Vail artist shows her colors at library exhibit |

Vail artist shows her colors at library exhibit

Vail Daily/Shane Macomber"Three Pines-East Vail," by Nancy Rondeau

VAIL – Whoever coined the phrase “art for art’s sake” probably had people like Nancy Rondeau in mind.The painter, whose show opened Thursday at the Vail Library, rarely shows or sells her work, although the walls of her home in West Vail show how prolific she is. A summer artist, Rondeau said she likes to paint outside, reserving the colder months for skiing.

Rondeau’s paintings are a mix of oils and water colors. Although the landscape of the Vail Valley and other parts of Colorado are her favorite subject, Rondeau likes to change things up as well, painting still lifes, abstracts and even some pieces she calls “political paintings.”One piece, titled “Endless War,” needs little explanation: Sand-colored ridges are interwoven with a blood-red ribbon that stretches into infinity. Another, “Curtain,” contains a veil of white pearls – 1,800 of them, representing Iraq war deaths – hanging over a field of darkness.

“Landscapes are fine, but if you’re painting you have to work with images that deal with other things in the world,” Rondeau says. “I want people to think about those things.”Mostly, though, Rondeau’s eye focuses on the striking colors found in nature. She says she’s worked hard to develop her palette to reflect those colors, and her paintings reflect that care. Her evergreens are a particularly intense hue of green, and a lot of attention is paid to the varied blues of the sky. She also likes to avoid static scenes in her landscapes, so she incorporates the feeling of motion and wind.With her use of different media and subjects, Rondeau has created an impressive oeuvre for an amateur artist. Her attention to color and fine detail is probably her strongest suit, but she succeeds in creating larger images as well. All of it is contained in smaller canvases, which she says is necessary for working outside. The result is a more economical presentation and a tighter focus, creating works that seem to demand attention.

With the exhibit at Vail Library, Rondeau is acknowledging her desire to show her work at the same time she says public attention is not what drives her.”I do an exhibit once in a while,” she says. “I’m not anxious to sell paintings, because then I’d start painting what people want to have. It’s not as personal.”

Still, the artist says she appreciates the library series that help expose local artists.”It’s a nice community project,” she says. “And it’s open during library hours, so plenty of people can see it.”

A reception to kick-off Rondeau’s exhibit is set for 4-7 p.m. Tuesday. The paintings will hang in the library through Sept. 14.Alex Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 615, or, Colorado

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