This must be Paris

Parker flight attendant, artist paints on layovers


Paris, Venice, Switzerland, Beijing and more…

“It’s been a good ride,” said painter Paul Valdez of his two-track career as a flight attendant and artist.

A Parker resident since 1987, he has been traveling and painting on layovers for 38 years, he said. About seven years ago, he began to teach painting when in town, for the Greater Castle Rock Artists Guild and elsewhere, with class schedules fluctuating according to flight schedules. He recently held a 40-year retrospective at Parker’s Mainstreet Center.

Valdez now flies nine days in a month and is enjoying routes to Asia — and painting in China. “I transferred to a Detroit base to do Asia,” he explains. His all-time favorite places to paint are in Paris — where he sits outside and works, sometimes selling a work off the easel to a tourist — and in Venice, where he was painting along the edge of a canal, when a gondola passenger bought a painting.

It’s been a nice source of extra income, he said. “We had a really nice dinner that night,” he said, reflecting on the Venice sale. His wife is also a flight attendant, gets to share some of the trips with him.

Valdez, who carries watercolors for anything over a 24-hour layover, will have a solo exhibit at Littleton Town Hall Arts Center’s Stanton Gallery from Jan. 8 to Feb. 13. There will be an artist’s reception from 5:30 to 7:70 p.m. on January 18.

Opening in the upstairs theater Jan. 17 is the comedy “Boeing, Boeing,” about a guy who is juggling three stewardess girlfriends and their various schedules. Valdez’ show is part of Stanton Gallery coordinator Nancy Boyson’s effort to relate the art to what’s showing in the theater.

When Valdez is painting along the banks of the Seine or elsewhere, tourists have often mistaken him for a Parisian, he recalls happily. He says, “I always leave a bit of soul in each (painting).” His exhibit will include paintings from Europe, a recent image of a large park in China and a few of his latest abstracts.

One abstract was influenced by a flight over Beijing, en route to Shanghai on Chinese New Year. “I could see tons of fireworks going off,” he said. “Smoke from all the firecrackers created a glowing haze that was incredibly surreal.”

His theme is “from above. Designs are everywhere, you only have to observe.”

An upcoming adventure: Valdez will conduct a painting tour to Giverny and the Monet Gardens from May 22 to 29. “I met somebody who knew somebody,” he said and was able to arrange garden painting time before and after hours — before the tourist crowds arrive. Painters will stay in a Giverny B&B for seven nights and also be transported to nearby locations to paint during the day.

Estimated cost: $2,900, plus air travel to Paris.

The deadline to register is Jan. 21.

For information, visit Valdez’ website:, or call Rich, 770-977-3434, e-mail, or call Valdez, 303-870-5586.


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