ELEVATED | Art and Artists, by Day and by Moonlight

08/06/14 | By | More
WINNING WATERCOLOR – This painting of a green sea turtle by Susan Moyer took first place in the Fine Arts category at the Artists' Alpine Holiday exhibit in Ouray. The show is up through Sunday at the Ouray Community Center. (Courtesy photo)

WINNING WATERCOLOR – This painting of a green sea turtle by Susan Moyer took first place in the Fine Arts category at the Artists’ Alpine Holiday exhibit in Ouray. The show is up through Saturday at the Ouray Community Center. (Courtesy photo)

In Ouray: Artists’ Alpine Holiday

The annual juried art show Artists’ Alpine Holiday has been held in this region for over half a century. Though the show is open to artists from all over, most are local – from Colorado and neighboring states, including Arizona and New Mexico. Some 300 artists enter the show, which attracts 2,000 or more visitors each year, from 30 states and foreign countries, according to the Ouray County Arts Association, the show’s sponsor.

This year’s winners have already been announced – the show’s been up since last Friday, Aug. 1 – and this weekend is the last time to see their work. It’s not always this way, but winners of both the fine arts and photography competitions this season came from very close to home.

Best in Show artist Susan Moyer, for example (Fine Arts Judge Cheryl St. John’s pick), is from Grand Junction, and had lived in Ouray for years. She had also entered the show for years, and never won a thing. This go round, she registered the piece she was working on for exhibit, and then became ill, and couldn’t finish it. A friend petitioned to allow her to substitute another work, which happened to be Moyer’s husband’s favorite – though her personal opinion was, it wasn’t very good – in its stead. The painting took first prize. It’s a watercolor of a sea turtle, just beneath the surface of a shimmering sea. The Western Slope is not exactly Sea Turtle Country, and I wondered: with so many years in the mountains-bordering-on-dusty-desert, what was the inspiration for this painting? “I grew up on Beaufort Island, near Hilton Head Island, off the coast of South Carolina,” Moyer replied. As kids, “We used to watch the sea turtles come up and lay their eggs on shore every year, just like you see on TV.” To compose her painting she “got some photos of sea turtles, put them all together, made up some coral beneath him and there we are,” she said drily. Moyer has also done several paintings of pelicans in flight (“they’re not much on land,” she allowed), and shrimp boats – subjects still thriving in her imagination, despite where she has lived for decades. “The South,” she said, “is still near and dear to my heart.”

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The top photo prizewinner, chosen by Photography Judge Jim Stephenson, is by Marta Alfred, who recently moved to Montrose from the Front Range. She took her photo in Rocky Mountain National Park. Alfred had been camping by herself, trying to get landscape photos that included bull elk. She’d waited all afternoon, and the light was getting better. Yet the frustration was, a herd of cows kept getting in the way of her subjects (for landscape photographers, “Half the battle is getting a photograph with no people” or other animals in it, she said). The sun was starting to go down, and Alfred was walking away to pack it in for the night. “I turned to leave, then turned around” and looked back one more time, she said. “And, oh man.” There was her shot: “The light was perfect. I get goose bumps just thinking about it. We tend to move in one direction,” she added. “In photography, one of the rules is to always turn around. You never know what’s behind you.” The photo, which Alfred entitled “River Sunset at RMNP,” “has never failed met yet,” Alfred said. Since moving to this region, she has entered it at the Montrose County Fair (where it won first prize and earned a People’s Choice Award); in the Montrose Visual Arts Guild’s annual show at Camelot Gardens last year (where the photo again took first place); and now at Artists’ Alpine Holiday. “The photo will be retired at the Delta Fine Arts Show next spring,” Alfred said, “unless it happens to sell in the meantime.”

The Artists’ Alpine Holiday exhibition is open Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Ouray Community Center (320 6th Avenue).

Ridgway MoonWalk, Montrose Moonlight Ride

The Ridgway Rendezvous Arts & Crafts Festival is this weekend, the 30th edition of this venerable get-together in Town Park, and Ridgway MoonWalk kicks it off Friday night at 6 p.m. The theme of this month’s celebration of local arts and artisans honors the late-summer season, an homage to the Harvest.

Accordingly, it begins at the Ridgway Community Garden, where special sculptures will be installed there for the event. The walking tour wends its way through nine galleries, and ends at True Grit’s Courtyard at Timber Creek Gallery, where musician Susan Walton, just off her stint as host of the Montrose Troubadour Contest the night before, will entertain from 7-10 p.m.

Pick up guides to the walk at the Community Garden (corner of N. Laura and Charles streets) or at Resource Co-op, at 540 Sherman St.Also taking place under the full moon this weekend: a Street Dance at the 600 block of Clinton Street in Ridgway on Saturday evening, with live music, drinks and snacks, until 10 p.m. And on Sunday evening, there is a “Hang 10” Full Moon Cruise – a free, community bike ride set to surf music  – in downtown Montrose. The ride begins at 8 p.m. and convenes at the Horsefly Brewing Company at 846 E. Main St. for a gentle, 60-minute spin on paved streets (don’t forget to bring your lights). The rides are generally five to 10 miles in length, and end up back at the Horsefly. All ages are welcome.

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