| VailDaily.com

Pearl scholar, harvester and jewelry designer Koji Kawamoto visits Vail

Koji Kawamoto will be at Karats Vail on Dec. 20-24, showcasing his newest work.
Art Magazine/Courtesy photo

Pearl lovers will not want to miss Koji Kawamoto and his vast collection of extraordinary creations. He will be at Karats Vail on Dec. 20-24, showcasing his newest work.

The jewelry artist lectures throughout the world about the origins and different types of pearls and how they are cultivated. Harvesting, however, is what Kawamoto enjoys most.

“It’s the birth of a baby,” Kawamoto explained. “Just one out of 100 pearls comes out beautiful.”

Kawamoto’s designs may include Tahitian, South Sea, Golden or, perhaps, natural pearls.

It almost a given that Koji Kawamoto would work in the pearl industry. He grew up in Mie Prefecture, a small village in Japan where the process of culturing pearls was first discovered in 1893. What set Koji apart from others in the village, who would go on to work in the industry, was his innate, creative talent and the love of the magnificent gems found near his home. Today, he is considered, not only a pearl expert, but also a noted jewelry designer whose knowledge of the gems is coveted by clients and jewelers worldwide.

The artificial cultivation technique of pearls, which was established in the 20th century, developed in the Shima Peninsula at the southern part of Mie Prefecture, a place with an intricately indented coastline. The area provided an ideal environment for pearl culture because of the calm waters of sheltered inlets, gently warmed by offshore currents — an ideal environment for pearl culture.

Ago Bay, in particular, from ancient times has been a home for pearl oysters, which in Japan are called akoyagai.

“We believe that pearls are amulets, which protect you and your family,” Kawamoto said. “I feel responsible for introducing the beauty of nature all over the world, and am very happy to do that. You just cherish them and your family will be protected.”

Pearl farming is a fascinating two-step process. The first is the cultivation of pearl oysters such as akoyagai. Then, to produce a cultured pearl, a tiny bead is inserted in each oyster, when it is 2 or 3 years old, on which lustrous nacre is formed around the bead. The oysters are then left suspended in the sea from rafts for a year and checked twice a month for seaweed and other types of mollusk. In winter, the shells are opened and the pearls removed.

From earrings, pendants, rings or necklaces, Koji is very specific about making sure a client gets the pearl that “talks” to her.

“When I make jewelry pieces, I always think about the buyer’s eye color, hair color and skin tone, even her personality.” And, he will do just that — lead you to a piece that’s “you” from a selection that he’s already created and is showcasing. That is his specialty.

Kawamoto uses a plethora of pearls with various tones, shapes and color. For instance, the South Sea cultured pearl, produced by an unusually large saltwater oyster, is known as the queen of pearls and is endeared for its subtle, feminine hues and luster.

The Tahitian cultured pearl, frequently dubbed the black pearl, actually runs the gamut of grays — from light flannel to dark charcoal with overtones of purple, green and blue — more alluringly called “peacock,” eggplant, sea foam and pistachio.

The golden pearl, known for its depth of color, is very expensive and very rare. It is for those who are seeking a pearl that is rare, refined and enduring.

But it is the Akoya pearl, considered the “cream of the (cultured world) crop” and naturally exhibits the most intense luster of any white, round saltwater pearl, that is Kawamoto’s favorite.

“If you don’t have any pearls, Akoya is the first one to get,” he said. “It is the most classic white pearl with pinkish overtones.”

Kawamoto’s knowledge and enthusiasm about pearls and his work is apparent in his eclectic designs.

And what is the best way to take care of pearls?

“The best way, is to cherish them,” Kawamoto said.


Letter: Vail needs to live up to its promise to Children’s Garden

A promise made should be a promise kept. A promise made many years ago demonstrated the commitment made by the town of Vail to its children. In 1978, the Town Council recognized the value of “high quality early childhood education” and included this in the first of many contracts the nonprofits (Learning Tree and ABC School) entered into to care and educate the valley’s children.

I was a founder, teacher and director of Learning Tree from 1978 to 2002. The two schools financed and constructed their first buildings on the Mt. Bell site which they rented for $1 per year. They operated and maintained their facilities for over 20 years. The two original schools merged as Children’s Garden in 2002, and the town of Vail built a beautiful facility on that site which met the needs of working parents and their children as they moved into the new millennium.

In the year 2000, parents, teachers and yes, the town of Vail, began to imagine and put into words what its youngest citizens couldn’t. Children deserve beautiful places to learn and grow, and because this was Vail, it had to include a place to explore nature.

Children’s Garden still exists, and parents and teachers have kept their promise to the children. But, what has happened to the town of Vail and its leadership’s commitment? Has the space for additional affordable housing become more important than the type of environment the children have a right to? Children in Vail deserve more than a facility in a commercial zone with only a patch of green grass to explore. They deserve a space where parents are welcome to drop children off and linger, a place that is safe , away from the crowds often found in a resort community.

You gave your promise four decades ago. Now I hope the town of Vail will continue its support and work with parents by providing a top-notch child care facility to match the world-class resort in which it will reside.

Moe Mulrooney

Former Vail resident of over 25 years

Artist Carrie Fell releases new book

Carrie Fell is a Colorado-based artist whose works are classified as western, but run shy of the traditional landscape and portraiture. Traditional icons are depicted via vivid colors and fluid forms. (Carrie Fell & Company
Special to the Daily)

You can’t be in Vail very long without noticing the influence of Carrie Fell. The artist’s work can be seen on the Seasons building’s east wall in Avon, on a gondola car in Beaver Creek, gracing posters for events like Taste of Vail and Gourmet on Gore and her original works can be found in Vail and Beaver Creek galleries.

Carrie Fell’s artwork has woven its way into the fabric of Vail and beyond. This year, the artist looks back with her latest creation, not a painting or sculpture, but a new book entitled “The Art of Carrie Fell – A Retrospective Review: 1994-2020.”

Fell is a Colorado native whose colorful and creative western art has been seen on the walls of many restaurants, homes, corporate offices, promotional or charitable pieces and more. Her fans are loyal and love her vivid perspectives and insights that shine throughout her work.

Like many people during the pandemic, Fell found herself with more time on her hands and came across many of the writings that accompany her art. Her boyfriend, longtime Vail and Denver caterer Richard Bailey of Taste 5 Catering, told her she should write a book.

“It was almost like the book was already written with all of the material I had found but I needed help putting it together,” Fell said. She enlisted the help of Heather Clancy, who has known Fell since 2005 and is currently the sales manager for Carrie Fell & Company. Another friend, Dana Giddens, helped Fell organize the book. Fell’s niece, Caylynn Abbott, helped her pour over 4,000 images of works Fell had done from the mid 1990s until present day.

“This was a wonderful thing to do during this downtime. It gave me the time to reflect and remember and validate all of the people who helped me get here because it was not just me,” Fell said.

Fell has a lot of gratitude for those in her life who helped her reach the success she finds today. The book is dedicated to her parents. Fell said she grew up in an artistic family with her mother and brother exhibiting artistic talents and her dad being more artistic in a marketing sense. Fell’s father, John Abbott, was a champion drag racer in the National Hot Rod Association. Fell believes she learned a lot about the art of marketing from him.

“My dad did a lot of public appearances and he was great with people. I think I studied him subconsciously because some my behaviors are similar to his actions. It was always very important to him to pay attention to who is there with you and how you make them feel. That’s important to me, also,” Fell said.

Fell’s art definitely elicits a feeling from those who view it. Even though her most famous work is classified as western art, it’s hardly the traditional landscape and leathered and weathered cowboy in her paintings. Her strokes are broad and colorful and emit more of a feeling than an actual scene.

