Monday, August 15, 2016

Plein Air in Telluride, Colorado

Painting on location in the park at Telluride. (Photo courtesy of Ryan Morse)

This summer I had a chance to hit Telluride for three days of plein air painting with a couple of Denver Illustration Salon members; Clay Brooks and Ryan Morse*. I made progress fast, from the sorta-sad first paintings to the almost-there paintings near the end of the trip.

We arrived in town at about 5 pm, and were painting by 6.  I'd decided to try gouache for the trip, and had pre-grounded most of my paper with a greyed reddish color. I'm new to the medium, but not unhappy with the attempts.

Every day we were up early in order to bag as many paintings as possible.

It rained off and on the whole time...

...but the clouds were nearly as dramatic as the scenery. Here's another view from the top of the Gondola...

 ...and another. What a place! (Photo by Ryan Morse)

The few remaining shacks in the gentrified town gave me my favorite painting of the trip.

The rain was steady on the last day of painting...

...but it was a good one anyway.

Unfortunately, I had painted under a green umbrella, which totally skewed my color choices. I'd also made the poor decision to experiment with a blue ground. Still, the falls and surrounding landscape were so gorgeous I can't complain. And I was learning quite a bit about what not to do, too.

(Photo courtesy of Ryan Morse)

The trip was initiated by Clay, who was there for the Telluride Plein Air Festival. Here's all his work from the trip on the first sale-day of the festival (my last day there).

Yeah, it was still raining at the beginning of the sale. (Photo courtesy Ryan Morse)

When I got home, I still had the plein air itch, so the maple tree in my front yard was a great, (although more-ordinary-than-Telluride) subject.
The previous three days of continual on-location painting had helped tremendously. I'd gained confidence, and solutions and techniques were still fresh in my memory (unlike the forgetting I tend to do when painting on-location only once a week or so).

*One of Clay's oils from the top of the gondola.
 Be sure to check out  Clay Brooks' site

*A couple of Ryan's oils from the trip. Click for Ryan Morse's site

And thanks for reading!


  1. Enjoyed seeing the works develop, also thanks for the tip re:umbrella colour.

    1. You are welcome--glad to help. Thanks for checking out the post!


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