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29.625" x 24"


Valley of Gold oil painting by Richard Tiberius

Click the thumbnails on the left to see a section of the painting in greater detail.



This artwork is not available for purchase as a giclee.


The scenery in the mountains of western United States and Canada is so dramatic that it seems unreal. Such beauty is a nature artist’s dream, but I find myself wondering whether anyone will believe my painting when it’s finished. One of the techniques artists use to fool the eye into seeing depth it to make distant objects increasingly more blue and violet. Distant objects appear bluer. Distant objects are also more desaturated (grayer) and fuzzier. But in the clear, dry air of these mountains the colors don’t shift much so a faithful rendition of the scene may fail to create an impression of depth.

The quilt work of colors—patches of almost bare trees, bright yellow ones, ochre, and yellow-green seem almost unreal. Trembling Aspen trees (populus tremuloides) spread by sending shoots up from the tips of their roots, like strawberries. One tree can establish an entire colony of genetically identical trees that tend to be the same color in the fall and lose their leaves at the same time, resulting in almost unbelievable patches on the mountainside.

Finally, the pointed steeples poking up out of the aspens and oaks stretch credulity unless you know that Douglas firs (Pseudotsuga menziesii) are giants, commonly growing to 60 m (200 ft) while aspens are rarely more than 25 m (80 ft). The little guys in this company are the Garry Oaks (Quercus garryana) in the foreground, topping out at about 20 m (60 ft). Because Garry Oaks grow from acorns each one of them is genetically different and therefore each turns a slightly different color in the fall—red through orange, yellow, and shades of ochre.

This combination of trees lives in the Wasatch Mountain State Park, in Utah, but can be found in most of the Western States and Western Canada except for the Garry Oak, which is decidedly southern, although some are found on Vancouver Island.

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