Steamboat abstract artist displays work at K. Saari Gallery in Steamboat |

Steamboat abstract artist displays work at K. Saari Gallery in Steamboat

Nicole Inglis

Monroe Hodder explains the emotions behind one of her pieces of abstract art Wednesday in her studio. The local artist’s work will be on display at K. Saari Gallery starting tonight at First Friday Artwalk.

Monroe Hodder explains the emotions behind one of her pieces of abstract art Wednesday in her studio. The local artist's work will be on display at K. Saari Gallery starting tonight at First Friday Artwalk.
John F. Russell

— Monroe Hodder's abstract paintings are strictly horizontal in a visual sense. But the orientation of the colors, textures and emotions creates waves in the rigidity of her signature stripes.

Hodder's work, which is exclusively a study in stripes, will be on display at K. Saari Gallery starting during the First Friday Artwalk tonight. A reception is from 5 to 8 p.m.

Kimberly Saari said she was elated to decorate her new gallery's walls with the wild hues of Hodder's work.

"It's the luxuriousness of it, these layers and layers she does," Saari said. "You have these artists that are international, but she comes to Steamboat, and she just gets Steamboat, too."

Hodder splits her time between Steamboat and London, and her art and life have been heavily influenced by her intercontinental travels. Her zestful confidence and serene attachment to nature translate into the bright, tiered colors on her canvas.

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"I'm kind of half urban, half rural," she said.

Her signature style, which is expressed in 3- to 4-inch-wide horizontal stripes, developed from a stint living overseas in Kazakhstan. She moved there for her husband's job and was struck by the birch trees, which are as abundant and evocative as aspen trees in Colorado.

She painted them. And somewhere along the way, the tree trunks turned horizontal.

"Something happened," she said. "Maybe it was my desire to be more abstract, maybe it was just my ability to."

She said her pieces, while they seem wholly abstract, begin with literal experiences. Her most recent piece — which still was drying against a wall in her studio Wednesday — was painted in a palette of bright green, yellow and blue hues. It radiated the smell of evergreens and the stillness of a lake, exactly what she was sensing on a recent fishing trip in North Routt County.

But to someone else, the multicolored stripes could strike a completely different place in the heart.

"Abstraction is a metaphor," Hodder said. "I believe people can read their own lives into it. It can be a metaphor for joy, sorrow or pain. I had someone look at one painting, and she turned to me and said, 'Let me tell you about my divorce.' It's a reservoir for so many emotions."

Hodder has been a painter her entire life and studied fine art at the San Francisco Art Institute.

"I spent years drawing faces and horses," she said. "But I'm becoming more abstract."

"I'm delving more and more into my own style. The stripes are a great structure for me to express my feelings, and they all fit into that one structure."

In her life, she said she's inspired by everything around her, from nature and architecture to advertisements and movies.

And when it's time to paint, she said she has no choice. She'll tell her friends she can't go on that bike ride because her studio calls to her. She'll turn up the music — anything from opera to hip-hop — and her brush will move horizontally across the canvas.

"I just say, 'I have to paint today,'" Hodder said. "It's more like a vibration than anything."

Galleries and museums

❱❱ Artists' Gallery of Steamboat, 1009 Lincoln Ave., 879-4744

Greg Effinger presents watercolors of Yampa Valley themes. Sue Gallion displays her passion for textiles, wool, paint, quilting and art wear. Sculptor Bill Sanders presents Horses of Earth — "Equus Terra." Visit

❱❱ Depot Art Center, 1001 13th St., 970-879-9008

The Steamboat Springs Arts Council's annual members group exhibit is a mix of artwork from all disciplines. Complimentary wine and refreshments with live music by pianist Lee Parker. Visit

❱❱ K. Saari Gallery, 1025 Lincoln Ave., 970-870-0188

K. Saari Gallery will host a Gallery Group show for September First Friday Artwalk. There will be new work from Susan Hover Oehme, Laura Wait and new gallery artist Monroe Hodder.

❱❱ Howelsen Place Gallery, 703 Lincoln Ave., B104, 970-846-0659

European metal sculptor, David Marshall, has brought with him new creations and designs from Spain. There will be complimentary refreshments. Visit

❱❱ Images of Nature, 730 Lincoln Ave., 970-871-1822

Thomas D. Mangelsen keeps his nature photographs pure and free of digital manipulation and staged settings.

❱❱ Jim Steinberg Photography/Portfolio Collections, 1016 Oak St., 970-879-3718

The Secret Life of Flowers, by Jim Steinberg. Join us for a garden party for the reveal of Carol Jean's "Timber," a portrait of cellist John Sant'Ambrogio. Visit

❱❱ Sleeping Giant Gallery, 601 Lincoln Ave., 970-879-7143

Local art by nature photographer Don Tudor and Raku stoneware by Brown Cannon. Leather furniture and picture frames by Peruvian saddle makers also are on display. Visit

❱❱ Steamboat Art Museum, 807 Lin­coln Ave., 970-870-1755

David Taylor's quilt display has brought record-breaking numbers of visitors to the Steamboat Art Museum. The museum shop will be open, and refreshments will be served.

