By Julia L. Wright
Manitou Springs Art Council and Commonwheel Artists Co-op Present
Responding to Climate Change through Art
Opening Reception Friday, March 6, 5—8 pm
March 6—30, 2020
A gallery show to encourage people to rethink their relationship with the environment using beautiful or controversial imagery.
Manitou Springs Art Council (MSAC) will curate a gallery exhibition in March of 2020 to be held at the Commonwheel Artists Co-op Gallery in Manitou Springs.
Climate change is one of the topics that makes people want to turn off and disengage. It shouldn’t be that way. So, what can ART do?
Sometimes, you need more than just the facts and data to really bring home the reality of the impeding climate crisis. You need to make an emotional connection – and what better way to do it than through the power of ART?
With that thought in mind, the Manitou Springs Arts Council (MSAC) has invited artists to use their talents to create art around the theme of the climate crisis and frame it in ways that result in emotional, beautiful, and stirring images. This gallery show offers a chance to use art to create an emotional story that can inspire people to promote environmental awareness. During the month of March artists will be able to share this message and ignite a passion to help prevent further environmental damage.
Climate change is happening, and we know it. Now is the time to address the urgent need to live sustainably within the Earth’s finite resources.
Many people have recommended immediate and far-reaching social, economic and technological responses and yet this isn’t happening. Campaigns for change have had marginal effect on our political leaders. So, what, if anything, can the arts do?
Environmental art has the power to change the way we view our world, where we are in life and what our responsibilities are. Artists will use their creativity to explore the ubiquitous and unnerving imagery of climate change and have the freedom to delve into causes, importance, hoax or not, impact on civilization, other culprits, various types of pollution, or how the humankind has historically created changes to make the environment less important than money or pleasures. The artwork in this show is meant to create images that will encourage people to rethink their relationship with the Earth and its creatures.
If a room in your house is on fire, you don’t just see that room in danger, but your whole house needs immediate action to protect it from being destroyed. It's all connected. How we live our lives is closely related to the state of our entire planet.
Nature strives for balance. Sadly, the rate at which humans are moving carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels and destroying forests by clear-cutting or fires, has surpassed Earth’s ability to maintain balance. It’s easier to think about nature as something that is always there for us rather than something we need to tend to. In this exhibition artists will tell stories with images to inspire new visions and new choices for creating a balanced Earth.
This does not have to be just a dark and sad story. Artists have been invited to share and envision concepts of positive actions and initiatives that can be created around the world. The exhibition will offer viewers a chance to not to only ponder climate change, but inspire the visitor, as a consumer and citizen, with the idea that they can make a difference and contribute to change through the choices they make. It will offer new ways to think about our environment and climate change and our own place in all of that.
These are just a few of the images that will be shown in the “Responding to Climate Change Through Art” gallery show.
Audrey Gray using elements of the earth to depict the beauty of the world around us. That beauty is sometimes obscured by dark clouds or fires that have ravaged the hillsides. Her art is totally environmentally friendly. She uses all sorts of natural materials in her work including dirt and sand, clay, seeds, sticks, shells, grass, and more that she gathers from near her home and wherever she travels.
Artist Kelly Green will be sharing paintings and other art inspired by photos and videos that she has been taking almost daily in Colorado for the past 2 and a half years documenting ongoing Climate Engineering/Weather Engineering in the skies above. Kelly became an accidental Climate Engineering awareness activist when she decided to share images on Instagram that she had of the sky going back to 2009. Instead, the account became a daily record of visible weather engineering. She will also be sharing some of photos and videos from the @Bringbackblueskies Instagram that inspires them. She hopes to raise awareness about Solar Geoengineering/Solar Radiation Management, (SRM) programs so that the public can have a better understanding and a say about whether or not they consent. Solar Geoengineering programs are currently still being denied but also promoted heavily as a Plan B for climate to "buy some time".
Solar Geoengineering attempts to create a temporary cool down by blocking the sun with stratospheric aerosol injections, (SAI), but is escalating the damage to the environment at an alarming rate by trapping heat, escalating overall warming, disrupting the hydrological cycle and destroying the ozone layer.
