IF YOU GO

What: Looking for the Light

Reception: 5 to 7 p.m. Friday

Where: San Juan College Henderson Fine Arts Gallery, 4601 College Blvd.

More info: 505-566-3464

FARMINGTON — Although Rebecca Koeppen attended three art schools after graduating from high school, she didn't seriously engage her artistic talents until 2005, when she took landscape painting class from her sister-in-law, Lorraine Trenholm.

She said she's been painting ever since.

She will display some of those paintings at the Henderson Fine Arts Gallery starting Friday.

Koeppen spent 38 years as a wholistic health practitioner before taking that class.

In 1999 Koeppen moved to Ignacio, Colo., where she opened the business. However, it never took off.

Even during the time she was in art school, Koeppen never spent much time on landscape paintings. Trenholm's class changed that.

Courtesy of Rebecca Koeppen"Twilight Spotlight" by Rebecca Koeppen
Courtesy of Rebecca Koeppen "Twilight Spotlight" by Rebecca Koeppen

"It's almost like it fell out of me fully formed," Koeppen said.

She said something happened while she was doing other types of art that made it so she could conceptualize how to paint landscape.

Koeppen has continued creating landscape paintings because she likes the way the light and the shadows interact. She said the colors in the light areas are bright while the shadow areas use darker purples and blues.

"The colors in the shadows are beautiful," she said.

She said the Southwest has unique light that she described as "clear."

The way light interacts with water also fascinates Koeppen. She said there are three layers of light interaction with water. The light reflects off the surface, shines through the water and illuminates the rocks on the bottom.

When she drives over Wolf Creek Pass in Colorado, there is a place she always wants to stop to look at the water, which she said crashes down and forms white water. She says that view is entrancing.

Koeppen paints with pastel sticks, which she compared to chalk. The difference, she explained, is chalks have less pigment — or color — in them. Pastels are almost like pure pigment.

"That's why it's called painting rather than drawing," she said.

Just holding a pastel is exciting for Koeppen.

"Your just holding this stick — this butterfly wing of color — in your hand," she said.

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.