It's sometimes hard to think of husband and wife Dave Sime and Connie Morse as anything but an inseparable pair: Their
lives and careers are forever intertwined - but even a passing glance at their artwork reveals two very different
artists. They just happen to live under the same roof.
Sime and Morse were both accepted into the prestigious 40th annual Mountain Oyster Club show in Tucson, Ariz., which
opens this weekend, but neither will be on hand for Saturday's opening reception. Instead, they'll stay at home in
the Animas Valley and welcome guests for an open studio tour Saturday and Sunday.
The tour offers art lovers a chance to see and buy the results of 12 years at the Red Cliff House studio, which
doubles as the couple's home.
The house will be converted into a makeshift gallery for the weekend, with Morse's watercolors and Sime's bronze
sculptures and oil paintings occupying every available space.
During any other time of the year, such a voluminous sample of the couple's work can be found only at Oohs and Aahs
in downtown Durango, although private showings and sales are typical in their home studio as well.
"We settled here because of the many painting opportunities," Sime said of the Red Cliff House.
"It's a dream. The San Juans are like the Swiss Alps, the deserts are as close as Utah and New Mexico, and our
valley's like a wildlife preserve," he said.
The regional vistas are the most common themes of both artists' paintings, and local wildlife accounts for most of
Sime's sculptures; he also incorporates Native American figures in the bronze works as well.
The couple's artistic talents aren't limited to the visual, as both are also accomplished musicians and currently
play in the local bluegrass band Down the Road.
They met in 1985 when Sime was playing guitar in Montana honky-tonks. Before either knew it, they were out on the
road in an Airstream trailer for 12 years playing country-rock music and "painting the country," as Morse described
the odyssey. So "settling" wasn't such a bad thing when they decided to make Durango the final stop in 1997, which is
also the year they married.
"Seemed like a good idea, and we picked the right spot," Sime said.