Saturday, June 22, 2019

A Panoply of Peonies

The sun poked its face through the clouds to warm the visitors to the Lakewood Arts Council's Annual Garden tour.  What started out as a very unusually cold and rainy June 22nd  (47 degrees and yes I was wearing my knit hat, sweater, boots and long coat!)
 turned into a pleasant afternoon of flower and vegetable viewing and interacting with cute little baby goats!

Skal Goat Farm, where I volunteered to sit for the morning, offers raw goat milk, fresh eggs, and what the owner has found to be the most lucrative venture: goat yoga with baby goats. They were so cute as they come running up to greet you with their plaintive cries.

And when I commented on the creative hand painted sign for the goat farm, Kristen, the owner explained she had found records of the farm dating back to the 1800's, so she copied the original design.

Off to lunch at the gallery, included in the ticket price.  Croissant sandwiches, fruit and veggies, and a selection of cookies gave the visitors enough energy to complete the garden tour. Thanks to our hospitality volunteers for organizing this delicious luncheon.

Close to the gallery was the expansive private garden on Estes St.  Owner Kathy explained how back in the 70's when she was traveling to the Middle East, she would collect botanical samples and ship them back to the states.
  These trees and shrubs have now grown up to cover her 1 1/2 acres with lush vegetation.  A board at the entrance detailed all her experiments with different plants -- which ones thrived in our Colorado climate and which didn't.
Among parrot trees and wisteria from Persia, opium poppies from Afghanistan and a collection of colorful columbines, her panoply of peonies was what amazed me.
 The variations in color and shape kept me wandering in the garden in awe of their beauty.

Squirrels chased each other amongst the tree trunks and birds sang, and the resident cat, Poppy, greeted me with a nuzzle.  I could have spent hours here.  But there were more gardens to see:  Warren Tech with its educational exhibits, another private garden with a story to tell, and a couple of community gardens. That's all for this year.  Keep your eye out for possible locations for next year!

Saturday, June 8, 2019

It's A Circus Out There

The 40WestArts District's Circus-themed art crawl brought out the clown in all of us,
looking for entertainment, art, music and refreshments.  At the Lakewood Arts Gallery, Charles Clossen provided the ambient music to set the stage,
while patrons enjoyed the Milestones exhibit on the Community Wall from Kathleen Brandes Douglas with her beautiful photography (and gorgeous silk Picasso wrap)
and the Mountainside Art Guild Exhibit in the Acorn Gallery.
 Visitors enjoyed our flower-making station and refreshments.

A walk along the green line brought visitors to Pirate, Next, and Edge Galleries while in front of the 40West Gallery, aerialists wound themselves in fabric, kids hula hooped and got their faces painted.
 Large metal sculptures guarded the entrance to the Drawing the Line exhibit.  It's always a fun time in Lakewood!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Cats, Dogs and Birds People's Choice Awards

The ballots have been counted for The Cat, Dog and Bird show, and here are the winners!! There were hundreds of votes for the People’s Pick; thank you everyone for the enthusiastic participation!

1st place: Snow Kittens, by Charlie Casper

2nd Place: Murphy, by Michael Veltkamp

Honorable Mention:

Got Kibble, by Lea McComas

Edge of a Frozen Pond, by Jim Rothrock

Mystic Cat, by Monica Marquez Gatica

Wolf, by Darcie Kurtak

Easter Puppy, by Sherry Veltkamp

Shall We Dance by Sharon Wink

And last but not least, Spots by Charlie Casper. (Photo not available)
Photos and story courtesy of Annette Sapp

Friday, May 17, 2019

Artists Choice Award Winners

The Lakewood Arts Gallery's Artist Choice Exhibit brings out the creativity in Colorado artists.  This highly anticipated show at the Lakewood Cultural Center fills up the walls in the upstairs mezzanine with oils, watercolors, pastels, photography and other mediums.  Juror Katy Haas had some tough decisions to make both with regard to choosing which pieces would be in the display, as well as which of those would qualify for awards.  She chose well: a interesting and varied exhibit along with some very worthy award winners.
First place went to Lea McComas for "Soul Mates", a thread painting.  Her unique art can be seen on her website at and a video of her method shows the painstaking detail applied to her evocative portraits.

Second place went to Donna Sorenson for her gorgeous pastel landscape,  "Chamisa Among the Rocks".