"The Scream of Nature 1/Flammagenitus & SAI " and "The Scream of Nature 2/SAI" were inspired by Edvard Munch's "The Scream of Nature".
Munch created different versions of this image, of which seven are remaining; two paintings, two pastels and 3 lithograph prints.
Kelly plans on creating 7 versions overall as a tribute to Munch and in protest of Geoengineering.
There are different interpretations of Munch's inspiration for the red sky in the scream. Munch himself recalled that he had been out for a walk at sunset when suddenly the setting sunlight turned the clouds "a blood red". He sensed an ‘infinite scream passing through nature'.
Scholars have suggested that the sky in The Scream could have been inspired by the ash in the stratosphere from the Krakatau 1883 volcanic eruption because fine ash tends to scatter shorter blue-violet wavelengths of light, and the remaining spectrum getting through is dominated by longer wavelength red to orange portions of the spectrum. There are also paintings by William Ashcroft in England during the Fall of 1883 after the August 26-27th eruption of Krakatau that show vivid red sunsets as a result of ash injection to the stratosphere. The 1883 eruption and eyewitness accounts of atmospheric phenomena following that eruption actually taught us quite a bit about stratospheric wind circulation patterns. The ash from Kraktau circled the globe in about two weeks following the event, then spread both north and south into both hemispheres.
In connection to Climate Engineering, Solar Geoengineering Climate Scientists have been inspired by the ash from Volcanic eruptions and hope to replicate the cooling through the use of Stratospheric Aerosol Injections which seek to replicate very large eruptions because, "they blast millions of tonnes of reflective sulphate particles into the stratosphere. These particles circulate the planet on the powerful stratospheric winds, reflecting away a small amount of inbound sunlight and cooling the planet for a year or two."
Polar Bears are desperately hanging onto a tiny floating piece of ice as oil rigs send poisonous gases into the air and oil floating on the ocean burns behind them. “Raft of the Doomed Ursine” by Ed McKay is a powerful image that will make anyone viewing it think hard about ways we could change our habits to save their habitat.
At least three images will share the concept of wildfires raging around the world that are threatening the habitat of many creatures and contributing to the heating of the earth and adding massive amounts of carbon monoxide to the atmosphere. The forests are the lungs of the earth, and we are allowing them to disappear by fire and deforestation in many areas around the world.
“Starry, Starry Night” by Ed McKay is frighteningly beautiful example of a creature trapped in a forest with fires raging all around it. Even if this moose was to survive, his habitat would be totally destroyed, and he would have little chance of survival for much longer. It is hard to imagine how many creatures are now extinct because of the fires in Australia, Africa and the Amazon. How many more will we lose if we don’t start taking action to save their home environment?
“My Home Is on Fire, Please Take Action to Avoid a Climate Crisis” by Julia L. Wright depicts a squirrel as Nature’s representative who is begging for help from the Ogre in charge. People need to speak up for Nature to get our government back on track to respect the need for clean air, water and soil. Our representatives need to start putting those concerns before the requests of greedy corporations focused on profits now, with no respect for the way it will affect future generations.
All three images share the concept of fires burning up our earth and contributing to a not too distant Climate Crisis.
Kelly Green is the coordinator for the “Love Thy Neighbor” gallery show
I have been creating art and drawing for as long as I can remember. I have been a self-representing artist since 2001 and a proud Colorado resident and Commonwheel Co-op member for the past 5+ years.
I would see Rockey around town when I first moved to Colorado over 5 years ago and became a member at Commonwheel Co-op, but I didn't know who he was. I knew he was local because I would see him often when I was working shifts in the Co-op.
Then one morning at Commonwheel I read an article about Rockey in the Independent and a few minutes later he walked by the front window. The next time I came to Manitou Springs Rockey was sitting outside his house next door and I realized that he lived right there. I said "Hello" to him and we had a short casual morning chat.
