About jvest1

I am a senior at the University of Montevallo, and I'm currently pursuing a BFA in art.

Wanderer Above the Mist

Caspar David Friedrich was a 19th century German Romantic landscape painter. His work centered on the natural beauty found in nature. Friedrich found a great sense of peace in the countryside, and he aspired to communicate this feeling through his paintings. Friedrich studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. Friedrich’s work is renowned for his symbolic landscapes. This post is an artistic analysis of the painting, “Wanderer Above the Mists,” 1817-1818 by Caspar David Friedrich. Art can be evaluated through the components and representation of the work. An art interpretation explains the artistic elements, and the meaning of the piece. This blog post centers on descriptions and explanations of the content, composition, symbolism, color, light, and space of Friedrich’s painting, “Wanderer Above the Mists,” 1817-1818.

Continue reading


The Grand Canyon

National parks are protected areas of natural or semi-natural land. Visitors from around the world flock to national parks to enjoy the serene beauty of the landscape. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) defines national parks as large areas of land with special characteristics. This is very evident in many of the national parks. Yellowstone National Park is notorious for its thermal activity. Sequoia National Park is famous for its gigantic trees. The Petrified Forest National Park is best known for its petrified wood. Arches National Park is famed for its 2,000 natural sandstones arches. The Grand Canyon National Park is legendary for its massive canyon. Water, ice, and the Colorado River helped to form the notorious Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon was granted Federal protection in 1893, and became a National Park in 1919. Located in Arizona, the Grand Canyon is 277 miles long, 18 miles wide and 6,000 feet deep. Visitors can tour the canyon by foot, car, horse, mule, bike, and even helicopter. Every year, an estimated 5 million people visit the Grand Canyon. Sightseers are truly amazed by the geological wonders of the park. There are nearly 40 identified rock layers that form the Grand Canyon’s walls. The different colors of the rock offer spectators a glorious view of the canyon. The Grand Canyon is considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world, because the natural formation of the canyon is so spectacular.

Continue reading

Guns in national parks destroy peace, tranquility

Sorry for not posting this yesterday. I was under the impression that we were not posting this to our blog. I thought we were just bringing an article to class.

I ran across this article that really disturbs me. I have always enjoyed the serenity of national parks. I travel to national parks to enjoy the beauty of the landscape. Every day, millions of people visit different parks around the nation in search of tranquility. Visitors escape the hustle of the city by seeking solitude within the parks. This article centers on the reality of gun usage in national parks. I was not aware that firearms were allowed in national parks. The number of crimes committed in national parks also took me by surprise. Do you think guns should be allowed in national parks?
Click Here to view the article.

The Promised Land

Art can be analyzed in many ways. Art interpretation centers on composition and representation of the artwork. The interpretation explains the artistic elements, and the meaning of the piece. This post is an artistic analysis of the stercochromed mural, “Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way (Westward Ho),” 1861 by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze. Leutze was a German American history painter. He attended the Dusseldorf School of Painting. Leutze is best known for his painting, “Washington Crossing the Delaware.” This blog post centers on descriptions and explanations of the content, composition, color, light, and space of Leutze’s mural, “Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way (Westward Ho).”

 study for "Westward The Course of Empire Takes its Way (Westward Ho!)” 1861

The content can be broken down into two parts, the subject matter and the meaning behind the work. The subject of Leutze’s painting centers on pioneers and their westward expansion. There are men, women, and children portrayed in the piece. Leutze depicts covered wagons, horses, and mules to illustrate the journey of the pioneers. A rugged snow covered mountain is displayed in the background to help show the hardships that the pioneers are trying to escape from. Dark and bleak valleys symbolize the past troubles that burdened the pioneers. Leutze depicts some of the pioneers pointing to a beautiful horizon. The serene horizon represents the peace the pioneers are anticipating when they reach the Promised Land. The additional image below the mural is a representation of the San Francisco Bay. Two portraits can be seen beside the image of the San Francisco Bay. The figures represent William Clark, and Daniel Boone. Leutze illustrates both of these men to help convey the idea of integration. Ax men can be viewed in the background. The ax men are clearing the path for the caravan. The background illustrates Leutze brilliantly capturing the push by Americans westward.

Continue reading

Yellowstone Bears

The United States of America is home to almost 400 different nationally protected areas. These areas include national historical sites, national monuments, national forests, and national parks. The current number of national parks in America is 58. National parks are full of beauty and splendor. The landscapes are extremely breathtaking. National parks are embedded with natural formations that are truly amazing. The striking sceneries offer spectators’ both peace and tranquility. National parks also present visitors with a variety of outdoor activities. Guests of national parks can experience camping, hiking, biking, backpacking, fishing, rock climbing, and picnicking, along with a wide variety of winter sports. Many spectators flock to national parks just for a chance to encounter some of the wildlife. Bears are typically the most popular animal that park visitors hope to encounter.

The most common type of bear in national parks is the black bear. There are 80 different black bear species. Black bears are between 5 to 6 feet tall when they stand on their back legs. The average weight of females is 250 to 300 pounds. Males can weigh between 300 and 400 pounds. Their color includes variations of black, brown, and cinnamon. In the wild, black bears have a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years. The diet for a black bear consists mostly of berries and plants, although they do eat meat. They are very smart animals. Black bears possess a keen sense of smell and hearing. Black bears normally feed during the day. They are not considered aggressive, unless they are provoked. When black bears are aggravated, they can become extremely dangerous. Some national parks are also home to grizzly bears. The average weight of a grizzly bear is 200 to 450 pounds for females, and 300 to 850 pounds for males. Their life span in the wild is 12 to 20 years. They are more dynamic during dusk and dawn. Grizzly bears are classified as omnivores, and are much more hostile than black bears.

Continue reading


For our project on the Claude Glass we went to Oak Mountain State Park for our first outing. We managed to hit it right before dusk and captured some beautiful images of the light hitting the fall foliage. Here are just a couple teaser images from our trip.

Image of the view we were enjoying.

Demonstrating how to use a Claude Glass.




   Kaylyn Liner and I have decided to work together for this project. For our project, we will be experimenting on viewing nature through a mirror. Our project centers on the Claude glass optical device. The Claude glass device was widely used in the 18th century by many artists. A Claude glass optical device allows an artist to turn their back on picturesque scenes, and view the scene through a tinted mirror. We believe that almost everyone has a simple appreciation of nature when viewing it with the naked eye. Our goal is to discover what the significance is of viewing nature with and without a Claude glass. We will aslo explor the idea of how a Claude glass might change or influence our perception of nature. We believe that viewing nature through a Claude glass will help people have a better appreciation and understanding of the natural world around them.

   The Claude glass optical device was also known as a black mirror. The first Claude glass device was a hand held pocket lens. Illustrators and painters held the glass to observe the scene behind them. The device allowed an artist to view the image through a framed view. This technique helped the viewer to depict more tonal values and variations of the scene. The glass also blocked the sunlight from the natural sun, and prevented it from distorting the image. Both novice and skillful artists used the glass to help develop their artwork.

Continue reading