Painting Wilderness

Hogan Ruin on the Mesa, Betsy James
Hogan Ruin on the Mesa, Betsy James

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The wild lands call us.

We journey toward them—but will we ever arrive? Do we want to arrive? Or is it the journey that matters?

For a gallery of recent paintings, click here.

For tales of off-trail, desert wildland hiking, click here.

To remember the earth where we walk, click here.
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All material on this site, both text and graphics, is ©BetsyJames, and may not be used commercially without her permission.

7 thoughts on “Painting Wilderness”

    1. Thank you, Stephen. Though I’ve always worked in watercolor, the style is new for me. It involves underpainting, lifting of pigment, experimentation, and waiting for the unexpected to happen–the furthest thing from controlled, pre-planned illustration. It would be interesting to try it with human figures; I haven’t had a go at that yet.

  1. Love the underpainting idea, and I especially love the one with the moon and it’s reflection in the river! When you decide to try it with people make sure you let us know so we can have a look.

    1. I will, Cynthia! What I like about this style is the hint of almost-seen history. It seems to work best when there’s a suggestion of something figurative underneath, but its subject isn’t clear. Makes our minds stretch and speculate.

  2. Betsy! These are absolutely wonderful. Makes me want to visit these places. Even the rainy one. I want to see how you do figures with this technique, too!

    1. Kevan! I think I summoned you–I was just this moment thinking of you…while washing the dishes, how romantic! Thank you–I’m working on covers for two novels I’ve gotten the rights back for, and am using a variation of this technique. I’ll report when I get finals, for sure. BTW, you can sign up to have the hike posts drop into your email–illo and all, I think. Reminds me, yikes, I haven’t been posting regularly. Wakeup call! xo

  3. Wow Betsy – these are stunning! Love how you have interpreted the landscape in such a graphic way with simplified shapes – not easy to do!
    Beautiful colors and textures too.

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Betsy James on Writing, Art, and Walking in the Desert

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