A little Colorado comfort | VailDaily.com

A little Colorado comfort

Stew Mosberg

This living room, comfortable art showcase has been in Vail since 1996. Brothers John and Donald DeMott, both artists of noteworthy skill, have put together a collection of traditional and Western theme artists for the discerning eye.

DeMott Gallery boasts a broad range of mostly Colorado artists, working in a variety of mediums that are as affordably priced as you can find in the Vail Valley.

The gallery namesake DeMott brothers both live and work in Loveland and are about as different in their mediums as two artists can be. Each brings an individually definitive style to Western-themed art.

John paints in oils and depicts a West that is untamed and rich with Native Americans in their wilderness habitats. His wildlife imagery pays homage to buffalo, wild horses, grizzly and elk, and is reflected in canvases such as “Fury on the Plains,” which portrays a herd of buffalo on the run.

Brother Don works in a technique that is so totally unique, so well crafted, that standing before one of his “sculptures,’ the viewer could become lost in the detail.

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Working with welded metal, and using a jeweler’s torch, DeMott fashions complete miniature outdoor scenes, replete with aspen trees and autumn colored leaves. The leaves are made from millet and Kentucky Blue Grass seeds, and then painted with enamel. His rendition of the famous “Commodore Mine” and “Autumn Wagon Trail” is akin to seeing a bonsai plant in living color.

For a completely different viewing experience, the paintings by Elaine Coffee of a pub in Galway, Ireland, are reminiscent of American paintings of the ’30s. Dark and atmospheric, the public house and its patrons come to life in such a way that you can almost hear the laughter, smell the pipe tobacco and feel the drafting of a pint.

Simple in subject and skillfully handled, the gouache paintings “Beach and Lighthouse” and “Boating through Village” by Xiaoang Zhu are so easy to look at you can practically see how they were painted.

It seems that no gallery in the valley would be complete without its display of bronze sculpture. DeMott is no exception, and they represent some of the finest sculptors working in Colorado.

Rosetta, a frequent exhibitor at the Governor’s Invitational Art Show, has produced a powerful and dynamic work entitled “Reach for the Sky,” in which a mountain lion stretches toward a bird of prey. With its oblique angle adding strength and speed to the work, the integral base enhances the physicality of the moment.

Tim Shinabarger is another renowned wildlife sculptor, and his “Rhythm of the Heart” brilliantly captures a pack of five wolves in motion.

Just inside the gallery, and visible from the main window, is a life-size bronze grouping by Gary Price. These rollicking children possess all the charm and playful enthusiasm you would expect from long-ago carefree youthful days. One other of his delightful sculptures, just inside the doorway, is “Journey of the Imagination,” depicting a boy wearing a cape and goggles, and balancing on a paper airplane as if he were surfing.

If you are a sucker for puppies, don’t miss “One Tough Choice,” by Ronald Lowery. This tiny, painted bronze piece offers up three appealing puppies in an adorable attitude, begging to be taken home.

Easy to miss, but worth asking about is the authentic Native American clay pottery, some dating as far back as 550 A.D. Enjoy!

Stew Mosberg works out of Blue River. He is the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, holds a degree in Design from the University of Florida, and is the author of two books on design. He can be reached at WrtrF@aol.com

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