Your Ah Haa Moment: Bruce Gomez At New Year's Eve Gala

Bruce Gomez was the very first artist Will and Hilary Thompson, owners of the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art, signed for their stable when they opened their new gallery on Main Street (130 East Colorado) in 1985. Will Thompson first saw Bruce's work in a Denver gallery, but the timing was not right to work with a pastel artist. Will was buying and selling original graphics exclusively, but he recalled thinking: "This kid really has something."

Over the years, the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art has featured some of the best pastel artists in the world: Albert Handell, Ramon Kelly, Sally Strand, Carole Katchen, Deborah Bays, among them. Gomez's style, however, is distinctive: He is a realist: what you see is generally what you get. One of the images in the latest body of work features a Parisian promenade. But squint and look just at the street with parked cars: the passage is entirely abstract and could easily stand alone. Same goes for the sky in "From the Coffee Cowboy." "Rime on the San Miguel" is a wonderful study of white built from a rainbow of colors.

In a Gomez, what you see is enough, but scratch the surface and there is so much more:  the artist's lush, layered pastels are unapologetically sensuous, a complex tapestry of abstract passages, gorgeous studies of color and light, and whatever scene the artist has captured with his camera, his starting point.

Entirely self-taught in the medium, Gomez has worked with pastels for almost 30 years. The creative process for Gomez begins with a photograph. Next the artist plots the principle elements of the composition from photograph to paper, which he treats with sandpaper to create his signature velour effect and shimmering surface. Gomez' subject matter comes primarily from his travels throughout the western U.S., France, Italy, and England. He tends to feature Telluride, Moab, the Grand Canyon, Wyoming, Paris, Provence, and Tuscany.

Gomez paints and teaches out of his Denver studio. He also regularly leads classes at Telluride’s Ah Haa School for the Arts, where his work is featured in a fine art and wine auction at a New Year's Eve gala that also includes a four-course plated dinner and entertainment by the Mike Pale Jazz Trio.

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