Categories
Rocky Mountain West

Shadow Creek

Lee Lee landscape painting of Shadow Creek Ranch, Colorado

en plein air

After irrigating on the Lazy Shamrock Ranch for over 50 years, my father was asked to restore an old network of ditches that had fallen into dis-use at the neighboring Shadow Creek Ranch. Because the Flanigans were keeping some of their cattle there, they urged my dad to take the offer as they knew that he would grow more ‘groceries’ on which to sustain the large herd. Shadow Creek was taking a unique approach to ranching. They had subdivided a portion of the ranch to build luxury homes then hired ranch hands to run the operation. Part of the package was the use of little hunting cabins perched high above the ranches. Instead of commuting back and forth, we stayed together in one of these little cabins for a while during his time working there. Cooking over a campfire, sleeping out under the stars, waking up to spectacular views of the Gore range and exploring the immediate woodlands were sheer delight. I created a series of plein-air paintings of a nearby forest hollow that was filled with fallen trees. The tangle of massive trunks was visually appealing. The cool shadows of the forest in this area offered a respite from the glaring early summer sun. I felt dwarfed by the size of the piled up wood and it brought me back to my childhood and the awe that I felt by these landscapes. These works are small scale oil on card.

Shadow Creek Ranch landscape painting by Lee Lee
Shadow Creek Ranch landscape painting by Lee Lee
Shadow Creek Ranch landscape painting by Lee Lee
Shadow Creek Ranch landscape painting by Lee Lee
Shadow Creek Ranch landscape painting by Lee Lee
Lee Lee landscape painting of Shadow Creek Ranch, Colorado
Shadow Creek Ranch landscape painting by Lee Lee
Categories
Asia Sacred Practice Women

Sacred Waters: Ganga

Lee Lee watercolor painting of Varanasi India

A journey through northern India included a visit to Bodhgaya, where we found a tree considered sacred because it had grown from the tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment. We also spent time in Varnasi, along the river considered sacred in Hindu traditions. I was deeply moved by people’s interactions with the river as they performed cleansing rituals and completed daily chores along the ancient Ghats. At the time we were there, the river was receding, leaving the huge stairs caked with piles of mud. These were steadily cleared back into the river by teams of workers, steadily completing this annual task amidst those who were laundering, praying and mourning. It is believed that if one dies here, they will be re-born at a higher level in the caste system, so there are many people who come here to die and many who mourn their lost ones. I retain a poignant memory of a half burnt corpse submerged with the remnants of ceremonial fabric; firewood is expensive on the burning ghats, and if a family doesn’t have enough, the half burned remains are strewn into the river. Struck by how polluted the river was, we were surprised and delighted to see the rare fresh water dolphins from a boat floating in waters lit quietly by the dawn. We went on this journey in 2005 to celebrate 30 years circling the sun. I created this series of watercolors the following year.

This imagery also inspired The Making of Dust, a mixed media painting created in response to the poem of the same name by Drew Myron

Lee Lee watercolor painting of Varanasi India
watercolor, pencil, oxidized copper & blood on handmade Indian paper | 29” x 21.5”
In the collection of Susan Kirk, Denver
Lee Lee watercolor painting of Varanasi India
Mudflats | watercolor, pencil, oxidized copper & blood on handmade Indian paper | 21.5” x 29”
Lee Lee watercolor painting of Varanasi India
When offerings are washed ashore and lay on the mud, the Laundry is taken out | watercolor, pencil, oxidized copper & blood on handmade Indian paper | 21.5” x 29” | Reworked & completed March 2008
On view at the Distillery, Taos
Lee Lee watercolor painting of Varanasi India
Ghat | watercolor, pencil, oxidized copper & blood on handmade Indian paper | 21.5” x 29”
Lee Lee watercolor painting of Varanasi India
FLow: Early Morning Rituals along the Sacred Ganga | watercolor, pencil, oxidized copper & blood on handmade Indian paper | 6” x 8” | Reworked & completed February 2010
On view at the Distillery, Taos
Lee Lee watercolor painting of Varanasi India
In Mourning on the Ganga in the Morn | watercolor, pencil, oxidized copper & blood on handmade Indian paper | 29” x 21.5”
Private collection, Denver
Lee Lee watercolor painting of Varanasi India
Sadhu | watercolor, pencil, oxidized copper & blood on handmade Indian paper | 29” x 21.5”
On view at the Distillery, Taos
Categories
Asia Women

Bagan

Burma

In 2005, Burma was on the cusp on Genocide. The country was just opening up to tourism, but it took a lot of attention to travel in a way that did not directly support the oppressive government. We visited the ancient temples sprawled across the plains in Bagan and were left in awe of the structures. This series of portraits are of women found on the streets, in between temples and tucked inside shrine rooms. They are shy in an environment steeped in fear.

Painting of Bagan, Burma by Lee Lee
Painting of Bagan, Burma by Lee Lee
Painting of Bagan, Burma by Lee Lee
Painting of Bagan, Burma by Lee Lee
Lee Lee | Women of Bagan | Burma 2005
Mixed media, including oil, pencil. oil pastel and pen on paper
12″ x 15″ | 2006 | In the collection of Kate Culligan & Josh Comfort, Denver