Local landscapes to be depicted in ‘Close to Home’ exhibition at CMC Rifle
If You Go...
Who: Local artists Dean Bowlby, Lanny Grant, Jane Lee, Andy Taylor and Dan Young
What: ‘Close to Home’ opening arists reception
When: 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday (exhibit open through Jan. 10)
Where: Colorado Mountain College in Rifle
How Much: Free
A new art exhibit at Colorado Mountain College in Rifle aims to highlight the beauty that lies right in your backyard.
“Close to Home” features landscape work from five professional artists living in the valley: Dean Bowlby, Lanny Grant, Jane Lee, Andy Taylor and Dan Young. These landscapes are special, though, because they depict scenes you can find with a short drive and a little sense of adventure.
“I like the idea of the theme of painting close to home,” said Grant, who lives in Silt. “I think everybody takes a lot for granted. Artists are the ones who point out the obvious in their paintings.”
Alice Beauchamp, director of the CMC ArtShare gallery, said the idea for the exhibit came about during a conversation she had with Dan Young. They originally wanted to do a show of Young’s landscapes, but it snowballed from there into including other artists living and working in the valley.
“It was such an interesting idea to feature landscapes from our area,” Beauchamp said. “All five artists are just very good, and these are our neighbors.”
Young grew up in Glenwood Springs before moving to Denver, Phoenix and Dallas. After coming home to visit over the summers, he realized he missed the valley and moved back to Glenwood in 1989. He has lived in Silt for 12 years.
The artist warily gave up his favorite secret place to paint: a spot along the Silt River Preserve, where deer, turkeys, bald eagles and other wildlife enhance the already gorgeous landscape.
“A lot of the pieces in this show are from that river preserve, and a lot of people don’t even know it’s there,” Young said.
That highlights one of the exciting aspects of an exhibition of this nature: Not everyone will recognize every scene depicted in the paintings. These artists have gone off the beaten path and found hidden gems that some residents may not even be aware of.
“You make plans to go somewhere to paint, and you end up never making it there because there are so many places along the way that turn your neck,” said Bowlby, who also grew up in Glenwood Springs and has since moved to Silt. “Every day is kind of a surprise, which makes it nice to go to work.”
One thing Bowlby likes about painting local landscapes it that it keeps him honest.
“It’s really nice because you can’t tell too many tall tales when you’re painting what’s right outside the door,” Bowlby said. “But you don’t need to around here anyway because it’s so beautiful.”
Bowlby said many artists he knows who live in the valley moved away for a while before coming back, himself included.
“I think most of the people that grow up in a little town and think, ‘I’ve got to get out of here,’ realize ‘here’ is not such a bad place,” Bowlby said. “It kind of keeps beckoning people back, I think.”
Grant said the fact that he and the other four artists are natives of the valley adds authenticity to the work at this exhibit.
“These people live close to nature, and each of the artists in this group is very dedicated to that,” Grant said.
Whether locals recognize the scenes or not, Young said he hopes seeing their backyard depicted in a piece of art will give them a new perspective on their home.
“It hopefully gives people an appreciation for the beauty that’s right outside their door,” Young said.
All the work in the “Close to Home” exhibition is for sale. Dan Young and Andy Taylor are represented by the Ann Korologos Gallery in Basalt.
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