Fell works on a painting on canvas. Fell doesn’t just work with the brush, but physically gets into her work to create sweeping lines and a dramatic use of color. (Carrie Fell & Company
Special to the Daily)

Fell came by the way of doing cowboy art after several odd jobs post-high school and eventually enrolling in design at Arapahoe Community College in Littleton, CO. She took a job at Colorado Counties, Inc., a nonprofit that offers assistance to county commissioners, mayors and council members to encourage counties to work together on common issues. It was there that Fell met Eagle County commissioner Bud Gates.

“Bud Gates was one of the coolest guys, and he could command a room, or the aisle would part for him. I think a lot of the spirit of my cowboy art came from guys like him,” Fell said. “In that era in Colorado, if you weren’t in the ski industry or ranching, you were leaving the small towns, towns with so much beauty and history and I just felt I needed to capture that spirit of the cowboy.”

Fell took her works on the road and would do multiple arts shows around the region and in Vail and Beaver Creek. She’s also advertised her works in “Southwest Art” and “Vail and Beaver Creek” magazine.

Fell caught a break when Anita and Jimbo Grisbaum saw her work at one of the shows in the Valley.

“Anita walked up to me and said she was opening up Rollins Gallery in Edwards. She hadn’t even poured the concrete for the floor yet, but she wanted me to be a part of it,” Fell said. “One of my best memories was doing an event with Olympic alpine skiing bronze medalist, Jimmie Heuga, benefitting Jimmie’s Heuga Center for Multiple Sclerosis.”

Artist Carrie Fell is pictured with Olympic bronze medalist in alpine skiing Jimmie Heuga during a fundraising event for the Heuga Center at Rollins Gallery in Edwards in the 1990s. (Carrie Fell & Company
Special to the Daily

Fell then met gallery owner Paul Zueger.

“When Paul walked in and was willing to work with me, I hardly remember the conversation, it was so surreal, that’s when I really felt like I’d become an artist.”

That meeting prompted a long stint at Zueger’s galleries in Vail starting with Gateway Gallery. “Then, director Rayla Kundolf from Zueger’s Masters Gallery got a hold of me and we set the world on fire. It was the go-go-go 90s, people were buying homes and art for those homes and things were good,” Fell said.

Fell eventually opened a gallery of her own in 2010 in Solaris in Vail Village.

“My family all had the entrepreneurial spirit, so I thought I’d give owning my own gallery a try,” Fell said. “I had stars in my eyes and had blue sky thinking, but it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

During this time, Fell had to be not only an artist but also the business person running the gallery. She was also tapped for many charitable projects and was the favored artist for The Taste of Vail, Gourmet on Gore and the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships. Her works were lighting up live auction bids, commissioned works and unique backdrops like a gondola car on Beaver Creek’s Centennial Express and a mural on the Seasons building’s east wall in Avon.

“Everybody was in such a great head space and town was alive, it was an electric two weeks during the Championships,” Fell said. The Carrie Fell Gallery was a prime spot for hosting parties at night overlooking the awards stage in Solaris Plaza. “That made that experience all worth while and it was a great ride to be a part of but I felt it was time to come back to Denver after that.”

Fell still has her working studio in Denver and her artwork is sold locally out of the Gib Singleton Gallery, one of Zueger’s galleries and Horton Fine Art in Beaver Creek.

“After trying to run my own gallery, I’m so grateful to be represented by a gallery. They work so hard for the artists and have to deal with the business side of things so I can go back to create the best art I can,” Fell said.

Fell’s new book was no small feat. The 560-page book is 2 inches thick and weighs 10 pounds. It costs $350.

During the pandemic, Fell discovered writings she had compiled throughout the years and took the time to put this book, which is 560 pages and weighs 10 pounds, together with works from 1994 to present day. (Carrie Fell & Company
Special to the Daily)

“It encapsulates what I want you to witness, sort of a third-person journey of how to take something difficult and make it into something better through nature, by being guided by the light and use it to turn circumstances into a lesson on moving forward,” Fell said.

