Douglas John Arneson — An American Artist |

Douglas John Arneson — An American Artist

Longtime Roaring Fork Valley resident and artist Douglas John Arneson died at his home in Ft. Collins on March 31. He was 64.

Doug was born in Decorah, Iowa, to Gordon and Virginia Arneson. He was the eldest of four, survived by his twin brother Dean, sister Janann, brother David, and his father. He is also survived by his wife Jeni and stepson Kyle See, both of whom he carried a great love for, as well as members of Jeni’s family including his parents-in-law, Betty and Nick Coates, and sisters-in-law Kim Coates (children Sarah Horn and Jackson Horn) and Candy Wallace (son Stephen), brothers and sisters-in-law George and Margaret Byers (daughter Maggie Beth) and Jeff and Julianna Coates (children Keegan, Sasha and Mia). Doug is also survived by his nieces Ivy Arneson and Krystin Arneson and his nephews Noah Arneson, Mathew Misner (wife Amanda), Chris Misner (children Elvin and Ella), as well as his former sister-in-law Lisa Manzano. He was preceded in death by his mother.

In many ways he lived the life of a struggling artist, but he did so with grace, dignity and intention. He considered himself blessed to have found his community of fellow artists who were soon to become lifelong friends. Below are excerpts from his biography on his website,

“After growing up in Boulder, CO, I came to the Roaring Fork Valley in the early 1970s after two unfocused years in college, to live on a ranch, ski and paint houses in Aspen. It was sort of a lost decade, although somewhere along the way I became more interested in painting pictures than painting houses.

In the early 1980s, my then-new artist- friend, Dean Bowlby, suggested I take a figure-drawing class taught by a fellow named Daniel Sprick. I did, and it worked out really well! I took that class for eight years in a row and along the way, discovered my love of traditional, academic art with its foundations cemented in strong drawing skills. Over two decades the three of us taught that class, at one time or another, at Colorado Mountain College in Glenwood Springs.

In 1992, my wonderful wife Jeni and I were married. I was beginning to have a modicum of success in galleries, magazine exposure, received a few awards, juried into national and international shows. Life was good. Unfortunately during this time Jeni began living with health problems that continue to plague her to this day, and then in 2010 I was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis after a series of seizures. I spent a month in the hospital (two weeks in the ICU) and spent two and a half years taking seven medications that disrupted my productivity immensely. I became depressed and ultimately made the choice to stop taking the meds, read the Bible and put my faith in God.”

Truly the great love that he had for Jeni and his faith in God were what made his life so content and happy. The success and friendships he enjoyed as an artist just added to his joy.

The family will be planning a celebration of Doug’s life and work in Glenwood Springs later this summer.

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