Daily Camera (Boulder)

Weekly art pop-up graces gar­den gallery

Artists Blair and Peter Chan­dler ex­hibit their art­work out­side their home on Sun­days

- By Ka­lene Mccort Arts · Chandler · Boulder · Boulder County

While art gal­leries and mu­se­ums are slowly open­ing up and wel­com­ing a select num­ber of masked pa­trons back into their cre­ative spa­ces, one North Boul­der cou­ple is pro­vid­ing the pub­lic with weekly open-air pop-ups out­side of their home at 2205 Emer­ald Road.

“I had a vi­sion — it started with an interactiv­e re­pur­posed medicine cab­i­net that had been in­stalled on the street in front of our prop­erty,” said wa­ter­col­orist Blair Chan­dler, who cre­ated the pop-ups with her hus­band Peter Chan­dler in Septem­ber. “I use it to inspire my­self and oth­ers with a quote on the out­side and an in­vi­ta­tion for any­one and ev­ery­one to add a cre­ative touch by us­ing the pens in­side.”

With many still feel­ing the stress of the pan­demic and lin­ger­ing iso­la­tion, this interactiv­e fea­ture of adding art and quotes has cre­ated a much-needed sense of con­nec­tion among neigh­bors.

“It is cleaned reg­u­larly and I have heard noth­ing but in­cred­i­bly pos­i­tive feed­back,” Blair Chan­dler said. “It has been up for about two months. We have many walk­ers in the neigh­bor­hood who stop and con­nect be­cause of it. Peo­ple leave hearts and tur­tles and in­spired say­ings.”

In ad­di­tion to folks adding to this re­pur­posed medicine cab­i­net, they are able to check out the ex­ten­sive art­work of the Chan­dlers, all of which is for sale on Sun­days.

“I thought about how we have the per­fect white fence to use as a back­drop for larger pieces of art,” Blair Chan­dler said. “I sit and paint on the front steps al­most daily and I en­vi­sioned a way that I could share with neigh­bors some of my art safely be­cause art brings beauty, joy and soul ex­pres­sion into the world — and it is more fun to see in per­son than on­line.”

The Chan­dlers have also pre­vi­ously uti­lized the sides of their pickup truck as a makeshift gallery wall.

“I get to wit­ness oth­ers say­ing, ‘Gosh, I have some paint­brushes I haven’t picked up in years — thanks for re­mind­ing me,’” Blair Chan­dler said. “I’m us­ing our fence now, but my next vi­sion is to use the en­tire out­side of the house and the shed so peo­ple can walk around the yard and en­joy our larger out­side gallery. Also, I’m run­ning out of space on walls in my house. I want to move art so I can af­ford to cre­ate more art.”

Al­though she comes from a fam­ily of writ­ers and singers, Blair Chan­dler’s jour­ney to visual art came later in life.

“I went on a paint­ing re­treat over eight years ago and — hav­ing never painted se­ri­ously be­fore — found that I en­joyed the out­let for my overly busy life,” Blair Chan­dler said. “I re­turned ev­ery year for the soli­tude, con­nec­tion to the earth, joy, free­dom, com­mu­nity and nour­ish­ment it of­fered. The tech­nique of veil wa­ter­color paint­ing meant that I could just get lost in the color un­til maybe I started to see some­thing, an im­age arise that could be de­vel­oped into a mo­tif, but it is mostly about de­vel­op­ing imag­i­na­tion and let­ting go and al­low­ing the paint­ing to take its own course.”

Blair Chan­dler of­fers a va­ri­ety of items at all price points.

“I have note cards, prints and orig­i­nal framed and un­framed art — some­thing for ev­ery­one, any day — and for the up­com­ing hol­i­days,” Blair Chan­dler said.

En­trepreneur­ism is noth­ing new for this mom of three. In 2012, she started Blair’s Her­bals, as a way to bring her love of plants and nat­u­ral self-care to her fam­ily and com­mu­nity.

