Right Brain: Gretchen Norwalk
Color and music drive Gretchen Norwalk to paint. She loves to listen to loud blues and jazz when she paints her wildlife scenes, figures, landscapes, florals and abstracts, but she also loves to paint with other people – who sometimes don’t tolerate the loud jams.This winter she moved her art studio to Centennial Square at 326 S. Main St. in Breckenridge where she sells her own art as well as hats and jewelry from Katie Brassell and steel pieces. “I am enjoying having my own space so that I can paint a variety of imagery and not be limited to one kind of subject matter,” Norwalk said.”I am looking forward to painting some of the very colorful types of people here. I can hardly wait to start painting many of the snowboarders and skiers around, as well as just mountain people, who are very colorful and comfortable looking – very different from the people in other parts of the country.”I am also intrigued with going into Starbucks on a snowy afternoon, and everyone in there has their ski gear on with piles of snow stacked all over them while they sip hot drinks,” she said.
I don’t know why; art chose me. It is just a passion that I couldn’t deny. My parents did all they could to keep me out of art. I realized that I had to find a way to make a living with it, because it just won’t go away.What do you convey?For me, art needs to be that element on your wall and in your life that brings you joy and gives you a lift when you view it. I have always loved art with a bit of humor or a playful element (such as the way the paint is handled). Life is not always joyful, but if my art creates a positive environment for me, then I will enjoy the ambiance that it creates and the way it lifts up my day and of those around me by its presence.
My biggest challenge has been my lack of training in business and marketing. I see some artists out there with a much weaker product, in my opinion, with a much more successful position. I think an art major should be required to minor in marketing and business. SuccessI am always enormously flattered when people keep coming back for more of my pieces or have a house full of my work. I am also flattered and humbled when people tell me that they have been saving for one of my pieces, and can finally get one, or that they have saved my flyer for months or years until their house was finished. However, one of the most flattering has been when instructors from the Colorado Institute of Art in Denver dropped into my booth and went on and on about how great they felt that my art was and left their cards so that I might keep in touch.
The biggest compliment was when John Nieto came into my booth in Albuquerque and ended up talking to me off and on most of the day. At the end of the day, he stood outside of my booth with some of his relatives, and said, “Look at this girl; she is going to take over my business.”Staying freshI get recharged when I put down the brush and go out skiing, cross country skiing, sit in Starbucks or hang out with friends. Walking through galleries is always a shot in the arm as well.When you’re not doing art?I am usually at a Nordic center or skiing with friends, camping, hiking or biking. I like to hang out with friends and play tourist here in the resort. I love all that this area has to offer. Going to the city is also fun.
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