❱❱ Steamboat Springs Center for Visual Arts, 906 Lincoln Ave., 970-846-5970

New, colorful silk paintings by local artist Tinker Tiffany. Celestial features such as the Milky Way, shooting stars and blue moons are paired with playfully portrayed animals and even a haunted cabin. Complimentary wine and appetizers will be provided. Visit

❱❱ Tread of Pioneers Museum, 800 Oak St., 970-879-2214

The Tread of Pioneers Museum photography collection is as rich and diverse as the long history of the Yampa Valley.

❱❱ Wild Horse Gallery, 802 Lincoln Ave., 970-879-5515.

Wild Horse Gallery will feature the photography of Rod Hanna and a book signing of his new book, "Colorado's Seasons of Gold." Visit

Alternative venues

❱❱ Azteca Taqueria, 116 9th St., 970-870-9980

Featured artist Suzy Pattillo displays watercolor and oil paintings, pencil drawings, pastel and photography at several venues in Routt County. She also won two grand champion awards at this year's Routt County Fair.

❱❱ Chocolate Soup, 737 Lincoln Ave., 970-870-0225

John Robert Mingo's mediums include acrylics, air-brush, graphite, composite sculpture and welded antique metal objects. Mingo also creates realistic models of dinosaurs and re-articulates actual dinosaur fossils.

❱❱ Colorado Group Realty, 509 Lin­coln Ave., 970-870-8800

"Yampa Valley Women of the West and Everything in Between" features Kathi Fresques' large oil paintings with cowgirls and blue cows, realistic works with a contemporary approach.

❱❱ The Comb Goddess, 1104 Lincoln Ave., 970-871-0606

New work by Leslie Lovejoy. Many of her pieces are plein air style, painted while on her frequent hikes, canoe trips and ski trips in the backcountry. Wine and light appetizers are provided.

❱❱ Creekside Cafe, 131 11th St., 970-879-4925

Steamboat Pilot & Today photojournalist Matt Stensland presents "Forbidden Paradise," a collection of images taken in March 2009 in Havana and nearby Guanabo Beach. Complimentary wine and light appetizers are provided.

❱❱ East West Frame Shop, in the alley between Eighth and Oak streets, 970-879-5225

Michelle Ideus and Cherie Duty are featured. Ideus brings horses, flowers and Steamboat scenes to life with bold colors. Duty creates funky gemstone and wire-wrapped jewelry.

❱❱ Epicurean Cafe, 825 Oak St., 970-875-0997

"Through the Garden Gate" consists of floral photographs, oil paintings and watercolors by Rebecca Pauvert. There will be refreshments.

❱❱ Harwig's/L'Apogee, 911 Lincoln Ave., 970-879-1919

Harwig's/L'Apogee presents new abstract works by Jan Maret Willman, who practices a form of art often referred to as "courageous"; logic and common sense never interfere with Willman's work.

❱❱ High Mountain Sotheby's International Realty, 708 Lincoln Ave., 970-879-8101

Local black and white photographer Lois M. Kruse will show her fascinating take on Western icons in hand-colored infrared photography. There will be refreshments.

❱❱ Mac Ranch, 117 8th St., 970-879-1270

Fran Carlisle's photography focuses on macro images. Her photographs inspire the viewer to examine everyday objects and pursue their inner beauty.

❱❱ Off the Beaten Path Bookstore, 68 Ninth St., 970-879-6830

Colorado native Josh Westfall's art is a unique use of sculpture in the natural world using snow drifts and materials that exist in the immediate area.

❱❱ The Real Estate Office at the Olympian, 35 Fifth St., No. 101, on Yampa Street facing Howelsen Hill

"Burlesque in the 21st Century" is a documentary exploration of women who reveal their sensuality through the art form of dance, flirtation and creativity by photographer Jessica Maynard.

❱❱ Rustique Steamboat, 624 Lincoln Ave., 970-870-2980

Working primarily in black and white and specializing in hand coloring, photographer Lois M. Kruse develops her own film and prints most of her own work.

❱❱ The Spa/Salon, 24 Fifth St., 970-871-0202

Olympian Caroline Lalive not only shines on the ski slopes but also in the photography world.

❱❱ Spill the Beans, 1051 13th St., 970-879-7846

Local artist Susanmarie Oddo's Kidspiration Collection is inspired by Steamboat children. These originals on canvas depict vibrant images of lively creatures. There will be a reception of coffee and baked goods.

❱❱ Urbane, 703 Lincoln Ave., Suite B101, 970-879-9169

Urbane presents its quarter annual "Call for Local Artists." Stop by to enjoy art, music and refreshments from 5 to 9 p.m. Visit

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