When you meet local artist Paul Folwell, the first thing you notice is that he’s a really funny guy. The second? He’s a really talented painter, working primarily in oils..
For the 24th year, Folwell will throw open his doors Aug. 4 through 6 for his annual Studio Show. The weekend will kick off with an artist reception from 4 to 8 p.m. Aug. 4.
A longtime Durango resident, Folwell hasn’t always been a full-time artist.
“Painting was my first career of choice, but it’s pretty hard to make a living and raise a family,” he said. “As I tell people, I decided to go for the big money – I became a ski patrolman.” And after 17 years at Purgatory Resort, “I got my kids educated, and then I said, ‘Hey, my turn.’’’
And he took that turn and went to town – or actually, to the great outdoors, where he finds his inspiration.
“I just go for a hike. I go out once, twice a week,” Folwelll said. “I used to paint a lot outside; I don’t plein air much anymore; I’m more interested in the early light, or late when it’s fleeting – it only hangs around for about five minutes. You know what it is? When you go out hiking and you come around a corner, and you see something that hits you in the solar plexus and you go, ‘Oh, my god.’
“I was out (last week) with a friend at Engineer Mountain at the lower part, and you go, ‘My god, this early light, it filters through the trees. It’s different every day when you go out, and you’re really interested. And the more you get involved in it, the more you look, the more you see. That’s the thing that hooks me.”
It’s that feeling of staying hooked that has kept Folwell was losing interest in his craft.
“I don’t get bored with what I do,” Folwell said “In fact, it’s more challenging now than ever really because you kind of realize what you don’t know. The fun part of it is you try to make these discoveries.
“It’s a meditative process, it’s a form of meditation, and sometimes the muse is with you, and sometimes it isn’t. And when it’s with you, it’s just wonderful; you lose track of time. It’s a marvelous thing,” he said.