The UGallery Group Show: Crystal DiPietro, The Meaning of Light

As a hiker, Crystal DiPietro is accustomed to a challenge.

When she goes out she seeks the rugged terrains – the ones with no roads and the most primitive style of campgrounds. She has pushed through the evolving and impossible desert and its wilting heat, unforeseen thunderstorms, and wild animals.   

But, when she decided to climb the Tushar Mountains – the 3rd highest mountain range in Utah which, at its highest peak, stands 12,174 feet high – she had a particularly powerful setback.

The injury from which she had been recovering made the mountain more than a mountain. It became a symbol, a geographical behemoth, that heaped with every challenge that she was facing.

It was on that mountain, facing those challenges, where Crystal was inspired for her newest series of landscape paintings, The Meaning of Light.

“While there are often difficult experiences out hiking, there is always a lesson learned, a beautiful view seen, a bright spot,” says Crystal.

The beauty of the landscape and the light are what kept her climbing. For Crystal, the view from above, looking down at the earth – at its lines and contours from high elevations – with a new perspective bring her joy and fulfillment. It is a feeling that drives her back to the challenge of the climb. One that is she describes as only comparable to the feeling of finishing a painting.

She has been drawn to the outdoors for years. When she was a young girl, growing up in rural Pennsylvania, she would take her paint set outdoors to paint landscapes, trees, fields, and anything else she could see. When she was a recent college graduate working at a law firm in D.C., she would ride the bus whenever she could to the trails and parks that surround the city. And, as an adult, she followed her passion to Las Vegas where she currently hikes as much as she can.

She has, over the years, gathered the skills and developed an expertise that one earns over countless hours spent in the wilderness. She has learned the lessons of car camping, rock faces, ledges, crags, shadows, thunderstorms and canyons. And knowledge of big horn goats, and foxes and mountain lions.

While out hiking, she typically brings sketching materials to bring inspiration from her studio – capturing pictorial notes for her work in the studio. When she returns to her studio, she begins painting, often adding her own elements of interpretation on to the landscape.

“I don’t like to copy landscape,” says Crystal. “There is no way I can compete with what’s out there.”