November 2021: MCA 3 Guest Artists
Cristin Johnson, Jenny McIntyre, Julia Reid
A Clear Way of Seeing

By Kathryn R. Burke

It’s a beautiful fall day. We are sitting outside at the Light House Eatery in Montrose, one of my favorite places to conduct interviews. I am visiting with three artists who will, collectively, headline the November show at Montrose Center for the Arts .A Clear Way of Seeing: Julia Reid, Jenny McIntyre, and Cristin Johnson.

Three talented, creative women with three different artistic perspectives, methods, and backgrounds. Yet, they share common threads in their work: a love of art and nature as well as  recognition of the many profound changes over the past year.

Their lives and artistry overlap and intertwine as they live and make art in Western Colorado. “We have a strong connection,” Julia said. “We share a holistic approach to art and to wellness,” Jenny added. “And for all of us, for each of us, making art is also a spiritual experience,” said Cristin. “It’s a process, but it’s also more than that, we ‘feel’ our art, immerse ourselves in the work as we are creating it.”

Art-making is also physical, Jenny reminded us. “We live in a beautiful area.” (Evidenced by our lovely setting with leaves turning crimson and gold.) “A place where you just need to be outside, making art in nature.” For these artists, nature is both inspiration and plein air studio.

Working in it also means staying fit. Julia noted, “If you’re hiking above Ouray (for some plein air painting), all the trails go up!” Which can be hard on the body. Cristin, a graduate of Outward Bound and a certified fitness instructor, recently had both knees replaced. Now feeling great, she’s been hitting those high trails ever since. Jenny (and her husband) are personal trainers. Staying fit is also her livelihood. Julia is waiting for knee surgery and hopes to be back on the plein air trail soon.

Making art from A Clear Seeing Place is the title of their show, which is based on a book of the same name by Brian Rutenberg that Julia shared at our meeting. She interpreted the author’s message to mean: “Lock your door and make your own clear seeing place.“

“We all experienced this during our time through Covid,” Julia said. “This forced us to go within and focus in new ways. … My father once told me, ‘You can’t know someone until you’ve seen the world through their eyes.’”

Julia, Cristin, and Jenny invite you to see the world through their eyes in this beautiful show that showcases their art and their world view.

Julia: I’ve explored the creative process throughout my life. I love that I’ve been introduced to new ways of playing, freeing up the creative within me, techniques I learned from artists working in cold wax/oil and mixed media/acrylic. Abstracting the visible world, through utilizing and exploring these mediums, which I use today, I hope to create the depth, transparency, texture and vibrancy. I am inspired by e.b. white, who said, ‘Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.’” [Julia’s story.]

Cristin: A lot of my inspiration right now is a response to the call of especially powerful times and events during 2020-2021. Following our solar system’s annual natural cycles. I work outside, in my outdoor studio and en Plein Air, on mountain trails and in the water from our boat. I collect  natural elements and integrate them into a landscape composition by applying them directly on the canvas. This allows me to connect with, and interpret the mountain range landscape, and in light and gratitude, transfer this to the painting. The pieces in this show were completed following the Super Moon Cycles in March, April, May, and June. [Cristin’story.]

Jenny: I’ve been painting for 20 years, working only in oils. My artistic perspective evolved from living in and exploring Colorado all of my life. (Jenny is an avid outdoorswoman, observing and drawing inspiration from the natural beauty of the landscapes around her.) As my style has matured, my perspective has become more abstract than representative. For me, it’s all about trying to capture the essence of place through form and color. [Jenny’s story.]

In A Clear Seeing Place, Brian Rutenberg wrote: “How do you see the world? Let us stare through your eyes.”

In this show, the artists invite you to share their clear seeing place as they interpret the natural world around them…and open a fascinating window on a new way for you to view your world, too.

Featured Artists & Shows

January.Marko Marino
February, Wine & Roses
.. Musician, Nick Carozza concert
March, Gary Ratcliff
..  Fiber Arts Exhibit
April, Joan Anderon
May, Tim Brady
June, Square Deal Fundraiser
July, Jeff Ellingson
Natalie Heller, solo show
The Rood Collection, 19th century art
September, Pat Jeffers, solo show
... Deb Barr, Singer/songwriter
October, MVAG
November, Clear Way of SeeingJulia Reid, Cristin Johnson, Jenny McIntyre
December, Cheri Isgreen, Solo Show
December, Bill Wilson & Apprentices
December, MVAG Miniature Show

February, Mike Simpson
March, Sheryl Williams
July Barbara Kendrick, pastel
October, Bonnie Heidbrak, photography
December - Mary Pat Ettinger, paintings

December, Virginia Blackstock