Artist David Gonzales visit Art on a Whim Gallery in Vail Friday, Saturday |

Artist David Gonzales visit Art on a Whim Gallery in Vail Friday, Saturday

Caramie Schnell
“Winter Stroll in Vail," by David Gonzales.
Special to the Daily |

If you go ...

Who: Artist David Gonzales.

Where: Art on a Whim Gallery, Vail.

When: 2 to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

More information: Visit or call 970-476-4883.

VAIL — Artist David Gonzales’s latest series of paintings are easily identifiable. With a focus on Vail Village in the wintertime, each piece features skiers walking through the village, toward the slopes.

“My favorite is titled ‘Winter Wonderland in Vail,’” said Art on a Whim gallery owner Brian Raitman, who owns the galleries with his brother, Ross, and their parents. “The perspective, which comes from standing on an upper level of the transportation center, captures every iconic Vail image wonderfully: the Covered Bridge, the Clock Tower, the tree with all of the Christmas lights and of course the mountain and plenty of snow.”


Gonzales will be at the Bridge Street gallery today and Saturday, painting and chatting with passersby.

Many of the new paintings are based on images Gonzales’s wife took when the couple visited Vail in November, with one addition: snow.

“At the time there was no snow on the ground so I had to improvise,” Gonzales said. “I brought snow into the painting.”

Gonzales work is characterized by bold color and brush strokes, a combination that’s proved popular with people visiting the gallery thus far. Art on a Whim galleries in Vail and Breckenridge have been carrying Gonzales work since August.

“Since we started showing David’s work we have averaged at least one sale per week. It is pretty incredible,” Brian said.

“Often times his work is compared to that of Leroy Neiman, which is a huge compliment,” Brian said. “It is easy to see the resemblance but hilarious to hear that David did not know who Neiman is until a collector in our gallery brought the similarity to his attention this summer during the Pro Cycling Challenge. Gonzales’ use of color and the way he captures movement is incredible. I am a huge skier, as is most everyone visiting Vail these days, so paintings that speak to the grace and speed of the sport speak to me on a very powerful, personal and fun level.”


Gonzales is an athlete, which is perhaps one of the reasons he can depict athletic endeavors, such as ski racing, in a manner that speaks to so many people.

He doesn’t own a car, but instead uses his bike to get around Manitou Springs, where he lives with his family. Along with being a cyclist, he does martial arts and plays basketball.

“When I’d play basketball, after I finished playing a game, I’d dive right into a painting and carry that same energy into that painting,” he said.

Rather than turning on his analytical brain, he forces himself to stay in “creative mode and not think about anything but just playing and being present,” said Gonzales, who has a background in holiday window painting in Manitou Springs, which taught him how to paint “fast, quick and beautiful.”

“I’ve made some of my best work like that,” he said. “That feeling, that rush, I pour into everything I do.”

It’s no wonder then that Gonzales’s vibrant acrylic paintings have adrenaline seeping out of them.


In “Sliding into the Zone,” an acrylic painting that’s part of the current exhibit, a skier donning a yellow jacket leans into a turn. It’s a piece that makes you want to get on the hill.

“There’s movement, and the kinetic energy within the paintings just feels right,” Gonzales said.

He gets a similar high if he’s painting outside, en plein air, and clouds start rolling in, bringing a rain shower with them.

But instead of packing up his supplies, he works faster.

“Your adrenaline runs really high,” Gonzales said. “You don’t give up; you integrate that experience into your painting. You can see drips of paint on canvas. Or when it’s cold outside and you’re outside painting, you have to work with the elements around you. There’s a certain rush to that.”

Gonzales was selected as the artist for stage 5 of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, which brought cyclists from Woodland Park to Breckenridge.

“We partnered up with him and got him a booth at the finish line, where he was live painting, and we had a show going in the gallery at the same time,” said Ross Raitman.

The response to Gonzales work has been overwhelmingly positive, Ross said.

“People are loving it,” he said. “They love the energy, the movement and the bright colors. They love how free flowing it is; it’s not completely defined, not absolutely realistic, but you can still tell what’s going on.”

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