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These Hands That Paint the Mind’s Visions

Photography and Story by Nicole Christensen Pettinger
 

A treasure chest of color is about to open its door at The Eagle Art Gallery, located at 50 2nd St., in the heart of downtown Eagle. Owner Stephen Douglas is a brilliant artist whose warmth in dynamic stature welcomes all who enter. A true artist in nature, Stephen is “hands on” renovating the space of the gallery. Building an open workspace for the featured artists, he was busy cutting glass tile, drilling baseboard, and measuring wood, the day I visited.

DSC_0104Stephen’s parents were both artists and growing up he was constantly in company of artists, musicians, sculptors, designers, and architects. He began painting early on, and his first painting at 17 years old is present in the gallery. It was in his mother’s home for years. Bright and bold are the two words I would choose to explain Stephen’s abstract contemporary art. “I don’t really like to name my work, because I think then it stops there. I like people to tell me what they see.” The studio is open with large glass windows and skylights allowing natural light to filter in. Although a classic gallery design is in the works, there is an approachability Stephen exudes in essence. To the left of the door, on display in the front window are four wooden cubes, each side painted in a myriad of acrylic colors and unlike any other panel. “They are to be held,” he says as he hands me one. “I really enjoyed making these.” This man is completely humble, answeringwhen asked, in a gentle manner. His head nearly meets the doorframe, his smile kind. Retired from a career in home design, it is obvious to see the joy Stephen gets from his current freedom and vision for Eagle’s new gallery.

Three of Stephen’s friends and amazing artists will be exhibiting their beautiful work upon Gallery Opening. The official Grand Opening will be on March 26th, ribbon cutting at 4:45 pm, Open House 5-9pm. Live music provided by Randy Coryell, wine, and aperitifs will be hosted. The artists selected thus far are Michelle Larsen, Jeff Leedy, and Toby Davis. Each artist’s style is completely unique from the other, yet all are mesmerizing. From geometrical figure forms; to 3D elk arisen from tissue paper and paint; from local nostalgia of a river scene created by drizzled acrylic; to art that makes you laugh, you will encounter it here. “I will have some of my pieces as well up on display. My favorite paint to work with is oil. I love the way it works with the light. Painting has always been there for me, a form of escape. When I work it is very intense and focused for long periods of time. I would like to have this be a place where local schools can comedown and actually see an artist working art as a profession, which is why I am creating the workspace. I want the students to ask questions.” This attitude of artistic openness is going to be wonderful for our community, the gallery and artists are first-class.