Last Christmas, we visited Breckenridge, and I ran across an inspirational art galley: Art on a Whim. I fell in love with this place because it’s unique. The majority of art in Colorado is focused on idealized flora and fauna, usually landscapes, usually including mountains. This is not to say that no Colorado artist is working outside this box. But it seems that nature-based landscape paintings and photographs, and earthy, Southwest ceramics sell most easily. What can I say? Coloradans like their Rocky Mountains and blue skies – that’s why we live here.
Art on a Whim breaks from the traditional Western art norm and showcases work of up-and-coming artists gifted in a wide variety of media, everything from energy-inspired acrylic paintings to glass-painted copper bricks to wooden bowls with metal zippers. I was struck by one artist in particular, Chris Lundy, who layers paints and resin to achieve a three-dimensional work on canvas. He literally sculpts the thick applications of paint, creating depth that you can only experience in person. Some of his works take on a dense Van Gogh quality, while others reflect a sort of abstract nebula locked behind mirrored glass.
My favorite offering at Art on a Whim is their live art in progress schedule, providing space for a showcased artist to work on a piece near the gallery’s front door, so guests can view the work as it is created. I think art viewers can become disconnected from the work that goes into creating a masterpiece – after all, some of the best work is “best” because it “looks easy” – so bringing the artist’s mastery into full view invites potential buyers to share in the process. And really, who doesn’t feel inspired to greatness in the presence of applied creativity? The spirit of fresh ideas fills this gallery; this is the art I aspire to afford.