Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Upcoming show September 4, 2009

Larch, 4′x6′ oil by Trish Harding


I want to thank my “friends in painting” for all the support that you have given me since Sept 7th 2008; the day my world came to a halt and I was cast into a strange and different one. My saddness has been lessened by all of your incredible concern and kindness. Thank you, I mean that with all of my heart.

As some of you know, I am working on an extremely important show (for me) that is called Altitude which will appropriately open in September at the Blue Horse Gallery. Appropriate because Ryan’s accident was in September 2008.

This show has been very difficult to work on for a couple of reasons. For one it was really hard to see. Since I wear glasses, whenever I would be overcome with grief while painting, my glasses would get tears all over them and I would have to take them off, clean them, wipe my eyes, blink alot and try to focus my eyes again before I could but the darn glasses back on and get back to work. Wearing glasses, you see, has become more of an inconvienience than I ever thought possible. Second, it has been an intellectual struggle of mammoth proportions to try to understand why I was allowed such a short time with my son. Is it because he was an old soul, a brilliant star or was it just the way it is? It has been an emotional yet cathartic experience trying to learn, through it all to revere Ryan’s world. It has, on the other hand, been cathartic because I think that I have come close to understanding how he felt sitting way up there after the climb…incredible! And I am happy that he got to feel this, something that many people never experience in their lifetime!

Come with me to Mazama, Washington! Come with me on this visual trip and see the places that Ryan loved! I not only want to share it with you but I want you to experience, just one more time, the spirit of our beautiful son, Ryan, the only way I know how to express it as I come to some sort of closure and I move on with my life without him.

My promise to you is that it will be a celebration and not a sad affair! Eventhough I feel life has cheated me somehow, I still hold on to how lucky I am to have had him as long as I did. I truly believe that he is a star in my night sky.

I now focus on the great luck that I continue to have. The brilliance that flashes at me when I look into our daughter Molly’s eyes. How very much she means to me and what a miracle that she is. And our daughter-in-law, Jennifer. I believe that Jennifer was the missing piece to the complex puzzle that was Ryan. She made him complete before he had to leave. How lucky was he?

Now, as I take off these darn glasses again and wipe my eyes I am posting my artist statement and remember, “you are expected”.

Altitude is a show that is inspired by a road trip to Mazama in the Fall of 2008 as we drove from Bellingham which is sea level and traveled steadily up and over highway 20 to end up at over 6000 feet at Hart’s Pass, literally, sittin’ on top o’ the world!

Through the use of light and value my aim was to capture the feeling of an other-worldliness that sitting on a mountaintop brings. I carefully constructed the compositions to give a sensation of vertigo that I experience when I am at high altitudes. I used circular under-paintings that would influence the direction of bold, colorful brush strokes to create a feeling of motion, completeness and connection, all adjectives, which have often been used to describe our son, Ryan.

With these paintings I am taking the viewer on that road trip with me during a magic autumn day of excited anticipation to see Ryan & Jenny’s new cabin at the base of Goat Mountain and to experience with me the feeling that I had that day which was…”The world around me is incredible and my children are amazing. My husband is by my side and I do not require one more single thing or circumstance that will make me any happier or more fulfilled than I am right now!”

That feeling was to change. By the next autumn we were traveling to Mazama again but this time heading East on Highway 90 and for a very somber reason. The second part of the show depicts the emotional journey back from retrieving our beloved Ryan’s ashes.

I am convinced that Ryan’s belief that he was and remains a critical piece in the larger scheme of Mother Nature is what enabled him to experience life with no fear and no greed. But the feeling that he experienced when he had climbed to the top of a 1500-foot face of granite under his own physical prowess was the ultimate.

The artistic journey that I have taken to put this show together was extremely difficult and cathartic at the same time. I now revere the places that Ryan loved, I understand that risk was a huge component of Ryan’s rock climbing experience and this risk was indeed the biggest component of Ryan’s prelude to the mystery!

More about Ryan

Our beloved Ryan Alan Murray Triplett was born in Bellingham, Washington on June 5, 1977. He died September 7, 2008 on Goat Mountain, near Mazama, Washington long before we were ready to let him go. Ryan was an accomplished athlete in hockey, canoeing, backcountry & downhill skiing, and is well respected in the cycling and rock climbing communities. He was a hard-working software developer with many ideas for the future, but his true passions were his wife and rock climbing. He was an adventuresome soul devoted to his beloved Jennifer, with whom he shared the fairy-tale love. Ryan had many passions: friends, traveling, family, his wonder-dog Makiah, and the outdoors. Ryan could often be found on Turn 2 at the Marymoor Velodrome cheering on Jennifer, a national track champion. Ryan and Jennifer met as college students at Western Washington University, where he graduated in 2001; the couple was married in Bellingham on September 2, 2001.

Ryan is survived by his loving wife, Jennifer Ann Sutton Triplett and dog Makiah Blue Triplett; mother & stepfather Trish and Tom Harding of Bellingham; sister Molly Harding of Bellingham; sister and brothers Tammy, Garrett and Wyatt Harding of California; father and stepmother Gary and Anita Triplett of California; grandmother, Annamae Murray and aunts Donna Erickson and Judy Walston of Bellingham; aunt Barbara Chevalier of Arizona; uncles Bill Murray of Bellingham and Darrell, Wayne and Jim Triplett; several cousins; in-laws Caprice Magoon, and George, Jaimie, Coleman and Laurel Sutton; Marcy Sutton; and friends too numerous to mention.

Ryan died pursuing his passion for rocks and heights in Mazama, Washington, a special place for him. We shall all miss him, but he will live on in the hearts of all those he touched and we will always remember his words, “Live Your Passion”.

For more information go to

More info about Ryan: Rock and Ice, issue 179 / July 2009, Cliff Notes


Beetlebetty said...

tears rolling down my face - and I have glasses on. :) That was a beautiful piece Trish -
Thank you

Katy B. said...

Great write up from Trish. I can't believe it's been a year already. I hope this show has been very healing.