Paintings, drawings, sculptures at Highlands Ranch Library

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Paintings, drawings, sculptures at library

When Reen Gottron travels, she carries watercolors and pencils in a special backpack. Or if she's to have a bit more time, she may take a special case for oil paintings that holds the canvases separate. In summer, she enjoys the Marble/marble symposiums in western Colorado.

She wants to share her art and has mounted an exhibit called “Reflections” with 110 paintings and drawings and seven stone sculptures at the Highlands Ranch Library through Nov. 3.

A viewer can stage a sort of scavenger hunt: Look down the long rows of book stacks on both floors and there will probably be a painting, framed by cases at the row's end. Some are near the study desks on the second floor and others were finding their way into the children's room — starting with a quizzical-looking iguana that Gottron sketched in the Galapagos. Did it really smile for its portrait? She hopes to lure children and families upstairs to look at more art after they see a few images.

While she and her husband have lived in Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico over the years, led by his career as a mining engineer, they have traveled the world. As a result, one sees images of Canyonlands, Maroon Bells, a Denver cityscape — and several views from the artist's Highlands Ranch back yard (“Mount Evans from Highlands Ranch”).

And that viewer can take an armchair trip to Kauai; to the Galapagos; to Antarctica, including a penguin; to old New England, coastal New Zealand and closer to home: Buchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia, where she sketched a delicate larkspur.

On the second floor are a few examples of her stone sculpting, which include the “Apple Slices” illustrated here. They are created from Yule marble, found at the town of Marble in Colorado's beautiful Crystal River Valley. Each year, Denver sculptor Madeline Weiner holds weeklong sculpture symposiums there, which draw artists from near and far — “from novices to some with world reputations,” Gottron said.

On a table, Gottron exhibits a large “Teardrop” that begs to be stroked. Next to it, she has a series of pictures illustrating her process in discovering this sleek image in a block of stone. She carves in her home studio.

Her early years were in Ohio, near Lake Erie, and her undergraduate art training was at Loretto Heights College in Denver with well-known sculptor Bill Joseph. She said she learned the basics: “excellent” courses in drawing, figure study, silversmithing, printmaking, sculpting and more …

She wrote: “the exhibit is exhilarating for me in a very unexpected way. I darn near died in January of complications caused by the NORO virus — healthy one day, hospitalized the next for 21 days ….”

Getting ready for the show meant sorting, housecleaning, soul searching: “opening portfolios, going through stacks. It became clear to me that some work had served its purpose and needed to be tossed …”

Other pieces responded happily to a new mat and frame, ready for a second life.

She talks of the nagging inner voice that drove her at 65, involving her helpful husband, Fritz, in framing and hauling art. The resulting “Reflections” is a collection of work she can feel proud of and happily share with her community.

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