Paintings, photos bring outdoors indoors

‘Near and Far’ show is celebration of scenery


One walks into the exhibit room at Bemis Library in Littleton and breathing immediately gets easier. Blue skies, green trees, fresh air and sounds of nature surround a viewer of “Near and Far,” an exhibit of plein air paintings by Highlands Ranch artist Julia Grundmeier and photographic images by Carl Paulson, who says his experience as an Alaskan native for his first 18 years gives him a special view of nature.

Grundmeier is a retired teacher, after 21 years at Homestead Elementary School in the Cherry Creek School District. She started after her 1999 retirement with classes at the Art Students League of Denver, plus a number of painting workshops with “wonderful instructors,” and loves to paint outdoors whenever she can, including traveling with friends to paint. “There’s nothing like being on the edge of the canyon,” she observed.

Note her “Highlands Ranch Evening” with an “amazing sky over the foothills.” She has fond memories of painting in Kawaneechi Valley in Rocky Mountain National Park, where a mama moose eyed her while she recorded its world.

And, look at: “Mabel’s Dovecoats” by Paulson, shot at Mabel Dodge Luhan’s home in New Mexico — or his “Delusions of Grandeur” — a young ram in a Western landscape … or “High Alert” — a mama bear and cubs, alarmed that a male bear is nearby, a threat to the young creatures.

Both artists are active members of the Littleton Fine Arts Guild, which operates the Depot Art Gallery. She is membership chairman, he is treasurer and both exhibit their artwork there. “People don’t know we’re here,” Paulson commented about the historic red Santa Fe Depot with about 60 Guild members.

Paulson, a native of Alaska, is a petroleum engineer, who learned that exhibit spots at the library are available and invited Grundmeier to join him for this exhibit.

He talks about going for a drive anywhere after work and finding new places to hike and capture with his camera, as well as trips back to Alaska, where he spent his first 18 years and returned to record many images of brown bears — relatives of the grizzly.

Grundmeier loves to take her easel, palette and paints outside — “working on location helps me to capture the play of light, atmosphere and true color of a moment in time. Working outdoors can be challenging, but it is important to have a ‘sense of place.’” She also enjoys painting near her home in Grand Lake.

“Near and Far” will remain at the library gallery through December. Visit it when returning or picking up books for a little vacation tour. Open during library hours.


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