While it's not Sedona, Ariz., it is well known that Delta County is home to a cornucopia of gifted and talented people, fine artists of various genre and medium, performing artists, artisans, musicians, crafters and others. It is also widely known that the North Fork and Surface Creek valleys of Delta County have more than their fair share of talented individuals.
And, while artists often search out, find and relocate to remote but beautiful places in which to work and live — such as the small towns located in the shadow of the Grand Mesa — oftentimes the world has difficulty in locating these gifted artists and the extraordinary art they create.
Difficult economic times also pose a challenge to artists. So it is no wonder that five world class artists from Cedaredge and Hotchkiss — Tracy Munson, "Cat" Deuter, Travis Jardon, Dale Russell Smith and Barbara Churchley — have come together to teach and encourage aspiring artists on the creativity process. While they pass along their experience of going from inspiration to the finished work of art, they are also persevering in their own pursuit of excellence. The goal is to perpetuate and promote the fine arts for future generations to enjoywhile at the same time making their art more visible to the world.
Dubbed the "Thunder Mountain Fine Artists," their list of accomplishments, awards, and recognitions (locally, regionally, nationally and internationally) is impressive, especially for "small town" artists.
Since moving to Cedaredge, Churchley has become a nationally recognized, "en plen-aire" (painting produced out of doors in natural light) artist, finding inspiration in western Colorado and in the world around her. Her pastel and oil paintings reflect her personal connection with the western landscape she lives in. Churchley's artistic talents and her passion for the outdoors has taken her to the summit of all of Colorado's famous"fourteeners," and around the world, where she has explored the landscape "up close and personal" through multiple marathons, hikes, and backpack trips. Churchley was recently juried into the 2011 Colorado Pastel Society Mile High International Exhibition in Denver from Aug. 20 – Sept. 16. She was also juried into the prestigious 12th annual American Impressionist Society National Exhibition. Her work was selected from over 1,400 entries and will be shown at Mountainsong Galleries in Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif., from Oct. 21 to Nov.15, and was recently awarded honorable mention at this year's Alpine Artists Holiday in Ouray.
Deuter is a well known extraordinarily gifted and accomplished local artist remembered for her distinctively beautiful and delicate paintings of NativeAmericans. Deuter said she is, for the most part, self taught with no formal training as an artist. While living in South Dakota she began doing portraits of Native Americans, especially the children, for which she is now famous. Her technique with colored pencils, watercolor and pastels creates a photographic quality, lifelike painting, rich in detail and color. Her work with animals and her almost obsessive attention to detail created paintings so lifelike that people often reach out to touch them. With a passion for the beauty she finds in the natural world, Deuter paints scenery with the same attention to detail, resulting in landscapes that look all too real. Today she paints using images from photographs that she personally has taken. "Cat" (as she is known by her friends) took 2nd place in pastels and honorable mention for an oil painting at this year's Alpine Artist Holiday in Ouray.
An extraordinarily gifted artist, Colorado native Dale Russell Smith has been a professional artist for over 40 years, working in all phases of advertising, graphic design, illustration, and photography for many years before directing all of his efforts toward fine art, specifically transparent watercolor. Almost every day he can be found painting at his studio in a 100-year-old farmhouse located on Cedar Mesa, just outside of Cedaredge. Throughout his career, Smith has received numerous awards and was chosen as the featured artist in the 2007 summer edition of the premier art magazine, "American Artist - Watercolor." Russell was awarded the Best of Show award at the 18th annual Red River Watercolor Society Show, at Hjemkomst Gallery, Moorhead, Minn. He was also juried into the Rocky Mountain National Water Media Show at the Foothills Art Center, Golden, from Sept. 17 – Nov. 6, and was just awarded Best in Show at the Alpine Artists Holiday.
Also a Colorado native, Hotchkiss resident Travis Jardon was a naval flight officer for the United States Marine Corps from 1970-1992 before pursuing his passion for oil painting at the age of 40. A graduate of Delta High School, Jardon has studied with such notables as landscape artists Robert Harper and Gordon Brown. He has also taken workshops from Michael Lynch, Scott Christensen, Dennis Sheehan and Michael Workman. Jardon brings a subtle power and depth to his oil paintings through the technique of layering. Jardon uses a variety of approaches to help convey the light, atmosphere and mood that he seeks in each of his paintings.
Cedaredge resident Tracy Munson is a well-known bronze sculptor whose work has been displayed in exhibitions throughout the state and across the nation. Munson's bronze sculpture of a mountain lion, "Catching the Scent," was among the first pieces acquired by the Public Art eXperience (PAX) for the City of Montrose's permanent collection. For a period of time Munson worked at the Land's End Sculpture Center in Paonia where she gained an intimate working knowledge of bronze. In addition to her work as a sculptor, Munson has branched out to creating jewelry and paintings. One of the Western Slope's premier artists, Munson's belief that "all life is sacred" is reflected in her art and her life. Munson said she hopes to do more mythological pieces. "I've always wanted to be a mermaid," she smiled. As a gallery owner (Munson's Main Street Gallery, in Cedaredge), an acclaimed sculptor, teacher and student, Munson has a unique perspective on art and its effect on people's lives, their spirits and the economy.
This group obviously enjoys each other's company and the camaraderie unique to artists, and they are excited with their collaboration. They plan to have at least one major exhibition every year, with their first show scheduled to take place at the Around the Corner Art Gallery, located at 447 E. Main St, in Montrose, beginning with an artist reception on Aug. 5. Their collective works will remain on display at the Around the Corner Art Gallery through Aug. 31.blog comments powered by Disqus