Sunday, December 29, 2013

31 Days of Thanks Day 10 Shows and Western History Collection of the Denver Public Library

31 Days of Thanks Insight into who has influenced us, our art, and our business throughout the years.

As I said in a previous post I loved drawing locomotives and railroad architecture. Living in Colorado I was in hog heaven.

We spent our summers exploring the railroads and depots of the state.

I came to love the vistas and the lack of "green" was ok too.

Through Michael working at Windstar I ended up meeting some folks working on sustainable agriculture, illustrated several books for them.

We lived up the valley from Glenwood Springs. This beautiful hotel is adjacent from the hot springs, we would go soak there. Our favorite time was Christmas Day. The ground would be covered with snow and we'd be soaking. The pools were huge.

Redstone Castle, about 50 miles from Aspen. Originally called Cleveholm Manor. In 1900,John Osgood became the 6th wealthiest man in America, making his fortune as a coal and steel pioneer in the West. Osgood developed the village of Redstone as a model company town, part of his sociological experiment implemented throughout his Colorado Fuel and Iron empire.
Monastery of St. Benedict, we lived just down the road for a while. It was a wonderful place to visit. The Maroon Bells are shown in the back ground.

The Hotel Jerome was a cowboy bar and flop house when we moved there in 1983. It was renovated and turned into a 5 star hotel while we were there.

Redstone Inn, near the Redstone Castle was our favorite place to go for Sunday Brunch even though it was 50 miles away!

Long story but this carousel was built for a park in Denver but now resides in eastern Colorado

Another view of the Hotel in Glenwood Springs

One of my favorite customers home.

My brochure, I called my studio Roaring Fork Renderings

One of the ski lodges in Aspen

Another Aspen House Portrait

I did shows in Aspen, Glenwood Springs, Carbondale, Beuna Vista, Grand Junction, Crested Butte, St. George, Denver, Black Hawk, Central City, Georgetown, Evergreen, Durango and more.

At one of the shows I met the director of the Western History Collection of the Denver Public library and he arranged to have six of my railroad drawing purchased for the permanent collection. I was thrilled,

This is a brief description of the collection -

The Library collects works of original art and other illustrative materials of historical and aesthetic interest. This comprehensive art collection includes work by master artists who have made important contributions to the study of the West. Rare and important works by Frederic Remington, Charles Russell, Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Moran and Alfred Jacob Miller figure prominently in the collection. Prints include fine examples of George Catlin's North American Indian Portfolio, as well as engravings and lithographs by Karl Bodmer, James Otto Lewis and Charles Bird King.

I was doing more and more "house portraits" for people from across the country.

I had some hair rising experiences while going to shows in the mountains. Like wandering in the desert then ending up in St George at 5 pm on Easter Friday only to have my car stop. Fortunately the AAA guy said there was a shop that worked on Volkswagens and he was still there, $25 and new fuel pump and I was on my way in 15 minutes. These experiences were all in a 69 Volkswagen bus that could often be fixed with a bobby pin and a piece of gun, unlike of 2003 bus that when you open the hood you can't even SEE the engine.

Another time coming home from a show and having to cross Independence Pass (12,000 + feet) It started to snow. Now this is a skinny road with major drop offs, so is really scary. In fact this was early in our marriage and I insisted on driving if we went over the pass so I could be on the inside and not have to look down the steep drop off. It was the beginning of me doing most of the driving during our married life.   Well I came around one of those sharp blind turns and came to a car that was sidewise totally blocking the road. I got out and helped them get unstuck. I thought it was odd that the guy never answered me if I spoke to him. As we were getting back into our cars I heard the lady yelling at him, "you can't drive you can't see!"   -    great, I followed someone  who was deaf and blind driving down the rest of the dangerous pass. We were the last people over then they closed the pass. the drive around is at least 100 miles if you can't take the pass.

Another time coming home from Grand Junction the engine threw a piston. This was before cell phones and I was 50 miles from the next town. I had no choice but to sit wait. A guy stopped and picked me up, dangerous but what could I do?  It turned out ok but......

And another time going to a show in Crested Butte over Independence then Cottonwood pass I lost the clutch and had to make sure I stopped on a hill so I could keep going again.

Loved living there once we got used to it but once you got a couple miles out of town you were literally in the wilderness, alone, for miles and miles, no gas stations, even if we would have had cell phones I'm sure there would have been no service. It was quite an experience living there, I'll never forget it.

Thank you Denver Public Library and Aspen for welcoming me!

- Jan Francoeur

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