Mesa Verde Welcomes Artist-In-Residence Jean Barnes Downs

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Date: September 11, 2012
Contact: Betty Lieurance, 970-529-4608

Mesa Verde National Park is pleased to welcome Jean Barnes Downs as Artist-in-Residence. Downs specializes in one-of-a-kind monotype fine art prints, the most painterly of the various printing mediums. With nearly 20 years experience in this medium which allows for a great deal of experimentation, the artist has progressed from using watercolor on Plexiglas plates to applying inks to a plate she constructs from unflavored gelatin. In all printing, Downs prefers to print by hand rather than using a printing press. "The tactile nature of transferring the image manually is only one of the satisfying aspects that attracts me to this medium." Very much a believer in the importance of the process guiding her to a finished product, Downs works intuitively without preconceived mental images. She begins with a theme inspired by a place or an experience or poem, etc. In the process of working to develop the theme images or symbols emerge and find their way into the prints.

Drawing is a love of this artist, too, as it is a tactile expression of experiencing a person, place or thing. Downs believes that creativity is a gift that we all have, but we often deny it because we don't know how to access or use it. "Drawing often opens the door to our creative gift even though we protest that we can't draw a straight line", she says. "Drawing causes me to slow down, to center, to focus on the moment before me. This form of drawing engages all my senses and once I've drawn something, I am pulled back to the time and place every time I look at the drawn image." More information about Downs and her work can be found by visiting her website at

During her stay at Mesa Verde, she will be giving a free public presentation her unique printing method with the gelatin plate in the library at Mesa Verde's Far View Lodge on Tuesday, September 11 at 7:00 p.m. In addition to the printing demo described above Downs will lead a two hour "Drawing to Remember" experience on Wednesday, September 12 beginning at 3:00 p.m. Absolutely no artistic training or previous experience is necessary. Participants will meet the artist at the Amphitheater on Chapin Mesa and should bring drinking water and a small folding stool if desired. Supplies will be provided. The public is invited to attend the presentation, the workshop or both events.

Begun during Mesa Verde National Park's 2006 Centennial, the Artist-in-Residence (AIR) program provides accomplished writers, composers, and visual and performing artists the opportunity to pursue their particular art form while being surrounded by the inspiring ancient architecture of the Ancestral Pueblo People and the sweeping natural landscape of the park. The park provides a historic, rustic residence to selected participants for 4 two-week periods each year. For additional information about the Mesa Verde AIR program, go to the park's Artist-In-Residence webpage or call AIR Coordinator, Frank Cope at 970-529-4607.


Last updated: September 12, 2015

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