Birth of a Painting Series VII: "Douglas Creek". 2015

         Douglas Creek is one of many small creeks that come directly from the high-country snowmelt and natural springs. It is our drinking water for our cabin in Stanislaus National Forest, located at 6,700 ft. where the water is delivered by gravity flow. After passing by our cabin it enters the South Fork of the Stanislaus River, which begins at (9,635 ft. (2,937 m) Leavitt Peak, in Tuolumne County and eventually enters the San Joaquin River, and drains into the San Francisco Bay.
          This little mountain stream and river have sustained life well beyond our time. There are parts of wagons used by the settlers trying to cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains. There are obsidian points from the Miwok Native American tribe and grinding stones. The tiny stream banks are lined with willow, horsetail herb, mints, orchids, and many other wildflowers. As a child I wandered where ever I wished, with the caveat that, if lost, head downhill. I have slept outdoors with bear and mountain lions as possible visitors. Deer have taken a nap beside me. Chipmunks and Golden Mantle squirrels have sat in my hands. I trust the four- legged critters but keep a wary eye on the two legged.

          Climate Change is changing our landscape quickly. We had to saw down six large beautiful Ponderosa trees this year alone. They are dying at a rapid rate, from bark beetles (love the heat), and a fungus, which spreads from fir tree roots. This was all predicted by a U.C. Berkeley scientist that wrote about how pollution affects the photosynthesis process, especially in the Ponderosa Pines. I watched a fire burn this summer across the river, tree torches burning brightly in the night. 

Denise Hartley

Birth of a Painting Series VI, "Nobe Young Falls". 2017

Nature influences my art, every aspect of nature in the wild is so precious. In California we have been experiencing an extreme drought, which is causing fires, and tree disease and plant die out in our Sierra Nevada Mountains. We have lost thousands of trees in the last few years, and the loss of natural habitat is shocking.
My painting “Nobe Young Falls”, is a landscape created in oil paints. Nobe Young Falls are in Sequoia National Forest. I used to have a home in Camp Nelson, and the falls were near my home. It is an area that was homesteaded by my son’s great, great, grandmother, Nellie Marshall (the niece of John Marshall, discoverer of Gold! in California). She homesteaded 200 acres near Ponderosa, CA. in the Sierra Nevada’s of California, in 1870’s. She married Nathan Dillon, a gold rush businessman, and owner of land that is now Dillonwood Sequoia Grove in Sequoia National Park.
Nobe Young Falls are now a destination, when I hiked there it was an unmarked trail. If you would like to visit these falls there are now directions posted. https://www.world-of-waterfalls.com/california-nobe-young-falls.html
Here is a map of the Giant Sequoia Groves in the Sequoia National Forest. Camp Nelson, Ponderosa, and Dillonwood are located on the second map: Giant Sequoia Groves in Sequoia National Forest.

Birth of a Painting Series V, "Golden Falls".

As an artist I seek balance in my life. As a healer, I use healing in my art process.
As an artist I seek balance in my life. As a healer, I use healing in my art process.
As an 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 must heal ourselves, and by doing so we will become aware of the reality of the global stress that humanity has caused.
My paintings are often bought by healing organizations and individuals. "Golden Falls", was a corporate purchase by Kaweah Delta Medical Center, Visalia, California. They have bought several of my paintings. 
Please promote self-healing by visiting beautiful sites in nature. This artwork was inspired by a small waterfall in Stanislaus National Forest. The trail to the falls was a delight, each flower will delight and encourage you, and the sounds of the forest, and stream, will lead you back to your true self. 
My paintings are often bought by healing organizations and individuals. "Golden Falls", was a corporate purchase by Kaweah Delta Medical Center, Visalia, California. They have bought several of my paintings. 
Please promote self-healing by visiting beautiful sites in nature. This artwork was inspired by a small waterfall in Stanislaus National Forest. The trail to the falls was a delight, each flower will delight and encourage you, and the sounds of the forest, and stream, will lead you back to your true self. 

Birth of a Painting Series IV: "Blue Iris".



Birth of a Painting Series IV: Blue Iris

The Life of Flowers
Article by Denise Hartley, artist and gardener, etc.

I have inherited my grandmother's love of flowers. Just moments after arriving for a visit, she would say, “Let’s go outside and see the garden". “Blue Iris” is a photo taken by my photographer son, Chris Gilbert, in that garden. His photo was the source of my painting. When we sold her home, the blue iris came home with me, recently planted in this tree stump.

Please view my page 'Healing Plants', a blog about my grandmother's garden, then my sons, and last, my beautiful garden at her home: Page on this site: https://friendnature.wordpress.com/healing-plants/

Flowers give me courage, the life of a flower is so ephemeral, the beauty of the flower quickly passes, and is soon replaced by another. My life is passing just as quickly, and I will soon be replaced by my children and grandchildren. I long to look at flowers (and grandchildren’s) beautiful faces.

