For 50 years, the Glenwood Springs Fall Art Festival has offered artists of all ages and abilities an opportunity to showcase their talents.
One of the youngest artists to display their work this year is 12-year-old Donovan Hill of Silt. Hill is a sixth-grader at Riverside Middle School in New Castle. At the age of 9, he took a pottery class at Colorado Mountain College and was encouraged by his teacher and "a lady named Portia," to enter one of his creations in the art show.
The teapot Hill entered, named "Piggy's Pour" because "it kind of looked like a snout," won the juror's choice award at the art festival that year, further sparking his interest in art.
He has since switched to painting, creating mixed media pictures from photographs.
"I take a picture, do a (watercolor) wash, sketch in with pencil, and fill in the details with paint," Hill said.
For this year's show, Hill is entering three paintings: A picture of a hummingbird titled "Tweet on Twig," a miniature painting of a duck titled "Golden-Eye" in a special miniature category, and a picture of explorer John Cabot's sailing ship.
"In fifth grade, I did a project about John Cabot and did a lot of research," Hill said. The research inspired a painting of the ship, which he calls "Ready for the Voyage."
Hill, who lives with his great-grandparents south of Silt, is also actively involved in 4-H shooting sports and woodworking, enjoys cross-country skiing, and plays trombone in the school band. He aspires to be an electrician, thanks to the influence of his great-grandfather. To further his artistic ability, he plans to begin working with oil paints next.
Parachute artist Lillian Wyant has been entering her paintings in the Fall Art Festival for the past seven years. She's been painting for more than 25 years.
"The first time I entered this show, I went on the say-so of a friend," Wyant said.
She entered at the professional level, even though she could have entered at a lower level.
"I just didn't feel right going back after the first year," Wyant said.
"The Glenwood show is a wonderful collection of artists from all over the state. It's great for those who are just starting to collect art," she added. "There's a wide variety at reasonable prices from up-and-coming artists. I'm amazed at some of the wonderful work in the amateur category."
Wyant has placed third in portraiture and earned a couple honorable mentions at the festival, as well as receiving awards at other area art shows for her oil paintings. Her specialty is plein air paintings, where the artist paints outside on location. She mostly does landscapes.
"I started painting with glazes, like the old masters," Wyant explained. "I noticed that every time a painting caught my eye, it was by the same artist [Ken Auster]. I took a workshop with him, and it was devastating. Everything changed."
Plein air painting adds variables studio artists don't have to contend with as they work.
"You feel the emotion of the scene and have to work with lighting that changes as you paint. From that week on [after the workshop], I was frustrated with painting from photographs," Wyant said. "I have more failures than successes, but I get more satisfaction from my successes now."
Wyant does not have a degree in art, but tries to take a workshop every year.
"I didn't start painting until I was in my 40s," she added. "It's never too late to start doing what you love."
Wyant has two paintings entered in this year's professional category at the Fall Art Festival, titled "Autumn Glow" and "Mountain Majesty."
The annual art festival is the only fundraiser for the Glenwood Springs Art Guild, which provides scholarships to high school seniors and continuing education scholarships for college students pursing careers in the art world or who are artistically inclined. In addition, the guild supplies art materials and books to area schools, libraries and other organizations.
"It's probably the largest non-juried art show in the country. Whoever wants to enter, and is willing to pay the entry fee, can," said Ruth Mollman, purchase patron chair for the festival. "We have almost 300 artists this year. "
A few thousand people, or more, will go through the show during the five days it's open, Mollman said. Many are from out of town or out of state.
Admission to the art show, held at the Ramada Inn in Glenwood Springs, is free and the public is invited to purchase the works on display. Purchase patrons, who agree to buy at least one piece of art at any price from the show, get to meet the artists and enjoy a special private showing the day before the show opens to the public.
"You can sign up to be a patron until Sept. 24," Mollman said. She can be reached at 970-876-5874, or 970-319-0062.
The "bargain bin," containing artist-submitted works not included in this year's competition, opens at 8 a.m. Wednesday. The galleries open for viewing at 3 p.m. the same day. Live demonstrations by various artists will be held throughout the show.
View the complete schedule at www.glenwoodspringsartguild.com.