Birth of a Painting Series IX: “Solid Footing, Trees and Rocks”.

” A beautiful thing calls forth things that are 

beautiful in kind…”

                                  Tung Chung-Shu

Nature Series:

My art consists of a combination of video installations and paintings, which form an exploration of the sights and sounds of water. Focusing on a natural vista, the viewer may experience the crashing of waves, the roar of a whitewater river, and the sounds of a brook working its way downward, in the cycle of movement, back to the ocean.


Photo by D.A. Hartley

My paintings create a tactile experience for the viewer, transforming the gallery into a visual world of life sized natural forms which mirror the existing environment. The paintings are sculptural, created on large wood panels, with deep texture, stains and oils are worked into the wood. The videos are of natural events, surrounding the viewer with the gentle or crashing sounds of water, designed to include the viewer within the artwork.


“Lost Canyon”, mixed media on wood, gold leaf, 4′ x 6′, 2005.

Paintings in this video:

“Lost Canyon”, mixed media on wood, 4’ x 6’, 2005. Private collection.

“Blossom Peak”, mixed media on wood, 4’ x 6’, 2004. Private collection.

“Aspen”, mixed media on wood, 4’ x 6’, 2002. Private collection.

“Starlight”, mixed media on canvas, diptych, 76” x 54”, 2004. Private collection.

“Old Friends”, mixed media on wood, 4’ x 8’, 2001. Courtesy of the artist.

“Old Oak and Rock”, oil on canvas, unfinished, 2017-2018.


”Cypress and Basalt”, mixed media on wood, 4’ x 6’, 2006. Private collection.

“Aspens”, mixed media, gold on wood, diptych, 6’ x 8’, 2006. Private collection.

“Tao”, cast bronze, 10.5” x 22”, 2002. Collection of the artist.

Art Exhibitions for this series:

  1. Water! 2008, Conley Art Gallery, Fresno, CA. Solo Exhibition
  2. Icons, 2004, Three Person Exhibition, Fourth Street Art Gallery, Berkeley, CA.
  3. Temporal Man in Nature, 2002, Cort Gallery, Three Rivers, CA. Solo Exhibition.

Thank you for visiting my art blog,




Birth of a Painting Series X: “Mountains, Clouds, and Streams”.

Birth of a Painting Series X, “Mountains, Clouds, and Streams”.
“The world is a world of becoming. To see being in becoming, and becoming in being, that is enlightenment”.      D.T. Suzuki,

Nature Series: Themes of Taoism by Denise Hartley. Sculptural paintings on wood.

“My paintings are influenced from real physical spaces that exist in nature. The painting is intrinsic to the wood panels that I use. A tree was cut down to create this panel; the life of the tree encourages the finished piece. My paintings begin more as sculptural projects. I assemble, sand, stain, and texture, with an eye to the wood grains. I apply the paint by rubbing the surface. The surface inspires the art.”                                                                  D.A. Hartley


“Mountains, Clouds, and Streams”, mixed media on wood, triptych, 4′ x 6′, 2005. Courtesy of the artist.


“Tao”, cast bronze, 10.5″ x 22″, 2002. Collection of the artist.

Birth of a Painting Series VIII: “Water”, an Installation.


Water! A combination of large-scale videos within an installation format that includes an inner meditation room, surrounded by paintings and the gentle sounds of water, designed to include the viewer in the artwork. The paintings are sculptural, created on large wood panels, with deep texture, oil paints, and gold leaf. The videos are of natural events; “Lost Canyon Falls”, includes water and fire in a meditative film; “Lake Kaweah”, transforms two years of photos into a video time-piece, recording the beauty of each passing day; “Douglas Creek”, in the meditation room, includes streams, meadows, and the sounds of water.

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“Koi”, oil on wood, gold leaf, diptych, 70″ x 68″, 2008.

Paintings: “Cypress and Basalt”, mixed media on wood, 4′ x 6′, 2006. Private collection.