“Al­though I do still make salves, lip balms and herbal in­fused oils, I am not cur­rently at the Boul­der County Farm­ers Mar­ket or in re­tail out­lets as I think about where and what it would look like to find its new form,” she said.

For now, she’s of­fer­ing the pub­lic serene vi­su­als for their wall spa­ces.

“It has been great be­cause

peo­ple are hun­gry for art and con­nec­tion,” said wood­carv­ing artist Peter Chan­dler. “When we de­cided to do this art pop-up, it was quite clear that I could see making my work more ac­ces­si­ble to peo­ple who would rather not at­tend busy hol­i­day mar­kets. My large pieces are more con­ducive to this style any­way.”

Peter Chan­dler gets all of his bark from downed cot­ton­wood trees and of­ten cre­ates cus­tom pieces for pa­trons.

“I spend some time with a piece of bark be­fore I start ex­plor­ing what type of de­sign might emerge from the wood,” Peter Chan­dler said. “Some­times, I just start carv­ing with no spe­cific de­sign or form in mind. Some­thing usu­ally emerges if I give it time. At other times, the unique shape of the bark piece sug­gests a par­tic­u­lar di­rec­tion to go with the carv­ing. Plenty of my carv­ings have started as one idea and mor­phed into a com­pletely dif­fer­ent thing. I carve mostly spirit faces, but some­times rec­og­niz­able sym­bols, like hearts and crosses and god­desses.”

He also pro­vides carv­ing lessons to those with the de­sire to ex­plore the art form.

“In­ter­est­ingly, much of the thick bark is solid wood,” Peter Chan­dler said. “The wood in the bark is not splin­tery like the main part of the tree. The bark wood is soft, very for­giv­ing and is easy to fin­ish with dif­fer­ent grades of sand­pa­per and polyuretha­ne. It is re­ally a fan­tas­tic cre­ative out­let. It helps me stay in touch with na­ture. I of­fer some stand­alone pieces. Some I fin­ish by fram­ing them on re­claimed cab­i­net doors. It feels very sat­is­fy­ing to wit­ness what some might see as just bark transform into art.”

The next pop-up will be noon-4 p.m. Sun­day. The Chan­dlers plan to hold the event weekly through the first Sun­day in Novem­ber, weather per­mit­ting.

“More vis­i­tors are com­ing and talk­ing about this,” Blair Chan­dler said. “It is ex­cit­ing to see the word spread.”

Like at all gath­er­ings, guests are re­quired to wear masks and fol­low so­cial dis­tanc­ing guidelines.

“Peo­ple re­ally do want to sup­port lo­cal artists and lo­cal any­thing,” Blair Chan­dler said. “They want to see and talk to oth­ers and to have some­thing calm­ing and joy­ful to share that doesn’t re­quire much of any­thing ex­cept time — which we have now. They can walk by at their own pace, feel safe to ap­proach the art, and hope­fully, take that spark for­ward in the world.”

 ?? Blair Chan­dler / Cour­tesy photo ?? The wa­ter­color art of Boul­der-based artist Blair Chan­dler is dis­played on a pickup truck in front of her home at 2205 Emer­ald Road in Septem­ber. Blair and her hus­band Peter Chan­dler, a wood carver, have been host­ing weekly art pop-ups in their yard and dis­play­ing work on a large fence that sur­rounds the prop­erty. The next event will take place noon-4 p.m. Sun­day. All work is for sale.
Blair Chan­dler / Cour­tesy photo The wa­ter­color art of Boul­der-based artist Blair Chan­dler is dis­played on a pickup truck in front of her home at 2205 Emer­ald Road in Septem­ber. Blair and her hus­band Peter Chan­dler, a wood carver, have been host­ing weekly art pop-ups in their yard and dis­play­ing work on a large fence that sur­rounds the prop­erty. The next event will take place noon-4 p.m. Sun­day. All work is for sale.
 ?? Peter Chan­dler/ Cour­tesy photo ?? A wood carv­ing by Peter Chan­dler.
Peter Chan­dler/ Cour­tesy photo A wood carv­ing by Peter Chan­dler.

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