Later on, I had the opportunity to sit with Rockey a few times and randomly talk about art and life when he was outside his house next door to Commonwheel on sunny days when I would be on my way into the Co-op. One afternoon I was bringing in some really detailed large canvas prints to hang at Commonwheel and Rockey was outside on his bench next door enjoying the morning sun and watching people. I said hello to him, and he asked to see my art, so I went over and sat next to him and showed him the two prints. He was so enthusiastic, so curious and so sweet about my work that I immediately wished I could sit and talk with him more that day and often, but I only had a few minutes before my shift started next door. I live quite a distance away in the plains and am often pressed for time to get to work or home.
We parted ways and I went next door to work. About an hour after my shift started I went into the backroom at Commonwheel to write a request on our list of supply items that need to be purchased and right next to the list was a handwritten note with a call for part time help to frame some of Rockey's work. I wrote down the number for David Ball at the bottom of the page and when I got home that evening I contacted David. David replied quite quickly, and I went to work framing with David a few weeks later in the basement of Rockey's house.
I found this to be an incredible synchronicity to find the call for help right after I'd wished to be able to get to know Rockey more. I have extensive framing experience and the opportunity to see, handle and frame an enormous treasure-trove of work Rockey did over decades was really beyond anything I could have imagined. The earliest piece I remember framing was a lovely portrait of his mother that he created using pastels in the 1950's.
I framed some of his college work, marbled paper he created for his students when he was a professor, portraits, concert posters, landscapes and so much more. Rockey put himself into his art more than most artists do and so I felt that I came to know him really well, and with each piece I had the rare opportunity to examine I came to know and love the art and the artist even more, but not in the way I had imagined on the bench that afternoon talking about my art. Rockey's health declined over this period of time when I was framing, and I didn't have many opportunities to catch with him after that, but while I was in the basement framing, I often thought about how huge Rockey's impact must have been in so many ways and on so many people since he taught, produced art, and lived in Manitou so long. When I first conceived of this show inspired by Rockey he was still with us and I had hoped he would see all of the work that he had inspired. I had the show proposal written up but not submitted when I left for Montana to see my mom. Rockey passed away while I was in Montana and so the proposal was submitted once I returned from my trip.
My daughter, Hali Honigbaum, and I tried our hands at marbled paper for this show and that process was definitely inspired by me having seen some of the paper that Rockey marbled for his classes to use, and also I got to frame some of the marbled paper pieces he finished or partially finished. I found it really interesting that he worked often in mixed medias like I do often, searching out images within water-colored paper. Rockey did that with his marbled papers and encouraged his students to do this as well. I really loved marbled balloons as a kid, and seeing these works made me actually feel a somewhat desperate need to know how to marble paper myself. In one of many synchronicities that I experienced with Rockey's work I stopped at Ross that evening to buy some craft kits and art supplies as a birthday present for a party my daughter was invited to the next day. There in the small craft section was one marbled paper kit for $5.00. I scooped it up, and a few months later Hali and I marbled enough paper to cover the dining room table and the entire floor. It was so much fun! Hali is showing a piece she marbled and I am showing a piece I marbled and then detailed with pen and ink pointillism.
I really like the way that "The Path to Pike's Peak" turned out. I don't often do landscapes, but when I do, they usually end up with a checkerboard ground. I framed a really early series of 4 pieces that Rockey did where he was exploring perspective and horizon and one of them had a checkerboard that instantly reminded me of a couple of pieces I did a decade ago, though Rockey's were actually created two decades before mine. I knew I wanted to do a local scene using the checkerboard then.
The Octomaiden/Mermapus/ sculpture "Iscariot" by Trace O-Connor marks the spot along my path from the plains in Eastern Colorado where I live to Manitous Springs where it seems that the vibe changes and things get a little weird in a really good way. The Octopus is also a recurring theme in my art so when this sculpture popped up there on top of that rooftop I was pretty excited and curious about her from the start. I did some research and found that another town disowned her before Colorado Springs took her in. That seems appropriate.
