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Inspired by open air

Caramie Schnell
Vail, CO, Colorado
AE Katie Dowling2 PU 7-10-07
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VAIL ” After having weilded a paint brush for only six years, 24-year-old Katie Dowling is talented enough to make a living doing what she loves ” painting local vistas. The Eagle resident grew up in the valley and started painting nearby valleys and mountain ranges when she was 18. Dowling is a Plein Air artist, which is a French expression that means “in the open air,” and was practiced by the impressionist artists of the 1800s. There’s no shortage of local vistas that inspire Dowling ” you can often find her stationed in front of her easel, staring at New York Mountain up Lake Creek, or even down Bridge Street in Vail. Last year, Vail Fine Art Gallery on Bridge Street started carrying Dowling’s work ” a dream come true, Dowling said.

“I was selling pieces but feeling legitimate by being in a good gallery makes you take it more serious,” Dowling said.

Some local residents and visitors might recognize Dowling, said Gretchen Greene, manager of Vail Fine Art Gallery.

“She often sets up and paints the Vail Famers’ Market or Vail street scenes, and people recognize her from that,” Greene said.

Along with street scenes and landscape views, Dowling also paints “lovely still lifes,” Greene said.

At the gallery, Dowling’s work is displayed alongside her teachers ” local resident Don Sahli ” which is an honor, she said.

We caught up with Dowling in advance of her show to ask her a few questions.

VD: What does art mean to you?

KD: Art means a chance to exist in the other side of my brain and in unexplored parts of my personality.

VD: When did you know that you wanted to be an artist?

KD: When I was eighteen and found that I had a previously hidden ability.

VD: What inspires you to create? What kind of mood do you have to be in?

KD: I don’t know, I’m still figuring that out. Painting tends to change my mood, but I am inspired when I am actually out in the field and I’ve found something intriguing and It smells good out and I have my music is playing, it is a great feeling.

VD: Why did you choose the medium that you work with, or did it choose you?

KD: It chose me and I haven’t found anything else that is as forgiving or as rich as oils paints.

VD: Describe your style.

KD: Well I studied Russian impressionism but I am not Russian and Impressionism was a movement in the 1800s so I’m not sure what to call myself but I guess that is the closest relative.

VD: If you were to meet any artist, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

KD: I would like to meet Fedor Zakharov or John Singer Sargent, not exactly the same style but I think Sargent was a genius and his paintings have what I need.

VD: Do you own a favorite piece of art?

KD: No, but I have a couple that I like to visit at the Vail Fine Art Gallery.

VD: Where do you sell your art?

KD: Vail Fine Art Gallery and Santa Fe Fine Art Gallery.

VD: Where are some of your favorite places to paint? Why?

KD: I always seem to find something good up Brush Creek or near Homestake, but I paint all over because you never know where you’re going to find your next great spot.


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