Nancy Rondeau’s Colorado landscape paintings on display at the Vail Library |

Nancy Rondeau’s Colorado landscape paintings on display at the Vail Library

Caramie Schnell
“Summer Flowers of Vail," by Nancy Rondeau.
Special to the Daily |

If you go ..

What: Nancy Rondeau art exhibit.

Where: Vail Library community room.

When: Sunday through Nov. 30. Holiday reception set for 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesday.

More information: This is Rondeau’s 10th exhibit and the library and 10 paintings are on display.

VAIL — Bright, vibrant colors and a feeling of joy characterize Nancy Rondeau’s landscape paintings of what she dubs “Colorado country.”

In “Summer Flowers of Vail,” there are eight types of flowers on the canvas, but it’s the orange poppies that steal the show.

“They are so stunning,” Rondeau said about the native plants. “They come out early when we’re thirsting for flower color.”

Ten of Rondeau’s paintings are on display in the Vail Library’s community room this month for what is Rondeau’s 10th exhibit at the library.

“Nancy is just such a down-to-earth, lovely lady,” said Lori Barnes, the town librarian for the town of Vail Public Library. “Her and her husband are friends of the library, they support us, they attend programs, they use the library. They’re just dear, sweet people and we love having her exhibit here.”

Rondeau, a West Vail resident, moved to Colorado from Connecticut more than 25 years ago with her husband, Paul, and has been painting Colorado climes since. An avid gardener and a volunteer at the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens since the gardens inception, Rondeau is drawn to the beauty that’s prevalent in the local scenery. While she likes to paint en plein aire, eight of the 10 paintings in this exhibit were painted in her home studio from photographs she snapped, she said.

“This was a very rainy summer, and not conducive to plein aire painting,” she said. “Every time I wanted to go out, there were rain clouds, so I relied on the photos I took during sunny days.”

On a snowy morning this week, Rondeau chatted with the Vail Daily about skiing in Vail, her favorite season to depict on canvas and some beautiful areas of Colorado she painted this past year.

On the two plein aire paintings in the exhibit: “Two are from the Elk Mountains near Steamboat; we did a camping trip up there. By the way, that’s a great campground there if you want to go to a nice one. It’s called the Steamboat Lake State Park. We were up there for a week. Anytime you get out and about in our beautiful mountains, it can be very appealing. This was in the fall; I was looking for color and contrast. It’s a nice, distant view of things.”

On how long she’s been painting: “I’m in my late 70s, I used to teach art, and then I had a hiatus where I didn’t do any painting at all, I was working in real estate and if you work in real estate, you can hardly paint. You work 24/7. We moved out here to Vail in 1988 and I started to paint again. My husband was a ski instructor. We weren’t really retired yet; we moved out here because we always wanted to.”

On skiing in Vail: “The very first year we skied in Vail we fell in love with it. There’s no other ski area in the world like it. That was the goal: To get here. We moved here in 1988 from Connecticut.”

On her favorite piece in the show: “My favorite is the ‘Summer Flowers of Vail.’ It’s the first very large painting I’ve done. It’s 48 inches by 34 inches. That’s not large by some people’s standards, but it was by mine.”

On the themes in this show: “I love autumn because of the colors. Most of my paintings this year are of autumn — autumn contrast, autumn reflections in my studio. I love to pick up the colors because they’re so intense. Some of my paintings are done in Custer County, where we have a cabin. If you go to Salida and take Highway 50 east, and then take another road to Westcliffe, it’s in the middle of this incredible valley and it’s all ranches and mountains. The mountains sweep up on either side. The Sangre de Christo’s have a great number of 14ers. It’s a neat part of the world.”

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or

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