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Catch Durango artist’s paintings in the Dolores Public Library

Michael Pruett's paintings line a wall in the Dolores Public Library. (Kala Parkinson/The Journal)
Michael Pruett’s paintings on display through August

Creativity has been running through Michael Pruett’s veins for as long as he can remember.

One moment in his childhood stood out above the rest in inspiring him — seeing a Claude Monet painting at the Denver Art Museum.

“It really struck a chord with me,” he said.

His dad and uncle were both hobbyist painters.

“I was always drawn to drawing,” he said. “Painting was a segue.”

In high school, he painted frequently. He loaded his schedule with as many art credits as he could take.

Most of his paintings go unnamed, and that’s because his art is largely based on his instincts at the time of creation.

His painting “Fire & Ice” is the exception, because it involved more planning and layering.

Michael Pruett's “Fire & Ice” on display at the Dolores Public Library. (Kala Parkinson/The Journal)

Pruett starts by selecting colors, implementing color wash techniques and then gradually building up a kaleidoscope of hues.

“My painting is very intuitive,” he said.

For him, painting is a free-flowing, natural practice. He describes it like this: “I drive around until I find what I want.”

When fashioning another art form, like a sculpture, however; Pruett plans ahead.

His artwork will be on view through August at the Dolores Public Library.

His goal isn’t to make spectators feel any one emotion.

“I want an individual to engage with the art and find their own meaning in it,” he said.

Bryan Kyle, library assistant and art exhibit organizer at the Dolores Public Library, has big dreams for the future of the library’s art showcase.

In December, he decided to hang up a new mounting system, purchased by adjunct nonprofit Friends of the Library, to create a gallery feel.

“Dolores doesn’t really have a public art space,” he said. “It’s frustrating. A lot of different galleries have tried to set up shop here.”

He wanted to change that.

“We’re just hoping it becomes a thing,” he said.

The room is lined with a glass wall, making it the perfect place to reflect on the space’s art features with the landscape of nature in the background.

“Michael’s show is really unique in that nobody has brought in modern art yet,” Kyle said. “We haven’t had anything non-objective yet.”

Kyle thought it would be a challenge to find artists at first. He started with his inner circle, contacting people he knew to be artists.

But then, people started reaching out to him about displaying their artwork in the library.

Artists are now booked for exhibits into early next year, he said.

“There’s so many talented artists hiding in the woodwork,” he said.

He wants to build sculpture stands, fashioned out of old encyclopedias, to be able to house more diverse forms of art.

Kyle also hopes to explore the possibility of one day hosting formal receptions for exhibit grand openings.