Local high school students from Bridges High School in Carbondale got a personal glimpse into the life of a professional artist this week. Landscape painter Dan Young held an informal talk with students and art teacher Tish McFee at the Ann Korologos Gallery, relating his early years as a “starving artist” and his path to becoming a well-collected painter.
Young grew up in the valley, attending Glenwood Springs High School and moving on to the Colorado Institute of Art. He found early success as an illustrator for a large department store chain, but the urban environment was unfulfilling. Moving back to Western Colorado in 1989, he turned his attention to the landscapes he loved.
Quick to emphasize that art is work, Young explained his methodology to the teens, from the physical set-up of his painting equipment on location to the preparatory sketches and small paintings he produces on site. Demonstrating the relationship between a small study and the larger painting into which an idea evolves, Young stressed the power of looking at a composition with intense focus and honing the scene into a strong painting in the process.
The teens seemed captivated by both the artist’s life and his easy, conversational way of sharing his process. As they headed back down the valley, perhaps one of them was inspired toward an artistic future by the visit.