Art is everywhere: Local artist preserves the past, with eye to the future
Mark Lemon looks at life with an artist’s eye. When other people see a small barn, he sees his artist’s studio.
Location is also in the eye of the beholder, so he moved the barn from its home for decades to his home three blocks away.
The studio-barn was part of the Ping Hotel, Eagle’s first hotel at the corner of Capitol Street and U.S. Highway 6, owned by two of Eagle’s oldest families, the Degraws and the Pings.
It was abandoned for years and had fallen into ruin.
Art has a home
Lemon has lived in Eagle since 1987, and like everyone who drives through town had seen the Ping Hotel and cottages on that corner. One of the Degraw family had the barn built in 1920 and used it for a mechanic’s shop.
“The thing I hadn’t noticed until the parcel was sold is the quaint little barn at the south end of the lots,” Lemon said.
Lemon looked it over, and it looked fine, built on flat stones. His wheels started turning and he contacted the new owner, who had no plans for the barn. He graciously gave Lemon the barn and everything related to it.
The town gave him a set-back variance. Kerrigan Engineering and Wayne Haskins Construction did the bulk of the work.
Like most art, it took time. Over the next three years, they put in a step-up and addition on the building, and converted it to a garage/art studio.
“I am delighted to have a permanent place to pursue my art,” Lemon said.
Lemon is hosting a show in his studio on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 15-16.
He said he has wanted to be an artist for as long as he can remember.
“When I was about 9 or 10, my dad did this impressive pencil drawing of an elephant for me. That’s when I made up my mind to be an artist. I did my first oil painting at 11, then tried various mediums in high school. Life’s path then took a few bumps and turns. I started painting again earnestly in 1990,” Lemon said.
Life is for learning. He tried all kinds of mediums.
“I admire those who have mastered them, but for me oil is the most versatile. I can get most anywhere I need to go with it and it lends it’s self to changes and corrections,” Lemon said.
Lemon said he works mostly from life. He’ll use photo references when he needs to, but treats every work from what he observed from real life.
“I try for accuracy in my brushwork but keep it loose enough to see the hand of the artist in it,” Lemon said.
Art is everywhere, and everyone has a thing that goes beyond everyday life.
“It could be snow-riding, golf, reading, dance, music, socializing etc., for me it’s painting,” Lemon said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.