Portfolio | Centennial State Showcase

Meet 6 artists who call Colorado home

By Lindsay Mitchell

This story was featured in the September 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art September 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Sue Fraley

Sue Fraley, Relic, oil, 20 x 20.

Sue Fraley, Relic, oil, 20 x 20.

Sue Fraley has always felt the call to be an artist. “Growing up I was always drawing and painting,” she says. While she continued to create and study fine art through college, she also explored other opportunities, which led to a 25-year career in architectural drafting. “While I enjoyed what I was doing, I always had a nagging feeling that I should be painting,” she says. After moving to Colorado in 2001, the call to paint intensified even more. “Not long after I moved here I thought, ‘How can I live in this beautiful place and not paint landscapes?’” She began taking classes and honing her craft in her spare time. Then in 2013, Fraley “finally took the plunge” and became a full-time painter.

Recently, the artist has been focusing on the landscape right around her home in Douglas County, south of Denver. She often takes scenic drives on less-traveled roads, snapping photos along the way. Back in her studio, she sorts through them all, looking for the inspiration for her next painting. “I don’t always know why I’m drawn to a particular scene—ultimately it’s an emotional decision, not an intellectual one,” she says. “I look for something that strikes me, then I try to convey that feeling in my work.” Sometimes the feeling she seeks to convey is one of calmness, equilibrium, or excitement in the beauty, strength, and harmony of nature. But often it’s a feeling that is too complex to describe in words. Fortunately, the language of art speaks through Fraley loud and clear. Find her work at www.suefraley.com.

Ann Jenemann

Ann Jenemann, Dolores River Gold, oil, 4 x 8.

Ann Jenemann, Dolores River Gold, oil, 4 x 8.

Growing up, Ann Jenemann dreamed of becoming an artist but was eventually convinced to pursue a more practical career in marketing. Yet the desire to paint never left her, and after 10 years in the corporate world, she quit her job to pursue her passion. After graduating from art school, Jenemann began showing and selling her work immediately, while she continued to study and hone her craft wherever and however she could.

Her continual quest to keep learning and growing as an artist soon brought her to Sedona, AZ, where she participated in a landscape painting workshop. A serendipitous journey ensued when Jenemann accepted an invitation to visit Rico, CO, after the workshop. “I immediately fell in love with this place,” she says of the small southwest Colorado town she now calls home. “I love being able to step right outside my door, no matter what time of year, and have such an abundance of stunning scenery to paint.”

While Jenemann creates most of her pieces in her studio, she is an ardent proponent of painting outdoors, and she almost always uses plein-air studies as the basis for her larger studio works. “I try to record those essential elements of light, color, and shadow. But perhaps most importantly, I aim to capture the feeling I have in the field, so I can attempt to convey that emotion through the paintings I create in my studio,” she says. “My hope is to evoke a similar sense of appreciation or joy in viewers—and if I can inspire people to get outside and experience nature’s beauty for themselves, that’s even better.” Jenemann’s work can be found at Acosta Strong Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM, and Pomegranate & Lime, Cincinnati, OH.

Lori Kiplinger Pandy

Lori Kiplinger Pandy, Bareback Bookworm, bronze, 17 x 21 x 11.

Lori Kiplinger Pandy, Bareback Bookworm, bronze, 17 x 21 x 11.

At an early age, Lori Kiplinger Pandy was mesmerized by the way a painting or sculpture could make her feel. Some of her earliest memories are of gazing at figurative works and wondering about the people they portrayed: Who are they? What’s their story?

While her interests in art, people, and storytelling remained constant throughout her life, it’s only in recent years that she discovered how to combine these passions into a career and life that truly fit. About seven years ago, after 28 years as a commercial painter and illustrator, Pandy felt a strong desire for something fresh and new. “I signed up for a sculpture class, and that was it,” she says. “It was such a satisfying, natural, and joyful experience—I just knew it was what I wanted to do from that moment on,” she says.

Today, from her studio in Fort Collins, CO, Pandy imbues each of her bronze figurative sculptures with that same joyful energy and an appreciation for both the physical and emotional aspects of humankind. Beneath the dynamic texture and balanced form, each piece is meant to capture the spirit of a person or tell a story. Whether it’s a private memorial of a loved one or a public monument of a historical figure, the artist’s mission is ultimately the same: to elevate and celebrate people’s lives and achievements, both big and small. “I believe we can all learn from others—be they famous historical figures or unsung, everyday heroes,” she says, adding, “We all have a story worthy of being told.” Find Pandy’s work at McBride Gallery, Annapolis, MD.

George Callison

George Callison, First Snow, oil, 18 x 24.

George Callison, First Snow, oil, 18 x 24.

