Father-daughter bring art show to Steamboat | SteamboatToday.com
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Father-daughter bring art show to Steamboat

Luke Graham
Rebecca Hilley and her father Hal Rice stand in front of their work at the Center for Visual Arts in downtown Steamboat Springs. The father-daughter team is part of a show that will open this Friday at the local gallery.
John F. Russell

— At first, Rebecca Hilley had no thoughts about becoming an artist.

It certainly wasn’t the environment or her getting pushed one direction or the other.

“My sister and dad were very good artists, and I didn’t think I could compete,” the Steamboat Springs artist said.

But there was art pulsating through the family, and finally, at 18, Hilley started sketching.

“And she was good,” said her father, Hal Rice.

Rice had been an artist for years, using his experience as an interior designer to foster works of art. Hilley began to take lessons from her father and then the art never stopped.

Some 35 years later, the two will have an art show together at the Steamboat Springs Center For Visual Arts. Titled “Side-by-Side: A Father’s Legacy,” the show will open with an artists talk at 4:30 p.m. First Friday runs from 5 to 8 p.m. throughout downtown Steamboat Springs.

“Maybe it was something in the genes,” Hilley said. “Or maybe it was just the exposure.”

The two have done art shows together, owned art galleries with just their family’s work in them and created their own unique brand of art.

Rice, 90, has been painting for 65 years. He’s done everything from landscapes to Western paintings.

Among his more popular pieces are historic paintings of various Colorado towns. He spends time at the Colorado Historical Society doing research. Then he adds his own touch. Hilley does landscapes and nature pictures in a variety of mediums.

“With the family, I didn’t play golf on Saturday and Sundays because I wanted to paint,” Rice said.

Rice’s amazing life in some way always has involved art. After serving in World War II, Rice had four years to go to school somewhere.

His wife told him to go to art school. Having never taken an art class, he enrolled at the Kansas City Art Institute and studied interior design.

He was able to study multiple forms of art while getting his education.

He moved to California shortly after graduating and did renderings of rooms for celebrity houses. Los Angeles proved too much, and the family moved to Colorado.

Eventually, Hilley was born. And after not taking to art at first, when she started sketching, it became a love.

“The appreciation of art has always been in this family,” she said.

Rice’s works of old Denver are particularly eye catching. As an interior designer, he used to oil paint what he thought rooms should look like. It allowed him to become an expert at architecture, while using his imagination to come up with a concept.

His paintings are similar. They aren’t exact depictions from photos, but what Rice felt the time period and picture needed.

Although the two have done shows before, it has been awhile.

The artwork features two different styles, both highlighting the depth and talent of one artistic family.

“It has a lot of meaning to just be together,” Hilley said. “Art is such a big part of our family. Everything we did was about art.”

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229, email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @LukeGraham


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