.

Moose detail -- in progress

I'm ready to finish the moose and want to show the strength that is bundled into this massive frame. I look for the contours that show the muscles and look for every opportunity to get color reflecting off the highlights of his dark body.

I worked more on his reflection in the water and corrected the antler reflection color.  The reflections looked pretty good, I especially liked looking at them close up with all the brush strokes and color showing well.  

I finished the moose before finalizing the grassy area at the top.  I wanted the bank of grass to be a bright orange and finished it last.  I kept bank grass soft without a lot of detail; I wanted to keep it subordinate to the moose.  Once that was done, there were few other adjustments needed and the painting was done.

I am pleased with the results of this painting and am grateful that I had a vision of it before starting the painting.  Many times the image develops more on the canvas and only partly ahead of time in my mind. But, that's the fun of painting, discovery and learning.

"Moose Still Water Reflection"- 20x30 - oil on linen

This wildlife painting is one of five works in oil that James Reid will show at the Windows to the West Art; Show and Sale. All five pieces of art, along with their specifications and prices, can be viewed in his artist profile.