Rachel Herrara challenging an oncoming vehicle in Telluride

Shaun Horne of the Oh-Be-Joyful Gallery made arrangements for several plein air painters to have the use of a rental property in Telluride, Colorado, when they went painting together. Despite the deep snow and cold temperatures, the artists all had a great time and created some amazing paintings.

Dave A. Santillanes painting

“It’s been a fun winter for plein air painting,” reports Dave A. Santillanes. “Besides trying to get out once or twice a week locally, this recent trip to Telluride, Colorado, was my second extreme painting adventure of the season. The first was snowshoeing with my painting gear on a trip to the 10th Mountain Division hut system, located at 12,000 feet near Leadville, Colorado. The trip to Telluride developed from the foresight of Shaun Horne, the owner of Oh-Be-Joyful Gallery in Crested Butte and Telluride. After opening the new gallery in Telluride, he negotiated the use of a rental property in the center of town and invited his stable of artists and guest artists to paint in and around Telluride without having to worry about accommodations.”

One of Santillanes’s plein air paintings

Santillanes adds with a laugh, “The small rental property is located in what’s called Popcorn Alley, which has quite a history. It was once part of the red light district of town and got its name from the doors of the nearby brothels opening and shutting quite frequently. Now it’s an artist’s haven. The group included Kirsten Savage, Rachel Herrera and Nicholas Reti. We painted all day, every day, regardless of conditions, as long as the light allowed. We also snowshoed one day, carrying our painting gear up to the Bear Creek area for some spectacular creek scenes after the fresh snows. It was here that we coined a new plein air word: ‘Fallump!’ which came to mean whenever a tree or roof sheds its snow on your easel, as in “You just got fallumped on!” That happened quite frequently.

“The temperatures during the day were between 20 and 25 degrees. At night the lows were in the single digits and teens. Basically, whenever the sun wasn’t out, it was cold. And the sun was only out a couple of days while we were there. It snowed two feet during our week of painting, which made for some incredible scenes for painting.” For more information, visit www.dasanti.com.


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