Painters’ views of Littleton being displayed at Depot

Gallery reveals what 50 artists saw as they recorded cityscapes


On May 30 and June 1, readers may have observed assorted folks — wearing a straw or other hat — paintbrush in hand and a palette of bright paints at the ready, as they worked to capture a scene on Littleton’s Main street, at Aspen Grove, in surrounding streets, yards, parks and gardens …

They were among the group of 50 who registered with the Littleton Fine Arts Guild for the fourth annual Plein Air Festival.

“Plein air painting is a tradition and method of creating art, celebrated by artists over the centuries,” according to Patty Dwyer, festival chair. “Many think of Monet and his work inspired at Giverny — his famous gardens. Plein air festivals are held throughout the U.S. and draw crowds and great interest.” She promised that the resulting pieces “will celebrate all that is Littleton—historic buildings, gardens, open space, vistas and urban life.”

Indeed they do!

The flurry of painting resulted in a colorful, inviting exhibit of smallish artworks, hung closely together on the walls of the Depot Art Gallery, 2069 W. Powers Ave., through July 1.

And, they are for sale at modest prices — perhaps a perfect wedding gift for a couple establishing a new home — or a graduate, furnishing a first apartment …

The visitor is greeted by bright splashes of sunlit color, bouncing off of flowers, leaves, architecture, water and more. (This year’s weather was excellent, versus a previous time, when it rained a lot and paintings included puddles.)

The quickly framed and hung (on the afternoon on June 1) exhibit, which still bore a faint aroma of not-quite-dry oil paint four days later, opened with a large crowd on First Friday, June 1, as part of monthly Littleton Art Walks — and related History Walks, offered by Historic Littleton Inc. members. (HLI was among a group of local sponsors who supported the festival — a thanks to all who did so.)

The juror for the show was nationally recognized Parker-based painter/teacher Lorenzo Chavez, who picked “Sitting Pretty” by Deborah McAllister as Best of Show. Her image is of an old red truck — with a lighter-colored, obviously replaced, door — parked in front of a cheerful yellow stucco house (circa 1920s?). It is expertly rendered, with clear colors, nice composition and popular subject — sure to be a visitors’ favorite.

Participants’ activities included a “Quick-Paint” session at Aspen Grove, with celebration/exhibit at Rice on May 30. Lisa Hut’s “Hot Spot,” of pink flowers in the center’s always-pleasing landscape, won a First Place ribbon. This is the first time the shopping center has been included in the paint-out. Appropriate — it’s a prominent part of the city’s business scene …

May 31 was set aside for painters to roam through the city, parks and more — and pursue their particular vision — with resulting glimpses of homes, parks, streets and even an apartment building or two — definitely part of today’s scene.

On the morning of June 1, another “Quick-Paint” event happened on Littleton’s historic Main street, with Cliff Austin’s “One-Way” sign leading into a familiar street scene that won a First Place ribbon. Austin has a Littleton studio at Woodlawn, where he paints and teaches.

Techniques and media vary — it’s worth taking extra time to examine some works closely — with swooshes of wet watercolor, precise and softly blended pastel lines and great variety in line and style from those who paint in oils and acrylics. On the right as one enters, are two renderings of a pink rose at Aspen Grove — one soft pastel, “Hot Spot” by Jan Hut, holds a blue ribbon. The other, a more graphic rendering is also well-presented and appealing.

Visitors will want to allow time for a close look at these modestly sized paintings with some very fine detailing at times. It’s a different scale than one may be accustomed to seeing in museums and galleries …


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