Red on Grey by Sophy Brown
Early in her career, British-born Sophy Brown created color-field paintings reminiscent of the New York abstract expressionists. But in 2000, more than a decade after Brown moved to the United States, she was commissioned to paint a monumental mural depicting life-size riders and horses. That assignment marked a major turning point in both the style and subject matter of her paintings. Since the commission, her artistic eye has been trained on horses and cowboys almost exclusively. “My paintings try to capture the blood-and-bone responses of the horse in images of speed, freedom, alarm, curiosity, and exuberance,” Brown explains. And she views the American cowboy as an icon of self-reliance, honesty, and practicality.
Brown frequently attends rodeos to study and sketch her subject of choice, working always to convey the energy and life she witnesses first hand. She also owns horses and frequently uses them as models. This year her work is on view for the first time at the annual Colorado Governor’s Invitational Art Show and Sale in April in Loveland. She is represented by Frank Howell Gallery, Santa Fe, NM; Yellow Horse Gallery and Yellow Horse 1, Santa Fe, NM; and Tough Luck Cowboy, Boulder, CO.
Winter Vignette by Stephen Datz
Landscape painter Stephen Datz makes his home in Grand Junction, CO. The nearby Colorado National Monument often serves as inspiration for his evocative paintings that feature the park’s steep-walled, red-rock canyons. He is equally comfortable setting up his easel in Utah’s desert terrain or amid Colorado’s snowy alpine aspen groves. “I like to think that when a painting is successful, the viewer feels like they are standing right where I was standing when I painted it,” Datz says. “I want them to feel the same magic I felt.”
For the plein-air artist, painting in the open air offers a sense of freedom and a way to put aside everything but the raw sensations of time, place, and seasons. It’s a time, he says, to focus solely on the meaningful translation of those sensations to canvas. “Ultimately my aim is to infuse every painting, whether it is a field study or a studio work, with qualities that extend beyond the visible—the significance of silence, the pleasure of discovery, and the value of solitude,” Datz explains.
In 2006, he was honored with the Artists’ Choice award at two Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters’ shows. His works are on view at the Colorado Governor’s Invitational Art Show and Sale in April in Loveland. Datz is represented by Act I Gallery, Taos, NM; Main Street Gallery and Framer, Glenwood Springs and Carbondale, CO; and Wild Horse Gallery, Steamboat Springs, CO.
Daisies & Apples by Mike Kirschel
Native Californian Mike Kirschel is fond of describing his painterly style as a “poetic expression of the artist’s state of mind in response to his subject.” Although the Bay Area artist works in many genres, including landscape and figurative works, his artistic heart belongs to classic still-life painting featuring the same objects depicted by the legendary Dutch masters—flowers, fruit, and vases.
Kirschel’s impressionistic works blend rich color harmonies with a loose style. “Still lifes are easy to study. They don’t change or move. Figures move and breathe and walk away in two hours. A still-life set up is there for two weeks,” he says.
Kirschel studied with well-known painter Sunny Apinchapong-Yang, and today he teaches painting classes at the Pacific Art League in Palo Alto, CA. Whether he is painting still-life, figurative, or landscape works, his mission is to always impart enthusiasm, strength, and sensitivity to his works.
In 2006, Kirschel won first place in oils at the Society of Western Artists annual show held in San Francisco. His still-life paintings are on view in a one-man show in April at The Gallery in Burlingame, CA. He is also represented by Ars Longa Gallery, Folsom, CA; Montana Trails, Bozeman, MT; and www.kirschel.com.
Featured in “Artists to Watch” March 2007
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