My artwork can always be found locally in Commonwheel Artist Co-op in Manitou Springs and Colorado Creative Co-op in Old Colorado City. I also currently have a few original pieces at The Perk downtown Colorado Springs through the end of February and I have a new pen and ink piece showing in Kreuser Gallery's 'Gratitude' group show opening February 7th.
Online you can find my etsy shop at
and I am doing the social media thing on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/kellygreenhbaum/
Like many people, I had to wait until I retired until I had time to pursue art. I have experimented with many media, some of which I still enjoy, but glass is the medium that stole my heart and soul. I have been working in kiln formed (fused) glass for about 15 years.
I first saw Rockey's paintings at Adams Mountain Cafe, and then began to learn more about his generous spirit and his love of Manitou.
My pieces in this exhibit were inspired by my love for Manitou and the surrounding area, so I thought they would be a fitting tribute to Rockey.
The piece above, "Garden of the Gods" is my favorite because it captures the essence of Pike Peak and Garden of the Gods, some of my favorite scenery on the planet!
My work can be seen on Facebook at LoLo's Paloozas.
I classify my work as folk art. Folk Art comes out of one's culture. My mother and father were depression/ WWII parents. Times were lean and you learned to make do but our home was rich in folk art. We had beautiful quilts, rugs, pictures, table clothes, and dolls made from leftover or reused yarns and fabrics.
I am self-taught in making and designing my fabric pottery after seeing a piece in a heritage art center in Berea, Kentucky. I have always loved the way different fabrics, threads, and notions can come together to make something beautiful. It is much like a potter with their clay, paints, and glazes making a beautiful piece of pottery
I first came to know about C. H. Rockey when my daughter excitedly showed me a painting over her mantel. It was by Rockey and I loved it. Soon we had a Rockey painting over our mantel. Then it was exciting to learn about him and his work, see his studio, or catch sight of him about Manitou Springs. Now it is exciting to be associate with him through this show.
My small piece of Fabric Pottery was made especially for the show. Inspired by Rockey, I wanted it to be unique, earthy, soft in color, whimsical, and express love. The piece was made entirely from materials I had on hand. I have never used wool in my work before. I decided to give it a try for I thought it would give that earthly, whimsical look I wanted. I liked that the unspun wool came from Colorado sheep. I found gold silk thread that had been my fathers, who was a tailor. The thread was on a wood spool and wood spools have not been used since the 1970s. To express love, I make every heart unique using pieces of ribbon, trim, and beads that have been saved over time.
<<image of Mary’s piece>>
My Art is inspired by wanderlust and a deep respect for the natural world and the diverse people in it. I am fascinated with the mystical and the unexpected.
One never knows which way a painting is going to lead you. A painting has its own way of evolving; sometimes you just have to get out of the way and let the process happen. There is magic in every moment, if I can catch that moment in my art and share it with you, then I am successful.
When we first moved to Colorado, 24 years ago, the first place we visited was Manitou. Although we had to live within 15 min of the AF Academy, my ideal place was Manitou. Almost every weekend we would come for breakfast at Adams, kids would explore the town, and I would dream that this is little art town was the perfect place to live. This led me to the beautiful blue Mansard studio and Rockey's home on the corner of Canyon Ave. Rocky was sitting in his studio painting when I walked in.
He invited me to come in, sit down, and we talked. I discovered that he had been a middle school art teacher, as I was at the time. He told me not to worry, there was an art life after teaching. He shared his teaching experiences with me and gave me ideas on how to trigger the unexpected in art.
Rockey gave me an incentive to continue teaching but also to know that art would always be my love and vocation. After retiring from teaching and moving to Manitou, I could stop in to say hello more often. Rockey has the most open and beautiful heart of anyone I have known.
I had been working on my portrait of Rockey before this show. When he passed away, I wanted to paint him. I had photographs of him through the years and always was inspired by his Gandalf qualities. My children call Manitou Rivendale and Rockey is definitely an evolved being. His dedication to his art, his community, and his faith is inspirational. The portrait of Hannah Rockey and her parrot, Sebastian was from my photograph of the two of them. This painting was given to Hannah and is available in Giclee print form.
