Steamboat Springs High School graduate returns to hometown to hang 1st art show
January 3, 2013
Steamboat Springs — He began to notice it as a child.
Someone would point out something on a green hillside — a red flower, perhaps. But Adam Strong couldn't see it.
Colorblind for as long as he can remember, he chose one of the most difficult paths he could have — a professional painter and portraitist — for someone who sees greens and reds as various values of gray.
"That's part of the magic of it," Strong said with a grin as he began to hang his work on the red brick walls of Creekside Cafe & Grill on Thursday afternoon.
The 2000 Steamboat Springs High School graduate will be hanging his first show in Routt County this month, featuring his classical work in landscapes, portraits and still life.
An opening takes place during First Friday Artwalk from 5 to 8 p.m.
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Well-versed in mixing colors — even the ones he can't see — Strong said he still uses reds and greens. It's unavoidable when painting landscapes of the Yampa Valley, which he said he tries to get out and do as much as possible.
Because of his deficiency, blues and oranges are a favorite, but he can't always limit his palette that way.
His work can be masochistic, in a way, he said.
It's like punishing himself. For several images in the Creekside show, he started by painting the entire canvas red, then layering values and other colors over it to create an image.
Pieces of the red show through, but he can't see them.
"It's a unique perspective for sure," Strong said. "A lot of people say, 'Why'd you put that there?' and really, I don't know.”
Strong lives in Grand Junction, where he's studying for his bachelor's degree in fine arts, but he maintains a Steamboat mentor in local artist and Wild Horse Gallery owner Rich Galusha.
Galusha said that he knows about many artists with the red-green color deficiency, but it's not really a deficiency for people like Strong, he said.
"A lot of these artists will have strengths in other areas, and one of those areas is that they can see value much more intuitively than others," Galusha said. "He just learned how to deal with it."
Strong and Galusha have remained in contact for the decade since Strong graduated, and the mentee took a seminar with Galusha this summer.
"He has an innate talent for art," Galusha said. "He has an enthusiasm for wanting to be an artist."
Strong said it's an honor to be showcasing his work in his hometown for the first time.
"It's kind of like you finally get to give back," he said.
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com
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