Another Great Weekend of Sculpture Shows in Loveland, Colorado
Loveland, Colorado is home to many talented sculptors, arts related businesses, and of course, people who love the arts.
The second weekend in August the city hosts 3 different art shows, and it is our unabashadly favorite weekend of the year. Artists and art lovers come from across the country, and even overseas to see the fabulous art.
Sculptures at the two main shows display monumental pieces suitable for Public Art collections and large private gardens all the way down to tiny sculptures that would easily fit in a child’s hand. Prices also range, including many works that were available for under $1000.
This was the 35th annual Sculpture in the Park show and sale held in the beautiful Benson Sculpture Garden. There are over 150 sculptures in this park, with more added each year as a result of sales from the show.
The show featured 160 artists spread across 4 large tents. More than 2,000 sculptures were available for sale–and red dots visible (indicating the work has sold) hint that this year’s sculpture show will be another success for the artists, the organizers, and the community.
I met a couple who just moved to Loveland from Chicago. After attending art shows on the famous Navy Pier, they were amazed and very impressed by the Sculpture in the Park show. They told me that this show was much better than any they had attended in Chicago. High praise indeed, and sometimes it is great to be reminded not to take this experience for granted–or think you have to go to ‘the big city’ to see great art.
Other visitors drive up from Denver (about one hour, depending on where you are coming from and traffic) on a regular basis to see the two sculpture parks in Loveland as well as the other sculptures sprinkled in this creative mecca. They had their children with them and all seemed very happy, if a bit hot and tired, after enjoying the show all day.
In the early days of this sculpture show, there was an abundance of cast bronze, particularly of a western theme. A lot of cowboys and wildlife. Today the show is a wonderful mix of that tradition and just about every medium and style of sculpture you can imagine.
Some artists create realistic work that will boggle your mind. Other works are whimsical in nature and will elicit grins and chuckles. Abstract works are well represented in metal, stone, wood and glass. Some of the sculptures have more than one purpose–they are works of art that are also bells, doors, benches or fountains.
Ronald Lowery and Scott Hayes are two of the many sculptors I spoke with. They carpooled to the sculpture show from Montana and had neighboring booths. Both artists create wonderful western themed art from bronze, each with his own twist. One also incorporates carved antlers into his works.
But don’t think that just because an artist is from Montana they are going to follow in that vein. Case in point is John Thompson who hails from Missoula. His work is carved wood that he paints in bright colors that go with the whimsical subject matter. Thompson began carving wood as a volunteer–working on a carousel for his hometown. Now he creates dragons, silly birds, and wonderful horses that don’t just go around in circles.
Other wood carvers at the show use their talents to create works that also cross the artistic spectrum. From larger-than-life musically inspired works to the tiniest hummingbirds, intricately painted so realistically one has to look twice to know they are one of the locals hanging around looking for a buddy.
Colorado is well represented at the show–not just because this sculpture show is in Colorado–but also because the region attracts more and more artists who love the proximity of suppliers and the supportive communities
One Loveland resident and stone sculptor, Ellen Woodbury was featured in the local paper’s report on the show. Her personality and enthusiasm bubble over into her work. She is mostly self-taught in the art of stone carving, and her pieces hint at her earlier career as an animator with Disney, while retaining a style that is uniquely her own.
Woodbury always has a story about her work, the inspiration and often she will tell you some of the geological history of the stones she uses. Many of her sculptures feature more than one stone to help depict her stylized animals. In the case of the cardinals shone in the photo, the birds are carved from two different colors of Utah alabaster, while the snowy mound they are sitting on is Sivec marble from Greece.
Other stone sculptors’ work may be more realistic, or purely abstract. Some will combine different stones or use only one type of stone in a single sculpture. Then of course there are the artists who work in glass, steel, aluminum–not to mention those who combine materials in so many creative ways.
There were several first year participants at this year’s sculpture show. One “new” artist was Clark Martinek who apprenticed as a blacksmith, and has taken that art to a whole new level.
Loveland Fine Art Invitational (yes, sculpture show!)
The Loveland Invitational is across the street and up the hill a short walk (or golf cart ride) away. While Sculpture in the Park is a show that is 100% dedicated to sculpture, the Invitational shows a variety of media. Along side talented, well-known sculptors such as Bobbie Carlyle (two of Bobbie’s sculptures are shown below) and mother and daughter sculptors Marianne and Scy Caroselli.
Greg Robertson of Rock Steady Designs is a stone sculptor and fountain maker. He works in a variety of stones and petrified wood to create low-splash fountains that can be installed in the ground or sit on top. I will confess, with the temperature in the 90s, his gentle fountains were a fun place to not only see and feel some cool stones, but to get a little cold water in the process!
Some of Greg’s fountains are made of onyx, some are travertine. The onyx fountains are typically highly polished on the large faces to really show the patterns that naturally occur in the stone. Travertine, being a more uniform color, is often carved. Something new this year, Greg has placed stone “rods” (cores from drilling holes in stones) into larger holes, giving the water more places to flow around. Not matter which you prefer, they are pretty cool. And they sound nice, too!
I certainly cannot cover all the talented sculptors at the annual sculpture shows in one article. I had the great pleasure to speak with many artists while at these shows and many have expressed interest in submitting articles for Sculpture Digest in the future. So many have wonderful and unique stories and visions. I met husband and wife teams who work side-by-side on their sculptures, and others who collaborate but have unique functions and styles, and still others who work in entirely different media. I look forward to sharing their stories with you over the coming months.
In the meantime, be sure to mark your calendar for the 2nd weekend of August next year to join in the fun. Perhaps, like several of the visitors I spoke with you will make this the highlight of a vacation to the Rocky Mountain region. Take in some world-class artwork, visit the fabulous Rocky Mountain National Park, and enjoy fine dining and some of the locally crafted micro-brews while you are in town.
Want to read the Loveland newspaper’s full report on the 3 art events, click here.
Sculpture in the Park picture with the pond, from SculptureInThePark.org
John E. Thompson, from Missoula, Mont., discusses his piece “Abbott & Costello” Saturday during the annual Sculpture in the Park event at the Benson Sculpture Garden in Loveland. (Michael Brian / For Loveland Reporter-Herald)
Loveland resident Ellen Woodbury, a former Disney animator, discusses her stone sculpture “Let It Snow,” cardinals made from translucent orange alabaster from Utah and Sivec marble from Macedonia on Saturday during the annual Sculpture in the Park event at the Benson Sculpture Garden in Loveland. (Michael Brian / For Loveland Reporter-Herald)