Tucked away with their paint
RED CLIFF – There’s something about a tiny mountain town tucked away between some cliffs that lends itself to artistic inspiration. This is probably why several artists have made Red Cliff their home and/or studio. The artists on the Red Cliff Studio Tour have entirely different works to offer. With the exception of pottery specialist Marjorie Westermann, whose new studio 11 miles south of Red Cliff is a fascination in itself, all of the work is in walking distance. The tour is from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday with a homemade lunch served Saturday that is promised to be “the best Mexican food you’ll ever taste” at the Red Cliff School, benefiting PARCC, a nonprofit dedicated to providing equipment for the school. Here are a series of questions and answers from some of the artists on the tour.How would you describe your art? Marjorie Westermann: Functional potteryPennie Salcido: Captured in nature. A three-piece theme display.Bob Will: Contemporary with an Eastern influence Lin Janson-Will: Classical landscapes of the mountains and Tuscany, southern France, with a strong influence of the Hudson River School and an occasional, almost subliminal touch of Surrealism.Barb Bomier: Most of my paintings are impressionistic, done outside en plein air. Occasionally I do some indoor work including work from photos.
Nathalie Roy: Some Impressionist and some surrealistic style Sydney Summers: My paintings are realistic with an impressionistic feel – soft, fluid colors with contrasting details. I paint nature mostly, with an occasional animal, building or manmade object. Predominantly, I paint the world around me.Rick Todd: Photography of a little bit of everything. I’ve taken some travel photos of subjects immediately recognizable. I have also taken photos in the Rockies that are of places people probably haven’t been, or of subjects that people may not have immediately found attractive. Kathryn Wheeler: Pastel, water color, calligraphyNathalie Roy: Some Impressionist and some surrealistic styleHow did you get started in your work? Marjorie Westermann: I took a class at CMC in Minturn in 1975, when summer of Vail was there. It was a hobby, now I teach at CMC in Leadville.Pennie Salcido: It’s something I just decided to do. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I started on it three weeks ago. Before that, I hadn’t done any art since high school. I’ve thrown myself into it. Kathryn Wheeler: When computers came in, I told myself it would be time for me to go into fine art. I have been here for 35 years. I’ve always been into art. I was in advertising for over 20 years doing special designs on menus and things. I was ready to change to fine art. Lin Janson-Will: Made my living for a year in Paris selling watercolors (never painted before then!) and poetry, then never touched a brush until the New Millennium, when I decided doing something new was in order.Bob Will: Always enjoyed putting objects together in a creative way.
Barb Bomier: I think it began with my love of coloring when I was little.Sydney Summers: I have been painting since I was a child, so there was no real start, just a natural progression.Nathalie Roy: I started painting when I was 10 years old, I always love drawing and such. My god mother gave me an oil painting kit with five colors. I fell in love.Rick Todd: I got a Pentax 35mm camera as a gift in high school, and started taking pictures. People seemed to like my photographs, so I’ve just kept taking them.What is special about the Red Cliff studio tour? Marjorie Westermann: It’s friendly. We look you in the eye and smile, that’s what’s unique. Kathryn Wheeler: The different varieties on the tour. Everyone’s fairly close together, that makes it fun. Lin Janson-Will: It gives the art-loving locals and visitors a chance to meet the artists and ask questions about their work and its meaning – as well as to acquire fine art at half to a quarter of the gallery pricesBob Will: An opportunity to show work where it was created. Also an opportunity to meet people who appreciate what I do. Barb Bomier: Red Cliff itself. It’s a historic town with lots of old mining town architecture. It’s changing quickly.
Sydney Summers: Red Cliff is one of the last “real” towns in Colorado with lots of character and eccentricity, which extends to its resident artists. The Red Cliff tour offers valley visitors and residents a chance to visit homes and studios of artists. We’re all curious about artists and how they create and this is an opportunity to see and talk to the people who do the actual art that is on display. Nathalie Roy: I love the town I live in and since I am surrounded by nature’s beautiful scenery I find it very inspiring. My art allows me to give the world my perception of it.Rick Todd: I think the art reflects the town. There’s a lot of variety, and some if it is a little kooky. It’s also an opportunity to see some work that you might not see at a local gallery, or anywhere else.How does it inspire you to have a studio/home in Red Cliff? Marjorie Westermann: Physically and spiritually Kathryn Wheeler: It’s actually pretty quiet there. I’m hearing the wind if l’m hearing anything. You’re looking up at mountains. What more could you want?Pennie Salcido: I think everything in life, whether it’s where you live, where you visit, what you do a a profession, has something to do with inspiring you to be where you’re at, doing what you’re doing at this point in time. In Red Cliff, one major factor is the changes I’ve seen happen from when I got there five years ago to now.Lin Janson-Will: To watch the sun rise over the mountains and not be inspired to paint is unimaginable to me.Barb Bomier: We’re literally in the mountains, surrounded by them. We don’t have to listen to I-70. It’s a quieter, slower pace than down the hill. I can even hang my laundry out to dry. And I even like painting that scene. Bob Will: Peace and quiet and a slower paceSydney Summers: I moved to Denver in June after 24 years of life in Red Cliff, so I can only speak to this in the past tense. I loved having a studio and home in Red Cliff. Much of the inspiration for my paintings was right out my door, and a lot of the material in my wreaths came from my garden.
