David Mooney: Rocky Mountain Nat’l Park Artist-in-Residence
For two weeks in August, painter David Mooney, Rocky Mountain National Park Artist-in-Residence, enjoyed breakfast on the wide veranda of a stone cabin in the heart of the north-central Colorado park.
Built in 1874, the cabin was the summer home of famous Kansas newspaper editor William Allen White, who entertained friends like Teddy Roosevelt there. It now houses each of the park’s artists-in-residence during their summer stays.
The view is spectacular: a herd of elk meander across the grassy sea of glacially-formed Moraine Park. The scene si framed by the Never Summer Mountains, the Front Range, and 14,259-feet high Longs Peak, as the morning sun gradually illuminated the summits.
Competition for the residencies is keen, and the duties are far from onerous. Mooney explored, painted, contemplated, hiked, photographed, sketched and sparked his creativity with the park’s beauty.
The theme of beauty in God and nature runs through David’s work. He believes, as Simone Weil realized, “The love of beauty proceeds from God dwelling in our souls and goes out to God present in the universe.”
Light is another constant theme. The two-week stay permitted him to experience the same scenes, but illuminated by changing light – sunlight breaking through morning shadows, the warm evening glow, hazy rain and luminous moonlight. Mooney also gave weekly talks to tourists about the interplay of his art and the park, and will donate a park-inspired painting to the park’s permanent collection.
Set on the continental divide, the park supports different ecosystems, from wooded forests to mountain tundra. The tumbling waterfalls, peaceful lakes, churning rivers, stormy skies, double rainbows and rugged peaks stirred Mooney’s artistry and provided hundreds of ideas for paintings.
Ideas need technical skill for execution, and David’s expertise has been honed from years of painting American, English and Scottish landscapes, cathedrals, castles, graveyards and cottages, subjects for which he is well-known.
Returning home, David has begun to paint the thousands of brush strokes required for each painting, using acrylic paint which permits repeated changes and can tolerate reworking until a painting is right.
More information is available at DavidMooneyArt.com.
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