|approaching la veta, colorado ~ by dawn chandler ~ oil on panel ~ 12 x 24 inches ~ copyright dawn chandler 2012|
You know how it is: Over the years you make dozens of road trips to the big city, and every time you pass a curious looking exit and think, “I should go explore that some time….” And next thing you know years pass and you still haven’t taken the turn to go explore that exit.
La Veta, Colorado is one of those “exits.” I can’t tell you how many times I cruised along I-25 or County Road 160 on my way from Taos to Denver and considered taking a detour, but never did.
Fortunately my hand was forced on the issue a couple of years ago, when I was invited by a friend to exhibit some of my paintings in her yoga studio — smack in the heart of downtown La Veta, Colorado.
What a beautiful and charming little community!! All of about 7 blocks long, with tall shade trees and a lovely little park. I was smitten instantly. And the drive down on County Road 440….Well, it’s pretty glorious with the whole Cuchara Valley opening up before you.
After hanging my artwork and having lunch in one of the cool little eateries, I headed back for home, but kept pulling over to take photographs. The view was simply stunning.
Here’s my attempt at capturing it in paint. Not a bad first attempt, though I find some areas problematic. The clouds feel a bit dense rather than light and airy. And I think perhaps I should have lightened up the distant line of mountains; that’s kind of a hard edge on the Spanish Peaks there to the left, especially. But dang it! That’s how it looked. Still, here’s a perfect example of where the painting might have succeeded more if I had abandoned a literal interpretation of the photo and instead went with what with my gut was telling me to do for the painting: “lighten up those distant edges.” Oh well… There’s always the next time….
A few details: