Color and light painter Adele Earnshaw at the Breckenridge Tin Shop this month
The Tip Shop’s artist in residence for the month of July is painter Adele Earnshaw, an accomplished career artist represented by galleries across the United States. Earnshaw is a sixth-generation New Zealander who, by her own admission, lives “as a recluse” at 5,000 feet in Sedona, Arizona, her house 20 minutes from the nearest store. She is known for her wildlife paintings, particularly birds, though “color and light” occupy a big part of how she thinks about her work. In addition to birds, she paints “foxes, bears, aspen with fox” and so forth, for which she generally relies on multiple photos of her subject matter. “You have to use photos when painting wildlife,” Earnshaw says of her process, “but I’m not copying the photos.” If she’s painting a bear, for example, “one (photo) will be for color reference; another shows the shape of the bear’s nose. You can’t just come up with these things out of your head unless you paint nothing but bears or you know the anatomy of the animal so well,” she said. “I also have a few guides I use specifically when I’m painting birds to make sure I’m putting the bird in the right habitat.”Once an avid watercolorist, author of the 2002 book, “Painting the Things You Love in Watercolor,” Earnshaw started to paint exclusively in oil six years ago after breaking her wrist. She has exhibited paintings at the Natural History Museum in New York and on museum tour in Japan and Sweden. She designed the first three stamps for the New Zealand Game Bird Habitat Stamp Program and participated in the EcoArt Conference and Exhibition in Taiwan in 2000. In 2003, Earnshaw was selected as a judge for the Fish & Wildlife Service’s Federal Duck Stamp Competition in Washington D.C. Her work is in permanent collections at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum and the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wisconsin. Locally, she hangs in Walt Horton Fine Art in Beaver Creek. Adele Earnshaw discovered the Breckenridge Arts District’s guest artist program through an ongoing relationship with Summit County, during which she donated the images for three print editions of her work to be used as fundraisers for the Continental Divide Land Trust.
Last week, she joined her sister, local artist Joanne Hanson, for the Land Trust’s Art and Wildflower Celebration, during which 15 artists painted “en plein air” and then put their finished pieces on sale at a Carter Museum exhibit to raise additional funds for land conservation efforts. Earnshaw took best in show for her piece, “The Sky is Falling.” For the rest of her Breck stay, the artist plans to catch up on commissioned pieces and enjoy being a town-dweller while getting to know the community. “Just being able to walk down the road and buy some chocolate is wonderful,” admits Earnshaw, who will soon make a big life change, selling the Sedona house and spending eight months of the year in her native New Zealand. Her Breckenridge experience will factor into decisions such as whether to live in a town versus the countryside and where to spend her other four months of the year.Monday, she will hold a $15 workshop on how to paint critters in oil; although the event is certain to sell out soon if it hasn’t already. “The reason that I’m an artist is that somebody took the time to teach me,” said Earnshaw, who is also mentoring a Summit High School student on oil painting during her stay. “I’m a believer that you have to pass it on – you have to share this knowledge that you have.””It is exciting to have such a talented painter at the Tin Shop,” said Jenn Cram with the Breckenridge planning department. “Adele is a wealth of knowledge and enjoys sharing with others. I encourage anyone interested in painting to stop by and visit with her while she is at the Tin Shop.”
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