‘For the Love of the West’ celebrates place

Five artists explore region in show at Town Hall center

Posted 7/31/18

During the past couple of summers, accomplished local painter Sarah Phippen has filled the Stanton Gallery at Littleton’s Town Hall Arts Center with her paintings of Western landscapes, people and …

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‘For the Love of the West’ celebrates place

Five artists explore region in show at Town Hall center

Posted

During the past couple of summers, accomplished local painter Sarah Phippen has filled the Stanton Gallery at Littleton’s Town Hall Arts Center with her paintings of Western landscapes, people and animals, especially horses, during August, as a nod to Western Welcome Week, which pretty much takes over in Littleton. (The festival is Aug. 10-19 this year.)

This year, Phippen has invited several artist friends to join her in a tribute: “For the Love of the West.” They are: Rachel Saunders, Dawn Buckingham, Mark Brockman and Christine Brietnauer. Work by the quintet will hang through Aug. 31, with a meet-the-artists reception on Aug. 3 from 5 to 8 p.m. (First Friday) at Town Hall Arts Center, 2450 W. Main St., Littleton. (Also on Aug. 3 and 5 at Town Hall: Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” performed by student actors at 7 p.m.) The gallery will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and Aug. 18 (Parade Day.)

Sarah Phippen, who portrays a deep love for the surroundings where she grew up, began formal training at age 14 and has since studied with area painters Jay Moore, Jim Norton, Daniel Sprick, Sandra Kaplan and Anthony J. Ryder, “each of whom deepened her understanding of oil painting, color and composition,” she writes. Her grandfather was George W. Phippen, founder of the Cowboy Artists of America and namesake of the Phippen Museum in Prescott, Arizona. She “grew up around livestock and wildlife,” she writes, and observes their personalities and expressions: quiet moments or trouble in their eyes. “I see this heritage as part of our age-old relationship with animals; it’s part of being human, a privilege that surrounds us every day.” She is active as a member of the Art Students League and the Farm Bureau. She creates sculptures as well as oil paintings and can be located at sarahphippen.com.

Rachel Saunders is a native Colorado oil painter, living and working in Denver. As an equestrian, she has a keen interest in the horse/human relationship — how does their harmony or discord reflect itself? She originally studied art history at the University of Colorado and earned a master’s degree in art history at Hunter College in New York. She returned to Denver and worked as a decorative artist and muralist for more than a decade. With a decision to turn to fine art, she studied with Sandra Kaplan and Jill Soukup at the Art Students League and more recently with Mollie Davis. Recent awards have attested to her painterly skills.

Dawn Buckingham is a plein air painter who writes of “a growing sense of urgency that I feel when I am painting both outdoors and in my studio. I have come to believe that my drive to capture the moment grows along with my concern for the need to preserve and protect our environment … My growth as an artist is a journey of personal awareness, growing advocacy and discovery …” The example we receive from her work shows “Buckingham Old Silo” in deserted surroundings. Who used to live and farm at this spot? Who owns it now—and do they care?

Mark Brockman’s artist statement about his 40-year career begins with a quote from important American painter Andrew Wyeth: “One’s art goes as far and as deep as one’s love goes.” He says this is what his work is about, the love of subject and the love of the work. “Painting for me is a form of self-discovery, a way to better understand these things that call out to me to be painted. I prefer to paint those things I know well as there is always so much more to discover in the familiar.” He has shown in galleries in the south and east and taught in the Delaphine Visual Arts Center in Frederick, Maryland. He belongs to the Pastel Society of Colorado, the American Watercolor Society and Plein Air Artists Colorado.

Christine Breitnauer writes of a lifelong love of the outdoors, animals and creative expression, which come together in her art. The Colorado native has been involved in all three since her Rocky Mountain childhood. As a teen, she produced graphite portraits of people and pets and later worked in land surveying, which honed her visual approach and drafting skills. She has studied with wildlife and landscape painters Kay Witherspoon, Ned Aldrich, Doug Dawson and Jay Moore and had been juried into national exhibits such as “Western Spirit” in Cheyenne, Wyoming and “Art for Horses” in Lakewood.

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