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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

Art on the park

Aug 31, 2020 12:17PM ● By Diana Barnett

Cate Allen and her horse, Skywalker.

Glade Park provides an artist sanctuary

The canyonlands surrounding Glade Park adjacent to the Colorado National Monument boast amazing views and an abundance of wildlife. These features, combined with the tranquil lifestyle, continue to attract people and inspire a community of local artists.

Artist haven

“I literally became an artist because I moved to Glade Park,” said Cate Allen, a resident since 2006.

Despite being raised in Palisade by a family of women artists, Allen initially had no interest in following in their footsteps.

“I navigated toward my dad’s interests of horses, shooting guns, hunting, camping and fishing, and driving the tractor, but I always appreciated the art,” said Allen.

Not long after Allen and her husband moved to a property on Glade Park with 360-degree views, their neighbor asked Allen to paint with her.

“I remember saying, ‘Nope, I’m not the artist.’ But she was persistent,” Allen recalled. “We gathered a few supplies and had a lovely afternoon.”

Allen was hooked. She joined the Grand Junction Brush & Palette Club to gain more skills and honor her mother, who was a founding member. She took workshops from local artists and began entering her work in shows. She even connected with one of her favorite artists, Kevin Red Star.

“We’ve since become good friends. I’ve taken workshops from him, and consider him a mentor,” said Allen.

Bright, bold colors fill the large canvases where Allen portrays subjects of wildlife, animals and Native American scenes. She also experiments with her art printed on metal backgrounds as well as with an acrylic finish.

“Glade Park works for me because outside my doors and windows there is wildlife, our animals, scenery and western characters to inspire me,” said Allen. “There are other artists to hang out with, support each other and share ideas.”

See more of Allen’s work at

His life’s portfolio

Brad Barnett works on his painting, “Turkey Flats.”
Brad Barnett works on his painting, “Turkey Flats.”

Growing up in rural Indiana, Brad Barnett spent a lot of time outdoors.  After attending the University of Montana, he fell in love with the west and stayed—and eventually ended up in Western Colorado.

While his early paintings included more western images, the red rocks, canyons and wildlife seen from his home on Glade Park continue to inspire his paintings.

“I paint what’s around me—things I like and enjoy—and always hope that others will have a connection to it also,” he added.

That might be why pets, grandchildren and wildlife find their way into his paintings. For his daughter’s birthday, Barnett presented her with a painting of her sons going fishing. He called it, “A Can of Worms.”

A trip to Kauai motivated Barnett to try his hand at landscapes. The result was a series of island paintings, one of which won Best of Show at the Art Center’s Members Exhibit.

“When I think about it, my painting collection is a portfolio of my life—where I’ve lived, my family, where I’ve traveled. It’s a nice way to remember,” said Barnett.

See Barnett’s work at Working Artists Gallery in Grand Junction, or at

Gourd-geous art

Creating fine gourd art fits in with the lifestyle Linda Paige and her husband enjoy in Glade Park.

Traditional fine gourd art is much more sophisticated than it sounds. Utilizing hard-shelled gourds as a medium, the art is an ancient tradition in Africa and Asia, as well as among indigenous peoples of North and South America.

Paige first experimented with the craft nine years ago after attending a class at the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens.

Linda Paige's gourd art

Some of Linda Paige's traditional gourd art.

“When a gourd is dried, it’s just like wood. You can sand it, carve it, even burn it,” said Paige. “Gourds left drying in fields get beautiful patterns from the mold that forms on them, but they must be soaked and pressure cleaned before you can work on them.”

There are several methods of creating gourd art, and Paige does them all. Firetalkers look like they’ve been burnt; ancients are made to resemble recently unearthed Pueblo pottery; Buffalo gourds depict buffalo and feature free form swirling designs; and aspen tree gourds include painted scenes of the trees and their beautiful fall colors.

Paige’s husband makes the juniper stands for the gourds, using wood from their property. His talent with the twisted wood led to his own artistic endeavors—unique lamps made with juniper bases.

“We’ve explored the backcountry all over the West. The expression of all those beautiful places and the people who lived here—the cliff dwellers—that is my inspiration for what I do,” said Paige.

Purchase Paige’s gourds from Willow Creek Herbs and Teas, 411 Main St. in Grand Junction.

Read about other local artists.

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