Breckenridge festival artists explain their work |

Breckenridge festival artists explain their work

Miles F. Porter IV
Special to the Daily
Artist Erika Bushee presents her rock art.
Miles F. Porter IV / Special to the Daily |

Texas artist Erika Bushee is rockin’ and rollin’ — creating unique stoneworks and rolling in her Mercedes Benz Sprinter van around the U.S.

Bushee, who calls Flower Mound home, is joining a juried lineup of 125 artists displaying their works at Breckenridge’s 15th annual Main Street Art Festival this weekend.

The show runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 29-31, opening at 10 a.m., located in the Wellington and Sawmill parking lots on North Main Street, with free admission.

“Erika has done our shows numerous times,” say producers Dick and Tina Cunningham, “and we are pleased to have her back again.”

Bushee will return for the Mountain Art Festivals’ 41st Annual Gathering at the Great Divide show over Labor Day.

Her inspirations come from nature, and some of her materials she finds in the South Platte River when she visits Colorado.

“Each stone creation is made from slate fragments and resin. The slate is shaped into long skinny pieces with pliers to give a deep rich texture. Resin is applied to random pieces of slate, bringing out the colors in the stone, giving it a shiny wet look,” she explains of the wall art.

“I travel around the country hiking and always searching for that special rock to use in my art,” she notes. “These river rocks are cut in half and imbedded in some of my creations.”

Encountering her art pieces, she hopes viewers are transported to the great outdoors. Her booth is a beehive of activity.

“I hope it evokes a cherished memory experienced in nature and a connection to all the beauty surrounding us,” she adds.

“Every piece of my art is collaborative and celebrates nature. I use other materials such as wood, metal, seashells, dirt, glass, leaves, but the focus is on the beautiful hues of the slate from India. I travel extensively in the United States participating in juried art shows, returning home between trips to create more. I love what I do,” Bushee said.

The West springs to life in Jim Clements’ paintings

Painter Jim Clements is now on this side of the “Gateway to the West.”

Following the trails of his subjects who passed through his home state of Kansas to the western frontier, he’s now in Breckenridge for the first time as part of the art show.

Colorful cowboys and Native Americans spring to life in his works.

“To me, painting represents ultimate freedom — so it’s just natural that the wide open spaces, rich history and independent people of the American West translate so well to canvas,” he says. “My desire is to honor the spirit of the West in each painting I do.”

Clements does 15-20 shows each year.

“I do a couple of invitational shows in Colorado: the Greeley Stampede and Windows to the West in Estes Park,” he says of his 17 years touring.

Calling El Dorado home, he was born and raised in Kansas, where his surroundings inspire him.

“God’s beauty is all around us, and the endless opportunity he’s provided to artists is overwhelming,” he remarks.

He believes the best education any artist can receive is through sheer hard work and observation of life. He also gratefully acknowledges the advice, instruction and encouragement of many fellow artists over the years, which have been such an integral part of his own professional growth.

In his opinion, a painter’s education never ends — it’s a lifelong pursuit.

Clements has won many awards and been featured in numerous publications, including USA Today, Florida Today, Art Calendar magazine, American Art Collector, Southwest Art, Bridle and Bit, Rodeo Attitude, Derby Now magazine and Topeka Capital-Journal.

The National Day of the Cowboy Organization, based in Fort Worth, Texas, selected his painting, “Simple Things,” for its prestigious Cowboy Keeper Award, given annually to individuals or organizations who make a substantial contribution to the preservation of the West.

Clements’ work also has been selected for exhibition in many national shows including: the National Cowboy Symposium and Celebration, Lubbock, Texas; the Annual Stampede Western Invitational Art Exhibit, Greeley; the Annual American Plains Artists Juried Exhibit, held in various galleries throughout the West; American Royal Western Art Show, Kansas City, Missouri; Birger Sandzen Memorial Gallery, Lindsborg, Kansas; and Spirit of the West Festival, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

New York TV producer Robert Rose used one of Clements’ works in an episode of Raw Travel in 2015, seen by 20 million viewers worldwide.

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