The Crested Butte Wildflower Festival Board of Directors is happy to announce that the winner of the 2016 Wildflower Festival’s Poster Contest is Karen Divine. This poster is a unique, creative blend of Crested Butte icons – wildflowers, fences, and mountains – and evokes a strong feeling of nostalgia. For the Board of Directors, this image captures the enduring qualities of our valley and is the perfect compliment for the Festival’s 30th Anniversary. Recently, we spoke with Karen about her inspiration for this piece, and about her connection to Crested Butte. Here’s what she had to say.
CBWF: Your image for the 2016 poster is so interesting. Tell us about what inspired you, and what you did to create such a unique image?
KD: I hadn’t spent much time in Crested Butte for several years so being here for 10 days last summer reminded me of all that I loved about this unique town. Every day I hiked with my two friends from England, and seeing things fresh through their eyes, I was truly overwhelmed by the beauty and the peacefulness. I fell back in love with it so I decided to create an image for the Wildflower Festival. I used about 10 images I took last summer with my iPhone to create the image and then finished it using Photoshop. I like imagery that isn’t literal and that requires you to hang in and keep looking. I like images that evoke some kind of emotional response. I wanted to create a “feeling” about being here.
CBWF: iPhone photography is getting very popular. You taught iPhone photography classes at the 2015 Festival. Will you teach again in 2016?
KD: Last year I taught two beginning iPhoneography Workshops and had a blast. I’ll be teaching again in 2016, offering full-day workshops out in the wilderness where we’ll get beyond the basics and begin creating not only beautiful single images, but also those using layering and composites.
CBWF: What’s your Crested Butte connection and what brought you here?
KD: Around 1986 my husband, Rick, and I were looking for a place to buy a second home, something small and in the West. He had been here several times before and introduced me to it. I fell in love with the town so we purchased a small house and proceeded to come out for the summer and winter vacations. We were living in Atlanta at the time with our three kids but we didn’t want to raise them there. In 1996 we moved here full time and all five of us, plus two dogs, lived in our 900 ft2 A-frame for the first year until we built a new house. It was perfect. Later, in 2006, we moved to Boulder and are still here.
CBWF: Tell us about your family, your passions, your work?
KD: I have three fantastic kids here in Colorado, all involved in their own unique creative endeavors: dance, music production and various business ventures. I’m very lucky and grateful that they are close by. I teach at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops in Santa Fe and San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, as well as at Maine Media in the summers. I also take small groups to explore India. I’m currently working on a screenplay, discovering another way of telling a story visually. I’m always learning.
CBWF: How did you become an “artist”?
KD: After learning photography in the early 70’s, I decided that to express myself through art would be the ultimate accomplishment. At the time, I didn’t want to be a professional artist or photographer because I wanted to keep my art personal, just for me. I wanted it to be about self-discovery. I studied everywhere with anyone whose work I enjoyed, I studied basic fundamentals of art as well as alternative photography, painting. I did it all. In 2007 I decided to step out of my shell and entered an International Photography Contest to see if anyone else would respond to my work. I had no idea if what I was doing was considered “good”. I won and continued to win many contests for years. When I realized I could do similar creations on my iPhone, I transferred my compositional skills to the iPhone. Social media pushed me to the forefront of this movement. It’s a very exciting medium and opens the creative door for many who otherwise might not have tapped into it.
The Festival’s 2016 poster is really a collaboration of talents. Karen provided the image and the layout was done by Kathy Amen, a long-time local and graphic artist now living in Fort Collins. Kathy worked for B&B Printing in Gunnison for many years before moving to the Front Range. She is the owner of Kathy Amen Design and a life-long artist who creates incredible silk paintings of her passion – wild horses.
The Wildflower Festival will honor these two creative ladies at the Wildflower Happy Hour on Monday, July 18 from 5-7 pm at Elevation Hotel’s 9380 Restaurant. The poster is a perfect gift, costs $20, and is available at the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum, Gunnison Gallery, Handworks, Paragon Gallery, Pema Dawa, Rijks Family Gallery, and online at www.crestedbuttewildflowerfestival.com.