Art in the backyard

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For the third year, Lakewood resident P.J. Simpson hosted a weekend art show, giving art lovers a chance to view watercolors, pencil drawings and photographs by local artists.

What makes this special is the show is in Simpson’s backyard, and the works on display are from members of a group formed years ago in Lakewood.

The “Art Under the Summer Skies” show was July 20-21 at Simpson’s residence. Visitors had the opportunity to view and buy some new works while enjoying the cool garden atmosphere.

“I used to have work on display at a gallery up in Estes Park, but it got to the point where I wasn’t really painting what I wanted and instead what others did,” Simpson said. “I started meeting with a little art group, and we decided to put on our own show.”

Simpson said the people who stopped by the first year’s show were almost entirely members of the art group knew, but the next year 90 percent of visitors were people who had heard about the show or seen signs and wanted to stop by.

According to Karen Roberts, a member of the art group who works in watercolors and oils, the idea for putting on an independent show was partly inspired by an artist from New Zealand with whom she studied.

“I was talking with this artist, and they were telling me about how they just do their own shows instead of going to a gallery,” Roberts said. “In our group, we thought if they can do it, we could give it a try as well.”

Roberts said the show gets a little bigger each year, and that Simpson has the perfect backyard — with a lot of shade and a large patio — to display the works comfortably.

For the members of the art group, whom Roberts said don’t get to see each other much, the show is a great chance to catch up and see the kind of work each is producing.

Simpson and her husband, David, spend three to four hours getting the show set up before opening their doors to art lovers.

For Helen Jensen, a member of the art group who works in pencil drawing, the home atmosphere is what makes the show so special.

“Sometimes galleries can be a little intimidating, but art should be welcoming,” she said. “That’s what is so nice about this show.”

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