Saturday, December 30, 2017

"Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered."

Photorealistic graphite portrait of my daughter done with graphite pencil

Anyone who has ever attempted to draw in a photo-realistic style knows how tedious the process can be.  Every little detail of the image must be exact.  Especially with portraits of people.  If one line is in the wrong spot or one shape is too dark or too light, the drawing will not resemble the person.  The most painstaking part of these portraits is the hair.  All the lines don't follow in perfect pattern.  They are haphazard and random, with stray hairs going across the other strands making the work very slow.

As I struggle to create each individual line and shape, it forces me to notice the unique parts that make up a face.   You never really appreciate these details until you're forced to see, analyze and copy each one in an artwork.  It reminds me of the incredible amount of detail there is in every single person, animal, plant and living thing in this world... and God created it all.

Jesus said,

"And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered."  - Matt 10:30

He knows every single detail about every part of us, and far more than we could ever see or understand.  How important and valuable we must be!  How caring and loving is the Great Artist?

"Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit."  - Psalm 147:5

Monday, December 4, 2017

Spanish Peaks Photograph Featured in 5280 Magazine

One of my sunrise photographs: "The Spanish Peaks" is being featured in the December issue of 5280 Magazine (the Denver magazine).  You may have seen this magazine in the supermarkets.  They are showcasing different mountain adventures/hikes/climbs from around the state and telling about some lesser known mountain ranges.

Magazine Cover

This particular article talks about the long day hike of West and East Spanish Peaks in the Sangre de Cristo mountains.  Jason and I once summited West Spanish Peak and have also failed to reach the the summit on numerous other attempts.  Right across the page from my image is a shot from one of my favorite Colorado photographers, Jack Brauer, who is basically the Jack Bauer of mountain photography.  So, that's pretty cool.

...and the original photograph

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Painting - Aspen Leaf Progression

Framed print of aspen leaf progression series by artist Aaron Spong autumn watercolor painting

Just finished a series of watercolor paintings of an aspen leaf as it changes colors in the fall.  I used the same leaf template for all four images.  The first leaf (left) is summer green.  The second is half turned from green to orange/yellow.  The third leaf is showing the peak autumn color, and the fourth is withered brown from when the season ends. 

Click on the images below to view on the artist website/order prints:

Saturday, November 11, 2017

I'm Famous

Nope, but we did just randomly stumble upon a business that had 5 or 6 large acrylic prints of my own Colorado images!  Cami and I were out on a date night in the Orchard Town Center in Westminster and we noticed the colorful photographs hanging in the Elements Massage next to REI.  We had to stop in to check it out and visit with one of the employees.  She seemed totally thrilled to meet the artist!  She asked for my autograph and I said $20.  Just kidding.  I don't usually get to see where my customers hang their prints, so this was a neat find.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Colorado Scenic Calendar 2018

Colorado Rocky Mountain Calendar 2018 with photography by Aaron Spong

The 2018 Colorado Scenic Calendar is now here!  This year features all new photographs from our adventures to various locations throughout the Rocky Mountains.  These calendars make great gifts for the holidays and can even be framed/displayed as small photography prints.

Click here to order:

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Aspen Trees - Mixed Media Art Project

Who doesn't love Rocky Mountain golden aspen trees!  This project can be done anywhere from 1st - 5th grade and is super easy to follow along with.  Some of the art concepts covered include: overlapping, shadows/light source, splattering technique, and positive/negative space.

Step 1:

Draw vertical lines with a pencil to create the first tree. Add diagonal lines behind the first tree to add two more.  Add another in the corner.  Then add lines coming from the tree trunks for branches.

Step 2:

Now, paint in the negative space with a black water based paint.

Step 3:

Next, splatter wet, black paint all over the picture to give the aspens their spotty texture.  

Step 4: 

Then, outline the edges of the trees over the original pencil lines with oil pastel (or something dark) to make them stand out.

Step 5:

Finger paint using a thick acrylic yellow/orange paint to add leaves between the tree branches.

All done!

Here are a few student examples from 2nd grade: 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Black Canyon of the Gunnison - October, 2017

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison is one of Colorado's four National Parks.  The height, or rather depth, of the canyon walls is dramatic.  The Painted Wall goes down about 2000 ft.  The whole park is just one road that has lots of stops at trails and overlooks.  I would compare the road and the beauty to the Colorado National Monument in Grand Junction.

We arrived in the late afternoon and did a few hikes to the overlooks with the kids.  It was a little nerve racking with a 4 year old wanting to climb on the rails with steep drops underneath.  Our last stop was the Painted Wall overlook.  After the sun set behind the hills, the clouds lit up with color making for some nice photographs:

Painted Wall sunburst

Painted Wall in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison sunset photography
Black Canyon Sunset - Prints Available

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Fall Color Trip - 2017

Fall Colors in the Cimarron Mountains near Gunnison, Colorado

The start of October begins the end of the fall season in the high country of Colorado.  I wish this colorful time lasted longer than a couple weeks.  I suppose the short and sweet window of photographic opportunities is what makes it so exciting.  This year, we took a family trip to the San Juans and chose photography locations that would be easily accessible so we could take the kids along for the ride.  We stayed 2 nights at a hotel near Ridgway and 1 night camping in the Uncompahgre National Forest.  The colors overall were a bit dull compared to our visit to this area 3 years ago, but there were still many pockets of bright gold.

This is a big photo dump from the trip.  It's divided into 2 major areas:


Crystal Lake Million Dollar Highway Ouray Colorado fall Autumn
Crystal Lake near Ouray

Mt. Sneffels Sunrise
Mt. Sneffels

Dallas Divide

Last Dollar Road

Ralph Lauren's Ranch

The Cimarron Mountains

Owl Creek Pass

Fall Colors and Precipice Peak in the Cimarron Mountains of the Uncompahgre National Forest, Colorado
Precipice Peak

Fall Colors in the Cimarron Mountains of Southwestern Colorado with Precipice Peak

All of these images are for sale as photography prints at