Telluride , Co used to be a mining town with iffy prospects...tellurium anyone? But because of its snow pack and amazing natural beauty it has become a winter/summer nest for the well heeled who have built "cabins" that put some palaces to shame. The town has a pioneering, hippie and major bucks vibe. Charming indeed.
It also is the seat of Telluride Plein Air, an event modeled after Sonoma Plein Air , a brainchild of Keith Wicks. Painting in Telluride is both easy an difficult. Easy because every corner is a painting waiting to be made. Difficult because Telluride is not really close -it took me two days of driving and nineteen hours of car to get here- and the altitude can play tricks on ones' health. I was very lucky to be juried in this year nevertheless. The event benefits the Sheridan Opera Foundation which restored its homonym building and maintains it.
My roommate at the house I was staying was the phenomenally talented Thomas Kitts. Here he is posing with the result of the 1 1/2 hour Quick Draw. So I got to learn a lot from a master just by being here. He taught me , for example, not to ever again introduce myself as "a person with another job that finds his/her escape through events like these." He is right. Even if you have another job , the pros have a bit of unease for artists that participate in these events as an aside. Some think hey tend to undermine them with low prices, unrealistic expectations and nibbling at their collectors base.
Here is the entrance to the Opera building during the Quick Draw. Calling it an opera is a bit misleading because beautiful as the building is...well, I don't think is Opera-ready. But for BlueGrass it will do fine. The energetic staff of the event were on hand for our orientation where all the nitty-gritty details about the horrid parking, the grueling schedule and pizza were dispatched.
I think Joshua Been's motorcycle below was one of the best pieces even though he didn't get the award. He was smart to pick a subject matter that , although intricate, is manageable in the short period of time.
Tomorrow is the gala and artists reception. The harder part of this grueling three days is over. I painted in some very difficult conditions with relentless gale-force winds, a lot of rain and hail or a baking sun. But the environment is so magnificent you just want to paint every aspen, elk, peak, poppy or victorian home. Even the gas stations is kind of cute.