Art work anticipates spring at Steamboat Artwalk show | SteamboatToday.com

Art work anticipates spring at Steamboat Artwalk show

Show is today at Artists’ Gallery of Steamboat

Margaret Hair

Leslie Bell uses extra-soft oil pastel atop black backgrounds on rough silk for her works depicting the four seasons. This piece is included in "Prelude to Spring," the March show at Artists' Gallery of Steamboat.

If you go

What: Opening reception for "Prelude to Spring," featuring new work by Bonnie McGee, Leslie Bell and Maggie Smith; part of First Friday Artwalk

When: 5 to 8 p.m. today

Where: Artists' Gallery of Steamboat, 1009 Lincoln Ave.

Cost: Free

Call: 879-4744

Online

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Learn more about the artists at http://www.steamboatgall…. Also find a gallery of images included in this month's First Friday Artwalk.

— Maybe it's that there's not much high country in Illinois.

For whatever reason, Steam­boat Springs resident and Illi­nois native Bonnie McGee is drawn to Colorado's mountains as a subject for her sweeping landscape oil paintings.

"I love to hike, and my husband and I do 14ers in the summer. … I'm trying to capture something special about these high places that other people can enjoy even if they can't strap on a pack and get up there," McGee said.

The three centerpiece paintings in McGee's portion of "Prelude to Spring," the March show at Artists' Gallery of Steamboat, are scenes from Rocky Mountain National Park. The show also features oil pastel work by Leslie Bell and monoprint pieces by Maggie Smith. "Prelude to Spring" opens with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. today. The free event is part of First Friday Artwalk, which features work at 26 other downtown venues.

Describing her approach to painting, McGee thinks back to a saying she once heard from a Caribbean artist during her travels there: "When someone asked him why he painted what he painted, he said, 'I sees it; I feels it; I paints it,'" McGee said.

Naturally inspired images from across Colorado make up the bulk of McGee's work, bringing that adage home to her. Also included in her display is a painting of a Steamboat Springs Orchestra performance. Proceeds from sales of prints of that painting are a fundraiser for the orchestra, she said.

For her part of "Prelude to Spring," Bell tried to touch on several seasons. Using a technique she created a few years ago, Bell applies background color to rough silk and creates images with extra-soft oil pastels. The texture of the cloth catches the oil in a way that looks pointillist. Breaking the "moonlit" tone of the black background typical in her work, Bell said she experimented for the spring-themed show with a yellow background, moving toward a new "sunlit" series.

Printmaker Smith created her portion of show by pressing ink into paper from rollers. Each image — which includes spring-inspired images of birds, chickens and blooming plants — uses five to seven layers of ink, Smith wrote in an e-mail.

Look for a full list of March First Friday Artwalk shows — including show descriptions, locations and links to participating artist Web sites — on page 16 of Explore Steamboat.

If you go

What: Opening reception for “Prelude to Spring,” featuring new work by Bonnie McGee, Leslie Bell and Maggie Smith; part of First Friday Artwalk

When: 5 to 8 p.m. today

Where: Artists’ Gallery of Steamboat, 1009 Lincoln Ave.

Cost: Free

Call: 879-4744

Online

Learn more about the artists at http://www.steamboatgall…. Also find a gallery of images included in this month’s First Friday Artwalk.

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