Evergreen Fine Art, November 1-15
This story was featured in the November 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art November 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
Keith Bond’s solo show at Evergreen Fine Art, titled Communing With Nature, is a celebration of the Colorado painter’s love for the outdoors. Opening with a reception and gallery talk from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 1, and closing on November 15, the show features more than a dozen plein-air and studio works that depict magnificent landscapes in his home state and in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park. “Keith’s paintings create a window to the natural world in which the viewer is able to observe his reverence for, and fellowship with, nature,” says Doug Kacena, Evergreen Fine Art’s director of exhibitions.
Two of the works in the show were created during an exciting visit last summer to Grand Teton National Park and have a great story behind them. “I put all my painting equipment in a backpack and headed off to hike in the wilderness,” Bond explains. “Lonely, wild areas attract me. But this adventure had some scary moments.” Bond was heading down a less-traveled trail toward a beautiful grove of aspen when he saw a cluster of young trees and knew he had to stop to paint them. More than halfway through the painting, titled YOUNG ASPEN, he heard a loud crashing sound and something big moving through the forest behind him that sent chills down his spine.
“The sound was about 50 yards away, and I knew from where I was in the park that it was probably a grizzly bear,” he recalls. “I was ready to pack up my paints and head out, but instead I made as much noise as I could, talking out loud and banging my painting tools to scare away the animal. Nothing got really close to me, so I finished the painting.” A little while later, Bond headed to another grove of trees down the trail and painted INTIMATE GROVE. “I saw fresh bear scat on the ground, so I knew that the sound I had heard more than likely came from a bear,” he says.
Most of Bond’s works aren’t created when wild animals are so close by, but they are generated from his wilderness experiences. Studio paintings are inspired by studies done on location. For example, CRATER LAKE, which is also in the show, captures an iconic area of Colorado located in the westernmost part of the Rocky Mountains. “I resisted making this painting because so many paintings of this area have been done by other artists,” Bond says. What attracted him to the scene was not so much the majesty of the surrounding peaks but the overall feeling of the place when he was in it, with the crystal-clear blue lake in the foreground and the dramatic mountain peaks behind it.
In fact, the feeling of a place is what inspires all of Bond’s work. “The reason I backpack is that I experience nature in a different way when I’m really immersed in it,” he says. “Nature starts speaking to me, and I want to express what I experience to others.” —Emily Van Cleve
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