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Laura Reilly's mountain skies are expanding.

With EPIC: Paintings on a Grand Scale, the full-time impressionist painter reaches beyond her own four-year-old Old Colorado City gallery to adorn the walls of the Warehouse Restaurant and Gallery this September. The idea for a show of large-scale paintings was born in Reilly's imagination last year as she discovered that big paintings lend themselves better to her intuitive interpretations of nature.

"I've been working towards it and stretching myself in preparation for the show and sorting through ideas for it," Reilly says, "because not everything good as a small painting makes a good big painting."

The oil paintings, about 20 in all, range in size from 24-by-24 inches to 36-by-48, a departure from previous paintings that usually measured less than a square foot.

Reilly, 47, paints smaller images on location, then re-creates them in epic-sized proportion back in the studio.

"I do a lot of plein air work," she says. "An image is very fleeting. I might use a photograph, but small paintings have more information. They're kind of like stories that I write for myself that I can read when I get back."

The timing of the exhibit befits Reilly's luminous, soothing scenes of lucid Colorado color in summer and fall.

Aside from her main exercises in glowing scenery, Reilly's location studies also feature downtown Colorado Springs and city night scenes, often from her favorite perch above Palmer Park. She's attracted to impressionism as a "meeting point for different genres," and one with a unique feel.

"There's more than one way to enjoy a painting the visual imagery, but also the subtle textures of the paint and the beautiful luster," she says. "It's experiential, what feels good when you're painting. [Sometimes] it feels really good to do rich, juicy brush strokes."

To questions about future downsizing, Reilly assures she'll produce more grand-scale paintings in addition to her small works.


EPIC: Paintings on a Grand Scale
Warehouse Restaurant and Gallery, 25 W. Cimarron St.
Through Sept. 30; opening reception: Friday, Aug. 29, 5-8 p.m.
For more information, visit laurareilly.com and thewarehouserestaurant.com or call 475-8880.
  • A self-described 'student of images' expands her approach

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