Katie Hill, Dan Logé first artists to exhibit paintings at monument’s Visitor Center
Until July, the wall above the doors to the exhibits and auditorium inside Colorado National Monument’s Visitor Center was blank.
John Lintott, local painter and art coordinator for the Colorado National Monument Association, sought permission for months from the National Park Service to put up a hanging system for a small art gallery to show local artwork.
Permission finally came in late May and now the wall is filled with vistas of the monument. Each two-month exhibit is required to be 50 percent or more related to the monument with the rest being a good representation of the featured artist’s work, Lintott said.
Katie Hill’s oil paintings have been on display since July 1. On Thursday, Aug. 31, her paintings will come down and Dan Logé‘s paintings will go up on Friday, Sept. 1. Logé‘s artwork can be viewed through the end of October, at which point another local artist’s work will fill the space.
All of the artwork if for sale, with a percentage going to the association and the majority to the artists.
“The whole reason we’re doing this is, No. 1, it would be nice to generate sales for artists and have another place for them to exhibit,” Lintott said.
It’s also a way for the monument’s many visitors to see original artwork of the monument and discover local artists, he said.
Since Hill’s paintings were hung, “there’s been a lot of people who look up and they love the fact that there’s artwork up,” Lintott said.
Here is a look at the first two artists to have work displayed at the Visitor Center, why they began painting and what inspires them.
‘I LOVE THE COLORS’
When Lintott sent out a call for artists to show their work at the Visitor Center, Hill replied right away.
“I’m always looking for places to hang my art,” she said.
He asked how soon she could be ready, and she replied, “Anytime.”
“I’m thrilled to be the first,” said Hill, whose eight oil paintings have been on display at the Visitor Center since July 1.
There’s Independence Monument, Kissing Couple and Wedding Canyon with reds and oranges that contrast nicely with the blues and greens of two paintings of the Maroon Bells in the White River National Forest.
The Maroon Bells are lovely, but the canyons and monoliths of the monument are some of Hill’s favorite scenes to paint.
“I love the colors and the dramatic landscape, the depth of the canyons,” she said.
Hill, who paints mostly landscapes and occasionally animals or people, began painting in 2004 when she retired from a career as a computer analyst.
It wasn’t that she couldn’t paint before — both her grandmothers were landscape artists and Hill painted a little in college. But life was busy, and art, along with golf and playing the flute, became a goal for retirement.
To get herself started, Hill asked members of her family to send her landscape photos to use as reference. Since she grew up in Alaska and much of her family is still there, she received a lot of photos of Alaska. And so she painted Alaska for quite a while, sending the finished pieces back to family members.
She also took some painting classes and has had both Lintott and Logé as instructors.
Along with painting with oil on canvas, Hill uses acrylic to paint scenes on pieces of shale.
“I’ve sold 150 rocks,” she said.
But selling any of her art is a bonus. Hill paints because she enjoys it, not as a 9-to-5 job.
Her easel at home is set up so that as she walks by she can do this or that with a painting until she’s satisfied, then leave it and come back later.
“I don’t paint eight hours a day,” she said.
She also prefers to use photo reference over painting plein air and likes that with landscape, things don’t have to be exact.
For Hill, it’s about capturing the beauty of landscapes she loves and wants others to love as well.
Learn about Hill and her art at facebook.com/KatieHillArtist and katiehillart.blogspot.com.
‘I FOLLOW MY INTERESTS’
“I’ve spent most of my life in this room,” Logé said, stepping into his garage, which is lined with paintings, oil paint and brushes, stacks of photos and more paintings. It’s more studio than garage, by far.
“I eat, drink and sleep art,” Logé said.
He’s been painting for 35 years and used to do mostly wildlife. Now he focuses more on landscape. Some of both were in the pieces Logé had lined up in his studio earlier this month as he made his final selection of oil paintings to be displayed for two months at the Visitor Center beginning Friday, Sept. 1.
Among the possibilities was a coyote in its winter coat — “he’s pretty healthy,” Logé said — vibrant red Indian paintbrush, Independence Monument and snow over red rock.
The older he gets, the pickier he gets about his work, he said.
He describes his style as “painterly realism,” and prefers working from photo reference in his studio. He also does photography, “so I’m out there a lot getting reference material,” he said.
While the landscapes featured in his paintings are a real places such as the monument, he might subtract a tree and add a rock if he likes, and “I like the brush strokes to show,” he said. “I don’t paint every hair, not these days.”
Recently, he has been painting clouds to “loosen up.”
“You can change a cloud and it still looks like a cloud,” he said. But with an animal, say, a moose, “you need to make sure it’s believable.”
Logé grew up with art in upstate New York, as his mother was a “weekend painter.” When Logé started for himself, he was a river rat and painted waterfalls.
His paintings of ducks have made the cover of Ducks Unlimited magazine three times and the Long Island Duck Stamp in 1982.
When he moved west — his parents retired here and his sister also moved west, so Logé and his family followed — it “completely changed my subject matter.”
The light is brighter, the color palette is different and the vistas are deeper.
He paints nearly every day and “I follow my interests,” he said.
Logé plans to participate in the first Colorado National Monument Plein Air Event set for Oct. 3–7. While not what he prefers, painting plein air is something “I need to do more,” he said.
He has been told that it provides a connection between eye and scenery that can’t be beat. And besides, “I like a challenge,” Logé said.