Pierre Mion’s students reflect on Winslow experience

The following comments were written by two of Pierre Mion’s students — Jeanine Malaney and Richard Wholf — as they recalled their week-long plein air painting experience at the La Posada Hotel in Winslow, Ariz.

“La Posada is the masterpiece and favorite building of renowned architect and designer, Mary Colter. Hired by Fred Harvey Company in 1903 to design fine hotels along the Santa Fe Railway, Mary Colter became America’s most influential woman designer. Her inspiration for La Posada was the great haciendas of the Southwest. Famous guests comprised of Howard Hughes, Charles Lindbergh, Barry Goldwater, Albert Einstein, Will Rogers, Clark Gable and many others of Hollywood and political notoriety. The hotel closed in 1957 and fell to ruin. Pierre Mion’s daughter, Tina Mion, and her husband, Allan Affeldt, restored and reopened the hotel in 1997.

Mion and five watercolor students spent four nights and three days in October at La Posada painting en plein air. Inspirations included a Spanish tiled gatehouse to the sunken garden, sculpture hall, rustic Spanish benches, arched doorways and dramatic gates. The group also painted red rock hills reflecting in Clear Creek Reservoir at local McHood Park. Meals at the hotel provided time of relaxation and discussion. In April 2008, Arizona Highways Magazine rated The Turquoise Room as one of the top 25 restaurants in Arizona. All are ready to repeat the whole experience! Thank you, Pierre,” said Jeanine Malaney.

Richard Wholf commented on his painting experience with Pierre:

“It is with real pleasure that I write about my classes with Pierre Mion. So far, I’ve had four different sessions of watercolor classes with him. Not only is Pierre a master painter, he is a master instructor. His easy, relaxed method of instruction and mentoring makes his classes most enjoyable. He helps and encourages each student to grow in artistic understanding and techniques without any pressure. He is always ready to answer a question or demonstrate a technique. I strongly recommend that anyone seriously interested in learning watercolor painting by a master artist sign up for any of Pierre’s classes.

“The last week-long session I attended was the plein air class held recently in Winslow, Ariz., at the La Posada Hotel, formerly the ‘Crown Jewel’ of the Fred Harvey Railroad Grand Hotels. We were able to sit and paint in the beautiful garden at Las Posada. This was both a challenging and fun learning experience in painting techniques. There were two other nearby locations where we worked and painted, one being an old masonry gateway located at the west end of the hotel’s large grounds and the other at a lovely lake in the desert.

“In addition was the location of La Posada itself. This 1930s hotel designed by the famous Mary Colter is being restored to its original grandeur by Pierre’s daughter, Tina, and her husband ,Allan Affeldt. They are doing a magnificent restoration job. Like her father, Tina Mion is an internationally-known artist and was willing to give our class a special private tour through her studio and galleries. Her explanations of her paintings were a real treat. Of course it wasn’t all work. After a hot day painting it was great to relax at the bar with Pierre, other class members and family members for a cool refreshing drink, talk and laughter, followed by an excellent meal. The historic Harvey Houses and hotels were known for their superb meals, and Tina and Alan have restored that feature at La Posada with the Turquoise Room and Martini Bar. These feature retro Fred Harvey specialties and Native American inspired nouvelle cuisine. The Turquoise Room provides one of the finest dining experiences in the Southwest.”

Photography Club

The Pagosa Springs Photography Club will meet Wednesday, Dec. 10, from 6-8 p.m. in the Arts and Crafts Room at the community center (please note the new time).

This month’s program will be a photo field trip. We will meet at the community center, then drive a short way to shoot photos of some outdoor Christmas lights.

Bring your camera, your tripod and dress warm. Learn new tips and maybe help others with challenges of night photography. After the field trip you are welcome to join us at Tequila’s or such for an after-club Social time. Plan on attending and joining the discussion. Due to the field trip there will be no photo competition this month.

The Photography Club meets 6-8 p.m. the second Wednesday of each month during the club year from September through May. Interested photography enthusiasts are welcome to attend the first meeting at no charge. Any and all are invited to join for annual dues of $20 for individuals and $30 for family membership. For more information, contact club vice president Barbara Conkey at lconkey@rockymtncable.com or call 731-6877.

