Patrick Saunders was one of only 31 artists asked to participate in the invitation-only Telluride Plein Air Festival this year. We thought we were pretty familiar with Colorado, as we have family and friends there, but we had never been to Telluride. It's a bit of a long and slow two-lane highway drive, but well worth it. Telluride has its own airport, so you can fly in, but the runway is a little short for our comfort - like a brief shelf on the side of mountain. The Telluride area is one of the most beautiful places we have ever been in this country. All of Colorado is fantastic, but Telluride is truly breathtaking. Something amazing to look at and photograph everywhere you look. Endless inspiration for plein air painting. A town that is as charming as it gets, and almost chain store free - only Patagonia has been allowed to set up shop there. From the mountains to the falls, to the protected elk herd that passes in and around Telluride every day, you just can't ask for anything more. We will definitely head back there. It will be an excellent area to slowly work our way to with the Airstream - at around 8,000 feet, the summer days are warm but not blazing - perfect weather for RV life. These are just a few of the photos I took of the event, starting with the auction after the quick paint on Thursday, and the artist choice awards later that evening. Patrick Saunders won third place! I'm so proud of him for doing so well at his first national plein air event.
The Telluride Plein Air Festival is a fundraiser for the historic Sheridan Opera House.
All of the paintings from the quick paint Thursday morning were auctioned off immediately after the competition ended.
Carl Bretzke won first place with a great painting of an iconic structure that is the first thing you see on the way into Telluride.
Patrick Saunders won third place with his painting of the Cornet Falls Creek. Cornet Falls is a beautiful fall on the north edge of Telluride that runs through the bordering neighborhood. Quite a few people in Telluride have creeks for front or back yards. You can hear the sound of rushing water from many points throughout the town.
Patrick, Carl, and second place artist choice winner John Lasater.
The talented watercolorist Mat Barber Kennedy won the audience choice award at the end of the event. We were thrilled - Mat is a great, funny guy and a talented artist - you should Google him and check his work out - it's very distinctive.
And a big thank you to Telluride residents Heather and Charles Norris, who invited us to their home for the 4th of July fireworks in Telluride, which we have to say is one of the best fireworks displays we've ever seen. It was like the Telluride area itself: unique, beautiful, and creative. Telluride is a place where you can expect the unexpected, from the land and the people.