Douglas County

For land's sake, it's an art show

Douglas conservancy will benefit from event

Plein Air artists will create paintings form some portion of the panoramic Dawson Butte Open Space Park in Douglas County. Courtesy photo
Artist Amy Evans will participate in the Douglas County Land Conservancy’s Plein Air painting event. Courtesy photo
Plein Air painter Karen Toeppel is included in the Douglas County Land Conservancy Plein Air art event. Courtesy photo
Plein air artist Don Hamilton will paint and exhibit his work in the Douglas County Land Conservancy benefit event. Courtesy photo
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The Douglas County Land Conservancy will host 20 noted regional and national landscape artists who will paint “en plein air” during the week of June 23 at Dawson Butte Open Space south of Castle Rock. They will display and sell the resulting artwork.

The DLC says it is “dedicated to the preservation of the natural character, habitat and open space of the central Front Range region of Colorado, including Douglas County and surrounding areas.”

The private open space is protected from future development by conservation easements, which fit the mission of the conservancy. The land is owned by Douglas County, and the 27-year-old conservancy holds the easement for this and other properties in Douglas, Elbert and Jefferson counties. The DLC holds 76 easements, protecting more than 22,000 acres, according to Richard Bangs of the DLC.

The artists will donate part of the proceeds from sale of the week's paintings to the DLC.

From June 25-27, finished paintings will be exhibited and sold from 6-8 p.m. each evening at the Castle Rock Art Guild's Art on the Edge Gallery at 314 Wilcox St. in Castle Rock, according to DLC executive director Patti Hostetler.

These artists work in watercolor, acrylics, pastels, drawing and oil.

On June 28, the main event will take place from noon to 6 p.m. at Dawson Butte Open Space Park. Artists will display and sell their paintings and conservancy volunteers will have food (burgers, brats, etc.) for sale, near picnic tables located at the trailhead. The public is invited to view, visit, buy an original artwork — and perhaps enjoy a hike on the Dawson Butte five-mile loop trail.

Prospective buyers will be able to view the scene the artist chose to render and will also have an opportunity to talk with these skilled Western painters about how they approached a scene — and the changing light.

Plein air painting events seem to be growing in popularity in Colorado, given its splendid scenery, and there is also an annual summer outdoor painting event in Denver, with urban paintings as well as landscapes resulting. There is an annual exhibit at the Denver Central Library at year's end.

Artists develop techniques for dealing with the vagaries of weather, devising ingenious ways to carry their paints, an easel and canvases or paper. Working in sun and wind means paints dry more quickly and, at times, one will find dirt or insects blown into the project at hand.

Participating artists include: Don and Linda Hamilton, Ginger Whellock, Amy Evans, Lorenzo Chavez (of Parker), Tricia Bass, Chuck Mardosz, Rita Cirillo, Wes Hyde, Cheryl St. John and Karen Toppel. Also: Buffalo Kaplinski (of Parker), Cynthia McBride, Karen Button, Eldon Warren, Marianna M. Dufford, Michael Ome Unteidt, Margaret Jensen, Rodgers Naylor and Molly Squibb.

If you go:

For the June 28 event from noon to 6 p.m.: Dawson Butte Open Space is located south of Castle Rock. Take exit 174 off Interstate 25 and drive north on the frontage road for two miles. At the railroad crossing, turn left on Tomah Road. Drive 1.6 miles and turn right into Dawson Butte Open Space parking. (Address: 1923 Tomah Road, Castle Rock.) For the evening gallery shows, June 25-27, 6 to 8 p.m.: The Art on the Edge Gallery is at 314 Wilcox St. in old Castle Rock. Information: DLC, Patti Hostetler, 303-688-8025.