Birth of a Painting Series: “Blossom Peak”.

Article by Denise Hartley

In the Birth of a Painting Series, I try to give examples where the artist finds inspiration in creating an artwork, and how the creative process develops within the artist.

Painting, Blossom Peak, by artist Denise Hartley

I begin this series with my painting “Blossom Peak”. It is a 4’ x 6’, mixed media painting on a wood panel, created in 2004. It is in a private collection.

The inspiration for the painting “Blossom Peak” began on a hike I took with my son. We climbed an iconic peak in Three Rivers, California. Three Rivers is near the entrance to Sequoia National Park, on the banks of the whitewater Kaweah River. The park is the home of Mount Whitney, in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It is famous for its giant sequoia groves, jagged peaks, and glacier polished valleys, rushing rivers, and wildlife. As a resident of Three Rivers, hiking is an important experience, as well as white water rafting and swimming, and it is the backpackers dream location.

My young son I enthusiastically began our hike at the base of Blossom Peak, and headed straight up hill, we rose above California’s Central Valley, hidden by fog. After reaching the top, we could see the snow covered peaks of the Sierra Nevada, signed the book, made our cell calls, and then my son looked over the steep edge, and slipped. He somehow caught himself at the last moment at the precipice, a 35’ drop to the rocks below.

In the spirit of jubilant thankfulness, we began our descent. The inspiration of this painting was based upon the high emotions that I felt that day, and on our return, I began this painting, “Blossom Peak”.


Video: Birth of a Painting Series: “Blossom Peak”.


Saving the planet and changing the way we think.


(Photo by Jana Brittain, 1/17/2013, Lake Kaweah, snow, Sequoia Park)(from cell phone)

“We’re beginning to learn the hard way that today’s global ills are not cured

by more and more science and technology.

Technical solutions, in the absence of world population controls, only tend,

over time, to escalate the problem.

What is needed to break the vicious spiral is a world-wide change

in attitudes, values, and social policy.

As Einstein put it, “We need a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.”‘

                                                                                                                                                   Roger Sperry


Human beings have a kind of optical illusion, Einstein once said.

We think ourselves separate rather that part of the whole.

“Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison

by widening our circle to embrace all living creatures…

Nobody achieves this completely, but the striving itsef is part of the liberation.”

                                                                                                                   Albert Einstein

                                                                                                            The Aquarian Conspiracy, by Marilyn Ferguson.


Walking in nature, planting the garden, looking toward the hills,

the reality of our changing planet eludes me.

The darkest shadow, mirrors my own selfish actions and ambiguous thought.

Should I manufacture sorrow for the future, or just perceive the beauty of today?

The reality of it is that I am almost paralyzed with dread, my mind searches for a solution,

plans action, all the while overwhelmed with the extent of the problem.

The way I think affects my mood, a changing kaleidoscope of emotions.

I feel that I am one of the fortunate ones; feeling despair seems the truthful emotion.


Photo D.A. Hartley, Blossom Peak & Lake Kaweah.


       Process of painting, Blossom Peak, 2004, mixed media on wood,

       4′ x 6′. Collection of Kaweah Delta Hospital.

    DSCN1224    Blossom Peak

New Mindset on Consciousness.

By Dr. Roger Sperry, Nobel Prize in Medicine/Physiology, 1981.

The following article based on an interview with Dr. Roger Sperry, Board of Trustees Professor of Psychobiology, Emeritus, at California Institute of Technology and a veteran pioneer in brain research. Dr. Sperry’s findings on the two hemispheres of the brain and their respective functions earned him the Nobel Prize in Medicine/Physiology in 1981.

“The mind-brain issues are intrinsically more compelling. They carry strong humanistic as well as scientific implications. I could foresee changes in our world view, guiding beliefs, and social values. In the context of today’s worsening world conditions and our imperiled future, this work seemed far more important than whether you can find a brain theory enabling people to learn faster, draw better, make better medical diagnoses, and so on.”

“On these new terms, science no longer upholds a value-empty existence, in which everything, including the human mind, is driven entirely by strictly physical forces of the most elemental kind. We get a vastly revised answer to the old question “What does science leave to believe in?” that gives us a different image of science and the kind of truth science stands for. This new outlook leads to realistic, this world values that provide a strong moral basis for environmentalism and population controls and for policies that would protect the long-term evolving quality of the biosphere.”

To read the entire essay:

Copyright © 1987 by Theosophical University Press)