Continental Divide Land Trust presents Wild About Colorado Art & Outdoor Festival |

Continental Divide Land Trust presents Wild About Colorado Art & Outdoor Festival

Bill Linfield / Special to the Daily
Bill Linfield / Special to the Daily |

Wild About Colorado Art & Outdoor Festival schedule

All activities commence or take place at Carter Park Pavilion, 400 S. High St. in Breckenridge. Purchase advance tickets for workshops and the Festival Art Show & Sale, and find more information about individual artists, at A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales benefit the Continental Divide Land Trust.

Friday, July 24

6 a.m. — Hike and birding tour with master birder Mary Fran O’Connor

9 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Public viewing of festival artwork at Carter Park Pavilion

9 a.m. — Wildflower walk with Pat Taylor

11 a.m. — Yoga in the park with Reyndrop Yoga

4 p.m. — Dandelion workshop with Rachel Winkler

4:30 p.m. — VIP art preview, by invite only

5-7:30 p.m. — Festival Art Show & Sale, $25

Saturday, July 25

9 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Public viewing of festival artwork at Carter Park Pavilion

9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — Watercolor painting workshop with Ann Weaver

1 p.m. — Festival ends

Participating artists

• Cliff Austin

• Sandi Bruns

• Rita Cirillo

• Marianna Duford

• Jeanne Echternach

• Beth Erlund

• Jeanne Hougen

• Deborah McAllister

• Karen Ramsay

• Marty Rohde

• Cheryl St. John

• Emily Wahl

• Ann Weaver

• Ginger Whellock

• Anita Winter

The eighth-annual Wild About Colorado Art & Outdoor Festival returns to Breckenridge Friday, July 24, and Saturday, July 25, to benefit the Continental Divide Land Trust. The festival will host 15 nationally-acclaimed artists painting wild landscapes and scenic vistas en plein air, plus guided hikes, workshops, parties and activities.

“This is a great project,” said Sandi Bruns, of Frisco, who has taken part in the festival since its inception. “There’s so many ways to appreciate the outdoors here. The Continental Divide Land Trust makes sure we have beautiful vistas that we can appreciate. It’s a wonderful cause, and we all appreciate the results of their work, so it’s fun to work for them.”

Workshops and events

New events this year include yoga in the park with Reyndrop Yoga and an early-morning birding tour with master birder Mary Fran O’Connor on Friday. The festival also features a wildflower hike with Pat Taylor on Friday morning, followed by a dandelion workshop with Rachel Winkler in the afternoon and artist Ann Weaver returns to the festival to teach her popular watercolor workshop to close the festival on Saturday.

The signature event, this year’s Festival Art Show & Sale, will include an al fresco-style patio party with dinner, acoustic music, beers from featured brewery Breckenridge Brewery and a chance to view and purchase all works of art created during the festival.

Cheryl St. John, another of the Wild About Colorado artists, said the public viewing times on Friday and Saturday allow the artists to interact with art enthusiasts and share a bit about themselves, what draws the artists to plein air painting and why supporting the Continental Divide Land Trust is important.

“It gives us an opportunity to meet people who appreciate art and the outdoors,” she said. “A lot of my work is in galleries, so I don’t get a lot of chances to meet my clients, so to be able to talk to them about what I did and why I did it is fun.”

En plein air

St. John said she tries to attend as many conservation-related events as she can, and the beneficiary of this event was what drew her up from Denver to attend the festival for the first time last year and inspired her to return once again this summer.

“I paint in the wilderness and outdoors and appreciate what we have and would love to preserve it,” she said. “That’s what makes it special for me. And painting with other artists is always fun. We always have a good time out there together, so whenever you have a chance to do that, it makes it more fun.”

When heading out to find the perfect spot to capture with paint and brush, the plein air artists look for something eye-catching with good composition and colors that pop or extremes of light and shadow.

“I think I like variety, most of anything, and I look for things with color and contrast,” Bruns said. “I like it if something about the patterns or the colors, they speak to me right off the bat. And then I possibly interpret it entirely different. For instance, today I had a really hard time finding something that spoke to me. I think my favorite one was a log I did — it was gnarly and shadowy and really kind of a lot of fun.”

“Yesterday, we went out and painted at a preserve, just up the hill on Boreas Pass,” St. John said. “It was beautiful — all those beautiful sneezeweeds, big, yellow flowers, lupine, paintbrush — the colors are amazing. Color, light and shadow, something dramatic, is what I look for.”

Most work without the aid of photographs, so there’s an added challenge to capture a scene before the light changes. St. John said that element, along with the excitement of being outdoors and in the moment, makes plein air addicting — like going fishing, “you want to do that best painting or catch the big one.”

“It’s not preconceived at all,” Bruns said. “It’s like I have a dialogue with nature, and then I have a dialogue with my piece of paper, too, so it’s something that’s unpredictable and spontaneous and it’s fun and it’s outdoors, which is something we love in Summit County — anything we can do to be outdoors is fabulous.”

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