Four Seasons: “Still Here” by artist Doug Graybeal at the artistic base
This has turned out to be a big fall season 2021 for Carbondale artist Doug Graybeal, who opens his first solo show at the art base after hosting the extraordinary group show “Our Lands” at the gallery. Aspen Chapel.
The “Our Lands” exhibit was the culmination of the collaboration with Aspen Valley Land Trust, which brought Graybeal and a group of local landscape painters to properties protected and conserved by the association.
Along with this project, Graybeal – a longtime architect and artist based in Roaring Fork Valley – worked on the new body of work “Still Here”, which opened at the Art Base in Basalt on October 8 ( less than a week after the closure of âOur Landsâ).
The works in the exhibit are observed up close, but dreamlike visions of local mountain peaks and landscapes – Capitol, Sopris, the Roaring Fork River and surrounding areas – as seen throughout the four seasons. Here is Capitol at the beginning of winter with snow piling up on yellow bands of aspens, there it is in spring with rock and emerging green, here is Sopris after its first snow of winter, there it is is above the yellowing fields in midsummer.
âThe idea I had behind the exhibition was that as I got older I realized that the environment around us is there and that it has never been anything other than how a pioneer the saw, âGraybeal explained at the show’s opening last week. “Our reference to these mountains is that they don’t change except for the seasons which are our only time reference to these things.”
So, over the past year, while working on his planned Art Base exhibition, Graybeal has examined these unchanging mountains from different angles and with each season to better understand and appreciate the permanence of the mountain landscape.
The 22 paintings in the exhibition use Graybeal’s method of combining watercolor and pastel on canvas, which manages to capture the vivid views of the mountains and their natural colors with a specificity that cameras somehow cannot.
He begins with an underpaint in watercolor, Graybeal explained, uses his fingers to smear pastels in some places and mark them in other places to capture the many variations in shade, color and subtle contrast that you see when you look at a mountain.
The style emerged, he explained after studying with artist Georgeann Waggaman, who used this method to create architectural renderings.
“You really just have to let the water do its job,” said Graybeal of the watercolor element of the work. “This is how you get that special feeling of fluidity.”
Graybeal painted most of these new works – at least in part – outdoors, setting up his easel and doing his best to recreate what he saw in front of him. In some cases, especially winter pieces, he also relied on photographs. And he included his sketchbook in the exhibition, opening his process to viewers, showing black and white shadow studies, establishing his light sources and focal colors, key contrasts, and, for each work, writing a short “why” for the picture.
âI prefer painting outdoors because you can capture colors and a camera won’t,â Graybeal explained. “For example, a shadow in the camera will turn black again and you don’t see any detail, you don’t see the green in the grass reflecting in the light – you miss anything, that stuff.”
“Still Here” has been scheduled to open during what is often the most dramatic seasonal change in the Roaring Fork Valley, from fall to early winter, as the first snow meets the last leaves of fall. brilliant. It runs until December 4.
“This is the perfect time for this exhibition – when we all feel the change of seasons so immediately, and therefore the impermanence of every moment,” said Art Base curator Lissa Ballinger when announcing the exposure. âDoug gracefully successfully leads the viewer through this exploration of a seasonally changed landscape. “