She’s a Glenwood Springs Fall Art Festival original |

She’s a Glenwood Springs Fall Art Festival original

John Stroud Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Sally Thompson has seen Glenwood Springs’ fall art extravaganza grow from about 60 artists during its humble beginnings 47 years ago to some 400 artists in recent years.

Even though the number of participants is down this year, likely due to the economy, it remains as one of the biggest, if not the biggest, nonjuried art show in Colorado.

“We’ve been pleased with how it’s done over the years,” said Thompson during a break from her volunteer duties Thursday at the 47th annual Fall Art Festival, taking place at the Ramada Inn through Sunday.

“Some of the artists who came to that first show in 1962 are still showing,” she said. “I think that says something about the show.”

It was Thompson and a handful of Glenwood Springs artists, including friend Arlene Law, who were on the front end of organizing that first show, held at the high school. They can still be found on the front lines of organizing the festival today.

“The public is really supportive and comes out to attend and buy art,” Thompson said. “I enjoy seeing the schoolchildren come through with their classes.”

As a charter member of the Glenwood Springs Art Guild, which sponsors the art festival every year, Thompson has also entered her own paintings in each show since that first year.

She is mostly painting in watercolor these days, including a method called “gouache resist” using black India ink to fill in the exposed parts of the watercolor paper.

“It’s really exciting to watch and see what happens,” Thompson said.

She paints “whatever catches my eye,” she said, but mostly florals and landscapes and the occasional portrait.

Among her favorite portrait was of a young girl admiring an old time piano player at the hotel in Silverton. The painting won a blue ribbon in the Fall Art Festival one year, and now hangs over Thompson’s own piano.

“I just enjoy creating,” she said. “And living in Colorado there is such beautiful scenery that inspires me to paint.”

She returned last weekend from a trip to Italy, including visits to Florence, Venice, Rome and Bologna, and is anxiously anticipating her trip photos, from which she can paint.

Originally from Ohio, Thompson has been a resident of Glenwood Springs for 51 years. She mostly paints in her home studio, but joins a group of Art Guild members who take an outdoor painting trip once a year.

In addition to her Glenwood art associations, Thompson is also a member of the Arizona Watercolor Society, and enters a number of shows there every year.

“One of the great things about the [Fall Art Festival] is that I’ve made so many friends, including artists from all over the state,” she said.

The 47th annual Glenwood Springs Fall Art Festival continues Friday, Saturday and Sunday, featuring more than 900 pieces of artwork by nearly 300 different artists from around the region.

The exhibit takes place in the downstairs galleries at the Ramada Inn, 124 W. Sixth St., and proceeds from art sales go toward scholarships for graduating high school seniors and grants for art education videos, as well as art supplies for area libraries, schools and other community organizations.

Works include framed and unframed paintings, plus a wide variety of pottery and sculpture.

Gallery hours are from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. The bargain bin (items for $125 and less) remains open until 10 p.m. all three days.

Live artist demonstrations continue as well, including: Tim Wedel (clay handbuilding), 5 p.m. this evening; and Cindy Brabec-King, 2008 Grand Champion (watercolor), 1 p.m. Saturday.

For more information about the show, visit, or

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