Local artist portrays ‘classic Steamboat’ in newest exhibit
Steamboat Springs artist Greg Effinger will be a familiar name around Steamboat this October, with multiple works in exhibitions and galleries across town.
He is the featured artist in the exhibition gallery at the Depot Art Center where his works of oil and watercolor paintings will hang during the month of October.
“It’s almost like a mini tour of Steamboat,” Effinger said, describing the show. “The imagery is very classic Steamboat.’”
Last week, Effinger spent a great deal of the week out painting on location as part of Steamboat Art Museum’s annual plein air event, which he has participated in since its inception. He sold two of his paintings off the easel during the week, and four others are hanging on display at the Steamboat Art Museum.
Currently, he is working on an animated art piece that was a collaboration between the Peublo Arts Alliance and Steamboat Creates. Two artists — Robert Dieckhoff from Steamboat and Beck Edwards from Pueblo — created two separate pieces that were then put together. Effinger took elements of each piece — birds and animals, for example — and animated them, creating deer that move and birds that fly. The installation will be projected on the side of the Depot Art Center.
“When you’re doing all these different things, you kind of go, ‘Wow, look at all this,’” Effinger said. “It’s neat to really feel embedded in the heart of what’s happening creatively in this town. To be able to show artwork and share the beauty of our town and the beauty of the talent that surrounds us is really special.”
Born and raised in Steamboat, Effinger turned his painting hobby into a livelihood 20 years ago. And while he said that he and watercolors “get along really well,” he has also worked with oil paints for the past decade.
“Oil painting is a different way of thinking, with different tools,” he explained. “It was always a challenge, whereas watercolors were intuitive for me.”
His solo exhibit at the Depot Art Center includes both oil and watercolor paintings, featuring scenes of Steamboat — a hot air balloon, the mountain, open fields, cabins and ranchland. Most of the paintings were done on location with a few brought back to the studio to create in a larger size.
Plein air painting, he said, is genuine.
“When you’re working from a photo, it’s telling you what you need to do, but when you’re out on location, the composition is extremely organic, and everything comes together spontaneously,” Effinger said. “There’s an element of surprise and authenticity.”
His favorite places around town?
“Last week, truthfully, I was just looking for shade,” he said. “I look for places where I can get a good composition, places that are special and not on every postcard, places that might have a bit of a story to them.”
What: Greg Effinger presents “Random Passages, Plein Air discoveries around Routt County”
When: Opens during First Friday Artwalk from 5-8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1
Where: Depot Art Center, 1001 13th St.
And while he typically only paints in the same spot once, Mount Werner has received much of his attention over the past two decades.
“There is a spot downtown on Ninth or 10th Street, looking toward the mountain,” Effinger said. “It’s very quintessential Steamboat, and I’ve done that countless times. But I try to do it in different seasons or at different times of the day to keep it interesting.”
The latest Riverwalk Collective exhibit, which Effinger is also a part of, will feature paintings honoring Western Heritage Month, and Effinger’s work fits seamlessly into this genre.
“Here we are living in the West,” he said. “You almost can’t point your camera or easel and not capture something unique and special to this area. It’s not that we captured something and made it beautiful. … We are surrounded by this beauty.”
Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. She can be reached through the editor.
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