It was quite unusual for us not to be up and on the road at the crack of dawn. On this particular trip from Fruita, Colorado to Colorado Springs, we decided a 08:30 departure time was just fine. The 300-mile journey usually takes about five and one-half hours. That may sound like a long time, but it is such a beautiful drive and the time goes by quickly.
The roads were clear for the entire route. However, on some mountain passes, where there was still a tremendous amount of snow, there were some wet patches. The snow was beginning its spring melt. As we crested the Continental Divide at Hoosier Pass (11,539 feet – 3,517 meters), I remarked at how amazing it is that the droplets of snowmelt on either side of the pass end up in different oceans. The snow on the east side melts and drains into the Mississippi River, then the Gulf of Mexico, and finally mixes with the Atlantic Ocean. The snow on the west side melts and flows into the Colorado River, then the Gulf of California, and finally mixes with the Pacific Ocean.
Our norm for the trip had been stopping for lunch at the Pizza Hutt in Fairplay. That was especially true when our children were young and accompanied us on our trips back and forth. Leslie and I were excited to stop there for lunch, relax a little, and reminisce about previous family trips. That would not be the case on this trip.
As I turned to approach the Pizza Hutt, I saw a large for sale sign. The Pizza Hutt was just an empty building now. We were still hungry. I turned around and drove back about one-half mile to the Subway in the gas station. We ordered our subs and sat there to eat. We were both still stinging from the disappointment.
On the way out of the gas station, we bought some bottles of water. We mentioned our disappointment regarding the Pizza Hutt affair. She shared that her boyfriend had worked there. The owner of the franchise shut it down because of employee embezzlement. Armed with that knowledge, we got back in the car and completed our journey.
Every time I travel to Colorado Springs, my trip is not complete unless I visit the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. During our visit, we saw several art students on the upper floor; each of them sketching what they saw. We struck up a conversation with one of the young men. We discovered his father is a professor at Colorado College. His name is Andrew Ramiro Tirado. He made the piece “Lacuna.” A photograph of that piece appears here, followed by some of my other favorites.
While I was in Colorado Springs, I went on a photo trek with two good friends, Ron Krom and James Harris. James has a website showcasing his photographs. One can find that at James Harris Photography.
The site we selected was Helen Hunt Falls. That waterfall is in Cheyenne Canyon on the southwest side of Colorado Springs. I always enjoy photo treks because I always learn something new. I used my new knowledge to try to improve my photography skills.
Today was the time selected for our obligatory trip to the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center (FAC). It is only essential because it brings back such fond memories of my childhood. I frequently walked through the museum on weekends or in the summer when I was growing up. Back in the day, admission was free. We love every visit.
As per usual, we arrived early. That allowed me time to take photographs of some of the art outside the museum.
There are multiple sculptures installed on the lawn area in front of the building. I enjoy the giant statue of the Latino dancers. I also appreciate the art deco styling of the building itself. The lines are striking. Construction on the building began in 1936. Because of the timing, the building has an Art Deco feel. In 1986, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Once the museum opened, the main draw was the exhibit, “Chihuly Rediscovered.” It is a display of many of the blown glassworks of Dale Chihuly. The FAC held an earlier Chihuly exhibit in the mid-2000s. During that exhibit, the museum acquired several Chihuly pieces for the permanent collection. Most notable are the entry lobby chandelier and the Orange Hornet chandelier hanging from the ceiling on the second floor.
We were first exposed to the work of Dale Chihuly in the mid-2000s when the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center first exhibited some of his work. Born in 1941 in Tacoma, Washington, Chihuly has become a world-famous glassblower. His pieces are on display in numerous locations around the world. If money were no object, we would love to own one of his amazing pieces!
The following are several other pieces that caught my eye on this visit. The Georgia O’Keeffe Dark Iris No. 1 is always one of my favorites. I have seen a few of her works, but this one in Colorado Springs elicits fond memories.
This folding partition by Louis Recchia was attractive because of the color and texture.
The museum has owned the Study for a David and Goliath for many, many years. There is something about the painting that always captures my attention. For me, I guess it is kind of like a train wreck; one does not want to see it, but one cannot help but look. It is a unique painting; one I would not personally wish to own, but it continues to capture my attention on every visit.
The light sculptures by Chul Hyun Ahn were new works. They were visually appealing.
The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center has an extensive Native American collection. The detail of the handwork on the various items is impressive.
The museum also has an extensive collection of southwest items. I had not seen Cristo Entierrno before. I thought the 19th Century piece was fascinating.
I found the colors and subject matter of the Sunset of Life to be very soothing.
I had to capture Catrina for Hillary!
Not necessarily one of my personal favorites; but Roy Lichtenstein is an iconic artist. I recall seeing a colossal sculpture of his in Barcelona, Spain. Many of the U. S. Embassies at which we have served have Lichtenstein prints on display.
Because of our time living in Spain, I could not pass up the opportunity to capture Don Quixote and Sancho.
