Dean Bowlby

A Moment that Sparks a Bit of Magic

Roaring Fork Lifestyle recently interviewed Glenwood Springs artist Dean Bowlby, whose paintings are exhibited all over the world. 

Describe your art:

I don’t know if I can, but I can tell you what I look for: Simple beauty. A moment that sparks a bit of magic. That can range from a massive vista to a flower or a dog napping at my feet. The world is filled at times with horrible cruelty, injustices, and I have painted some of these, but I try not to dwell there.

What’s your favorite medium?

Never actually been to a medium, and I’d never refer to them as a “what,” just in case.

You attended Regis University in Denver and had other artistic training, too. Tell us about that.

College wasn’t art to me. Artistically, better advice was to be found at Leo Langley’s barbershop, and for the price of a haircut! I was fortunate in befriending a talented artist named Daniel who had just returned from studying art in Europe. He gave me the training in classical thought I had been looking for, though it had been largely ignored by modernism. He instilled the idea that you don’t have to run away to learn. It’s all in front of you if you prepare yourself to actually see.

Ah, but you did go away! You have painted many European street scenes. How did that come about?

Plane tickets! If you’re fortunate enough to be able to travel, it is a shame not to avail yourself of the voyage. Sometimes expanding your physical horizons does the same for your perspectives.

Didn’t you get some early support from the Glenwood Springs Art Guild?

A founding member, Dan LeVan, a local art teacher, encouraged me to enter the annual scholarship. My rejection was good training for what inevitably comes with pursuing art as a career! Actually, the Art Guild has been a great resource for quite a few of us local kids. Usually, the Guild was one of our first experiences with showing work in public. They were a wonderful group of supportive individuals. They still are.

What are your favorite Colorado subjects?

Outside my window is a great place to start, and what choices after that! This isn’t a place short on beauty or choice.

When and where do you paint plein air?

Only when I’m outside, of course! To paint with intent, with careful observation and passion, what else is needed? To be outside or directly in front of the subject just makes it easier, more direct, and usually much more fun. It also sounds better in French.

Where can people view your art?

Hopefully on walls! There was a time when, before a move, I purged my studio of a lot of drawings. A neighbor later told me that they were scrounged by local kids. They may have papered a tree house…

Locally, I show my works with Main Street Gallery in Carbondale and Aspen Grove Fine Arts in Aspen.