Visitors to the Eagle Public Library will see some familiar landscapes in the September art exhibit in the community room.
The featured artist is the late Frank Foster Gates who grew up on the family ranch at Burns (northwest Eagle County) homesteaded by his father, George Albert "Bert" Gates in 1890. Gates' artistic specialty was painting landscape photos of the country he knew and loved.
Ranching was a hardscrabble life. He maintained irrigation ditches, grew hay and raised cattle for market. He and his wife, Goldie, raised five children and also took in Goldie's three younger siblings after their mother's untimely death. Frank and Goldie bought the family ranch in 1937. The Gates family still ranches the property today.
Frank Gates is remembered as a strong, kind and gentle man with a good sense of humor. He could work all day, dance all night, then ride a horse for 15 miles to fish a high country lake.
Frank's lasting legacy his art. Always gifted with artistic vision, after he turned 50 years old, Frank acquired some oil paints and canvases and began painting. He was a self-taught artist with no formal training.
His paintings are not the modern stuff requiring interpretation by an art critic. He painted what was important to him: the flat-topped mountains of the Burns country, the vista of Trapper's Lake or the solitude of a bull elk in a snow-covered mountain valley. Frank painted the West.
Frank's artwork won numerous honors in regional art shows. He sold some paintings, and gave many away to family and friends. Many locals will remember the years that Frank set up his easel and painted pictures in the Exhibit Hall at the Eagle County Fair.
Frank Gates died of cancer on Aug. 8, 1981 at the age of 78. Gates family members have loaned some of his best works for the exhibit.
The paintings will be on display throughout the month of September.