Plein Air Painting With True Grit in Beautiful Colorado!

Beautiful Colorado tested my mettle as a beginning plein air painter. My wife and I recently visited our daughter and son-in-law at their home in Montrose, Colorado. Of course, visiting and spending time with my family had top priority on this trip - but there was plenty of time to get out and explore True Grit country, try my hand at plein air painting, and meet up with friends.

A highlight of my trip was visiting artist Ralph Oberg and his wife Shirley (she goes by the name Shirley Novak in galleries that represent her). They kindly welcomed me to their home and gave me a tour of their fabulous painting studios. They each have their own work space. They also have an amazing private collection of paintings by other artists–including paintings by Len Chmiel, Bill Anton, Jill Carver, Matt Smith, and many others. After visiting their home, Ralph and I traveled around Ridgway and Ouray checking out some of his favorite painting locations. We visited Ralph Laurens Double RL Ranch, enjoyed a fine lunch at the True Grit Cafe, stopped at beautiful overlooks of Sneffels Ridge, explored the area around Cimarron Ridge, saw Dennis Weaver’s home in Ridgway, and so much more.

We also met up on another day to do some plein air painting together along the Uncompaghre River just outside of Ridgway. Imagine the scene with the pro artist on one easel, and the novice on the other. It was no contest–not that we were competing. I have a long, long ways to go and Ralph kindly encouraged me to continue to embrace the joy of the process of learning. Indeed, I learned so much from Ralph!

I did not go out to Montrose with the intention of creating a specific video. However, when I returned home I realized I had a ton of video clips and photos that I could compile into this video. I wish I had taken more videos, but I was living the moment in real life and when that happens, my camera is often forgotten. Perhaps we artists all need to spend more time in real life.


Cimarron Ridge just outside of Ridgway, Colorado.

Cimarron Ridge just outside of Ridgway, Colorado.

Artist Ralph Oberg in his studio.

Artist Ralph Oberg in his studio.

Carl Olson painting among the aspens on Divide Road at over 9,000’ feet above sea level. Yes, it was cold!

Carl Olson painting among the aspens on Divide Road at over 9,000’ feet above sea level. Yes, it was cold!

Plein AirCarl Olson