Governor's Art Show and Sale celebrates 60 of Colorado's esteemed fine artists

May 20—For three decades, Governor's Art Show and Sale has showcased the diverse work of artists living throughout the state of Colorado. The highly anticipated yearly event returns to Loveland Museum on Saturday with 60 participating artists, 11 of which are new to the esteemed event that showcases top-shelf work in various mediums.

"I always look forward to the return of the show," said Ruth Scott, executive director of Governor's Art Show and Sale. "Colorado has the most amazing artists. When you see the show, you are looking at phenomenal artwork that any city or state would be envious to host and we have it right here at the Loveland Museum."

Since its inception, Governor's Art Show has grown to be one of the largest fine art shows in the state.

"Thirty years, that's a great accomplishment and we couldn't be more proud," Scott said. "This show's diversity has something for everyone. Art enthusiasts and visitors will not be disappointed and will want to come back again and again."

As safety guidelines brought on by the pandemic start to lessen, visitors have even more opportunities to connect with creatives. From 2 to 4 p.m. Saturdays during the show, interested parties will be able to learn the backstory behind various pieces and more about the processes with artist meet-and-greets.

"What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon — looking at fabulous art and talking with such highly talented artists," Scott said.

On June 5, a corresponding Plein Air Festival & Auction will take place. Over 40 artists will set up easels and work from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at two locations, downtown Loveland and River's Edge Natural Area.

Between 3 and 4 p.m. on that same day, folks can enjoy live music at The Foundry Plaza from Grande Orquesta Navarre, a quartet that pairs the vintage charm of cabaret with a modern twist. The live auction will begin at 4 p.m., giving folks a chance to bid on one-of-a-kind pieces that were finished just hours before.

"It's been a few years since I've participated as I've been so busy with other events," said Boulder-based artist Jane Hunt, a selected creative making her return to the show. "I'm most looking forward to going to a physical art show for the first time in more than a year. I can't wait to see artist friends and collectors in person. I'm grateful to finally be vaccinated and able to do so."

Hunt's paintings offer calm snippets of scenes that seem to instantly lower one's blood pressure. From depicting sailboats at sea to horses resting in an emerald pasture, her breathtaking work has garnered over 200 awards.

"I travel all over the world to painting events, both competing and teaching," Hunt said. "In 2020, I canceled 15 art trips which was definitely an adjustment. It gave me time to work in my studio and paint plein air in Colorado. I'm fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen, so there is endless inspiration to paint."

While Hunt beautifully captures sun rays breaking through clouds and the glimmer of waterways, her end goal is more about providing folks with a moment of zen rather than capturing things with a rigid exactness.

"I hope onlookers take away a sense of peace from my work," Hunt said. "One of the things I love most about painting is that it's an enormous stress relief and I hope that my paintings offer viewers a respite from all the chaos — a gentle place to rest."

Although many talent returns year after year, Governor's Art Show is also a place where fresh voices emerge, ready to offer a different perspective.

"I'm a newer resident to Colorado and just becoming familiar with the arts scene here," said artist Laura Nelson, who relocated from California to Lafayette in 2017. "As I was ramping up my art practice last year, the Governor's Show came onto my radar and I was determined to get involved. It's an honor to be selected among such talented artists for an event that's endorsed by the governor."

While her scenes are not bursting with color, their detail is exquisite. From fallen and petrified trees to raw remnants of a dilapidated barn, the subjects within Nelson's work point to the evolvement of nature, the mysteries of the past and changing seasons and cycles.

"Most of the works chosen are traditional paintings or sculptures of a very high caliber," Nelson said. "My core focus happens to be drawing, which is the foundation for all artwork and I believe that I'm one of the only — if not the only — artist who has elected to show primarily drawings. My portfolio for the show consists of three drawings and one painting. I hope that attendees find that unique and gain an appreciation for drawing alongside many of the wonderful paintings and sculptures on display."

Inspired by what she encounters on her explorations, Nelson stays engaged by filling up her tank and hitting the open road.

"Most of the subjects I select are derived from photos that I take on hikes, while skiing and on other adventures," Nelson said. "I was in a different environment growing up in Illinois. I've lived out west the past two decades, which has provided quite a contrast of diverse subjects and palettes."

An opening night gala on Friday exclusively for artists, sponsors and patrons will allow partygoers a preview of selected work.

"There's no substitute for seeing artwork up close and in person," Nelson said. "The nuances of a piece — such as brush strokes and pencil lines — are often lost when work is photographed and posted online. Sculptures can be appreciated from many angles, which is difficult to translate online. Attendees will hopefully be able to appreciate the opportunity to take a closer look at each of these works and admire the environment."

For Arvada-based painter Robin Cole, nature is also an influence, yet her hyper-realistic work possesses moods that could best be described as enchanted.

In her painting "Desire Guides Imagination," we see a woman crouched down in a forest, foraging a mysterious fruit in a mason jar. She appears to be bathed in light.

"This is a painting of my favorite muse and closest friend, Alla — an incredible painter in her own right," Cole said. "She'd been telling me tales of this huckleberry forest in western Ukraine for years and when I finally traveled there for her wedding, I finally had the chance to experience it for myself. There was something absolutely magical and timeless about the soft, unchanging light among those trees, with only the occasional snap of twigs and whine of mosquitoes under our feet marking our presence as we picked the tiny berries for hours on end until our fingertips were stained purple."

While pulled straight from a personal experience, the mystical piece radiates a sort of purity and undeniable magnetism.

"There are moments everyone is familiar with in life when the veil feels thin, when something greater seems to move beneath the surface of the ordinary," Cole said. "This is the origin of the title — the yearning and nostalgia that characterized Alla's memories and stories of this forest mingled with and informed our presence there, as did the history and legends of that land and its people. It truly did feel like a scene from an Eastern European fairytale — darkness and beauty together.

Cole was born in Denver and attended Colorado College.

"While my work is not specifically Colorado-driven, my aesthetic is certainly reflective of a childhood spent camping in the mountains and exploring our dynamic landscape."

With this being her first year in the show, she submitted four pieces.

"The older pieces are figurative and a bit more classical and controlled in execution," Cole said. "They feature a subtle sense of magical realism, with gentle, layered symbol and metaphor. The two newer pieces — a study of light among the leaves on the path where I walk my dogs in the mornings, and a little geranium catching a bit of light in the forest — are looser and more colorful and expressive. I have become a bit enchanted by the movement and quality of the paint over the past couple of years and these days I find the light itself — rather than an individual — is often the protagonist of my narratives."

The show benefits Loveland and Thompson Valley Rotary Clubs charitable projects and causes. One-third of net proceeds will go to the Thompson Education Foundation's Homeless Assistance Fund and additional funds will go toward scholarships for local art students.

"It takes us all year to prepare for this show with hundreds of volunteer hours from the Loveland Rotary Club and Thompson Valley Rotary Club," Scott said.

The Governor's Art show runs through June 27. Admission is $7 for those ages 13 and older. Museum members and visitors 12 and younger are allowed in at no charge.

Masks are not required, although Individuals over age 11 that are not fully vaccinated are encouraged to continue wearing masks in all public indoor spaces where members of different households are present.

"We have drawn a lot of excitement from the art collectors' circle about our chosen 2021 Legacy Artists Daniel Sprick and Denny Haskew, two internationally recognized artists from Colorado," Scott said. "We have returning Legacy Artists Jane DeDecker, Kim English, Sandy Scott and Mark Thompson. And, we have James Biggers who has been in every show since its inception."