Making a scene in the corner


Cully Kistler gives a whole new meaning to the term "plein-air."

She paints on location and completes the piece in a matter of hours. When she finally lifts the brush, she does not go back to make corrections or additions.

But her location is not always in nature. On Jan. 4, she sat in the corner of the Belly Up Bar in Aspen and covered the canvas with what she saw.

It was the second assignment Kistler received from a corporate group in Aspen. For the first assignment, she found herself in the basement of an art gallery painting a dinner party. This time, her instruction was to sit in the corner of the bar with her paints and easel and record the band, the dancers and the diners at that evening's party.

She had 4 1/2 hours to complete the painting. At the end of the night, the company that commissioned her would take her painting to make prints for each of the party attendees and frame the original for the leader of the corporate office.

Kistler received a call requesting her presence at the party two weeks earlier. They wanted a 30-by-36-inch painting, and although the party took place inside a basement bar, they wanted Ajax Mountain to appear in the background.

"When I arrived, the mountain was obscured by clouds," Kistler said. "So I went to Carl's Pharmacy and bought a postcard and took it with me to the bar."

When she saw the purple stage lighting, she saw a way to blend the mountain scene into the ceiling of the bar. On stage, a Neil Diamond cover band called Super Diamond kept everyone in the room on the dance floor.

With a deadline, Kistler tried to concentrate as partiers stood around and watched her paint or as the Rose Bowl game on the TV above the bar got louder and louder.

The party ended, and Kistler stood back from the canvas just in time.

The painting is still drying and is on display through this month at Sleeping Giant Gallery in Steamboat Springs.

¤ Paintings by Cully Kistler are on display at the Sleeping Giant Gallery, 624 Lincoln Ave. Call 879-7143.


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