|BRIGHTEST FALL LEAVES BY MARCHAL NOIC|
By Kristin Bucher
I do not like to commute. But I work in Boulder and live some 30 miles away in Denver, and thus I am resigned to an hour-long drive each way. To reduce its monotony, I almost always listen to the news on National Public Radio, which means I’m better informed than I used to be; sometimes, in the evenings, I make phone calls (using a hands-free headset, of course) that I might not otherwise have a chance to make.
Lately, though, I’ve found something even better to look forward to during my daily trips: watching the trees. You see, as I write this, it’s spring in the Rockies, and new leaves are just beginning to appear. Each day I notice that there are more green buds and fewer bare brown branches. The changes are so gradual, in fact, that I often think of returning to my favorite street—the boulevard that runs along Cherry Creek—when I’m not commuting to chronicle the day-by-day progress in photographs. Another treat has been watching the flowering trees transform from barren stalks into branches lush and heavy with pink blossoms. Some days it’s enough to make me smile as I drive along … and, for me, that’s quite an achievement.
Of course, you have to understand that until I moved to Colorado, this very noticeable changing of the seasons was not something I had experienced. In Houston, my former home, the landscape is lush and green throughout the year because there are so many pine trees. So in this, my second spring in the Rocky Mountains, I’m still hyper-sensitive to everything about my natural surroundings, from weather to skies to seasons.
The same is true—to a significantly higher degree, I’m sure—for the plein-air painters featured in this issue. Part of what makes their work so good is their years of experience understanding the light and color and atmosphere of the outdoors, and their incredible talent in translating this understanding onto canvas. One glance at their paintings and you’ll feel the heat of summer, the crispness autumn, the chill of winter, and—my current favorite—the fresh greenness of spring.
Before I close, I must tell you with sadness that we at Southwest Art recently lost a respected colleague and friend. Barbara Kelly, our former publisher, passed away on April 22. Barbara was well known in her home state of New Mexico and beyond as a passionate supporter of artists, galleries, and the art world as a whole. Her enthusiasm and creative spirit will be greatly missed. -June 2008