Portfolio Gallery welcomes spring with wildflower exhibition
Snow is in the forecast for Summit County, but wildflower season is right around the corner. Breckenridge’s Portfolio Gallery is celebrating spring with an exhibit all about Colorado’s lush nature. Six artists created 12 large, original works to display in the business’s third gallery in addition to its regular portable and affordable art.
“This gives them a chance to experiment with larger sizes and different formats, a chance to spread their wings a bit and show off all of their talent,” said gallery owner Carol Kelly. “It’s a celebration of what’s to come, showcasing the color and beauty of Colorado in the spring and summer.”
It is the second themed group show after 2019’s exhibition of fall colors. The smallest piece is 9-by-12 inches with the largest being 30-by-30 inches, and they are displayed on wood panels or canvas. One of the exhibiting artists is George Bodde, who created oil paintings that are 24-by-24 and 20-by-20.
From Pagosa Springs, Bodde has been seriously painting for only about four years. A life in corporate America sidelined his passion for roughly a quarter of a century.
Then, eight years ago, he injured his knee while backcountry skiing in Utah. He picked up pastels to pass the time while recovering. When his wife quit her senior vice president job to become a writer, Bodde was inspired to follow suit and pick up the brush full time.
“The company got bought, I cashed in my stock options, and that was it,” Bodde said. “I just decided to go for it.”
He hadn’t worked with oils before and doesn’t know why he made the switch, but he has stuck with it ever since. Bodde said it’s a durable medium that’s easy to fix, and he likes the rich colors and texture it provides.
For “Spring Marches In,” Bodde conjured up a mountain landscape of Indian paintbrush, larkspur and fireweed that could fit in anywhere in Colorado. Bodde will sometimes use the San Juan Mountains around Pagosa Springs as a reference, but he likes to give his personal touch to the scene so that it pleases both Summit County visitors and locals. Emotion trumps realism in Bodde’s mind.
“I never really try to paint anything super realistic like it’s some kind of botanical study,” Bodde said. “It’s really the feeling it invokes. There’s some real dramatic light in that painting, with dark shadows and light lights that are hitting off the mountains and trees. That foreground is lit up real bright like in a sunset.”
It’s also one of the rarer large pieces of Bodde’s collection since he usually paints smaller works.
“I paint a lot of small paintings,” Bodde said. “Some of them go to Portfolio, some I sell on my website, some of them go to different galleries around the state. Then as I’m doing those paintings, I’m really looking for the ones that resonate with me, and I’ll turn those into a larger painting or improve on them some.”
Like Bodde, Beverley Harper-Tinsley focuses on eliciting heartfelt sensations with her artwork. The watercolor painter references flowers she’s seen on hikes outside her Kittredge home near Evergreen, such as fireweed, cow parsnip, aster and Colorado’s state flower, the columbine. She tries to put the flowers in context next to aspen trees and other natural imagery, especially since wildflower season is short in Colorado.
“I really want to give a sense of the location, the time, and I didn’t want the paintings to be too precious,” Harper-Tinsley said. “When you’re actually there, there’s dirt. There’s bugs. There’s changes in weather. I wanted to try to convey some of that.”
She also enjoyed art when younger but didn’t pursue it until later in life, similar to Bodde. Harper-Tinsley moved back to Colorado from Seattle around 1999 and became an art modeler at the Art Students League in Denver. Inspired by Dennis Pendleton’s watercolor teachings, she eventually decided to give painting a go and has been doing it for roughly a decade.
Though she participated in sculpture classes and appreciates the medium as well, she said she was clumsy with the materials and had a more natural affinity for painting.
“I’m also really inspired by color, which isn’t usually the main component of sculpture,” Harper-Tinsley said. “For me, painting was something that was more practical, something that you could do anywhere and involves color.”
The mobility allows Harper-Tinsley and Bodde to participate in live painting events at the gallery, which Bodde has done in the past and Harper-Tinsley plans to do in the future. She had floral paintings in the gallery already and feels fortunate to be invited to participate in another group show.
“Flowers are challenging,” Harper-Tinsley said, adding that she didn’t want to paint impressionistic lavender fields like French artists. “You don’t want to give too much detail because then it doesn’t feel painterly. But if you have not enough detail, then it has a fuzzy kind of quality.”
The show runs through May 9, which Kelly said is a fitting end with that Sunday being Mother’s Day. Portfolio Gallery is at 226 S. Main St., Breckenridge, and according to Kelly, store hours will likely change for the shoulder season at the end of the show. Visit PortfolioBreck.com for more details and announcements on upcoming events, such as Nikki Nienhuis doing a live demonstration for the wildflower exhibition.
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