Mad Creek Gallery hosts opening reception today

— Robert Arledge walked through the Mad Creek Gallery Wednesday making arrangements to purchase about four or five different oil paintings from various artists.

The paintings he chose would have been a part of today's Winter Visions show at Mad Creek, but he's the gallery's No. 1 art lover and its largest buyer. Although he's treated like a king, some paintings in the show have been hanging on the gallery walls for quite some time.

Arledge collects artwork from living artists who have promise to be well known.

He pointed around the room to the various paintings he planned to purchase and found his favorite staring him in the face. Malcolm DuBois' oil painting of a buffalo in a field sat on the ground as Arledge looked at it in awe liking simply the subject matter.

"This particular artist, DuBois, he's got some potential. I try and collect people at the top of their game," Arledge said as he rambled off a handful of artists. "By dealing with Stephan, he'll be honest with you about up-and-coming artists."

Stephan Zittel, owner of Mad Creek Gallery, presents a Winter Visions art show from today through Feb. 9 at the gallery. The opening reception is from 5 to 7 p.m. today with complimentary hors d'oeuvres and wine.

Although nervous about the timing of the opening reception because of the local Olympic celebration and send-off at 6 p.m. today, Zittel said he's confident people will meander down to the gallery next to Steamboat Brewery & Tavern before or after the event.

The various winter scenes portrayed in each painting hanging in the Mad Creek Gallery all are Colorado sites and are for sale, unless previously sold.

Around the gallery, loosely interpretive paintings of landscapes represent winter with a variety of color.

"I like a looser style, not so literal. This art is more interpretation, a feeling more than an actual representation," Zittel said.

Zittel said most artists use either oils on canvas or oils on board, which is linen cloth wrapped over a board.

"I like board because it's easier to deal with, it won't tear, but many artists like the (flimsiness) of the canvas," Zittel said.

Zittel asked for winterscapes specifically from DuBois, Diane Cionni, Mark Daily, Stephen Day, Robert Dieckhoff, Tim Deibler, Walt Gonske, Rod Hanna, Rick Howell, Michael Lynch, Mark Nelson and Susan Schiesser.

"Guys like Lynch and Gonske to have them in your gallery you have to contact them. They don't have a problem selling their work," Zittel said.

Zittel pointed out Lynch's "Late Afternoon Sun," a large 36-inch-by-48-inch oil painting of blue spruce trees and snow with alpenglow lighting up a mountain near Dillon. Lynch is a member of the National Academy of Western Art and began his career in 1976.

Taos, N.M., painter Gonske brought in "Cumbres Pass" that contains more expressive features and less distinct or defining characteristics.

Gonske uses plein air painting technique to do most of his work resulting in a fresh, innovative look to his landscapes.

Mad Creek Gallery has about four art shows a year varying from New Mexico artwork to holiday shows.

Gallery hours are 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

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