In my little greenhouse I have a tray of tiny lavender plants, also snow peas, and a flat of chamomile. The flowers attract the butterflies, bees, and birds. My desk looks out over my garden. My dad was the gardener, with a large vegetable garden, and a pergola filled with red grapes. I am the new keeper of his garden. My garden here, although established, was a working man’s garden. I just finished planting his vegetable garden this winter, and I planted a peach tree, expecting blossoms and delicious peaches late spring.

I am off to paint a ceiling mural, sky and clouds, on my future grandchild’s nursery!


Many thanks for visiting this site!
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From the desk of Denise



Birth of a Painting Series III: Blocked.

“BLOCKED, an Art Exhibition”, 
Fresno, CA, 2000. 


     As an artist, I paint when I am inspired. Everything flows; feeling great, working in the studio for hours, paints flow from my brush. The question is how to be an artist when the inspiration has disappeared, when you feel blocked from your inner self?

     I began this series of paintings while I was blocked! My creative solution was to paint the limitation that I was feeling. I began just to paint actual BLOCKS, placed in restrictive grids, which eventually swirled into patterns.
   The first painting this series is the painting “Eye of God”. 
Using the contrasting shades of blue and orange created a boldness I had not expected.  Somehow the ‘eye’ is not blocked, or it is not placed within the grid. The ‘eye’ expands to me the feeling of what is possible, or what is enduring within myself.
     The painting “Self-Restraint”, painted in blues and greens which followed the cool color pallet,
using analogous colors.  The lovely landscape is blocked by a large grid, and it is broken into drip-like smaller grids within the panes of a window. To me that exemplifies that there is beauty in the world, yet at the time I could not quite access it.
     My favorite of the series is “Creation”. Warm colors are dominant, with a touch of cool blues and
greens. But everything in the painting is off kilter, the edges are leaning at odd angles. The blocks and the grids remain in the painting. The artist is still blocked, but she is stacking the blocks in a manner that creates tension in the artwork.
    “She Broke”.
The dominant orange, the contrasting blue highlights, black drips, blobs, and pools, and yes, the first block began in this painting, on the upper mid-right of the canvas.




 Paintings by Denise Hartley: "Creation", oil on canvas, 3'x4', 2000;
"Eye of God", oil on canvas, 3'x4', 2000;
 "Self-Restraint", oil on canvas, 3'x4', 2000;
"She Broke", oil on canvas, 30"x 48", 1998.
     I have created another video in the “Birth of a Painting Series”: BLOCKED.
Many thanks for your interest,
Denise Hartley




Birth of a Painting Series II: "She Broke", by artist Denise Hartley

She Broke...Painting By Denise Hartley


This is the second painting in the series: Birth of a Painting Series. 
          Artists love to create, and I am trying to dedicate my time to create a platform to showcase my art. Sadly, painting is so much more rewarding for me! This week I am washing each of my paintings, photographing them, and formatting the photos for different uses. Before this, then that, which means that I have to learn to use a 35mm camera, light balance, f stops, the list is endless. I was almost caught swearing the other day.
          My son is helping me with #'s. I have started posting on Instagram:dahartley222, Twitter: DAHartley, my wordpress blog, Friend Nature (https://friendnature.wordpress.com). The learning curve makes my head spin. I would rather be out today under the blue sky digging in my garden!
          My art focuses on spirituality, healing, self-expression, and nature themes. My collectors have noticed my healing theme, my paintings have been purchased by hospitals, nurses, and healing professionals, and those individuals that need healing. 
         I am currently inspired by artist, writer, and teacher, Lisa Congdon. Her book, ART, INC. is driving me on. (lisacongdon.com). She offers ideas on how to prepare a press kit, advertising on line, creating a marketing plan, just about everything you need to learn to promote your own art. Check out her website!
          She Broke, is the first of a similar group of paintings from my BLOCKED art show in 2000. I will be posting the rest of the painting in the next several posts.
          Well, back to work (where are the emoji's on Blogger?).
                                                                                                                Denise


The painting, “She Broke” is dedicated to the “MeToo” movement and to all women.
 Time Magazine’s Person of the Year is dedicated to #MeToo.  

Time article by Bill Chappell,

“It has created a wave of awareness and brave confrontations over sexual harassment and assault, taking down powerful men in the process. And now the #MeToo movement has been named Time magazine's Person of the Year
for 2017.
She Broke, oil on canvas, 16" x 20", 1998.

Self Portrait, oil on canvas, 16" x 20", 1998.
A thirty second video from: Birth of a Painting Series: She Broke.
















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”.