Birth of a Painting Series I, Blossom Peak, video

Article by Denise Hartley

In the Birth of a Painting Series, I try to give examples where the artist finds inspiration in creating an artwork, and how the creative process develops within the artist.
I begin this series with my painting “Blossom Peak”. It is a 4’ x 6’, mixed media painting on a wood panel, created in 2004. It is in a private collection.

The inspiration for the painting “Blossom Peak” began on a hike I took with my son. We climbed an iconic peak in Three Rivers, California. Three Rivers is near the entrance to Sequoia National Park, on the banks of the whitewater Kaweah River. The park is the home of Mount Whitney, in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It is famous for its giant sequoia groves, jagged peaks, and glacier polished valleys, rushing rivers, and wildlife. As a resident of Three Rivers, hiking is an important experience, as well as white water rafting and swimming, and it is the backpackers dream location.

My young son I enthusiastically began our hike at the base of Blossom Peak, and headed straight up hill, we rose above California’s Central Valley, hidden by fog. After reaching the top, we could see the peaks of the Sierra Nevada, signed the book, made our cell calls, and then my son looked over the steep edge, and slipped. He somehow caught himself at the last moment at the precipice, a 35’ drop to the rocks below.

In the spirit of jubilant thankfulness, we began our descent. The inspiration of this painting was based upon the high emotions that I felt that day, and on our return, I began this painting, “Blossom Peak”.

Denise Hartley

Video: Birth of a Painting Series: “Blossom Peak”.

Denise Hartley - Fine Artist and Muralist

Denise Hartley was born in Oakdale, CA; lived in the art community of Three Rivers, CA for 22 years, studied art in NYC at the Art Students League, and lived on the island of Kauai, in Santa Barbara, and currently lives in Oakdale, CA.

BA in Fine Art, and Philosophy (Religion)
MA degree in Fine Art, New Media.

Artist Statement:
D.A. Hartley
        My life has been driven by art. The artist eye looks to nature for inspiration, and then artist within translates these insights into an art work. Anything may appear onto the paper or canvas. The artist may channel the past, the present, or the future.                                                                                               I am a Reiki healer, and use healing in my art process. As a artist and healer, I address the healing of our planet. I try to approach Climate Change, and our damaged environment, more as a spiritual issue. First we have to heal ourselves, and by doing so we will become aware of the reality of the global stress that humanity has caused.                                                             I studied at the Art Students League, NYC, with professional artists of New York. I have a BA degree in Art, yet found my voice with my BA in Philosophy, and a Masters Degree in Fine Art.
My business has been painting murals. My favorite project I painted with my son, the children’s floor, Children’s Hospital, Central Valley. (
I have a California teaching credential in Art, longing to share my experiences as a professional artist.
I have lived in the mountains of the Sierra’s in California, and at the sea in Monterey, and Santa Barbara. In New York City when I was young, and a few years ago, on the island of Kauai, teaching children with autism. I currently live in Oakdale, CA.


 Her recent shows include:

Artist Open Studio, (2011), Stanislaus County, private studio tour, Modesto, CA;
Mistlin Gallery, (2011) 58th Annual Spring Art Show, member group show, Modesto, CA;
Ironstone Vineyards, (2011) Spring Obsession, group show, Murphy’s, CA;
Water, Flowers, and Inner Light, (2010) Show with photographer Christian Gilbert, San Luis Obispo, CA;
Water! (2008)  One Woman Show, Conley Gallery, Fresno. CA;
Icons (2004) at Fourth Street Studio Gallery, Berkeley, CA;
The World of Abstraction (2004) at Easel Heads, Church Street Gallery, Visalia, CA;
Wisdom and Compassion, Tibetan Art Installation, (2003), One Woman Show Dean’s Gallery, CSU Fresno, CA;
Temporal Man in Nature, One Woman Show, Cort Gallery, Three Rivers, CA;

Her video, Lake Kaweah, a time piece that transformed two years of still photos into video,
was featured at the Kaweah Land and Arts Festival, at the Land and Arts Symposium (2009),
College of the Sequoia's,Visalia, CA.

She received a commission from Sierra View Hospital, Porterville, CA, (2004)
to create a hospital floor of murals for the Children’s Hospital, Central Valley.

She studied at the Art Students League in NYC.

Denise Hartley had two BA degrees, in Fine Art and in Philosophy (Religion).

Her MA is in Fine Art, New Media.

She received training from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, in sculptural restoration.

Hartley worked for the Nelson Rockefeller Trust,
at Kikuit Museum at Potanico Hills, N.Y.,
and worked for the conservator of the Whitney Museum, NYC.

She taught drawing in the Artist as Witness workshop at the Fresno Metropolitan Museum,
to children of migrant workers.

She has received a diploma as a producer from the Hollywood Film School.

She was assistant to Keaton Walker, 4 Emmy award recipient,
as Art Director of the Academy Awards, at the American Music Awards (2003).


Corporate purchases include four painting for Kaweah Delta Hospital, and the Sequoia Regional Cancer Center in Visalia, CA.


Radio Interview, March 2003, one hour interview with Janet Flores, Wisdom and Compassion Show, KFCF (KPFA), Fresno CA.

Visalia Times Delta, February 26, 2004, Family’s Support is Artist’s Greatest Joy.

Fresno Bee, October 22, 2004, Sierra View Handles New Wing with Kid Gloves.

Lifestyles Magazine, July 2005, Denise Hartley, text by Carol Firstman.

Voia, Liana: “Denise Hartley”Blog Talk Radio, Contemplative, Expressive and Imaginative Arts, Ottawa, Canada, February 17, 2013

Media Kit upon request,

Santa Barbara

Artist Denise Hartley moves to Santa Barbara (right) having lunch with daughter Diana.

Student Work

Advance Placement Class
Imagine 50 origami kimonos, using patterned and textured papers, assembled into one project, with a female figure drawn wearing a kimono. This AP student created this multi-media project, one in a series of world-wide women’s traditional costume and dress.


ArtPadSF at the Phoenix Hotel, May 19 - 22.
Art in America

michael rosenthal Gallery
Getting Inked by Chris Eckert's temporary-tattoo sculpture,
Auto Ink.

Water Performance at the Pool!

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