Liese Chavez, a Manitou Springs artist, has my nomination for Best Artist of 2010.
There, I said it.
And yes, I know it's a little early to declare anything, but I — like most of the edit staff — have Best of 2010 on the brain.
This was a tough personal choice among all the immensely talented artists in the city and the region, but Chavez's unique and finely executed art stands out in my mind again and again.
I met Chavez back in April, when she first displayed at Swirl Wine Emporium. I interviewed her, along with Chris Sedgwick, in June and since then I've been keeping up with Chavez and her work via e-mail.
In the short amount of time between then and now, her art has continuously matured. Not only has her technique improved (best seen in her excellent handling of expressions), but the work is more risky and ambitious. While Chavez keeps a tight theme within her oeuvre, her paintings and drawings never become stale or repetitious. And here's the proof, from her newest collection, sent over just yesterday:
These are two of the paintings that will go into Chavez's next show at Swirl, scheduled for the fall. But other work can be seen at her home gallery, Mountain Living Studio.
If you find my opinion to be completely off-base, by all means, show me whose work is better.