Tracy Miller Guest Artist

We had a treat in class this week - Tracy Miller, artist and owner of the Tracy Miller gallery in Manitou, gave a demo and talked about her exuberant style animals - painted in acrylic.
I have painted with Tracy in different events around Colorado and am represented in her gallery in Manitou, - but I have never been able to sit and just watch how she puts it all together.  Her colorful animals are finding their way to posters, bags, and accessories in venues like TJ Max and U Gallery, an on-line source for original artwork.
The film festival poster above is testament to the kind of attention her work is getting and she is a generous and active member of the art scene in Colorado Springs.

Using a small piece of reference, Tracy painted the little Cardinal shown above;
then using a simple compositional idea of OUR choice, she created the bison. Tracy has been drawing and painting animals for so many years that she can pull almost any animal out of her head and paint it in a way that communicates.
What a fun morning! I love to see artists work in styles so different from my own, pushing boundaries and inspiring ideas about WHAT is possible.
It is like a breath of fresh air. 
Thanks so much to Tracy for sharing with us.


Happy 2018

Happy New Year, and a special Thanks to all of my students. You keep  me motivated and you keep me learning.  I am looking forward to the year ahead and heading into new territory with subject matter, focus and new inspiration. 
The class information here is mainly for students local to my area of Colorado, but if you are not in this area, I would still encourage you to think about starting your new year with a CLASS. Getting together with others in a learning environment can  jump start creativity for the whole year. Give your self the gift of inspiration. TAKE a class.                                                                                                         
My new classes start up right after the New Year: 
Tuesday Evenings start on January 2nd, from 6:30pm to 9:30 pm.  By popular demand we will focus on animals in the landscape: design, movement and compositional story telling. If wildlife is your interest don't miss this session.                                                     
Thursday Morning classes start on January 4th, 9am to Noon and our focus will be on birds and creating interesting and lively backgrounds in small settings.
All classes meet at the Alamosa Family Recreation Center in the art studio. Beginners are welcome and all classes address foundational skills of composition, color mixing and painting technique.


Holiday Magic in Manitou

 Don't miss the Holiday 100 miniature show and sale on
Sunday, November 26th, from 1 to 4 pm.-
a festive opportunity designed to help you start  -or polish off- your holiday shopping,
- AND guaranteed to be more inspirational than pushing that behemoth shopping cart thru  a big box store.
Give ART this season - it's holds its' value (think Antiques Roadshow), your purchase supports small business, AND it shows your good taste - without having to go to Christie's and bid like a high roller.
GREAT artists will be featured at this show, with work created especially for it.  You can be sure there will be something for everyone - all very affordable - priced especially for the holidays. 
Holiday 100 miniature show and sale, 
Sunday, November 26th, from 1 to 4 pm.
at the TracyMiller Gallery, 16 Ruxton  Ave., Manitou Springs, CO.

Take a break from Black Friday madness and indulge in a trip to Manitou Springs for some holiday magic - and get some shopping done along the way.
Located at the base of the Pikes Peak Cograil and only about 15 minutes from Colorado Springs, the Tracy Miller Gallery will host the Holiday 100 show through December 31st.
These pieces here are just a few of the miniatures I painted for the show. Have a great weekend.

Manitou Paints Plein Air - October 21st

Saturday, October 21st Manitou Springs hosted the Manitou Paints Plein air Event  - special because it was open only to artists represented in Manitou Galleries.
I am represented by the TracyMiller Gallery, at 16 Ruxton  Ave.,  in Manitou and besides myself
some of the other artists on the street on Saturday were Tim Deibler, Buffalo Kaplinski, Terri Sanchez, to name a few.
From 10 am to 3 pm we met shoppers, children of all ages and so many wonderful Manitou Residents - excited to enjoy the festivities.
Many of the artists painted from the view but several, myself included painted from a sketch. See below.
 At the end of a beautiful and blustery day the artists were wined and dined as guests of the historic Avenue Hotel Bed and Breakfast.
Thanks to the merchants and galleries who planned, promoted, sponsored and supported this great event.
See more of my work at the Tracy Miller Gallery - located at 16 Ruxton near the base of the Pikes Peak Cograil and only about 15 minutes from downtown Colorado Springs.
On the left is my under painting and on the right is the finished piece, 16"x 16",  in oil on stretched canvas. It was a very fun piece to create, taken from a sketch I did in the Conejos aspens.
In my painting classes we have been experimenting with "broken color".  I got the idea for this during a class demo and was very happy with the result.


Fall Arts in Taos

TAOS is always a good idea ! -
. . . the brisk air, changing colors and the smell of chilis roasting. . .
- it's Fall in Taos.
This weekend, September 23 and 24,  marks the 43rd Annual Taos Fall Arts Festival:  visual art, performance, kid art, regional art,  and galleries in party-mode. What's not to love?

I will be in Taos on Saturday night celebrating the opening of the new show "Solace in Sanctuary",  at Wilder Nightingale Fine Art,
which will feature work from all the artists in Wilder Nightingale-  themed along the lines of New Mexico's most loved and venerated locations.  Click on this link to see more:   http://www.wnightingale.com/artists/152

This show celebrates Fall Arts and Wilder Nightingale's 27 years of service to the Taos art community.
Join us at 119-A Kit Carson Road on Saturday evening from 5 to 7 pm
or call 575-758-3255 for more information.

