Denise LaRue Mahlke doesn’t have to go far to find inspiration for her paintings. She simply has to step outside and look up—or out. “I find great inspiration in the beauty of big, cloud-filled skies and wide-open places, but I am also drawn to quiet, intimate scenes that require a closer look,” she says. “Subtleties in nature excite me, particularly the exquisite light and atmosphere found early or late in the day.”
Mahlke paints the beauty she sees in and around her home in Whitehouse, Texas, as well as other places in the West, using pastels as she does so. She’s earned a host of awards for her works, including the 2013 Kieckhefer Best of Show Award and the gold medal for works on paper at the West Select at the Phoenix Art Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, the same year. She is especially proud of winning the First Place Award in the landscape category in the 2009/2010 and 2011/2012 Art Renewal Center’s International Shows.
18” by 24”
“The foothills of Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains captivated me while I explored the back roads between Sheridan and Big Horn. The tapestry of their subtle colors drew me in again and again, especially on cloudy days. Painting in a close value range is always a welcomed challenge to me, as I love working same value warms and cools within the different planes of the landscape.”
Down Red Grade
9” by 12”
“In September 2018, I had the privilege of taking part in the Artists in Residence program at the Brinton Museum in Big Horn, Wyoming. On this particular day, as my friend, artist Terri Wells, and I were driving up Red Grade Road into the Bighorn Mountains, the cows were coming down. What a treat to see this roundup taking place.”