“Aspens”, mixed media, gold leaf on wood, diptych, 6′ x 8′, 2006. Private collection.

“Mountains, Clouds, and Streams”, mixed media on wood, triptych, 4′ x 6′, 2008. For sale.

“Silent Passage”, oil on gessoed wood, 4′ x 6′, 2004. Private collection.

Copyright 2018 Denise Hartley.

Thank you for reading my Friend Nature Blog!

Birth of a Painting Series IV: “Nobe Young Falls”

Birth of a Painting Series VI: “Nobe Young Falls”.

“Nobe Young Falls”, oil on canvas, 3′ x 4′, 2010

Nature influences my art, every aspect of nature in the wild is so precious. In California we have been experiencing an extreme drought, which is causing fires, and tree disease and plant die out in our Sierra Nevada Mountains. We have lost thousands of trees in the last few years, and the loss of natural habitat is shocking.

My painting “Nobe Young Falls”, is a landscape created in oil paints. Nobe Young Falls are in Sequoia National Forest. I used to have a home in Camp Nelson, and the falls were near my home. It is an area that was homesteaded by my son’s great, great, grandmother, Nellie Marshall (the niece of John Marshall, discoverer of Gold! in California). She homesteaded 200 acres near Ponderosa, CA. in the Sierra Nevada’s of California, in 1870’s. She married Nathan Dillon, a gold rush businessman, and owner of land that is now Dillonwood Sequoia Grove in Sequoia National Park.  Dillon Wood

Nobe Young Falls are now a destination, when I hiked there it was an unmarked trail. If you would like to visit these falls there are now directions posted.

Here is a map of the Giant Sequoia Groves in the Sequoia National Forest. Camp Nelson, Ponderosa, and Dillonwood are located on the second map: Giant Sequoia Groves in Sequoia National Forest.

Thank you for reading this post! Denise Hartley



Birth of a Painting Series IV: Blue Iris

Birth of a Painting Series IV: Blue Iris


The Life of Flowers

Article by Denise Hartley, artist and gardener, etc.

I have inherited my grandmother’s love of flowers. Just moments after arriving for a visit, she would say, “Let’s go outside and see the garden.” Her door to the garden was a glass storm door, always letting in the light and colors of the garden. Her home was full of florals, a rose bud was placed on her dinner tray, and each of her linens and drapes were patterned with florals. My son later restored her garden while renting her home, a garden that was destroyed after many years of renters. “Blue Iris” is a photo taken by my photographer son, Chris Gilbert, in that garden. His photo was the source of my painting. When we sold her home, the blue iris came home with me, recently planted in this tree stump.

Please view my page ‘Healing Plants’, a blog about my grandmother’s garden, then my sons, and last, my beautiful garden at her home: Page on this site:

Flowers give me courage, the life of a flower is so ephemeral, the beauty of the flower quickly passes, and is soon replaced by another. My life is passing just as quickly, and I will soon be replaced by my children and grandchildren. I long to look at flowers (and grandchildren’s) beautiful faces. The blooms of chamomile go into my tea, I cherish scented flowers of the sweet pea, and the budding squash blossoms that will soon be vegetables. I love flowers!

In my little greenhouse I have a tray of tiny lavender plants, also snow peas, and a flat of chamomile. The flowers attract the butterflies, bees, and birds. My desk looks out over my garden.  My dad was the gardener, with a large vegetable garden, and a pergola filled with red grapes. I am the new keeper of his garden. My garden here, although established, was a working man’s garden. I just finished planting his vegetable garden this winter, and I planted a peach tree, expecting blossoms and delicious peaches late spring.

Years ago, when my children were small, I was known as the artist that painted flowers. I had a large greenhouse filled with herbs, seed, and tiny plants. My retreat was a comfortable chair, just cherishing the quiet, and the scent of earth. The blooms, one of the healing powers of flowers, is the gardens reward. I opened a medicinal herb nursery, Emerald Gardens, and shared the bounty with the farmers market and the neighborhood deer.

