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Eye on Artists

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Editors note: Artist Carmel Waldens portraits of nature, original watercolors, and fine art gicle prints will be displayed at Carmels Christmas Show from 3-6 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at Sacred Grounds Coffee Shop in downtown Glenwood Springs. Her work will also be featured at the Georgetown Winter Market from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 2-3 and 9-10 on historic Sixth Street in Georgetown. View her work at http://www.waldenwatercolors.com.Name: Carmel WaldenCity/hometown: I grew up in Glenwood Springs, but now live in New Castle and hang out at our ranch above Gypsum as much as possible.Occupation: Watercolor artistBackground/education: Bachelors degree in fine art from Westmont College in Santa Barbara; masters in psychology from Regis UniversityFamily information: My parents are Linda and Bill Walden, and my sisters are Glenwood locals Crystal Roney and Rachael Carcaterra. I just got married to Shannon Poland in May, and adopted a cat and dog to go with the horse, so I feel like a big family gal now.Is there a story behind your first name? My parents were actually living in Africa right before I was born and were fond of two ladies there, both named Carmel. I like the connection to Mt. Carmel, a mysterious, beautiful and inspiring Biblical place.When did you know you wanted to become an artist? I always loved and actually felt a need to create, ever since I was a little kid. What Ive created changed day to day (drawings one day, forts the next, costumes the next, then sculptures, then funky furniture, then paintings ). Its always been magic for me to see something beautiful come from nothing.In what way does nature speak to you as an artist? I wasnt happy with any of my paintings until I figured out that I needed to paint what moved me, and thats nature. When I am outside and take the time to open my eyes, something always seems to hit me with a wallop of emotion. Its such a mysterious, amazing gift and when this happens I know Ive got something to paint.Most memorable exhibit: I think it was about 1998. I had been down on the Navajo Reservation for a few months painting, soaking up the desert beauty, and trying to get some courage in life. I came back and had a little show at the Eagle Public Library. I was shaking in my boots to show anyone my work and was blown away by the fact that people came and nobody laughed at me! If my friends and family hadnt showered me with support, I might have given up the idea of making my art public.Whats one of your favorite subjects, and why? I keep coming back to wildflowers. Some might think they are trite or girly but I think that idea might come from trite and girly paintings of them. The more you study these fragile sparks of color, the more you see their power and are amazed by their complexity. Why we dont take time to be amazed by them more, I have no idea.What exactly is the gicle (pronounced ji-clay) process? Gicles are fine-art quality reproductions. With modern technology, these prints are made through a digital process. The original work is photographed or scanned and then printed on fine art materials with incredible color saturation and definition. Because I am a watercolor artist, my pieces are printed on watercolor paper, while other artists print theirs on canvas or other mediums. The result is practically indistinguishable from the original art.What is the best part of being an artist in Colorado? The beauty of course, but also the people. I do about 20 shows a year all over the state and continue to be amazed by the warmth of the people and their respect for nature. I just hope we can work together to keep this incredible state beautiful.Which three artists, living or dead, would you like to spend a weekend working with? I come from a long line of artists on both my dad and moms side. I cant imagine how cool it would be to go back into time and work with my great grandparents!Describe your art in one word: PrayerfulIf you could only have one piece of art hanging in your living room, what would it be? Tough one. Maybe one of my nieces paintings. There is something so raw and genuine about kids work, before they begin to attach their egos.If you were another person or animal in a past life, who or what would you be? I dont know, but if it were possible, I would love to come back in a future life and be an eagle or hawk just for a day. There is a particular waterfall in Arizona I want to soar over.FavoritesColor: Brown (the color of life: Our soil and our skin, light and dark!)Medium: Watercolor, though I would love to do more bronze sculpture again.Movie: Hard one. At the moment, Secondhand LionsBook: The New TestamentFood: Trout, wild berries and home-grown potatoesWildflower: There is a type of giant Primrose at our ranch that only blooms at night, is soft as satin and smells like sweet lemons really!Animal: HorsePoem/poet: Robert Frost. He had a finger on the peace I want in my paintings. Ive got to paint those woods on a snowy evening.Song: Today its Kris Kristoffersons, How To Beat the Devil. Its about fighting the temptation to quit sharing your creativity.Place to paint in Colorado: Our family ranch. Its all Aspens and wildflowers, snarly trees and ponds and wind and wild creatures. I could paint something different on the place every day and only see more the next.