Artist Sue Tatem 2

Sag Harbor on a Starry Night 2 
acrylic on canvas - 28" x 22"

11x14 watercolor

Snowmass Sun

Sue Tatem captures the valley's starry nights
Artist spotlight
DECEMBER, 24 2012


SNOWMASS VILLAGE — With the outstanding Vincent van Gogh exhibit in Denver, I couldn't help but wonder if artist Sue Tatem is inspired by van Gogh. Her “Starry Night in Snowmass” piece is part of a series of similar acrylic paintings she has done in different locations: “Starry Night in Snowmass,” “Starry Night at Maroon Bells,” “Starry Night in Lahaina.” Her “Starry Night in Aspen” was featured in the Oct. 28, 2001 Arts & Culture section of The Denver Post. 

Yes, she definitely created these pieces as homage to van Gogh.

“Starry Night in Snowmass” is one of several of Tatem's pieces hanging in “En Plein Air,” an exhibit of plein air works by seven Roaring Fork Valley artists. The art, which is available for purchase, will be on display in the Welcome Center of the Villas at Snowmass Club until mid-April. 

“Painting in the ‘studio of the great out of doors' is what attracted me to painting in general,” Tatem said. “Most of my plein air paintings are sites in the Roaring Fork Valley.” 

Tatem started painting by drawing horses in elementary school. Fast forward to after she retired from being a biology professor for 22 years at Temple University in Philadelphia. When she retired, she moved to Aspen. She began taking painting classes at the Red Brick Arts Center and Colorado Mountain College from Georgeann Waggaman, curator of this exhibit; David Notor, whose work is also in this exhibit; Dottie Fox; Betty Weiss; Liz Frazier; Steve Lewis and Elizabeth Emerson, to name a few. She's an avid Pitkin County Library patron, checking out its vast collection of art books.

Like most plein air artists, Tatem prefers painting in the morning. Her favorite place is the Maroon Bells. She paints in layers so while the paint is drying, she can get in a short hike. 

“I make use of color theory, choosing complements for the palette of each painting — blue and orange, yellow and purple, or red and green,” Tatem said. “I paint in layers — the blocking out underpainting comes first and the last layer is done with thick paint using palette knives.” 

Tatem has published an art book, “Michelangelo: Faces and Anatomy in his Art.” She's currently working on another focusing on Michelangelo's anatomy. 

“I am more interested in the next painting than the last one, but I do have my favorite 100-plus pieces hanging floor to ceiling in my Gant condo,” smiles Tatem. 

Other artists featured in the show are Georgeann Waggaman (curator), Anne Byard, Lyn Hemley, David Notor and Mike Otte. All of the pieces in the show are for sale and moderately priced.

The Villas at Snowmass Club gallery, located in the Welcome Center across the street from the club, is open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. For additional information, call 970-923-0391, 970-925-2126, or 970-274-2478.

 left to right:  clam and oyster, jingle, holey pieces (clam and oyster)
Maroon Bells
Snowmass on a Starry Night                     
16'' x 20''
Bruce Fretz
Snowmass, acrylic 16'' x 20''
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