Painting is more than just art

Heidi Rice
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Chad Spangler Post Independent

RIFLE, Colorado ” To some people who look up from westbound Interstate 70 to the right while driving by Skip Hutton’s home at the top of Third Street, the painting on the roof of his barn may just look like a black horse.

But for those who served in the Army’s 11th Armored Cavalry, the symbol of the black horse with the white and red background will be immediately recognized as the “Black Horse Red Unit” insignia.

Hutton, 62, was born and raised in a building right behind where Mancinelli’s Pizza now sits in the 800 block of Railroad Avenue. His grandparents came to Rifle in the 1930s and he has family members that live in Meeker and Rifle.

He commissioned local photographer and artist, Jen Sanborn, of the Sanborn Studio on Third Street, to do the painting on three metal panels.

Sanborn, with a mask on her face to protect her from the fumes, looked more like a storm trooper than a painter as she stood on a scaffold in her studio to paint the life-sized reproduction of the unit’s patch.

“I’ve always appreciated her work,” Hutton said, as he watched her paint. “She lives in the house (on East Avenue) that my grandparents lived in. Initially I tried to sketch the drawing out, but that’s when I turned it over to Jen.”

Hutton’s friend, Kevin Barnes, was also present in the studio. Barnes, a retired Green Beret, was one of Hutton’s platoon sergeants while the two were in the cavalry unit.

Hutton served in the Army from 1965 to 1992, but spent 11 years ” from 1974 to 1985 ” in the unit as a service officer and was stationed in Germany after the war

“For one third of that time I was with this unit and that’s why this (painting) is so special to me,” Hutton said.

The unit started as a horse calvary 110 years ago.

“There’s probably more guys from the unit right here in Rifle,” Barnes said.

Now retired, Hutton is still active in many local civic activities.

“I do my own thing,” he shrugged. “I was involved with the Centennial celebration and Holly Days and the (Garfield County) Air Fair.”

Then he added with a laugh.

“And I’m the most eligible bachelor in town.”

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