Greg Effinger uses watercolor to capture landscapes, locals |

Greg Effinger uses watercolor to capture landscapes, locals

Margaret Hair

— A Steamboat Springs native, Greg Effinger has been able to walk out the door and find a landscape to paint since he learned how to use a brush.

From any starting point — the window of his Third Street studio or a field on an outer-county ranch — Effinger can look in any direction and find a moment that can be captured with a camera and translated onto paper in layers of watercolor.

"I like that at any given time I can go out and capture a landscape," he said Tuesday, taking a break from framing paintings and getting everything set up for his upcoming one-man gallery show.

When the opening reception for his solo show starts at 5 p.m. Friday at the Depot Art Center, it will be the first time in almost a decade locals or anyone else have been able to see a full gallery collection of Effinger's paintings. The free reception is part of First Friday Artwalk. Effinger's work will be on display through the end of the month.

With 35 to 40 pieces planned for the show, Effinger has divided his large and small watercolor paintings into four categories: landscapes, Western images, Steamboat favorites and "tired old stuff."

Taken from photos of ranch scenes, winter traditions, longtime locals and old farm equipment, Effinger's works — including paintings from late local musician and rancher Greg Scott's last cattle drive — are a study in layering color and capturing light.

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As owner and art director of Creative Bearings, a Web development and graphic design company, Effinger is accustomed to working with layers of basic colors.

"In a lot of ways a watercolor is a building process from light to dark," Effinger said. The same is true for printing, he said.

Snapping photos in the field and committing them to paper hasn't always been Effinger's style.

Before landing on watercolor, the graphic designer with a fine art degree from the University of Northern Colorado was finishing up years of "trying to be an oil painter," he said. Those paintings never seemed to suit his style, he said. They never sold, and they're still hanging on the walls of Effinger's studio.

When a friend died in a kayaking accident in August 2000, Effinger decided to do a painting for the man's family. Watercolor seemed to make the most sense for the subject, so that's what Effinger went with, he said.

Since that project, watercolor has been Effinger's medium, giving him a basis for some of his professional designs and earning him a spot on the Wild Horse Gallery artist roster.

With a new solo show to his credit, Effinger hopes to find more time for his passion for painting.

"Painting is a love, first and foremost, but it's always being put off for the day job. This show has afforded me the opportunity to really step it up on the art side of things," he said.


An image gallery with all the works in the show is planned to be up on Effinger’s Web site,, by Thursday evening.

If you go

What: Opening reception for Greg Effinger; part of First Friday Artwalk

When: 5 to 8 p.m. Friday

Where: Depot Art Center, 1001 13th St.

Cost: Free

Call: 879-9008

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