The Aspen Plein Air Invitational is growing on me. The area is a vast mixture of scenic alpine drives, intimate cascading creeks, old growth stands of aspen trees, glaciated and exposed granite massifs, and the meeting of one of the oldest mountain ranges with one of the youngest mountain ranges, the Sawatch Range intertwined with the Northern Elks Range. The combination of these elements makes the area one of the best in CO. Carl Ortman, Bill Cramer, Jason Sacran, Greg Barnes and I all camped at Lincoln Gulch Campground off of Independence Pass. Literally 50 feet behind The Starry Starry Night (the raised up casita camper toy hauler of mine), was the most beautiful scene of Lincoln Creek cutting through giant glaciated granite. I did a 20×24 of the scene one morning with Bill Cramer and Jason Sacran which was one of the highlights of my Summer and a real gift from the Universe to paint alongside these fantastic painters. I decided from the experience, that I needed to go huge with the scene, so the next morning I set up my large format easel to paint a 36×48. I spent two mornings on that painting but also made my way around the Roaring Fork Valley as well as Aspen proper to do many others during the week. We took baths in the Devil’s Punchbowl at least once a day. My baths usually involve a gainer or a backflip into the gorgeous concave pool. Devil’s Punchbowl Bath..click here! The Devil’s Punchbowl is on the Aspen side of Independence Pass on a pulloff with about 6 parking spaces near the Grottos Day Use Area. A fantastic stop for a refreshing dip, or just to witness the power of Water, Gravity, and Time!! Another early morning I hiked up around Maroon Bells Lake and up to Crater Lake. I met a number of hikers that stopped to look and chat, and I fell in love with the alpine wilderness back there. This fall towards the end of September, I’m planning a backpacking trip through the Marron Bells Wilderness loop, so be on the lookout for the update on that trip!!
The event sales have gotten better and better over the past three years despite the lackluster commitment of the Wheeler Opera House. Because of the eternal beauty of the area and the affluence that lives there, I can’t understand why we don’t get absolutely inundated with buyers at this show…Here’s my two cents on why.. The Sheridan Opera House out of Telluride, CO is the organization that runs the Telluride Plein Air Invitational and Aspen’s Invitational. They are asking for cooperation from the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen. Well, the Wheeler doesn’t really need any help and doesn’t really need to help any one. They are completely worry free due to a town vote that included some sort of diversion of city taxes to restore and keep up the opera house. So being city employees and quite understandably I might add, they don’t want to increase their workload in order to benefit the Sheridan Opera House out of Telluride, a rival ski town to add insult to injury. So the Sheridan does the best they can to get a remote and rival town to accept their idea. They do some PR with the local newspaper and slowly but surely sales do seem to be on the rise at this show. It turns out to be mostly general foot traffic tooling around Aspen rather than the movie stars and uber CEOs and that around, so there is a definitive price cap which disappoints some artists. Being well within this cap, I tend to sell well and make some great connections there. Below is the body of work from the week..ENJOY!!