The first time I skied at Sunshine Village ski resort in Banff was during the winter of 2015 on a family ski trip. At Sunshine Village there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, the powder was deep, the terrain was fun and everyone I saw had a huge smile on their face. The big sky and snow covered trees ended up serving as inspiration for a commission that I did for a client in Calgary later that year.
So, when I was asked to work with Sunshine Village on a commission for their 90th anniversary I was beyond thrilled! It was the perfect combination of skiing and art. Here is the process of how the painting grew from an idea into creation...
Step 1: The Observation
After my initial meeting with Sunshine, I packed up my skis and sketchbook and hit the slopes. I spent the day skiing the resort making a conscious effort to understand the sun patterns, colours, grandeur and the lay of the land. I spent a lot of time at the top of Jackrabbit chairlift to get a sense of this viewpoint and to take lots of pictures and videos that I could take home to my studio.
Step 2: The Doodles
After my legs were tired and my heart was happy from skiing, I headed into my Calgary studio sparked with enthusiasm and ideas. I filled a few pages in my sketchbook with pencil sketches, mantras, colour pallet combinations, practice brushstrokes and a few doodles of the piece. This is how I get my initial ideas out and get a sense of where I want to take the painting.
Step 3: The Draft
Using a 9"x12" cold pressed heavy weight sketchbook I created the first real draft of the painting. I always make sure to leave some space at the bottom of the page where I can write notes and ideas that I come up with as well as feedback from the client. Once I was done with the draft I scanned it and sent it to the client for approval.
Step 4: The Main Act
After my draft was approved by my liaison at Sunshine, I was ready to get started on the final painting. Working together with a client to help realize a painting is a hugely satisfying process. I love hearing their input and feel grateful to be the person to help turn their vision into life.
I was now ready to get started on the final painting. I initially sketched out the main landmarks in pencil and dots of paint to make sure that the canvas was filled out how I had imagined it. Once the marks were all done, I started by painting the sky and worked my way closer to the foreground, finishing with the trees.
Step 5: The Finale
Once the painting was finished I made sure it was ready to hang, added my signature, and had digital reproductions of it made.
The painting was finally ready to be delivered to Sunshine and I couldn't be happier!
This has been one of my favourite paintings to date. The whole process was a complete joy and I am so happy with how the painting came together. Currently the painting is at the company head office, but come the fall it will be moved to Sunshine Mountain Lodge. I'll keep you posted once it is hung in its final home!
You can also see my painting in person at my next solo art show which will take place this October in Calgary. To get an exclusive invitation to the event, join our mailing list.