Your Ah Haa Moment: Billings featured at New Year's gala in Telluride

Your Ah Haa Moment: Billings featured at New Year's gala in Telluride

[click “Play” for Lauren Metzger’s conversation with Susan]



Blue mountain The date’s a given: December 31, 2010. New Year’s Eve. The featured artist for the 2010 Ah Haa auction is a given too: Susan X. Billings. Very few artists are as well known, well respected and widely collected in the greater Telluride community as Susie Billings.

Few have as long a history with the town’s community arts center, the Ah Haa School for the Arts, where she has served on the board and been a long time and very popular teacher. Her work has been represented for years by the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art, now celebrating its 26th anniversary. Susie’s latest images literally and figuratively lend color and vibrancy to Ah Haa’s gala, an evening of fine art, wine, food, entertainment – SquidShow and Mike Pale Trio – and friends. The dinner party takes place from 6:30 – 10 p.m. One of Susie’s new works, “Wilson Range in Blue Diptych” is to be auctioned off live mid-evening.

Summer horses Susie is rarely arm’s length from her subjects, even her horses, which her brushes seem to have the power to tame. She chooses to come in close to her subject to capture its vibe more than its reality. Her medium is a collegial mix of paint, pastel, charcoal, ink and watercolor. Instead of canvas, Susie chooses rice paper because it holds her ink and watercolors beautifully and intensely. Telluride Inside… and Out has reviewed Susie’s images for years, even before Telluride Inside… and Out, when I was writing for a local daily. What I said years ago about a Billings still holds true:

“What you sense when you look at a Susan Billings painting  is spontaneity and joy in response to light and form. Her work has little to do with art historians’ dusty theories  of retrofitted ‘isms’. From bold charcoal and pastels to the delicate haiku of her watercolors, a Billings is clearly a ‘Billings’- an original with a freshness all its own. “

Blue hollyhocks Since an artist inevitably paint himself on to a canvas, it is fair to say Susie Billings is a person of unrestrained energy, who has been living a very colorful life. That description equally applies to Ah Haa’s staff, its board and supporters (like you?) who will be celebrating in support of the school by attending the gala.

As board president Josephine Fallenius explained last week in her interview, Ah Haa is just $250,000 away from securing the Depot as its permanent home, a building which allows the school to open its doors to an even wider range of classes and more events with other non-profits partners. And no, tuition alone does not begin to cover the costs of all Ah Haa does for this community, where, for 19 years, it has served as a cultural and economic engine.

To learn more about Billings and reasons to attend the gala, click the “play” button and listen to what Lauren Metzger, Marketing and Adult Curriculum Manager, has to say.

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