Living on the South Fork of the Kaweah River, near the entrance of Sequoia National Park, I felt most comfortable backpacking alone, so I could linger in the beauty of the mountains. Hiking through mountain lion country, and crossing rivers, and snow watered creeks added excitement, but this was necessary to visit my favorite destination, Garfield Redwood Grove.  Amazing, among the redwoods were shoulder high lupin flowers, and fern.


I am off to paint a ceiling mural, sky and clouds, on my future grandchild’s nursery!

Many thanks for visiting this site!

From the desk of Denise



Birth of a Painting Series III: “Blocked”.

BIRTH OF A PAINTING SERIES III: “BLOCKED, an Art Exhibition”. Fresno, CA, 2000.

As an artist, I paint when I am inspired. Everything flows; feeling great, working in the studio for hours, paint flows from my brush. The question is how to be an artist when the inspiration has disappeared, when you feel blocked from your inner self?

The painting “She Broke”, was the beginning of the “Blocked” series. The dominant orange, the contrasting blue highlights, black drips, blobs, and pools, and yes, the first block began in this painting, on the upper mid-right of the canvas. The broken figurine is real, and she is still broken, kept as a reminder of the past.


I began this series of paintings while I was blocked! My creative solution was to paint the limitation that I was feeling. I began just to paint actual BLOCKS, placed in restrictive grids, which eventually swirled into patterns.

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The next painting is the “Eye of God”. Using the contrasting shades of blue and orange creates a boldness I had not expected.  The ‘eye’ is not blocked,  and is not placed within the grid. The ‘eye’ expands to me the feeling of what is possible, or what is enduring within myself.


The painting “Self-Restraint”, painted in blues and greens which follows the cool color pallet, using analogous colors.  The lovely landscape is blocked by a large grid, and it is broken into drip-like smaller grids within the panes of a window. To me that exemplifies that there is beauty in the world, yet at the time I could not quite access it.

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My favorite of the series is “Creation”, warm colors are dominant, with a touch of cool blues and greens.But everything in the painting is off kilter, the edges are leaning at odd angles. The blocks and the grids remain in the painting.

The artist is still blocked, but ‘she’ is stacking the blocks in a manner that creates tension in the artwork. I am encouraged by the reddish blast occurring in the top left, breaking the grid, and the swirl in the middle, and the circular objects lying upon the grid!


“Venus”, D.A. Hartley

This is the first painting created of the BLOCKED art exhibition. “Venus”, oil on canvas, 30″ x 48″, 1997. Venus figurines found in caves, the earliest created 35,000 years ago.



Many thanks for your interest,

Denise Hartley

Please respect the artists copyright. 

Exhibition: Paintings by Denise Hartley:

“Creation”, oil on canvas, 3’x4′, 2000;

 “Eye of God”, oil on canvas, 3’x4′, 1998;

  “Self-Restraint”, oil on canvas, 3’x4′, 1999;

 “She Broke”, oil on canvas, 30″x 48″, 1998.

“Venus”, oil on canvas, 30″x 48″, 1997. 

Instagram: dahartley222




Birth of a Painting Series: “She Broke”.

Article by Denise Hartley

Birth of a Painting Series: “She Broke”.

Where does the artist find inspiration in creating an artwork?

Second in the series: “She Broke”, oil on canvas, 16”x 20”, 1998. Courtesy of the artist.

The painting, “She Broke” is dedicated to the “#MeToo” movement and to all women. Sadly, most of us are survivors, and each of us follows our own path to recovery.


Time Magazine’s Person of the Year is dedicated to #MeToo.  The Time article  by Bill Chappell.

It has created a wave of awareness and brave confrontations  over sexual harassment and assault, taking down powerful men in the process. And now the #MeToo movement has been named Time magazine’s of the Year for 2017.


Denise Hartley, Self Portrait, oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″, 1999.

Birth of a Painting Series: “She Broke”. This is a 45 second video by Denise Hartley.