It is the First Day of Fall

A fresh breeze blows around my house,  like sighs at the passing of summer.  It is a little sad but on this first day of Autumn I want to celebrate - not that summer is gone but that a pretty good consolation is still ahead.
David Montgomery, Susan McCullough and myself went up into the high country around Creede this last week - witnesses to the rush of the new season. We enjoyed painting 3 days in beautiful weather and fabulous views. Don't miss it if you have a chance; this next week will see the peak of color around the San Juans.


In Praise of MESSY Painting

I taught 4 workshops this summer and I could not keep track of how many times I heard this apology, "my painting is really messy".
Just last week in class, I found myself explaining to a new painter who has a very distinctive technique - why she should not be  "cleaning up her act".
Why is it - everyone wants to be LOOSE, but unwilling to be MESSY?
We see "loose" as confident, maybe even disciplined, but messy is just . . . . messy.
or is it just. . . loose?
I am not a messy painter - but I keep workin' at it.
Maybe, it's because the more homogenized and tidy work I see- the more BORED I get.  My bent toward plein air painting is largely because it CAN be direct, passionate, and just this side of totally out of control.
Save the tight and tidy work for the studio.
But that is just me . . . .
So if you have a gift for "messy painting" - embrace it.  Don't compare your work with your neighbor's;  focus on the foundational skills:  design, value, strong shapes, color mastery -
and your work will improve naturally.
Those things that make you cringe today - tomorrow could be a gold mine.

Always be a learner.

This is my class demo from our morning in the park.

I have enclosed links to some painters who move in the fabulously "messy" vein.
Diane Ainsworth  http://dianeainsworth.com/workszoom/2317119

Nicolai Fechin  http://www.taosartmuseum.org/fechin.html

Walt Gonske http://waltgonske.com/workszoom/1498434

Ulrich Gleiter    http://www.ulrichgleiter.com


Painters Day OUT

 Thursday was the first plein air class meeting of the season. A beautiful day,  12 painters in the landscape, including a couple of absolute beginners, brave and enthusiastic- BRAVO!
We took it very easy.
Sometimes the adjustment from studio painting to the great outdoors - can be a jarring one - so it is good to encourage each other, and be kind to ourselves. Not too much judging or analysis going on - just a day in the park, so to speak.

Many of us will spend a heck of a lota time this summer doing chores, going to Walmart (I AM sorry about that)- taking care of business or just trying to stay out of trouble (I speak for myself here)
SO - what could be better than a dedicated time OUTSIDE enjoying our beautiful Colorado landscape?
If you are a painter, but there has never been the time . . . . .
or a beginner wanting to learn something new - come out and paint in and around Alamosa all of July and August.
Two great opportunities: Tuesday Evenings, 6:30pm to 9pm
and Thursday Mornings, 9am to noon.
It is $15. to drop-in on a class or you can register for the entire session at the Alamosa Family Recreation Center. Call them at 719-589- 2105.
Locations for WHERE we will be meeting each week will be posted on this BLOG - over to the right.


Plein Air Summer

Painting outdoors is one of the most gratifying ways to experience the amazing Colorado summer. Join a group or take advantage of a class that will get you OUT there.
This Thursday, July 6th (9am to noon) the Alamosa Painting class will start its summer Plein Air session. It is a good time to test the skills you have been honing all year and pit yourself against the ACTUAL landscape - in one of the most beautiful places in the world, Colorado.

Thursday morning class starts at 9am, July 6th and that first meeting will be at the Alamosa Family Rec Center. We will talk about supplies, do some painting and hand out schedules of all the dates and locations for where we will be painting in July and August.
Tuesday Evening class starts at 6:30pm, July 11th and will also meet at the Rec Center for that first meeting, to go over information and pass out painting schedules.

Set your sites on getting the most out of our short summer by being in the landscape.
Our painting locations are in and around Alamosa for varied views of the mountains and the river.
If learning the knack for SUNSETS is your goal- come along for the Tuesday Evening class, which never disappoints.

Painters Drop-in Fee in $15.- paid to Coni at the start of the class.
Let the SUMMER begin.


Party Time in Taos, with Louise Minks

 On June 10th, myself and several painters from Alamosa went down to Taos to celebrate a wonderful opening for Louise Minks at Wilder Nightingale Fine Art.
It was a pleasure to also celebrate her 75th birthday, eat cupcakes and finally close the show evening with a wonderful dinner in Taos, under the stars.
Louise Minks lives in Massachusetts but comes to New Mexico every spring to teach for a week at Ghost Ranch. - something to think about if you are looking for a good reason to go to Ghost Ranch . . . .
I was thrilled by her work the very first time I saw it in the gallery. I also show my work in Wilder Nightingale - and over the years have been fortunate enough to get to know Louise as a friend.  She is one of those people who inspires everyone she comes in contact with.

Her work is currently being featured at Wilder Nightingale Fine Art- on Kit Carson - and absolutely worth the drive to Taos.  There is a wonderful display of small works done en plein air and also larger studio pieces, such as the one in the photo below.
The photo above shows Louise in front of a wall of her work, together with Rob Nightingale.
Louise may live in the East but she captures the soul of New Mexico with a visual wisdom that is, both witty and innovative.
Thanks Louise.