Rick Todd: We’re surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. We’re also in a town with some things that are at the tail end of their lives, and these make for interesting photography subjects What does your art do for you? Marjorie Westermann: Challenges. I love that people really enjoy my work and using it. Dishes, vases. cups. I’ve made like 200 cups in the last two months for the new coffee shop in Leadville. Pennie Salcido: A big part of that was I came from a low-income family. I worked so hard all my life. I started a few businesses. I was always too busy to venture into this. Now I’m doing something I’ve always wanted to do.Kathryn Wheeler: It’s subconsciously a form of meditation. In order to do anything, you have to filter out the reality of where you are. You’re concentrating just on whatever you’re creating. Time is not a factor. You’re lost that way, in your own creative world. It’s relaxing. Barb Bomier: It’s necessary to my well being, just as exercise is. Of course, like exercise, I don’t always make the time for my art, and when I don’t paint, feel like I’m a bit lost. As soon as I pick up a paint brush and start painting, there I am. I’m found again.Lin-Janson Will: I find in my painting the ability to escape into the majesty and mystical beauty of the natural world, into the wonder of color, the indescribable spirituality of light and nature, the essence of the universe. To me, it is a Zen pursuit, a creative meditation beyond self.Bob Will: Provides a creative outlet and a means of Centering in an otherwise chaotic worldSydney Summers: It keeps me sane and allows me a place to show my softer side.Rick Todd: It allows me to see the world in a different way. It also gives me an excuse to hike to places I might not go to otherwise.
What do you consider your most significant artistic success to date? Why?Marjorie Westermann: The pot I dropped and glued back together. I took it out hot from the kiln. There’s still one piece missing. It’s one of my best pieces. Kathryn Wheeler: Probably this relief work. I just came up with it. It kind of came out of the air. Lin Janson-Will: Not all the paintings I’ve sold in galleries, but the paintings I’ve donated to wonderful causes like the Shaw center and individual locals’ benefits that have brought thousands of dollars to those who have need.Bob Will: The discovery that people are actually willing to pay perfectly good money for my work.Barb Bomier: My latest painting, because it’s the culmination of all that I’ve learned thus far. Also, the ability, the courage, to go out and set up an easel just about anywhere and paint – to have people come and look over my shoulder and judge something before it’s even completed, to expose myself. Nathalie Roy: My best artist success is to finally participate in the Red Cliff Studio Art Tour, now that I live in beautiful Red CliffRick Todd: I really like some of the photographs I’ve taken down in Gillman Canyon. There are some great waterfalls down there that people have probably never seen. It was really interesting to take photographs that look like they could be from Hawaii.Pennie Salcido: My most successful experience was to have a couple of pieces hang in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. I was 16. Sydney Summers: Each time I move to a new plateau in my work, realize I have grown and progressed in skill and ability, that is a significant artistic success. There is a gratification and a satisfaction in knowing my work is not static, and that I am moving forward as an artist.
To get to Red Cliff: Take Shrine Pass from the summit of Vail Pass to Minturn or take the Minturn exit 171 from Interstate 70 and travel south on US Highway 24. Pass Minturn and continue winding upward to the singlespan bridge. At the bridge, turn left onto a dirt road to Red Cliff. Artists, medium and location: Marjorie Westermann: Pottery, US Hwy 24, 11 miles south of Red CliffPennie Salcido: Wood, metal, marble, paint, 228 High St. Bob Will: Medium: Metal, wood, stone and paint, with the occasional found objects, 524 Water St.Lin-Janson Will: Old Masters formula resin oil. 524 Water St.Barb Bomier: Oil paint, 159 Monument St. Nathalie Roy: Oil on Canvas, some acrylics, 246 Monument St.Sydney Summers: Water color paintings, wreaths, beaded gift items, Gore Range Natural Science SchoolRick Todd: Photography, Gore Range Natural Science School
Kathryn Wheeler: Pastels, watercolor, calligraphy, relief work, Gore Range Natural Science SchoolJoan Norris, Oil Paintings, 654 SpruceJim Lamont, photography, 654 SpruceSteve Donahue, painting, Gore Range Science SchoolStanton Morris, glass, 584 Pine St.(End of info box)Daily staff writer Shauna Farnell can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 949-0555 ext. 610.Vail, Colorado
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