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.
RiNo Art District is Denver ranks as one of the leading art districts in the nation.
My feature for Colorado Expression magazine shares the area’s history and tips for making the most of your visit to this colorful and creative area of the Mile High City with lots of street art, tasty restaurants, hopping breweries, and much more. Even three hours of free, covered parking!
One point stuck with me when touring RiNo Art District with Tracy Weil, an artist who co-founded the district and serves as president/creative director. He said he prefers to think of the development as “empowerment” rather than “gentrification.”
RiNo even includes a tiny house village for people who are homeless, proving the district has not only art but also heart.
Denver Business Journal assigned me to write articles for their Corporate Events Guide, and I was impressed by the creative venues and menus.
Denver is stepping up the corporate party in the Mile High City with entertaining new venues and fresh menus. For my article “Throw a better party” in the Denver Business Journal’s Corporate Events Guide, I reported on five unusual venues including a repurposed airplane hangar and rooftop patios. I wrote, “In corporate events planning — as in real estate — one aspect prevails: location, location, location.”
I also reported on caterers with mouth-watering options for the multitudes, including people with dietary restrictions. My article “Dietary redistricting: Feeding the masses in a hot culinary market” emphasizes that Denver has shed its former cow-town meat-and-potatoes image in favor of a foodie destination. “Rubber chicken breast no longer cuts the mustard at corporate banquets,” I wrote, “and at business cocktail parties, predictable canapés are toast.”
Gregory Alan Isakov, one of hundreds of artists promoted by AEG Presents, performs at Red Rocks. — Photo by Colleen Smith
Chuck Morris’s half-century career in the music industry is well documented.
So is his signature look with a laid-back wardrobe akin to Neil Young’s and a collection of eyeglasses to rival Elton John’s. A native New Yorker, Morris perhaps more than any other individual has struck chords in Denver’s live music scene, growing the concert market into one of the most vibrant in the nation.
I reported on Morris, who heads up AEG Presents Rocky Mountains, for the Denver Business Journal. For my article, I interviewed the former governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper, and the founder/CEO of MOA (Museum of Outdoor Arts) which owns Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre, the largest outdoor concert venue in the region.
Having reported on live music for many years, I was interested to learn more about how the music business runs. “It’s not a science,” Morris said.
Container gardens yield many benefits — not the least of which are lovely, low-maintenance landscapes and fresh veggies bursting from small spaces.
“The biggest benefit is that container gardening is great for people without soil to grow in, whether they live in small spaces or have balconies, or HOAs that don’t allow changes to landscaping,” said Brien Darby, manager of urban food programs at Denver Botanic Gardens.
A pergola by Chad Beall of Tree Frog Woodworking Inc.
To add classic garden architecture and define an outdoor space, a pergola nails it. For homes or commercial spaces, pergolas deliver both form and function. Whether attached to a building or as a stand-alone structure, a pergola can provide privacy, shade, a ceiling of sorts to an outdoor room, a focal point and a support for vines.
Whenever you’re wondering what to give that person who seemingly has everything, the teacher who’s shown so much patience, the elderly person with limited space, the hostess with the mostest, the birthday girl or boy, the anniversary couple, the person to whom you want to show gratitude, consider a flowering plant.
This article published by The Denver Post focuses on houseplants as holiday gifts, but flowering plants make wonderful gifts any time of year. They last longer than cut flowers. They have a long shelf-life. And many spectacular flowering plants are “set it and forget it” plants that require minimal care.
In addition to the long list of possibilities in this article, remember orchids, which are easier than most people think. Kalanchoe is another terrific bloomer that doesn’t need mollycoddling.
When you give a flowering plant, you give life to a loved one and a spirit of anticipation. One size fits all, and a blossoming plant is infinitely more personal than a gift card.
When the forecast calls for the mercury to drop to zero degrees Fahrenheit or even sub-zero, the frigid weather is perfect for at least one thing: making Scandinavian ice candles. All you need is water, plastic buckets, time and candles (or a string of lights.)
I reported on the history of Scandinavian ice candles, originally used to mourn soldiers lost in war. And my article includes step-by-step how-to instructions for these gorgeous winter wonders.
Chanukah begins tomorrow, December 12, 2017, in the Gregorian calendar. Researching my article on Chanukah lights for The Denver Post, I interviewed a rabbi and a professor of Jewish studies. I visited a Jewish cultural center. And I looked at menorahs of all sizes, shapes, materials and moods.
Even though I went on assignment to Israel in 1994, I didn’t know the difference between a menorah and a chanukiah. The temple menorah has seven branches, as instructed in the Bible’s Book of Exodus. The Chanukah menorah has nine branches: eight to represent the eight nights of miraculous oil and one “servant” candle to light the others.
The rabbi noted that the symbol of light is common to many faiths.
“The really interesting religious dimension is that Chanukah, Diwali [the Hindu festival of light], Christmas, and Kwanza [the African-American celebration that incorporates candle-lighting] all come at the darkest time of the year. Our religious impulse is to bring light,” said Rabbi Eliot Baskin of Denver’s Jewish Family Service.
“The torch held by the lady in New York harbor represents the liberty of religious freedom. And that’s what makes America so great. This Chanukah, as we recall the rededication of the temple, we rededicate ourselves to religious freedom for all.”
Happy Chanukah to all Jewish people, and may all people of goodwill stand in the light.