Although this book is literally a work of art in itself, Fell doesn’t want it to lie dormant.

“It’s not supposed to sit on a coffee table, it’s meant to be something you pick up with a glass of wine or a strong cup of coffee and read many times. There are several subliminal messages in the book if you think deep enough,” Fell said.

Fell had hoped to have a huge book release party and see all of her friends and collectors of her art and celebrate this accomplishment and those who helped her get to where she is after two-plus decades, but due to COVID-19, the in-person revelry will have to wait. The book can be purchased locally at Gib Singleton Gallery in Vail and Horton Fine Art in Beaver Creek. Orders can also be placed by contacting the Carrie Fell & Company showroom in Denver by emailing info@carriefell.com.


Should Vail continue e-bike program?

By the numbers

$25,000: Cost of the 10-week pilot program.

12: E-bikes in the program.

2,062: miles ridden.

.61: Trips per bike per day.


Vail’s first attempt at an e-bike share program had start-up troubles. Town officials would like to see a regional approach to e-bike use for commuters.
Town of Vail photo

After a 10-week experiment with an e-bike sharing program, Vail officials are pondering their options, including the prospect of just subsidizing private purchases of commuter cycles.

Vail Environmental Sustainability Coordinator Beth Markham recently shared with the Vail Town Council the results of that 10-week program.

The idea, Markham said, was to see if e-bikes could provide a “micro-mobility” alternative to cars and buses.

The program, which cost $25,000, also charged users to ride the bikes. Users needed to download an app to reserve and pay for their rides.

While more than 300 people downloaded the app, only 189 people recorded at least one ride. Most recorded only one ride.

As with any pilot program, there were teething troubles.

Among those surveyed about their experience, 25% said they didn’t use the service because of difficulty checking out a bike. Other users said they weren’t able to unlock the bikes.

Councilmember Jen Mason said she was at first enthusiastic about the program. But, she added, she ultimately “couldn’t trust it to get into work.”

Still, more than 76% of users said they’d use the system again.

Looking ahead, councilmembers seemed more willing to continue to the program if it also included Eagle County and, perhaps the towns of Avon and Minturn.

“The regional solution is ideal,” Markham said, adding that the county and other towns were looking to Vail to get some good data on bike-share programs.

But the rides in Vail were expensive during the summer program. Councilmember Jenn Bruno, doing some quick math, noted that the program cost the town roughly $42 per ride.

“We need to find a solution that doesn’t cost $46 every time someone takes a bike out of a dock,” Bruno said.

Councilmember Travis Coggin noted that the per-ride cost for the e-bikes was more than the cost of him using his personal vehicles, which “gets terrible mileage,” he added.

Bruno said she might be more interested in subsidizing bike purchases.

Fellow Councilmember Kim Langmaid said she’d be willing to discuss a rebate program.

“Overall, it’s about creating a culture of biking,” Langmaid said.

Vail Environmental Director Kristen Bertuglia noted that Holy Cross Energy already offers a $250 rebate for e-bike purchases, adding that there are rebate models the town probably wouldn’t have to subsidize.

Open for Business: Paderewski Fine Art

Name of business: Paderewski Fine Art

Physical address: 158 Beaver Creek Plaza, Suite C-11, Beaver Creek, CO 81620

Phone number: 970-949-6036

Email address: info@paderewskifineart.com

Website: sportsmansgallery.com

What goods or services are you offering at this time? 

Fine art and art consultation

How have you adjusted to serve your customers during these unprecedented times?

“We continue to serve our clients remotely during these unprecedented times. If you are looking to acquire new works of art for your home or office, we can help with digital mock-ups, on-approval viewings, and more. Contact us via email at info@paderewskifineart.com or call 970-949-6036 to learn more.”

How can the community support you?