Charlie Casper with his always popular digital photographs, won third place with "Cattle Drive".
Carolyn Tegeder's abstract acrylic, "On the Go" won a well-deserved merit award.
Dan Fyles intriguing mixed media piece "Going to School" also won a merit award.
An additional merit award went to Sherry Veltkamp for her stunning watercolor, "Red Roses".

Congratulations to all in the show, and particularly to all award winners.  The exhibit runs through July 5, 2019.

All photos courtesy of Annette Sapp. 

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Reno Unger: Artist in the Spotlight

Reno Unger is one of the newest members of the Lakewood Arts Gallery Co-op.  Here he answers some of my questions about how he got his start in art and where he plans to go from here. Stop in the gallery and see his beautiful photography!

 How did you get started in creating art?
I have always enjoyed art.  The first piece I remember was from kindergarten entitled “Two Peanuts in a Red Sack”.  I went to a serious, science-oriented high school - the kind where art, music and phys. ed. were irrelevant.  When I got to college I remember feeling somewhat illicit taking an art course as an elective.  I took a number of other art electives and began to accumulate a notebook filled with watercolors that I was quite pleased with.  A girlfriend at the time asked if she could take them home over spring break to show her mother and I never saw them again.  Shortly after that, the draft called and I spent 5 years in the Navy, by which I had lost much of my ability in watercolor, but had found photography, woodcuts and pen and ink.

What is your favorite medium and why?
 Even though it is not what I do most often, I love woodcuts.  Perhaps  the reason is that it is much more challenging.  I often finish one, look at the result and split the block up for kindling.  Now that I have more time, I hope to turn out significantly more work.
    I spend far more time and energy on nature and scenic photography.  I usually get to a photo workshop in a different part of the country about once a year and have been to Costa Rica, Tennessee, N. Carolina, the Chesapeake Bay, W. Virginia, Oregon, Wyoming and several other states.
    I also enjoy furniture design and building.  Most of that, however, ends up in my home or as Christmas presents for the children.

What are your favorite subjects? 
 I have always loved nature and use art and photography as an excuse to spend long hours outdoors.  Most of my work revolves around scenics and animals as a result.  Insects, especially butterflies are my very favorites.  Knowing that such thinks just don’t appeal to most people, however, I rarely put them in a show.  I also love glass slumping, but they are so expensive to produce that I could never sell them.

 Do you have a vision for your work?  For a body of work that you would like to create?
 I am not sure that I have a goal for a “body of work”.  The photography is definitely turning out that way as mentioned above, but in art I enjoy try ing new things and learning new techniques.  That will probably end up my body of work - a wide variety of efforts in many different media.

How did you find out about the Lakewood Arts Council and Co-op?  What do you find most enjoyable or beneficial about being a member?
 I stumbled across the gallery quite by accident.  I went to a store nearby, saw the art in the window and went in to look around.  During a conversation with the artist on duty, I found out that woodcuts and photography would be valued and applied to the jury.  I was new in town, having just moved from Pennsylvania, and was looking for art oriented activities.

What's next on the horizon?
In the near future, I want to seek out a place for lessons in different media and will be producing more woodcuts, photography and pen and ink.  I may even get started in watercolors again.

Has your work changed over the years?  In what way?
I’m not sure my work has evolved much.  With practice and additional training, hopefully I’ve gotten better.  Other than that,  nothing much has changed.

Which artists from the past or living do you admire most?
Winslow Homer has been a favorite ever since I saw three of his works at the Chicago Art Institute.  If I ever get back into watercolor, he will greatly influence my style.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Let the Good Times Roll!

Let the Good Times Roll!  And roll they did -- with 2 opening receptions, brass marching bands, tarot reading, mask-making and more, The March First Friday at the Gallery was filled with fun and festivities.

Last night was the opening reception for the Expressions in Abstract, a state-wide show juried by Kristen Autobee.  She must have had a hard time deciding who to award prizes to as there was a lot of striking abstract work to choose from.

 On the community wall was an extensive display from the Rocky Mountain Society of Botanical Artists.  These amazing botanical studies warranted a magnifying glass to study the details.  Such beautiful work!

Revelers wore their Mardi Gras beads and masks; kids and adults alike put their crafting skills to the test to decorate their own masks, much to the delight of the little ones.

Off in the corner, Madame Annette told fortunes with her tarot cards, while Donna Sorensen demonstrated her talent with pastels.

And of course gallery-goers were treated to all sorts of goodies including King Cake from our hospitality ladies.

If you were out and about visiting all the other galleries in the 40West Arts District, you were also treated to a New Orleans style brass marching band.

What a fun night to celebrate the arts!