Artist Don Hamilton visits Horton Fine Art in Beaver Creek | VailDaily.com

Artist Don Hamilton visits Horton Fine Art in Beaver Creek

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What prompts an artist to cram his backpack with colors, easel and paintbrushes and then hike for miles in search of beauty and that particular tender, lavender light of sunset or sunrise? What is so compelling that even the cold of a Colorado winter will not stop the need to search for, find and insatiably render that "Ah!" moment into beautiful oil paintings that a viewer can connect with to share that joyous moment of discovery?

Artist Don Hamilton is quiet and unassuming — a man of few words. Yet, his paintings speak loudly of wonderment, of a soul profoundly touched by natural beauty. Bypassing all vocal conversation, his poetic rendering of nature, whether it is a field covered in lavender-hued snow or a small brook reflecting a vanilla sky, speaks to the heart.

Hamilton's new collection of miniature masterpieces can be enjoyed at the Horton Fine Art Gallery in Beaver Creek. Hamilton will be at the gallery from noon to 5 p.m. today.

Hamilton loves to paint plein air — outdoors.

"If someone can sense the cold, smell the dampness or feel the sun beating down, then I have been successful," he said.

The challenge of plein air painting is in the changing light, unpredictable weather and the need to distill a scene down to its essence.

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"Painting from life," he explains, "especially outside on location, is critical to learning to see colors, understand value relationships and capture the unique feel of the subject that photographs cannot describe."

An award winning artist, Hamilton learned at an early age that only through consistent work ethics one becomes successful. As a young child he observed his grandfather, a master stone cutter, work hard at his craft. Hamilton would spend many hours drawing and would bring his artwork to his grandfather to be critiqued. He did not realize that he was being educated, not only about layout and design, but also about hard work. Hamilton also thanks his father for teaching him the importance of commitment to excellence.

That sense of commitment, the desire to "awaken" us to the perfection that is all around us, to pass on to viewers the contented sense of belonging right here, right now, continues to motivate Hamilton to venture out in all types of weather.

If you go …

Who: “Miniature Masterpieces,” by artist Don Hamilton.

Where: Horton Fine Art, Beaver Creek.

When: Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday.

More information: 970-949-1660 or http://www.hortonfineart.com.