“Ruxton Creek Swing” is a painting from a photograph that I took last Fall in front of what was once Victoria’s Keep B&B. I loved how the brilliant Indian Summer light filtered through the leaves and the water. Magical!
The portrait of Rockey in this exhibit is my favorite painting. It was inspired from my last visit with Rockey. The late morning light filtering into his studio, Hannah with her parrot, Sebastian, on her shoulder and Rockey looking so peaceful and wise is how I will always remember him with deep gratitude for his kindness and his open heart.
My work can be found at:
Gallery 113, 125 1/2 N Tejon, Colorado Springs
Web page: deniseduker.com
Pat Eastlake went to an art/design school in 1970-76 in Columbus, Ohio where he was a painter, printmaker and sculpture. He worked as a woodworker and designer and earned a Master of Design degree from an art/ design school in Cincinnati. He has worked full time as an architectural woodwork designer, but now is mostly retired.
I went to drawing classes in the early 1990s at BAC (now MAC) and smilingly sat next to Rockey several times. It was always a pleasure to see him around town, and in Adams Mountain Cafe. I have been influenced by the spirit of his landscape oil paintings.
My two accepted paintings exemplify the variation in my oil paintings, sometimes graphic and symbolic, and sometimes naturalistic. During the last four years I have been working to pull those two aspects together, trying to develop my visual language.
I like my painting “Island in the Sea” because it is clean and fresh.
I have lived in Manitou Springs for 24 years. As a child I grew up in a home that had original artwork and was encouraged to draw as a young person. Later, after college I became interested in painting. I have been an art educator and administrator for many years and am enjoying painting again.
After we moved here, I purchased a print of Rockey’s work. My husband displayed it in his office in Colorado Springs. It’s a wonderful image full of beauty and intriguing details of Manitou Springs. I was able to study his original work in businesses throughout the town. Tina and Ken Riesterer kindly introduced me to Rockey. I was impressed by the quickness of his mind and his strong opinions about painting.
Rockey had a profound connection to the built and natural environments of Manitou Springs. Although my approach to painting is different from his, each piece of mine in this exhibit represents the same passion for place. These works were painted on-site in Red Rock Canyon.
Since I have not been selling my work, it can be found in my studio and in the homes of friends and family!
I was born and raised in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Art was and continues to be a safe haven for me. As an elementary school student, the once-weekly art class at my school was the one hour a week where I felt I could enter a state of meditation, freedom, and giddy creative joy. I chased that feeling and leaned heavily on art throughout my adolescence. In high school I began branching out more, painting murals, completing commissioned work, entering art competitions, and exploring my sense of purpose and empowerment through artistic expression. Now, in my young adulthood, I'm exploring how my artistic practice and research can merge to communicate the key ideas I believe we all need to focus on to survive as a species. Art continues to be a supportive place for me, just as much as it's a vehicle for change.
About seven years ago, I was sitting on the bench across from Rockey's studio watching the birds nesting in the bushes. Even though I was dreadfully shy, when I saw his door was open - I heard a voice inside myself that told me to go in. I'm grateful that I did and consider it to be one of the best decisions I've ever made. Rockey and I quickly became friends - sharing meals, sketchbook entries, and long conversations about love, loss, clouds, uncertainty, hope, faeries, and all things nature. During the summers I'd help Rockey with projects around the house and chores as much as he'd allow - then during the winter and spring of 2019 I joined the team of folks supporting him in his end of life transition. Our moments together during that time are ones I hold most sacred.
I've painted Rockey several times throughout my time knowing him - inspired by his personality and deeper layers of being. My piece "Rockey's New Canvas" was created a few days after his passing, as a way to honor him and process my grief and immense gratitude
You can find my work at katia-rhapsody.com as well as contact information. I'm currently residing in the Pacific Northwest and sell my art locally in this area, but can ship to/work in Colorado as opportunities arise.
