Art & Design Magazine

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge Slabs

By Artbycedar

I’ve finally finished all of the paintings on live edge slabs for the Williams Plaza project! I’ve been working on these for the past several months, and I’m so excited to share these.

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge Slabs8 paintings by Cedar Lee on live edge slabs

These 8 paintings are the smaller of the slabs. Each one will hang right outside the elevator on a different floor of the housing development they are going in.

Here’s a time lapse video of the creation of these last 8 paintings for this project:

“Whimsical Lotus With Dragonfly”

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsWhimsical Lotus With Dragonfly. ~32″ x 20″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar

This painting is definitely whimsical. There were two interesting knots in the wood that I chose not to paint over, and these two details inherent in the slab ended up determining the whole rest of the design! I made some of the bubbles/orbs, or whatever you want to call them, to match the natural knots in the wood, so that they blend in. You’ll notice them only when looking more closely at the details.

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsDetail: Whimsical Lotus With Dragonfly. ~32″ x 20″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsDetail: Whimsical Lotus With Dragonfly. ~32″ x 20″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsDetail: Whimsical Lotus With Dragonfly. ~32″ x 20″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsDetail: Whimsical Lotus With Dragonfly. ~32″ x 20″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar

Some of my past work in my Lotus series includes similar bubble-like imagery. I think it’s playful and brings a child-like feeling to the image. I imagine the lotus flower rising up out of the water and opening into a glorious bloom.

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsWhimsical Lotus With Dragonfly. ~32″ x 20″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsDetail: Whimsical Lotus With Dragonfly. ~32″ x 20″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar

The circles filling the space around it contribute to that rising feeling, like a celebration, or a bubbling-up of life. The dragonfly on its swirling flight path contributes to this feeling of movement.

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsWhimsical Lotus With Dragonfly. ~32″ x 20″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar

Here is “Lotus With Rain.”

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsLotus With Rain. ~32″ x 19″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee

With the calming teal and blue colors, the gracefully formed lotus flower, and the imagery of cool water streaming down, it’s a grounding and peaceful image, contrasted against the jagged edges of the wood slab.

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsLotus With Rain. ~32″ x 19″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee

When I originally started painting lotus flowers, I learned about their use as a Buddhist symbol of our choice to be our best selves. The lotus flower grows out of the dark watery muck of a muddy pond. It pulls its nutrients out of that smelly dark muck, transforming it into something elevated and beautiful, with its huge dramatic flower petals opened up towards the sky.

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsDetail: Lotus With Rain. ~32″ x 19″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee

The idea is that through something as simple as mindfulness, just by paying attention to our breathing and trying to focus the mind on the present moment, we can calm the chaos in our minds and transform “the muck.” I think we need to set this intention more than ever when the world outside us is chaotic too.

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsDetail: Lotus With Rain. ~32″ x 19″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee

We can center ourselves, calm our anger and pain, and then try to be a force for good in the world by loving and helping others. We’re more equipped to do good when we take care of ourselves in this way. At its root, it’s about taking personal responsibility and living with intention.

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsLotus With Rain. ~32″ x 19″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee

Here is “Sunlit Tulips.”

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsSunlit Tulips. ~34″ x 20″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee

Aaahhh, the sun!!! This may be my favorite of the paintings on live edge slabs, or certainly one of them. I’ve always been enamored with the way the sun shines through the petals of tulips, lighting them up and making them glow a pure white.

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsDetail: Sunlit Tulips. ~34″ x 20″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee

And in spots where the petals overlap and the light doesn’t shine through as much, you can see the deeper jewel tones in the flowers.

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsDetail: Sunlit Tulips. ~34″ x 20″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee

I think that wanting to capture the many qualities of sunlight is a huge motivation for many painters!

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsDetail: Sunlit Tulips. ~34″ x 20″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee

This painting just makes me happy.

