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Sun, April 05

Artists captures Canyon on 72-foot scroll
Tay lee to present artist demonstrations Oct. 9-10, work on display at Park Headquarters

Native Boat, mixed medium on rice paper, 2011, Tay Lee. Submitted photo<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->

Native Boat, mixed medium on rice paper, 2011, Tay Lee. Submitted photo<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - Artists have likely endeavored to capture the epic nature of the Grand Canyon for as long as the natural wonder has existed. Now, South Rim Artist in Residence Tay Lee has found a novel way to render the miles and miles of canyon carved out by the Colorado River on a 72-foot Chinese scroll form.

Lee, from California, will be the South Rim artist-in-residence Oct. 8-27. Born and raised on the Pacific island of Taiwan, Lee immigrated to the U.S. and settled in the Los Angeles area in 1983. Largely self-taught, Lee took a few beginner evening painting classes at his local community college. He entered art contests as a young child and has painted consistently over the years, becoming serious about his work in 2007, when he arrived at the idea of portraying the Grand Canyon in panoramic form on a scroll.

His large-scale, yet intimate Grand Canyon paintings are both beautifully executed and charmingly witty, featuring tableaus of park visitors and other intimate flora and fauna details in his vast landscapes. His on-going, South Rim scroll painting project incorporates Hermit's Rest to Desert View, and is an impressive 15" x 871."

Lee has two distinct bodies of work - one influenced by the Chinese scroll form but different than traditional Chinese brushstroke landscape paintings which he executes in dramatically huge scale; and a second body of colorful and expressive post-modern landscapes. His work has a distinctly contemporary perspective, wholly original and wildly colorful yet still using recognizable images of some of our most iconic American and National Park landscapes. This will be Lee's first National Park residency opportunity.

Lee said he wants to use his art to help people transcend the boundaries of their metropolitan lives and immerse themselves in nature's offerings.

"The theme of transcendence is translated in the literal sense to my work as well because I paint American landscapes on Japanese rice paper using Taiwanese brushes and Chinese ink," Lee said. "These days I spend all of my time painting, and want to put all of my ideas onto paper before my vision goes bad. Reflecting my passion and love for nature, art has become part of my life, and painting is an essential part of my personal growth."

While spending time in national parks, Lee has completed fifteen painted color scrolls. He said he is most satisfied with his Grand Canyon scroll, one of the largest works he has undertaken.

"I do not have professional artistic training but I am always trying to find a way to express my appreciation of nature by painting flowers, birds, and insects in my landscapes," Lee said. "I use realist compositions to paint my scrolls. While working on the Grand Canyon scroll, I have focused on the South Rim stretch from Hermits Rest to Desert View and work from sunrise to sunset, collecting sketches and photos.

Lee will focus on completing his Grand Canyon scroll while in-residence.

"This is a dream of mine - and it will be a wonderful story when the scrolls are completed," he said.

Lee will present two public plein air demonstrations on the rim on October 9 and 10. He will be set-up along the Trail of Time, just east of Verkamp's Visitor Center from 1-3 p.m. A small exhibit of Lee's work will be hung in Park Headquarters lobby from Oct. 8-26, open daily from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Throughout the month of October, watch for Lee along the South Rim, creating sketches, taking reference photos and working on his ambitious scroll project.

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