Craft workshop

On Saturday, Dec. 13, from 10 a.m. to noon, there will be a craft workshop at Pagosa Pottery, at 117 Navajo Trail (731-3311). This class will be taught by Sindey Greher, painter, craftsperson and member of the Pagosa Springs Arts Council. The main project for Dec.13 will be making mosaic wine bottles. You can bring your own bottles (empty of course) or use ours. It is a creative project and can be fun for the whole family. The cost to attend will be $12 per person, which includes necessary supplies.  Advanced registration is required as seating is limited. Future workshops include plans for potato engraving and printing, as well as working with egg shells.

Winter gallery hours

The PSAC Gallery in Town Park is now on its winter schedule.

The gallery will be open Thursdays from noon to 4 p.m. Although the gallery will not be staffed on a regular basis, voice mail and e-mail will be checked regularly, so please leave a message and someone will get back to you as soon as possible. You may e-mail us at psac@centurytel.net or leave a message at 264-5020. Also be sure to visit our Web site at www.pagosa-arts.com for additional information.

Holiday gift

The 2009 Pagosa Country Calendars are available at the Town Park Gallery. The calendars sell for $8.95 plus tax for nonmembers and $7.95 plus tax for PSAC members. There are also quantity discounts: 10-24 for $6.95 each and 25-plus for $5.95 each. These calendars make ideal holiday and Christmas gifts!

PSAC workshops

The Pagosa Springs Arts Council sponsors and manages workshops in the Arts and Crafts Room at the community center. From the outset, the Arts Council has been a partner and supporter of the center.

We started the workshops in 2002 and they have grown substantially since that time. Workshops provide those who want to teach a venue to do so and, at the same time, give our residents a place to learn something new whether it is watercolor, acrylic, oil, drawing, photography or the like. The space also provides a home for the Photo Club, Watercolor Club and a meeting location for various clubs.

If you are interested in teaching a workshop or class, call the Town Park Gallery at 264-5020 for a workshop application form or download the form from our Web site, www.pagosa-arts.com. I

If you are a resident and have ideas and suggestions for a class or workshop we haven’t offered, please let us hear from you. The Arts Council’s mailing address is: P.O. Box 533, Pagosa Springs, CO, 81147, or e-mail psac@centurytel.net.

To date, all our workshops have been held during the day. Would evenings work better for you? Would you prefer a series of classes? If you would like to see the Arts Council offer workshops in either of these formats, call PSAC at 264-5020, leave your name and number and we’ll touch base with you.

Workshop calendar

Watch the Artsline column for information regarding the 2009 Workshop Calendar. All workshop classes are held in the Arts and Crafts Room of the community center.

Plein Air Painters

Plein Air Painters meet the third Thursday of the month at 10 a.m. at a predetermined location. Painters who work in any media are welcome. It’s a wonderful opportunity to share, tips, ideas and resources. If the weather is bad we meet at 10 a.m. at the community center in the Arts and Crafts Room. Keep in mind that turpentine based painting materials can not be used in the community center. Please contact Jean Shah, for more information, at 264-0188, or e-mail jeangautam@hotmail.com.  

New members and volunteers

Started in 1988 the Pagosa Springs Arts Council, a non-profit organization, was conceived and developed to, in part, promote the awareness of the vast array of local artistic talent, provide educational and cultural activities in the community, sponsor exhibits and workshops by local and regional artists, and encourage and support continued appreciation and preservation of the aesthetic beauty of Pagosa Springs.

If becoming involved with such a dynamic organization excites you, we hope that you will consider becoming a member or, perhaps, volunteer. If you have questions or would like more information regarding membership, call the PSAC office at 264-5020.

Membership rates are: Youth-$10; Individual Senior-$20; Individual Regular-$25; Family Senior-$25; Family Regular-$35; Business-$75; Patron-$250; Benefactor-$500, Director-$1,000 and Guarantor-$2,500 and up.

2009 PSAC Sponsored Events Include:

Gallery Exhibits in Town Park, May-November.

Art Workshops and Classes in the Arts and Craft Room of the community center.

Annual PSAC Membership Meeting.

Annual Juried Art Exhibit.

Annual Photo Contest.

Home and Garden Tour.

Plein Air Painters Club.

Photography Club.

Summer Youth Art Camp.

If you would like to become a member or renew your membership, call 264-5020 or e-mail psac@centurytel.net.

Photo courtesy PSAC
Pierre Mion and his students are hard at work during a recent week-long plein air painting experience at the La Posada Hotel in Winslow, Ariz. Mion, a Pagosa resident and an internationally-known artist and illustrator, regularly conducts workshops sponsored by the Pagosa Springs Arts Council.