Outdoor Adventures: Artists finds buyers seeking something meaningful
On Wednesday morning Elizabeth Kurtak ran five miles, practiced yoga, and then got started on her art: painting flowers, butterflies, and birds.
Her flower and bird watercolors are so distinctive that once you see her work, you will recognize it throughout Grand County.
“I’m happy and have opened my gallery again,” she says.
And, her art is selling.
Her pieces are being sold in her gallery on Eisenhower Drive in Fraser and in Winter Park locations such as WP Framewerx. Despite the economy, Elizabeth says locals and visitors are spending money on art. What does she attribute it to?
“People want to buy something meaningful and are striving for positive things, not material objects. I hope it keeps going.”
Her best year selling her paintings was in 2007. This year she is surpassing revenue from 2007. After closing her gallery for a year, in February 2011 she decided to re-open it and start making art again. She says she has never been happier.
Elizabeth has lived in Grand County for most of her life and is married to Andrew Petersen. She received a bachelor’s in fine arts from Western State College.
She and her husband have landscaped the gallery’s yard into an artist dreamscape with hundreds of flowers, a fit pit, a ski fence, and a patio with chairs, table and ski roof. She spends half of her time outside drawing and half in her studio. Her yard and house are works of art and inspire creativity just being in them.
I ask her how she picks her subject matter.
“I just let myself be interested in something enough to fall in love with it. In my studio I refer to past work, photos, real objects, or just draw from memory. I do prefer studio because I am comfortable; no bugs, wind, or sun in my eyes. I get lost in the art because I am not distracted, and not racing to capture colors before the light changes.”
Elizabeth practices plein air, but knows that it requires motivation and planning; things not always readily available.
“Spontaneity is usually the best part of a plein air piece. For me, it is essential to do studio and plein air.”
Her creative process includes a morning run.
“When I run I often start out thinking about negative things that bother me. Mean things people have said to me or things I’ve said that may have hurt others. Guilt and anger stuff.
“Then, I run past these thoughts, and look at the trail and my dog’s happy wiggling butt. On a good run I can feel myself open up and become a part of the world. I am a lady running through the mountains and flowers with my dog, and it is effortless and I feel like I’m dancing. I remember that I am loved and trying my best in this life. I feel forgiveness and love for myself and others, and everything looks amazing and beautiful.”
She admits that not every run is like that, but it is what keeps her going and helps focus on her art.
As for the future, Elizabeth is finishing a children’s book with her art and the story from a writer who is a fan of her art; she is self-publishing it. This winter, she plans to ski and paint.
On the web
Elizabeth Kurtak Art Gallery, http://kurtak.com
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