One of my all-time favorite paintings at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts center is Ute Agency. I love the intricate detail and the brilliant colors as depicted in the following details.
Following our museum visit, we had to have lunch at Jose Muldoon’s on Tejon Street. I always enjoy sitting at one of the sidewalk tables and watching Colorado Springs go by.
Leslie, Tyler, and I went to the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center (FAC) today.
When we initially arrived at the FAC, we found one of the retaining walls in the parking lot had numerous murals. There are several sculptures installed in the exterior public spaces including a buffalo sculpture of steel, Survivor II; a limestone sculpture of some Native American women, Hopi Basket Dancers; and a very colorful sculpture of a Mexican Hat Dance. There was also a butterfly sculpture that was part of a city-wide exhibition of butterfly sculptures.
The FAC building is a classic example of art-deco architecture, finished in 1936. It is now on the National Register of Historic Places.
It was the first full day of a new exhibit, ‘Trace Elements: Light into Space’ and ‘Places Apart,’ installations by James Turrell and Scott Johnson. That particular area of the FAC did not allow photographs. Regardless, we all very much enjoyed the displays. The first one we saw titled ‘The No Plateau.” It consisted of four columns of tinted glass. Each one was about four feet square and about 15 feet tall. There was a space nearly three feet wide which allowed one to walk between the columns. The columns were placed to form a larger square of about 12 feet by 12 feet.
Each of the 16 glass panels was clear at the bottom and became progressively darker as the height increased. The columns did not have a top; instead, there was a light shining straight down in each. At the bottom inside, each was a substance that looked like dried and cracked mud. The ambient light in the exhibit room was dimmed considerably. This installation was the only thing in that room.
Because of the lighting and the interior reflectivity of the glass, one could see the reflections of the mud seemingly going on forever. A slight change in the reflections occurred as one walked around or through the installation. We all three thought it was the most fascinating and unique piece.
As we left that first exhibition room, we entered an enormous hall. This hall had three or four pieces, some of which were built directly into the wall. In each case, either the wall or the art piece was a brilliant white. Looking straight on at the works with spotlights from above, it reminded one of a distant horizon. On the horizon, it appeared to be a forest that was lit oddly, maybe due to a white fog. We had never seen anything like it, so we decided to inspect them more closely. Each piece had one or more of the “horizons.” The lowest “horizon” in each one was just slightly above my eye level.
If one stood at the end of the wall and looked toward the other end, it appeared there were small “shelves” protruding from the wall. At its widest point, the “shelf” ranged from one to three inches wide. If one were to look down the plane of the wall from the ceiling, one would see that the “shelf” emerges from the wall in a very gentle arc and then disappears back into the wall. Each “shelf” is canted up at a slight angle. On top of each “shelf” is a piece of material that looks similar to aluminum foil. It is the light from above reflecting off of the foil that creates the “horizon.” I thought it was the most interesting use of light.
When it comes to original works of art, I am sometimes amazed at how artists can dream up such artworks. I can’t imagine I would have come up with ideas like those described above in a million years. Both of the pieces described above were by Scott Johnson.
On the ground floor, preparations for a wedding and reception were underway in the Smith Gallery and the courtyard. The ceremony was set to take place outside. The colors of the wedding were purple and hot pink. It may sound odd, but it was striking.
Somewhere between 2006 and 2008, the FAC hosted an exhibit of glasswork by renowned artist Dale Chihuly. Some generous patrons purchased several pieces for the FAC. One of the first things we saw on the ground floor were five large Chihuly bowls, made between 1992 and 2004. The colors were vivid, while some parts were translucent.
The FAC has an extensive collection of Native American clothing, tools, and baskets. The beadwork on the various items of clothing is very colorful. The intricacy is amazing.
There was an exhibit in the Loo Gallery I had never seen before, Hispanic Works – Santos and Bultos. Some of the pieces were quite new. For example, my favorite, Altar Screen with Bulto was from 1993. Another example was the Coronation of the Virgin by the Holy Trinity, 1996. Some of the other pieces dated as far back as the early 1700s. Crucifixes covered two walls in the exhibition space.
One of my favorite paintings at the FAC is Georgia O’Keeffe’s, Dark Iris No. I. Another of my most favorite items on display is the Orange Hornet Chandelier by Dale Chihuly in the Lane Gallery. It is a very vivid piece. Lastly, another of my favorite works is one that I have associated with the FAC since I was a small child is Trio by Walt Kuhn. I think it just brings back fond memories of my many visits when I was young. Some additional choices of mine follow.
In the courtyard, I was able to photograph the mural by Frank Mechau, Wild Horses. To the best of my knowledge that painting has been in place since 1936.
In the main foyer is another Dale Chihuly chandelier, made in 2004 of 842 separate glass parts. The fixture weighs an impressive 2,200 pounds. It certainly does not look like it should weigh that much.
After touring the FAC, we opted to sit on the terrace of Café 36 for a light lunch and a beverage. The weather and the scenery added to our enjoyment.