I am an amateur photographer and eccentric editor thereof. I've been keen on arts since early childhood (still have a magnet on the fridge of a dragon I drew in first or second grade). I started getting into taking pictures when in middle school and by the time I got my first smart phone, I had begun editing pictures in a unique fashion.
I met the late artist once prior to his passing at the church next to the Manitou library and I believe I attended an event celebrating him and an apprentice of his at the MAC. I recall the prior more vividly as I sat in a peculiar position above most and I had noticed a kindly old man sitting off to one side, doodling away on the program (of which I might still have somewhere, maybe). Everyone was so kind, loving and respectful of the man whom I was soon introduced to. I mean, to be so frail yet big of heart and kind in spirit, what's not to be inspired by?
I am ever challenging myself with different techniques and styles for my artwork. Honestly, I did not create something new for this show, I looked through my collection of favorites, whilst going through the pamphlet I got from his gallery, trying to decide which one would best fit the motif. I hope I chose wisely.
I suppose the best place to find my work is on Instagram (The_Acidic_Æsthetics) though I've frequently had my work put up in the MAC.
I paint a variety of subjects, but light is the true focus of my work. I’m attracted to the strong contrasts that light and shadow create as well as the drama it adds to a painting. Besides having an instant impact on viewers, the light, or lack of it, seems essential in telling a story with otherwise seemingly ordinary subjects. My work appears in private and corporate collections around the country and abroad and has appeared on the cover of several magazines.
Two years ago, I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with Rockey. I was painting the back of his head to include in my “About Face” series. As we visited, he shared with me the story of what he described as the most romantic date of his entire life, which had happened just the previous evening at The Cliff House. It was a sweet and touching story that lit his face from within.
“Love Thy Neighbor” presented me the excuse to paint one of the pictures that I shot of Rockey that afternoon. I kept the portrait loose to convey the character in his face. While I often paint a solid background with portraits, it seemed fitting in this case to surround him with a Manitou landscape inspired by one of his own paintings.
My work is represented locally by The Hunter-Wolff Gallery in Old Colorado City and can be seen at www.juliekirkland.com and on my Facebook page, Julie Kirkland Fine Art.
Art has always been an integral part of my life. I remember standing near a chalkboard and drawing before I even attended kindergarten. Throughout my college science career, I always managed to fit in art classes.
I was very fortunate to be able to use my art while raising my son. Working with local builders I created various murals and faux [finish] projects.
In the mid 2000 I had a studio at the BAC and it was then that I was fortunate to become friends with Rockey. I spent time with him while he was working on his book with graphic designer David Ball. He was always so appreciative when I brought over home cooked meals.
My piece "Tree Whispers" is a work that I especially created for this tribute show. Rockey would give a piece of paper that had abstract flowing forms on it and ask his students to see what they could see as a starting point for their drawing. Thus, I took two wooden panels and saw trees whispering to me. As a nature aficionado I'm sure Rockey was whispering to me when I decided to create this diptych.
My art is represented in various galleries in Colorado, among them Kreuser Gallery, Bella Art, Side Door, Naked Aspen Designs. In SD Morris Grand Gallery represents my work. Recently my work was juried into Modbo/SPQR small works exhibit.
I am a self-taught artist and have been painting since I was young. Upon retiring from an interior design career my paintings have been purchased and commissioned by many designers. Art has always been a passion for me.
I did not know C. H. Rockey. however, I would have loved to.
Recently, I have developed a new impressionist style with bold vibrant and exciting colors...one of my customers loved my Desert painting and stated “ it just makes me so happy". That's why I love to paint!
My painting of " By The Fire" gives me a feeling of camaraderie and warmth.
At presently I am working on developing a website for my art. [Editor’s Note, Linda will be showing her work again in our gallery again in May 2020.]
I have been fascinated with photography since I was a little girl. I carried around an off-cast camera of my father’s, taking photos of everything and anything. Many years later I studied photography and digital art, garnering awards and being offered a directorship to develop a gallery. Currently, I just enjoy being an artist, and I still tend to carry my camera when going on adventures.