We have officially opened our doors for the summer! Stop into the gallery if you are planning a visit to Beaver Creek Village this summer. Not in the area? Sign up for our mailing list to receive information on our weekly specials on fabulous works of art. 

What’s the best source to keep up to date with your offerings?

Reach us via email or visit our Facebook and Instagram accounts.

What are your plans going forward as the “new normal” evolves?

We continue to follow guidelines recommended by the CDC such as wearing masks, maintaining six-feet of distance and regular cleanings to keep guests safe in the gallery.

Healthy and quick dinner with cod

Cod is a flaky white fish readily available. It is on my dinner menu a lot and clients actually ask for it often because it is light and delicious.

It is a cold-water fish full of nutrients and protein (a 4 oz. serving has 21 grams of protein) and is low in calories (a 4 oz. serving has 96 calories). It’s high in vitamin B 12, iodine and selenium. Cod promotes cardiovascular health because it is a good source of blood-thinning omega-3 fatty acids as well as an excellent source of vitamin B12 and a good source of vitamin B6.

Cod is usually available at the local City Markets and it is labeled “refreshed” which means it was previously frozen and then the store thawed it. This method of purchasing fish is good for a few reasons. First, when it is frozen it is usually frozen on the fishing boat or very close to when it was caught, so the quality is typically very good and the nutritional benefits stay intact. Second, when thawing fish, the professionals at the store are practicing proper methods to assure safety and quality. This also means you should eat it within a day or two of buying it and if you choose to re-freeze, the quality will definitely deteriorate. Look for filets that are thick with no holes or slits for best flavor.

Baked Cod

1 pound cod

1 small onion

6 ounces sun dried tomatoes

Basil – about 10 leaves

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons white wine

1 lemon

Salt and pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice onion into four rounds and place onion in a 9 inch by 13-inch baking pan

Generously season cod with salt and pepper on both sides and place raw cod on the onions

Pour in white wine

Cut the lemon in half and squeeze juice of half a lemon into the pan

Add the tomatoes

Place the butter on top of the fish

Cover the pan with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes until the middle of fish is flaky

Chop the basil and add when fish is ready to serve

Serves two.

Tracy Miller is a personal chef and caterer in the Vail Valley. She focuses on healthy meals by adding fruits and vegetables to all menus. To contact Tracy, log onto ColorfulCooking.com or email Tracy@colorfulcooking.com.

Vail International Gallery

100 east meadow drive, no. 17  |  vail  •  970.476.2525  •  vailgallery.com


featuring Mikhail Turovsky


Acritic once wrote of Mikhail Turovsky’s work, “One cannot leave an encounter with Turovsky unscathed.” His work depicts his truth, his experience. At once, the viewer sees beauty and, at times, chaos.

Originally from the Ukraine, now living in New York, Turovsky’s canvases create pictures tinged with a combination of cruelty and kindness, humiliation and ennoblement — expressions of his history. Born in Kiev in 1933, Turovksy first painted on makeshift easels, yet his talent was quite evident. In 1941, with the advent of war he, along with his mother and brother, had to flee the city, moving from one hiding place to another. Then, when the Bolshevik Revolution took place, Turovsky entered the Kiev Art Institute. However, the school’s iron discipline quashed any dissent, any self-expression. The artists became puppets.

“Mikhail is a product of the Soviet Union’s art system where the artists were trained the same way the Gold Medal athletes and the Bolshoi dancers were trained,” says Marc LeVarn, co-owner of Vail International Gallery. “The ‘system’ emphasized a rigorous classical art education and you can see that in the technical foundation of his work. Turovsky had it made in the old Soviet system. He was a member of the painter’s union and had a full-time job as an artist, but he couldn’t stomach the artistic control of the Soviet system.”

Compelled to leave the USSR in 1979 during the Cold War, Turovsky and his family emigrated to New York. Three hundred of his works, confiscated by the Soviet authorities as “national treasures,” were the price of his freedom.

