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Valley Visual Art Show delivers

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By Will Grandbois

Sopris Sun Staff Writer

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Even with only one piece per artist, the Valley Visual Art Show has grown so popular that participants are capped at 50.

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Now in its 37th year, the show features two and three-dimensional work created in the last year by local artists, from dabblers to professionals, and opens Friday, Jan. 13 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Launchpad (76 S. 4th Street). An additional display is planned for Bonfire Coffee, where Roaring Fork High School senior Katelyn Krehbiel will have a chance to show off the talent that made her last year’s Best in Show.

Krehbiel comes by it honestly; her parents own Signature Framing in Basalt. Ken is a photographer with a knack for wildlife, while Sue is a former art teacher, singer/songwriter and moccasin maker who just recently began exploring her own art again.

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“It was Katelyn who got me back into drawing, though our work doesn’t look anything alike,” Sue observed.

The pair did craft projects all the time when Katelyn was little, so it was no surprise when she got interested in clay and took on a sort of “junior internship” in middle school, helping out in exchange for materials and use of the facilities at the Carbondale Clay Center.

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“This community is very supportive of young people in the arts,” Sue said.

Around her freshmen year, she began looking for two-dimensional outlets for her newfound understanding of shape.

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“I fell in love with painting and drawing because of the instant gratification,” she recalled.

To facilitate that process, she began going to figure drawing Monday nights at the Third Street Center, and later convinced Sue to come along.

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“I think of figure drawing as training – practice in using your eye,” Katelyn explained.

Sue’s submission to the show is one of her first drawings in years outside of that class –  a family portrait (dog included) looking down a “wishing well.” Her shading style shows the precise influence of the printmaking she focused on in art school.

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Katelyn, meanwhile, backs her oil portraits with deliberately rough mountains palette knifed onto plywood.

“Mountains just represent so much strength and stability. Putting my friends in front of them shows off their own strength,”  she explained. “Sometimes by drawing their faces I feel like I understand them so much better than just talking to them.”

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She makes a point of making the top coating of resin less than perfect.

“I like the roughness,” she said. “You can’t get to the actual piece anymore, but there are still cracks and bubbles and holes.”

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The show at Bonfire is one more chance to show off her work locally before she takes the show on the road to Montana State University, where she also hopes to eventually join the Nordic ski team. Both mother and daughter are looking forward to seeing where their art takes them.

“It was a little brutal getting all the paintings done, though my mom helped out with a lot of the practical stuff,” Katelyn said. “But if that was my job and I was getting paid for it… that’s just the dream.”

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Published in The Sopris Sun on January 12, 2017.