Greg Effinger can't wait to be 60 years old and look back at what he has accomplished during his art career.
Effinger, 32, is the youngest artist to be invited to Saturday's 15th annual Colorado Governor's Invitational Art Show & Sale in Loveland. Effinger's two teachers and mentors, Shirley Stocks and Richard Galusha, also were invited.
"To be excepted as a watercolorist is a huge honor," Effinger said. "It feels phenomenal that my work will be up next to amazing artists' names."
Fifty-seven Colorado artists and sculptors were invited to the show because Gov. Bill Owens thinks they offer the best in artistic excellence.
Effinger thinks a lot of water colorists stop painting before a piece should be considered done.
"I take water color to the next level -- where it appears out of the realm of watercolor," he said.
Effinger accomplishes this by making his colors more vibrant by adding extra layers of paint. Because so much of the paint is absorbed into the paper, each layer he adds make the colors stronger.
For eight years, he painted with oils to no avail.
"Me and oil painting didn't get along because of my print background and graphic design," he said. "It never really captured my passion for painting."
Effinger has owned Cigar Graphics for 13 years. Although he paints every day, he also does graphics and logo work, commercial illustration, fine art and gallery work.
It was because of the paintings he did in Puebla, Mexico, that his work was accepted into Wild Horse Gallery in the Sheraton Steamboat Resort. The gallery is owned by Stocks and Galusha.
After marrying his wife in Mexico, there was a delay in the paperwork, which gave Effinger the opportunity to spend five months painting a series of watercolors that depict the life and culture of Puebla. It was there that Effinger learned the true discipline of being an artist.
"I religiously painted every day. There were lines of people watching me paint," Effinger said.
His relationship with Galusha goes back to high school. Effinger was born and raised in Steamboat Springs, where Galusha was his high school art teacher.
"He's never stopped teaching me," Effinger said. "Him and Shirley keep my style fresh and keep me persevering on art."
Stocks has been painting and producing art for 35 years. It has gotten her into some dangerous situations.
On a painting trip in Africa with Galusha, her husband, she was confronted by a huge gray snake. She filmed it until it got too close to her. She later found out that it was a black mamba.
"You live for only 30 seconds if they hit you," Stocks said.
Although she has traveled the world extensively to paint, her subject matter comes primarily from her home in Hahn's Peak and from her drive down Elk River Road on her way to Steamboat.
This is Stock's first year in the Governor's Show, and the four pieces she is exhibiting are pastels. She made the switch to pastels from watercolors because she wanted to try something different.
"The dust bothers me, though," she said. "I'm thinking very seriously of switching to oils."
Her art background includes drawing, graphic design, intaglio printmaking, and she used to work with architects and developers doing perspective renderings.
This will be Galusha's third year at the Governor's Show. He retired last year after teaching high school art classes for 19 years.
Galusha's real love is portrait and plein air painting as well as painting the Western genre.
All of his pieces in the show are oil paintings. One piece depicts the landscape of the Mount Zirkel Wilderness, and another is of two women in a marketplace in Nepal. Many of his subjects are from his extensive travels with his wife.
Stocks enjoys that she and her husband are artists.
"It's nice to have that common bond. Our whole life is surrounded by the arts," she said.