Writes Serge Lenczner in his book, “Turovsky,” “His break with the totalitarian world and a career controlled by the government provided the passkey that unlocked our understanding of the requirement for quality and authenticity that would constitute a marked characteristic of his work throughout his life.”

“Turovsky’s rough and physical style on the one hand bears witness to extreme situations buried in the collective memory and, on the other, brings together legendary portraits and then heavy and sculpted female nudes, and lightens its register by focusing on urban scenes and sill lifes with refreshingly invigorating tones,” says art critic and historian Gérard Xuribuera.

Turovsky’s paintings reveal a mastery of technique, enthusiasm and rhythm that are, at once, imposing and incredibly fresh.


“When I look at Turovsky’s work, I see a distillation of the greatest modern painters of the 20th century, filtered through his own talent, his own vision,” reveals LeVarn. “So, when you look at his art, you can see elements of Kandinsky. You can see elements of Chagall, Matisse, Klimt. They’re all there.”

“But they’re not definitively there, so that when you look at a painting you might say, ’He’s doing this or that.’ Yet it’s his own feeling, his own voice. They’re sensual, they’re beautiful, they’re optimistic and they’re just lovely, lovely paintings.”

LeVarn and Patrick Cassidy, co-owner of the gallery, visited Turovsky’s home and hand picked the paintings they will be showing.

“And being there, in that space with him was truly magical,” says LeVarn. It was as though we were meeting someone of historical importance.”

Vail International Gallery will have a reception for Mikhail Turovksy on Saturday, February 18, 2017.


— by brenda himelfarb


The Shaggy Ram

210 edwards village blvd., a-206  |  edwards  •  970.926.7377  •  shaggyramantiques.com


featuring English and French furniture and accessories


Jackie Montgomery has one basic rule when curating the items that fill her Edwards store, The Shaggy Ram: “ I don’t buy anything I don’t want to live with myself,” she says matter-of-factly. It turns out this a terrific rule to follow, as she has very high standards — and a very, very good eye.


Montgomery focuses on French and English pieces, including lovely dining tables, servers, cabinets, chairs, etc., and accessories from France and England. Her frequent pilgrimages to Europe and England net her the sort of unique items that you could look for forever — and when you find them absolutely nothing else will do. Whether it’s a German painted armoire, know as a schrank, dating from 1780 or a fruitwood table rescued from oblivion by lovingly applying many layers of wax with lots of elbow grease, no two items are alike. “Quality workmanship — that’s what I see in most of these country pieces, often made by the original owner for his own use, “ says Montgomery.  “And if it is an original painted piece, it is typically beautifully done. The wood pieces are so rich and beautiful and it takes years and years of polishing and dusting! It is hard to get that kind of character in new pieces.”


Much like wine, wood tells the story of where it was created. French pine, for instance, is much richer, darker, than English pine. “It has to do with the minerals in the soil,” Montgomery explains.

A few interesting finds at the store include brass and copper pieces, kitchenware, propeller and port hole tables on new steel bases, a giant copper bear, small boxes and new lamps plus fabulous new Santas. These Santas are a bit of tradition at The Shaggy Ram, handmade for the store by the same woman for the past 15 years. Whether they are made from vintage fabric or real fur, they are each one of a kind. Though custom versions are available, themed versions such as a golfer, a fly fisherman, or a fur Santa are hard to resist.


— by wren bova


Raitman Art Galleries

227 bridge street  |  vail  •  970.476.4883  •  raitmanart.com

featuring Mario Jung 


The Art on a Whim galleries in Vail Village and Breckenridge were created, well, on a whim. Ten years ago, the Raitman family was sitting around a dining room table when the idea first emerged: Select art, show art, sell art. Living in the mountains and investing in your passion is never a bad idea, so Brian and Ross Raitman gave their parents a thumbs up on the venture, then they moved to Breckenridge to help make the family business successful. 


