Dee McBrien-Lee

Dee McBrien-Lee takes us from the high desert environment of Central Oregon to the red rock country of Southern Utah in her October exhibit

Dee McBrien-Lee paints two deserts

From Here to There ll    details




opens October 1, from 3-7pm during the Old Mill District’s First Friday Art Walk. Wines from VaPiano and Evoke with be served along with appetizers.

The desert is a fascinating place. Both harsh and filled with beauty, the deserts of Central Oregon and Southern Utah have much to offer if you know where to look. A recent road trip to the red rock deserts of Southern Utah combined with living in the high desert of Central Oregon is what inspired artist Dee McBrien-Lee to create her most recent series. Deeply in love with Southern Utah and Central Oregon, McBrien-Lee and her husband had considered settling in the St George, Utah area prior to their discovery of Bend in 2007. Lifestyle, culture and many other factors figured into their decision to make a permanent move to Bend after living in Park City and having a second home outside St. George for 4+ years.


Cathedrals of Stone is an abstract paintingby Dee McBrien-Lee

Cathedrals of Stone   detail


“Red Rock country has fascinated me ever since our honeymoon when we rented a houseboat on Lake Powell, just the two of us, for 10 days. It was truly magical and I told myself if we ever found a place to live that looked like that, we would be home. When we discovered St. George, I was convinced that would be where we would retire. Then we found Bend and here we are.”


High Drama is mixed media abstract by Dee McBrien-Lee

High Drama    details


Whenever possible this artist heads back to red rock country. Most recently she spent the month of April in Southern Utah where she was inspired to paint almost every day. “The morning we left Bend for Utah we had a beautiful sunrise which seemed like a sign of a good trip to come. We travel through Burns on to Winnemucca and over to the Great Basin Highway with the final leg of the trip down through Snow Canyon and into Ivins, Utah. Throughout the drive there are many amazing vistas and forever skies. I have looked at these landscapes for years thinking that I would one day record them on canvas. As we approach the end of the drive we go through Snow Canyon which always gives me a feeling I cannot describe. It is purely spiritual. We have arrived.”

Dry Creek Canyon is an acrylic by Dee McBrien-Lee

Dry Creek Canyon    detail

“Spring in the desert is amazing. We hiked almost every day. Cactus flowers bloomed everywhere, the river was still flowing in the canyon and owls and coyote were having their young. Rainbows, waterfalls and petroglyphs were everywhere. There was always something special to see. Our return to Bend in May was a perfect ending to the trip. Flowers were starting to bloom and we had a special treat of a week of rain. Central Oregon and Southern Utah are at once similar and very different and I was full to bursting with inspiration.”


Dee McBrien-Lee working in her studio

Dee McBrien-Lee working in her studio

“Tale of Two Deserts” includes paintings of locations from Southern Utah and the deserts of Oregon plus views from the passenger seat on the long drive from here to there and back again. McBrien-Lee interprets her surroundings with bold color, movement and a tendency toward the abstract.

See Dee McBrien-Lee’s art on the Tumalo Art Co. shopping cart for easy purchasing.

The art shown here is just a sampling of the pieces in Dee McBrien-Lee’s Tale of Two Deserts October exhibit. Contact Tumalo Art Co. by email for more information, and to see photos of the art if you are not able to come in person to see the show.

Tumalo Art Co. is in the Old Mill District in Bend, Oregon is open 7 days a week. Click on details under each art work shown to go to our online shopping cart and purchase.


Dee McBrien-Lee
has been painting for as long as she can remember .  She is best known for her abstracts and bird paintings which she creates with bold color and lots of texture, often mixing a variety of media for a unique look.  Dee studied art at SUNY New Paltz in the 70’s and after graduation took a long hiatus from art.  In the mid 2000’s she picked up where she had left off and shortly after  began to study abstract painting, gradually  moving away from the traditional landscape and western style of her past .

 A favorite quote of McBrien-Lee, “I don’t start with a color order, but find the colors as I go”  by Helen Frankenthaler is a mantra she lives by. While sometimes an abstract is just an abstract, this artist also explores subjects including current events or issues that we face on a daily basis.   Dee has always loved getting fully immersed in her medium and paints with intention as well as just applying color to canvas and letting the mood and the piece take her where it may.  Preferring  bold color and line combined with many layers to create the finished pieces she seeks to create a mood or draw a reaction with her work and strives to create a dialog amongst her viewers.  She loves to experiment with textures and while acrylic is her preferred medium, she works with just about everything in an exploratory and experimental way.  The list of artists that have influenced her work is long but a sampling includes Klee, Diebenkorn, Klimt and Matisse.

McBrien-Lee was  a founding Partner and former owner/artist at the Red Chair Gallery in Bend, Oregon from 2010 through 2018. She has been juried in to various regional and local shows and her work can be found in private collections from coast to coast and in Europe.

To see more of Dee McBrien-Lee’s work check out her website