Painters are glad to be in ruin(s)

Mesa Verde paint-out draws top artists

Jim Wilcox demonstrates the benefits of painting on-site during a 2010 paint-out at Mesa Verde National Park. Enlarge photo

Courtesy of Goodnight Trail Gallery

Jim Wilcox demonstrates the benefits of painting on-site during a 2010 paint-out at Mesa Verde National Park.

The wonders of Mesa Verde National Park, man-made and naturally occurring, are thousands and millions of years old. And yet next week in a display of artistic piling-on, 28 nationally renowned painters will do their best to further immortalize the already-ageless marvel.

The park will host the inaugural “Rims to Ruins” plein air paint-out event for three days. Painters will erect easels throughout the park and paint the scenery of ancestral Puebloan ruins and landscapes of the Southwest that frame them.

“It is an honor to be invited to this exclusive event with so many other talented artists,” said Jim Wilcox, a Jackson Hole, Wyo.-based artist. “The landscape of the park is ideal subject matter for plein air artists.”

The artists will have access to exclusive areas to work, including Wetherill Mesa, home to the Long House ruin, the wild piñon-juniper woodlands and overlooks of archeological sites in cliff-side alcoves.

“One of my goals is to make the park more accessible to visitors and enhance the visitor experience,” said park Superintendent Cliff Spencer. “The ruins and the natural beauty of the park is interpreted uniquely by each visitor, and we are excited to see the visions captured by this stellar group of artists.”

Participating artists are William Acheff, Joe Anna Arnett, James Asher, Joe Bohler, John Burton, G. Russell Case, Lorenzo Chavez, Doug Dawson, John DeMott, Mike Desatnick, David Drummond, Barry Eisenach, Gerald Fritzler, Veryl Goodnight, George Hallmark, Jay Moore, Gary Niblett, Ralph Oberg, Andrew Peters, Robert Peters, John Poon, Jesse Powell, Jim Rey, Laura Robb, Elizabeth Robbins, Mian Situ, Curt Walters and Wilcox.

“The artists participating are the cream of the crop in representational art. Each one is well-known nationally and their work is shown at the top galleries and museums,” said Roger Brooks, who recently co-owned the Goodnight Trail Gallery in Mancos with his wife, Veryl Goodnight.

Two public events will allow the public to meet the artists and purchase work. After the May 22 “quick draw” at Wetherill Mesa, guests can have brunch during an auction of the quickly framed artwork.

The second sale will occur Oct. 22 during a special gala reception at Denver Public Library’s Vida Ellison Gallery. The paintings created May 20 and 21 will be offered for sale at the gala.

All proceeds will benefit the Mesa Verde Foundation and Mesa Verde National Park.

Jim Wilcox’s “Nobody’s Home” was the result of a day spent getting a first-hand look at his subject. Enlarge photo

Courtesy of Goodnight Trail Gallery

Jim Wilcox’s “Nobody’s Home” was the result of a day spent getting a first-hand look at his subject.