About the art:
I’m not sure my artwork fits neatly into a little box. The colors I use these days tend towards the vivid and bold. The landscapes I create are fantasy driven and surreal, as are my figurative pieces. But, I do have softer, quieter pieces that are usually nature-centric. I also have a good deal of abstract and architectural images, as well as straight landscape photography and photo journalistic images of my travels.
About the creative process
The creative process starts when something nudges my soul, whether it is a beautifully written line of poetry that moves me or the aftermath of a devastating forest fire. I then begin by trying to capture images that express what inspired me. The next step is importing the shots into Photoshop and layering them. A lot of trial and error takes place during creation. I may stop when I hit a wall, and work on another image for a while. I usually know when I’ve got it right. I then print a small test image to see if I’ve got the colors and levels right for output. I print my own giclee’ prints with a large format Canon Pro 9000 Mark II printer. I print on Epson Metallic Glossy photo paper and Ilford Galerie Metallic and Smooth Gloss photo paper. They cost twice as much as the traditional papers, but the results are so worth it. The metal prints that are so popular are made by Bay Photo.
How am I acquainted with Rockey?
I became aware of Rockey’s artwork, long before the man. His beautiful creations grace the walls of Adam’s Mountain Café and The Cliff House, and I’m sure numerous other venues. I always admired the way he depicted Manitou Springs; the magical small town nestled in the bosom of Pike’s Peak. Later on, as a member of Commonwheel, I got used to seeing his slow coming and goings back and forth to his studio/home. Surprisingly, Rockey’s reputation as a human being was equal to his level of artistry.
His love of fantasy, his warm heart, and his medium influenced my work. I had already begun both projects, but I did away with my sky in, “Lavender Dawn”, creating something softer and more painterly. I also made the color palate much warmer, where it started very pastel. I added a wee hobbit house that I thought Rockey would enjoy visiting. I imagined him looking out of the open window at the fields of flowers and enjoying the lavender scent. I continue to be inspired by his love of fantasy. After the deadline for submission passed I was still making… I have just completed a portrait of a woman enchanted by the Faery! I think Rockey would approve. She won’t be in the show, but check out my artist space at Commonwheel to get a look at, “Enchanted”.
My own favorite piece is the aforementioned, “Lavender Dawn”.
My social media contacts are:
Follow me on FB - Neonmermaid9
Follow me on Instagram – Neonmermaid9
Follow me on Etsy – NeonMermaidPrintShop
Shop with me @ Commonwheel.com
Questions? E-mail me! Neonmermaid9@yahoo.com
I have been a lover or art for many years. Growing up in the Springs area where there are so many talented artists has been an inspiration. Always having an interest in art, I took a drawing class in 2014 and have been taking classes and at local studios and art schools. I paint in oils now, mostly landscapes, and find it an intensely compelling and rewarding practice.
I met Rockey in the 70’s when I first moved to Manitou. His paintings amazed me, and he was always so friendly and kind, taking time out from his schedule to visit whenever a visitor called. I remember talking with Rockey one day in a park when he was painting en plein air in the 80’s. He asked what I’d been up to. I told him I had been working 12 hours shifts at the hospital ER and he said, “With my job, I get up in the morning, have breakfast and pack a lunch, grab my paints and easel, and go paint all day, whatever moves me”.
I thought to myself, what an incredible job! Of course, now that I’ve actually done some plein air painting, I realize how naive I was to think that, and how challenging it really is!
I never had the resources to own a Rockey, but picked up prints along the way, and he even loaned me a wonderful piece with my house in the background. It was pure heaven having that original in our home: food and drink tasted better, the air smelled sweeter, love was more present. It was like having a little bit of Rockey right there.
I returned that painting to Rockey immediately when Hannah was calling for the return of his loaned art. He insisted that he give me a written receipt of its return, and thanked me profoundly for returning it. I remember walking home from his studio that evening, unabashedly crying the whole way.
I didn’t paint any new material for this show but pulled out some pieces that came out OK from some of my travels and classes the last couple years. I loved Rockey’s impressionistic style and my work tends to have that kind of feel. Also, I lack the aptitude, training, and skill to paint classic realism.
