By Bonnie Gangelhoff
From working in Texas as an engineer for an oil company to working in Colorado as an oil painter, Stacey Peterson has seen a wide swing in her career path. Since early childhood, she had a love of art, but she also excelled in math and science. After graduating from the Colorado School of Mines with an engineering degree, Peterson headed for Houston to work for ExxonMobil. While there, she began taking painting and drawing classes, and, as an avid hiker and backpacker, she also longed for the mountains and her former Rocky Mountain life.
Peterson eventually returned to her native Colorado working as an engineer, but after four more years she finally decided her passion for the outdoors and painting was too strong to ignore. Since making her radical career switch, Peterson has been rewarded for her efforts with honors from the prestigious Oil Painters of America, and in 2006 she was included in Southwest Art’s 21 Under 31 feature spotlighting emerging artists.
This year the Governor’s show features Peterson’s painting ASPEN SHADOWS, a landscape that captures a slice of time at Kebler Pass near Crested Butte, CO. On a recent fall day, Peterson and her family were camping in the area. “The whole pass was completely gold, and I was taken with the way the light was coming from the back and illuminating the trees,” she says. “It felt like the light was stretching out toward me as I was standing there painting.”
Peterson lives in a small mountain town west of Winter Park, CO, and says most of her paintings are inspired by the landscapes found within 15 minutes of her home. “I paint places I know really well,” she says. “I just like to paint what I know and love.”
The artist has never looked back from her life-changing decision and is quick to say she has no regrets. Peterson is represented by Elk Horn Fine Art Gallery, Winter Park, CO; Oh-Be-Joyful Gallery, Crested Butte, CO; and Wild Horse Gallery, Steamboat Springs, CO; www.staceypeterson.com.
Featured in April 2012.