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsSunlit Tulips. ~34″ x 20″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsSunlit Tulips. ~34″ x 20″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee

It reminds me a lot of a similar painting I created way back in 2005, which I called “Tulips in the Morning.”

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge Slabs“Tulips in the Morning.” 30″ x 26″, Acrylic on Canvas, © 2005 Cedar Lee

This one is called “Poppies in Blue Sky.”

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsPoppies in Blue Sky. ~32″ x 19″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee

I love this image of the poppies reaching and growing with their little faces turned up towards the sunshine and the open sky.

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsDetail: Poppies in Blue Sky. ~32″ x 19″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee

Here’s a little excerpt from my recent article, “Why the Artists are Okay:”

Artists have a growth mindset.

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsDetail: Poppies in Blue Sky. ~32″ x 19″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee

Learning new things is woven into the process of making stuff. Artists think of ourselves as perpetual students, and we tend to respond to any challenge by asking a lot of questions.

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsPoppies in Blue Sky. ~32″ x 19″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee

Even after you’ve achieved ostensible expert status, with the requisite 10,000 hours under your belt, you still know that there is always, always, room for improvement. We have high standards in our quest for quality. For artists, growth is the default state.

An image of colorful poppies growing towards a bright sky illustrates the feeling of growth!

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsPoppies in Blue Sky. ~32″ x 19″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee

This painting is called “Above the Mountains.”

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsAbove the Mountains. ~32″ x 20″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee

This slab was one of the most challenging ones to design, and it ended up being one of my favorites in the end! If you look closely, you’ll notice these details: on the right is a huge mass of tree knots, patterns in the wood grain, holes and cracks, creating an irregular-shaped edge to the right side of the slab that is full of interesting shapes.

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsDetail: Above the Mountains. ~32″ x 20″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee

What to do with all this? I turned it into a tall mountain!

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsDetail: Above the Mountains. ~32″ x 20″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee

Then, there’s a split in the wood, forming a deep crack that goes completely from top to bottom down the center of the piece. I worked this crack into the design so you don’t even notice it on first glance, but you’ll see it when you look closely. At the top, it runs along the edge of one of the clouds in the sky, all the way down to the bottom through the center of the tree in the foreground.

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsAbove the Mountains. ~32″ x 20″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee

A bird of prey with a massive wingspan soars above this landscape of mountains, sky, river and trees!

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsDetail: Above the Mountains. ~32″ x 20″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsAbove the Mountains. ~32″ x 20″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee

“Wildflowers Reaching.”

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsWildflowers Reaching. ~32″ x 19″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee

I love this view of flowers seen from below, from an ant’s eye view.

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsDetail: Wildflowers Reaching. ~32″ x 19″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsDetail: Wildflowers Reaching. ~32″ x 19″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsDetail: Wildflowers Reaching. ~32″ x 19″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee

I think it feels natural to me because I’ve painted so many trees from this angle!

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsWildflowers Reaching. ~32″ x 19″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee

“Perched in Sunlight.”

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsPerched in Sunlight. ~32″ x 20″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee

The design of this painting is a new rendition of my previous painting called “King of the Clearing.”

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsKing of the Clearing. 30″ x 40″, Oil on Wood, © 2018 Cedar Lee Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsPerched in Sunlight. ~32″ x 20″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee


The vertical format of the live edge slab along with the addition of the bright teal color gives this rendition of the same theme an entirely different feeling.

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsDetail: Perched in Sunlight. ~32″ x 20″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsDetail: Perched in Sunlight. ~32″ x 20″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee

In this painting, I’ve also added the row of rounded stones across the bottom, as a way of incorporating the natural knot of the wood into the design!

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsDetail: Perched in Sunlight. ~32″ x 20″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge SlabsPerched in Sunlight. ~32″ x 20″, Acrylic on Live Edge Slab, © 2020 Cedar Lee

The Williams Plaza building will now be full of nature and sunshine!

Williams Plaza Project: 8 Paintings on Live Edge Slabs8 paintings by Cedar Lee on live edge slabs

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