"After Bierstadt" - oil on wood paneling. This is essentially a copy of an Albert Bierstadt painting, "View of the Sierras", which in turn was inspired by Yosemite but not an actual view.  The original is 12 feet wide and hangs in the American Art Gallery of the Smithsonian.  I had a book image, and two internet download images to go by - they all looked completely different in color, contrast, etc.  So I took my best guess and went with what I liked.  Recently I vacationed to DC but much to my frustration, the museum is closed for renovation for four years.  But coincidentally, in the Smithson building is a large transparency of a portion of this painting, as part of an advertisement for the museum.  I could see things I had no idea were in the painting - little trees, with shadows no less, on the far bank where I thought it was all rocks.   Oh well.  

This copy is 4 feet wide, which was big enough - too big to fit in my car in fact when framed.  I should also apologize for the image download time - I thought this one warranted a larger file size to see the details.  I painted this on the back of some wainscot (sp?) paneling, and framed it with a variety of stained molding pieces.  It looks fantastic and the $30 I spent on it was far better than the $300 I could have easily spent with a custom frame.  Not long afterward I saw Martha Stewart make almost exactly the same thing and said it was actually a style of the early 1800's so it turned out quite apropos. 

I am very happy with this picture.  It went reasonably quickly and easily in painting, over about 4-5 months in my spare time.  I especially like the lake water - it is layered in glazes and it looks so peaceful and cool.  The waterfalls have the feel of the weight of the water.  The terrain glows in the light of the backlit clouds.  I did discover the difficulty of getting a faithful photo, however, so I understand why the internet images were so different.

This painting is, believe it or not, less "over the top" than many of Bierstadt's other paintings in terms of the dramatic and unlikely.  I am considering painting another of Bierstadt's paintings, "View of Lucerne" when I get some time.  I have obligations of some other paintings for some relatives first.  So it will be awhile.