Description This image of Heavenly ski resort in California and Nevada was painted in 2010, with 2011 revisions. The view is far from an exact match to a satellite photo. Slopes are turned and peaks repositioned to maximize the number of trails running 'down-page'. The ones that are running up-page are clearly shown downslope by using color - cool colors recede so the lower elevations are shown in turquoise and blue while the upper peaks are shown in warmer colors. The trails are also wider than an actual photograph which reflects how the trail seems to the skier.
James Niehues, Loveland Member Since October 2010 Artist Statement I started painting ski trail maps in 1988 and since then over 200 resorts use or have used my illustrations for their base art. Clients are from Australia, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, Fiji, Japan, Scotland, the Caribbean, China, and Serbia as well as the United States.
I also paint aerial panoramas of summer resorts and regional views. Hiking trail maps of National Parks also have been rendered.
The process involves flying the area for aerial photographs and working from topo maps to fill in the detailed surface features. My goal is always to portray the area accurately, clearly and beautifully. The result is an image that instantly conveys the recreational potential and invites the viewer to explore.
I will produce a full sized (usually 20 x 30") comprehensive sketch which is reviewed then rendered in final color. I use gouache watercolor on prepared illustration board. The sky and snow is airbrushed, then the trees and other featured are hand painted by brush. My pallet is bright colors and/or contrasty values, maintaining a realistic look.
I also paint in oils for commissions and pleasure, the subjects are landscapes, of course!