Artist spotlight: Happy painting in the mountains |

Artist spotlight: Happy painting in the mountains

Linda Gerdenich
Special to the Sun
"Daly Peak Zephyrs," by Michael Kinsley, 24 x 36 inches.
Courtesy image |

“If I could paint anywhere in the world and money was not a concern, it would be Italy,” said local artist Michael Kinsley. “But I’m very happy painting in Colorado and Utah.”

Kinsley is participating in “5 Artists, 1 Mountain,” a show and sale hanging in the Villas at the Snowmass Club Welcome Center. Kinsley is a familiar name to many in the valley, as he is a conflict-resolution practitioner as well as a senior consultant at the Rocky Mountain Institute. Also, he was a county commissioner 30 years ago, and earlier this year, he was inducted into the Aspen Hall of Fame. He considers painting to be an emotional counterpart to his other work.

One of his pieces at the Villas, “Daly Peak Zephyrs,” is a view of the back of Mount Daly from the Hell Roaring Trail, high above Capitol Creek near Mount Sopris.

“It was one of those wonderful days with ethereal clouds rolling through, occasionally punctuated by both sunlight and rain,” Kinsley said.

“I created my first piece at 19 and was surprised that someone was willing to pay for it.”
Michael Kinsley

Kinsley considers himself to be partly self-taught with the help of many fellow painters as well as workshops. He’s inspired by Edgar Payne’s and Emily Carr’s landscapes, Van Gogh’s use of color and Cezanne’s composition.

“I created my first piece at 19 and was surprised that someone was willing to pay for it,” Kinsley said.

Kinsley’s thinking process when he begins a work varies. Sometimes the piece is driven by powerful shapes and sometimes by texture. He is inspired by the outdoors and often paints abstracts of nature.

Learn more at

Pieces in “Five Artists, One Mountain” focus on Mount Daly but also include other local landscapes. The other artists showcased are Georgeann Waggaman, Betsy Dunbar, Michael Kinsley and curator David Notor. All pieces are for sale. The exhibit runs until Oct. 5 at the Villas at the Snowmass Club Welcome Center. Hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. For information, call 970-923-0391, 970-925-2126 or 970-274-2478.

Linda Gerdenich is a former Villas board member and resident. When the welcome center was remodeled, there was not funding for art on the walls, so the board decided to host an art exhibit and sale featuring valley artists. Gerdenich contributes bios of the participating artists to the Snowmass Sun.


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