In the last decade, the Raitmans and Art on a Whim not only persevered through a recession and then opened a second location in Vail Village, they also have evolved and refined their collection of contemporary artwork. They have successfully curated an array of unique mediums, styles and techniques that are impressive and captivating, as well as truly “feel good.” 


The Raitmans are proud of the collection they’ve built and the artists they support, so much so that they have decided to connect the business to their name. This season, a recognizable logo for the galleries will now read Raitman Art Galleries — spaces that still present colorful and cheerful contemporary pieces from the undeniable talents of artists like Mario. 


Myung Jung, known in the art world simply as “Mario,” began his career as a professional artist in the mid-1980s. The distinct style he is known for was developed during a severe life change following a near-death accident. 


While in the hospital, he imagined dream-like landscapes, and after Mario miraculously recovered completely, he has since developed his own flexible artistic style. 


“There is a level of realism to a lot of it, and that’s what makes it approachable,” says Ross. “But at the same time, it’s not your typical landscape that looks like a hundred different people could have painted it; there is that unique aspect to Mario’s work.” 


His art takes you to the dreamy places that may not actually exist in nature that way, but they exist in your head as somewhere you would likely love to be. 


His technique, called impasto, lays paint thickly onto the surface of a canvas so brush and painting-knife strokes are visible. Mario’s pieces show his precise strokes and the paint itself is displayed with tangible texture, but the subjects and colors in each scene are soft and calming. 


— by kim fuller

Masters Gallery

100 e. meadow drive, suite 27  | vail  •  970.477.0600  •  mastersgalleryvail.com

featuring Carrie Fell


She’s back. 


After a six-year stretch running her own gallery, Carrie Fell returns home. Home, because when art director Rayla Kundolf opened Masters Gallery in 2002, she chose Fell as one of her innovative artists to represent. Now, Fell comes full circle — but with much more knowledge, experience and accolades.


Through gallery ownership, Fell learned personally about the challenges and triumphs of the art business. Now, she cherishes working as a team with Kundolf more than ever, as it allows her to focus on her first love: creating art.


Although she’s back in the “comfort zone” of her studio, Fell continues to grow as an artist. In fact, displaying her paintings in the same gallery known for its unique pop art has inspired her to push the envelope and consider ways to “marry pop art with my style,” she says. 


“In my gallery, it was me against me,” she says. “(Now) I feel a little pressure, and I like that pressure. It makes me become better. It makes me feel alive.”


That vitality translates into every boldly colorful painting Fell generates, be it portraying racers, as the official artist of the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships, or bringing new life to her original cowboy series.

Twenty years ago, she felt a pulse of change in Colorado, so she began to portray cowboys. That transition she intuited has resulted in cowboys, ranches and the traditional Western lifestyle fading away. Her colorful paintings maintain the legacy of Colorado cowboys. Meanwhile, she strives to live by their value system of simplicity, hard work and bravery. 


Her original Cool Cowboys, produced in 2008, hung in Masters Gallery before Fell opened her gallery. Now, the revival of her Cool Cowboys hangs at Masters. She has transformed her original black-background screen prints into multilayered, color-on-color pieces that play with the eye.


In addition to her cowboy art, Fell is focusing on animals, from moose and buffalo to a new subject: dogs. Just as Fell’s cowboys and skiers represent courage, her animals act as metaphors. As the wanderer, the eternal traveler, the moose reminds people to follow their passions. Her canines exude the unconditional love and friendship she feels the world needs these days.


Different mediums, such as variation in canvases, have also allowed her art to morph into “a little looser, more fluid, but still full of color” pieces.


“She gives a breath of fresh air back to Western art,” Kundolf says. “She takes the tradition and infuses a colorful edge into the image itself.”

Indeed, as Fell returns “home” to Masters, she continues to build a solid home for Western art, with a bit of pop attitude. 


— by kimberly nicoletti