Here is my favorite piece for the exhibit. It is a print of our chimney garden on Osage Avenue (before the deer and hail got the best of it). I love it because it captures some of the beauty and magic I experience living here in Manitou; a place where I was lucky enough to overcome some big challenges, fall in love, get married, raise 2 wonderful children, and live in such an cool, eclectic community. How lucky we are to live here!
I have an Instagram site that I post photos of paintings that I think came out OK, and other items of interest: @williambweiss. I do not regularly show or have studio space…but once or twice a year I do put some pieces in local shows. I’m delighted and humbled some of my work has been accepted for the "Love Thy Neighbor” exhibit. When I took that drawing class 5 years ago, I never dreamed it would lead me to this place. Thank you Rockey!
Julia L. Wright
My artistic career started with directing plays and creating sets for theatrical productions in high school and a bit past my University days in Greeley. I traveled to art festivals in 1973 selling my fiber creations that incorporated jute, wool, found objects and feathers. My work was also in as many as 6 galleries for about 15 years. After having my car t-boned, had to shift the focus of my art to basically working just with feathers. I created wall pieces and masks backed on suede. Next added feather earrings, hair pieces and pendants to be sold at Commonwheel and in my Etsy store.
I have always taken photos of beautiful places I have traveled to or hiked. About 6 years ago incorporated some into books I have on Amazon. Then began to play with the images to create more mandala or abstract art images. These have been displayed in various gallery shows and at Art Festivals the last 4 years.
I have used many of my digital art images to place in more books, on mugs, t-shirts and reusable bags. These are sold online in my Shopify Store, on Etsy and the Fine Art America web site.
I came to Manitou Springs in 1976 and I have known Rockey for a very long time. Often would stop for a few moments to chat when he was sitting on his bench in front of his building on my way to or from Commonwheel. He always had something positive to say about the day or asked about what I was doing, and as I was often on the way to a meeting, only had a few moments to talk.
During the time of the 2013 flood that filled his basement with muddy water where so much of his art and frames were stored, watched him work with dozens of friends who came to help to determine what to save, give away or throw away. He was sad but seeing all the people who came to help him, I often saw him smile and profusely thank people moving his art from one place to another. Very inspiring to always find a positive side in any situation and express gratitude for people in my life.
I am very lucky to have a few of the large prints that he on very rare occasions sold. They are framed and hanging around my home. And his reversible sketches fascinated me as to how he could make the work so seamlessly. And I have one hidden away somewhere in a safe place that am inspired to search out . . .
When the town started the Halloween tradition of having merchants hand out candy to school kids, he sat in his doorway with some costume or wearing a wizard hat or just as himself to greet the kids. Watching the joy on his face as he interacted with folks in every type of costume inspired me to try to capture him I photos at that time. The shadows and his sitting sometimes inside the door made it difficult to get perfect photographic images, but some did turn out very well and I entered them in this gallery show. The Halloween images in the show are all from 2014 when he was in his wheelchair sitting in his doorway in the sunshine.
I also experimented with working up some photos of Manitou Springs to look more like paintings. That was a fun challenge, and some came out better than others. Once I got started, it was hard to stop and then choose just a few to submit. I never could make the sky look as whimsical as his, but happy with the photos I did submit using some new digital art enhancing techniques for this show.
The long view of lilacs at the town clock with Rockey’s home building and the Commonwheel in the background is my favorite image I’ll have in the show. Rockey was often seen painting the town clock park or standing there painting some distant view of the homes and hills that could be viewed from there. I still can almost feel his presence when looking at this image.
My work can be found
In Manitou Springs:
Feather Art & some Books/Journals at Commonwheel Artists Co-op
Some Reusable bags & mugs at the Poppy Seed
More Books & Journals:
Search HieroGraphicsBooks on Amazon, mugs will show up also
Shopify Store: https://www.hempearthart.com/ - FaceBook page of the same name.
https://julial-wright.pixels.com/ Also known as FineArtAmerica