Colorado Artists Share Their Awe of the Natural World at the State’s Largest Juried Art Show

Albert Einstein said, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” Few take a deeper look than the landscape artist, who must meticulously study the light, color and dimensions of their subject to translate it for the viewer. In an awe-inspiring environment like Colorado, it’s no surprise so many of the world’s best make their way here. The 28th annual Governor’s Art Show and Sale—one of the state’s largest juried fine art shows—will bring together dozens of fine artists from across the state.

“The show’s raison d’etre of advancing artists and lifting people has brought pleasure to our attendees for decades,” says John Kinkade, co-chair of the Governor’s Art Show committee. “We have some beautiful works of art for this year’s show.”

Many of these painters and sculptors have become masters at representing and recreating the environment, communicating a respect and love for nature where words fall short.

“I want the viewer to experience what I experience, to have the connection to a place—not just how it looks, but how it feels,” says Michael Baum, an oil painter who specializes in the Western landscape. “The landscape lets us know who, what and where we are.”

Michael will be showing four paintings, including an early-evening view of Pikes Peak and a mountain landscape in Rocky Mountain National Park where he’s hiked several times. Both capture the state’s natural grandeur.

“The play of light across the landscape is sensual and spiritual,” he says. “But it’s not just the purely visual that I’m going for. It’s also the feel of a place, how it digs deep into the heart and soul.”

With the time demands and constant connectedness of the modern world, the 2018 Best of Show winner, painter Tal Walton, finds peace and inspiration in the more contemplative aspects of nature—a simple weathered barn, a quiet empty field, trees standing in an unusual formation—things that are there, day after day, just “waiting to be noticed.” This year, he’ll be showing a series called American Landscapes.

“I enjoy painting subjects that give me the opportunity to look inward at where I’ve been as well as giving me an opportunity to slow down in a fast-paced world, spending more time with simpler things that help keep me grounded in what’s truly important,” he says.

Tal utilizes an old-world painting process to depict his landscapes and scenes, involving marble grounds, gold leaf and ancient recipes for painting materials. His style, however, leans more toward the contemporary and impressionistic. The combination evokes the sense of past, present and future.

“When it comes to nature, I don’t even attempt to recreate something so complex and yet so profound,” he says. “Rather, my hope is to instill in the viewer a sense of wonder and desire to look deeper for a greater understanding of what is all around us and at times readily accessible.”

Other Colorado artists find inspiration in the way nature interacts with the built environment. Denver-based pastel and oil painter Desmond O’Hagan is a master of the urbanscape. Of the many things that elevate his city scenes is how he incorporates organic elements, like light and foliage, into the sharp lines of the city.

“My eye is attracted to the effect of light and energy,” he says on his website. “The moment that turns your head and makes you take a second look. Everything is a combination of abstract shapes that combine to form a representation of life.”

View the work of these artists—and many others—at the Governor’s Art Show, which will run May 4 through June 2 at the Loveland Museum, 503. N. Lincoln Ave. A patron gala will be held May 3 from 6–8:30 p.m. Tickets to the gala are $75 and are available through the website.

In addition to the show, the Plein Air Festival on June 1 allows visitors to watch artists paint nature scenes as they work outside in two different locations in Loveland. The event is followed by a live auction at the Rialto Theater. All proceeds of the show will go to support Colorado artists and community needs in Larimer County through the Loveland and Thompson Valley Rotary Clubs. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit GovernorsArtShow.org.