Steamboat artists inspired by preserved lands
March 14, 2013
Steamboat Springs — Every direction you look from Steamboat Springs spans beautiful vistas, whether mountains, ranch landscapes or winding canyons.
It's an artist's dream.
For Susan Corser, a painter who long has been involved with land conservation projects in Routt County, the picturesque area is the product of more than Mother Nature.
"I don't think a lot of people understand that a lot of what they see in this valley is the way it is because of conservation efforts," Corser said.
She and Gregory Effinger are the featured artists this month at the Artists’ Gallery of Steamboat. Their show of paintings, called "Heritage Preserved," will be on display through the end of March. It features ranching and agriculture imagery inspired by preserved and historic lands.
Effinger, who like Corser has become enamored with plein-air painting, long has been inspired in his watercolor and oil works by the ranching and agricultural heritage that surrounds Steamboat.
"I've always wanted to tell that story with a map," he said. So he did: a giant, watercolor map of Routt County that's now plastered to the floor of the Artists' Gallery.
The map is dotted with numbers, each corresponding to a painting on the wall created by Effinger or Corser, marking the place that was captured in each work.
Effinger's work focuses on equine figures and ranch equipment details, and Corser traveled to specific Yampa Valley Land Trust sites to capture the beauty of places like Yampa River West open space, the Rehder Ranch Nature Preserve and Storm Mountain Ranch.
Corser said many of the sites are not open to public access, and she gained permission from the Land Trust to enter the sites to paint many of them. Photos, she said, come nowhere close to capturing the atmosphere, colors and depth of a place. Her favorite exploration was her trip into Walton Canyon, where she painted one of the rocky formations.
"By painting these, we bring awareness to not just the beauty but also to the fact that it's been preserved not just by the Yampa Valley Land Trust but many people," Corser said.
"We're surrounded by it," Effinger added.
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com