PROVO Conrad Nebeker grew up in the shadows of Little Cottonwood Canyon and got to know its "moods."
Now he captures that drama in landscapes, which are on display through Friday in the B.F. Larsen Gallery of the Harris Fine Arts Center on the Brigham Young University campus. The exhibition is titled "Moods of the Land."
Nebeker is tied to the Utah landscapes he paints. His pioneer ancestors settled in the Bear Lake area, grounding the family in Utah tradition and creating an appreciation of its beauty. Many of his paintings are familiar landmarks, but the moods that frame them are open to interpretation.
"I grew up skiing and hiking these mountains," he said.
Nebeker graduates in April with a bachelor's degree in fine arts. The show is his final effort at the university. The paintings, which always include huge expanses of sky, measure as large as 4 feet by 8 feet.
"The sky has always been what led to an idea," he said.
While he has worked plein-air, he also uses photographs to capture the moods emanating from the sky, which he then creates in his studio using oil on canvas. "Changing weather appeals to me," he said.
Two large vertical paintings face each other from opposite sides of the exhibition, both depicting Little Cottonwood Canyon from different points of view at Tanners Flat campground. Standing between the two views, he photographed first in one direction then the other.
One painting depicts storm clouds and the other the clearing storm.
"They were taken just minutes apart," he said of the photos from which he created the paintings. "The skies are the quickest to change. Light changes the mood of the landscape," he said.
In his studies he learned to capture the light and how it plays upon his subjects.
The collection of landscapes carry such titles as "Wasatch Winter," "Clearing Storm," "Evening Light" and "First Snow." Many are vertical paintings, better for capturing the sky and its drama.A closing reception is set for Friday from 7:30-9:30 p.m. and is open to the public.
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