ON ASSIGNMENT for Colorado Expression magazine’s annual Women’s Issue, I interviewed a quartet of leaders who overcame adversity and obstacles to assume leadership roles. For the cover story, the magazine featured four Colorado women: a Black woman, two Latinas and an immigrant from Poland.
Oftentimes, the most interesting portions of interviews never get published. We shared some laughs and some tears, too, off the record. My feature appears in the new issue of Colorado Expression.
Daniel Sprick did not let COVID-19 self-quarantine quell his creativity. Instead, he took work-at-home to new heights, painting a luminous series of interiors from his high-rise apartment in Denver. For Sprick, , self-quarantine was a time of new perspectives and an elevated awareness of the comforts of home.
When during some of the darkest days of the virus, Dan sent me images of his new paintings, I knew I wanted to write about the work. The publisher of Western Art & Architecture was immediately interested, and my feature titled “Captured Beauty” appears in the October/November issue of the magazine.
The artist spoke about skulls as subject matter, social justice issues and why his bedsheets hanging in his living room were depicted in one of his new paintings. And he spoke about his process:
“What I do consciously is composing and placing intervals and voids and objects in a harmonious, rhythmic way or with slightly irregular harmonies that I hope will evoke some feeling in the viewer. They don’t need to know why. If we’re not musicians, we don’t reverse- engineer songs to know how they’re causing us feelings. Either you feel something or you don’t,” said Sprick.
He worked with a limited palette of mostly earth tones — umbers and siennas and whites. White walls, Sprick explained, display the nature of the planet’s light and the human eye.
“There’s something that happens when you look at interiors with a blue sky, like today, the world inverts. The blue of the sky is at the bottom and the warmth of the earth—the green and brown—is coming up to the top of the wall. It’s how the light off the planet works. It inverts like a camera: The blue sky is above, but at the bottom of the room. The green or brown at the bottom bounces to the top.”
At the bottom of several paintings in the series, Sprick painstakingly painted the woodgrain of his apartment’s floors — an almost impossible feat. The paintings provide a look at the artist’s personal space, as well as a glimpse into Sprick’s head space during pandemic.
The Museum of Outdoor Arts (MOA) closed its doors as did every other museum faced with the coronavirus pandemic. But you can get a look at the show and learn a lot about the artist and Colorado’s first solo Rauschenberg show at these links.
• For Denver Business Journal, I interviewed four individuals who knew Robert Rauschenberg personally. This article also includes a Q&A with the MOA founder/CEO, Cynthia Madden Leitner, who first dreamed of having a Rauschenberg exhibit when she met the artist at a cocktail party at her parents’ home on Captiva Island in Florida.
Daniel Sprick is widely acknowledged as one of the most accomplished realist painters working in our time.
I’d interviewed Dan before, years ago, and since our first article together he went on to accomplish a variety of milestones:
Denver Art Museum honored him with a gallery exhibiting his painting process, and the exhibition was on display nearly 10 years.
The DAM also gave Sprick two one-man shows: an exhibit of his still life paintings and another of his almost photorealistic portraits.
Museum of Outdoor Arts (MOA), long a champion of the artist, produced a PBS documentary film titled “Daniel Sprick: Pursuit of Truth and Beauty.”
Interviewing Dan recently in his spacious and tidy Denver studio, I mentioned that he is known for still life paintings, but also portraits and figures, interiors and surreal landscapes. I asked him which he prefers painting. His response: “It might be good if I’d pick just one and discard the rest, but I’m still interested in all of them. Now I’m interested in combining them.”
The combinations promise to be captivating, as all Sprick paintings are.
Dan shared a lot in our interview, and you can read our Q&A along with a feature published in Denver Business Journal at this link:
I must admit, when Voyage Media contacted me about featuring me as a “Trailblazer,” I bit immediately because of the title. I’m a 4 on the Enneagram, which means I’m an “Individualist” so I liked the idea of being perceived as a trailblazer.
But I wouldn’t be blazing any trails without the women who broke trail ahead of me. And I failed to mention during the interview that I also have taken the good advice to surround myself with outstanding people. The big, multi-media projects I wrote and art-directed were successes in large part due to a dream team I recruited and worked with for the long term — some of them almost 25 years.
So thank you to Voyage Denver for featuring me, and thank you to the women who blazed trails before me and to all the people who have supported me along the trail.
Museum of Outdoor Arts (MOA) opened Colorado’s first solo show of Robert Rauschenberg artworks today at the indoor galleries at Englewood Civic Center. Learn more about this important artist from several people who knew Rauschenberg in person and allowed me to interview them. My feature for Art & Object.
Having researched the man and his art for two different articles to publicize the opening, I’m left with impressions of Rauschenberg’s charismatic personality and sense of humor, as well as his sense of humanity and philanthropy. Rauschenberg seems to have been an artist who understood well the art of living — even to his deathbed.
Read the full article I wrote on the exhibit for Denver Business Journal:
On assignment to report on the upcoming Robert Rauschenberg solo exhibition at Museum of Outdoor Arts (MOA), I wondered what I might add to the already vast body of scholarship about the influential artist who altered the trajectory of painting, sculpture and photography with his innovative work.
Fortunately, I found four sources who had known the artist personally. These individuals shared anecdotes about the artist, and all remembered his charisma and his sense of humor, in addition to his talent.
In researching Rauschenberg, I came to appreciate the man as much as his art. He collaborated with artists around the world as a humanitarian and became a philanthropist supporting many causes as close to his heart as his art.
“Rauschenberg: Reflections and Ruminations” opens February 24th and shows through June 13th at Museum of Outdoor Arts (MOA) located in Englewood Civic Center.
Madeleine O’Connell is a third generation artist, following in the creative footsteps of her grandmother, who attended the Art Institute of Chicago in the late 1920’s and her mother, who held a Master’s degree in calligrapher and taught at Iowa State University.
O’Connell is a multi-talented artist working not only as a widely appreciated painter, but also a designer of jewelry, textiles and merchandise that features her art on everyday utilitarian items such as dinner plates and napkins.
Learn more about O’Connell in my feature for Colorado Expression magazine:
Grammy-nominated Gregory Alan Isakov missed our scheduled telephone
interview initially, but apologized profusely and had a good excuse: “My sheep were
attacked by coyotes,” said the singer-songwriter, who oversees his organic farm in
Colorado when not touring internationally.
Isakov’s “Evening Machines” didn’t win the Grammy for Best New Folk Album. The
award went to Patty Griffin, who opened for Isakov at Red Rocks a few years ago.
Isakov, in turn, will open for The Lumineers on part of their upcoming tour for their
third album titled “III.”
For my interview with and feature on Gregory Alan Isakov published by the Denver
Business Journal click here:
A cabin by definition is cozy, but this second home in the Minturn Racquet and Trout Club goes well beyond the typical cabin standards. For one thing, this Vail Valley residence near the confluence of Cross Creek and the Eagle River is much larger than most cabins. Read about how an interior designer updated the interior and added space, seating and floor plan flexibility without adding square footage.