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Library Corner

Stephanie Ralph

The Granby Library is hosting an art exhibition featuring the work of local artists Howard Neville and April Hilton. The work being shown is in two vastly different mediums. Neville, who is known locally for his bronze sculptures, will be showing examples of his portraits done in watercolors and oils while Hilton will be exhibiting examples of her glass work.

April Hilton has been intrigued by glass and glass objects since 1978, when, as a child, she loved to pause and contemplate the colors in her marble set. Always the artist, Hilton has adopted glass blowing as her chosen medium. She is fascinated by the ancient skill. “It is so simple and pure and yet requires intense concentration and a lifetime of practice to perfect,” says Hilton. “Just a little sand, soda, lime and a great deal of heat – up to 2400 degrees Fahrenheit.”

Hilton started taking formal lessons in 1995 when she chanced into a teacher at Denver’s Red Rocks Community College. Like all apprentices of the art, she learnt to endure the horrendous temperatures of the glory hole and piece by piece accumulated skills over a four year assistantship that led her from novice to an accomplished practitioner of her craft. Hilton’s fulfilled a long held dream when in May 2008 she opened her own studio and workshop at the Circle H Lodge located on the beautiful shoreline of Lake Granby.

The pieces at the Granby Library exhibition entitled “The Creative Side” are made using the “offhand” glass blowing method by which a piece of fused glass is accumulated at one end of a blowing iron or blowpipe. Through the use of special tools and molds, as well as blowing techniques, Hilton transforms the glass into a sculptured shape, blending and incorporating colors into a unique form.

Hilton is joined at the Granby Library Art Show by Howard Neville whose exhibition of watercolor and oil portraits is entitled, “Grand County Portraits.”

The canvases are a return to Neville’s roots: “I have always included people in my art, but I moved away from painting and started working in three dimensions as a sculptor in 1983 when I first came to Colorado,” he said. The portraits include familiar local personalities.

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Reflecting on his life as an artist Neville chooses a quote from the muralist and painter Thomas Hart Benton: “It is a wonderful life if you can survive the first 40 years.” Neville has arrived at the point where he just enjoys doing what he does. “Looking back, the drive to be creative is a powerful force,” he said. “You have to let it go where it wants. I truly feel people should allow themselves to be more expressive in their lives, either in art or in abstract thought”.

Neville’s bronzes are found in Grand Lake, Fraser and Winter Park. When not working in his studio, Neville gives his time to the Grand County Library District: he is a member of the Community Speaker Series Committee, he created the mural in the entrance area of the Juniper Library, in 2009 he organized a series of talks on art and artists to adults and children as part of the “Picturing America” series and he helped with the donor wall in the Granby Library. To see further examples of his work, go to his website at hneville.com

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