George Callison believes that art is in everyone’s DNA. “Archaeological evidence shows humans have been producing art since prehistoric times,” he says. “I think for many humans—and certainly for me—the impetus for creating art stems from being curious about everything I see and trying to figure out what it all indicates in the great scheme of things.”

Callison’s curiosity and fascination with the natural world has made him an eternal explorer and nature enthusiast, and it has led to careers in anatomy, paleontology, nature park and exhibition design, and eventually painting. “Creating, appreciating, and collecting art are wonderful ways to experience and understand our world,” he says.

For the past 23 years, Callison has made his home on Colorado’s Western Slope, where he finds limitless inspiration for landscape paintings that he usually begins en plein air. “I can’t imagine a better place to paint outdoors,” he says. “The topographic and ecological diversity here contribute to myriad subjects. Colorado really has it all, from the high mountain vistas to the deserts, lakes, and streams. It’s just incredible.”

Through his work, Callison’s primary goal is to communicate the “joy of the moment” he experiences every time he ventures outdoors, and to share that joy with others. “Becoming a practicing painter has really given me new eyes to see patterns and shapes in the landscape that let me be fascinated no matter where I am,” he says. “And I believe art can do that for anyone, if they persevere.” Find Callison’s work at The Main St. Gallery,  Grand Junction, CO.

Julianne Miller

Julianne Miller, Distant Storm, oil, 48 x 48.

Julianne Miller, Distant Storm, oil, 48 x 48.

You might say that art is in Julianne Miller’s blood. A descendent of renowned artist Mary Cassatt and the daughter of an art teacher, Miller has been exploring and creating art for most of her life. She began her career in commercial art but eventually found herself pulled into fine-art painting as a means of escaping the reality of difficult life circumstances, including the loss of both her mother and her husband to cancer. It was during this time that Miller began using the pastels her mother had passed down to her as a way to deal with her grief. “It was such a gift for me to have that release,” she says, “and it’s also a gift to share my work with others.”

Miller’s landscapes featuring vibrant, abstracted color have been bringing joy to viewers for nearly 20 years. She now owns Stoneheart Gallery in Evergreen, CO, where she continues to live, work, and paint the breathtaking scenery in pastel and, more recently, oil. “There’s so much diversity and beauty here—I could stand in one spot and paint for six months just turning around,” she muses. One of her favorite aspects of the landscape to paint is the aspen. “I love to focus on the trunks and the unique scarring they exhibit,” she says. “I see parallels between humans and the trees with the unique scars they display, just as we have our own wounds that we bear, whether internal or on the outside. Each one unique, but ours to wear.” Find Miller’s work at Stoneheart Gallery, Evergreen, CO.

Don Sahli

Don Sahli, Columbines, Colorado Garden, Mosquito Pass, oil, 30 x 40.

Don Sahli, Columbines, Colorado Garden, Mosquito Pass, oil, 30 x 40.

Don Sahli’s fine-art career began when he was very young. By the time he was 15 years old, he was showing and selling his work at galleries in Texas and New Mexico. In 1982, he attended a painting demonstration given by renowned Russian colorist Sergei Bongart—an experience that changed his life and art forever. “At that moment I knew I wanted to be a painter in this colorful tradition of the Russian School,” he says. Soon after, Sahli moved to Los Angeles, where he studied with Bongart until his passing in 1985. Ten years later, Sahli opened his own art school in Evergreen, CO, where he continues Bongart’s legacy of painting and teaching in the Russian colorist tradition.

The artist’s approach to subject matter is also similar to Bongart’s, who taught a “color first, subject last” mentality. Sahli’s works depict an array of scenes, from still lifes to interiors to all types of landscape and plein-air scenes. “I love to travel, and I’m fascinated by so many things that I see on those journeys and throughout the seasons,” he says. Perhaps this ability to marvel at the beauty of everything around him—whether it’s a field of aspens, an ocean sunset, a piece of fruit, or the interior of his studio—is not only what keeps the artist engaged, but the viewer as well. “Every time I see someone connect with one of my paintings in a profound and joyful way, I’m reminded of how blessed I am to do what I do,” Sahli says. Sahli’s work can be found at Southwest Gallery, Dallas, TX; Folger Gallery, Midland, TX; Joe Wade Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM; Oh Be Joyful Gallery, Crested Butte, CO; and Sahlipaint Studio, Golden, CO.

This story was featured in the September 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art September 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

MORE RESOURCES FOR ART COLLECTORS & ENTHUSIASTS
• Subscribe to Southwest Art magazine
• Learn how to paint & how to draw with downloads, books, videos & more from North Light Shop
• Sign up for your Southwest Art email newsletter & download a FREE ebook

COMMENT