Monday, February 8, 2010

Colorado Mountain Plein Air Fest


My painting setup next to the Arkansas River

In September, fellow artist Ken Chapin and I participated in this annual competition in the mighty Sawatch and Sangre de Cristo mountains. The constantly changing weather made for great photography but perhaps the toughest painting conditions I've ever faced. We had rain or snow every day and the lighting never settled down for a minute. We got started on top of Monarch Pass at sunrise in freezing rain, the sun cutting in and out of ragged drifting clouds. It was the highest elevation I'd ever painted (11,312 ft.) During the week our painting efforts took us to locations along the Arkansas River and it's tributaries, to a waterfall, an abandoned mining town and getting caught in a sudden blizzard at Great Sand Dunes National Park. We didn't win any hardware at the gallery show but Ken did win 1st place in a 'paint out' in Buena Vista. Big thanks to artist, Joshua Been for organizing the event and loaning me his tripod.

Mt Aetna from Monarch Pass at sunrise, 8x10, oils

Ken Chapin putting down those first brushstrokes

Arkansas River near Buena Vista, 9 x 12, oils

Painting always attracts curious onlookers

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