Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Colorado⠀

Sangre De Cristo Mountains, Colorado Sheila Dunn Art Journal

I've been clearing out old files & stumbled upon this painting. The Sangre de Cristos are one of my favorite places on the planet, aptly named for the way the light casts a red glow on the 14,000-foot peaks at sunrise. ⠀

My German great-great grandparents came to Westcliffe from Chicago with the Homestead Act in the 1870s. My great great grandfather JP Falkenberg, practiced homeopathic medicine & built the first log cabin in the valley. When one of his children, my great grandfather Frank, was severely burned as a toddler, the Ute tribe in the area saved his life. He lived with them for a year & they nursed him back to health when my great great grandparents feared he wouldn't survive. ⠀

Then there was the wild Irish clan, my grandfather's side, who lived in the neighboring mining community of Silver Cliff. One of my favorite tales is of my great-great uncle, who (for reasons I can't remember now) wasn't allowed to be buried in the Catholic cemetery. Well, this fact didn't sit well with his brothers & one evening they proceeded to dig him up from the Silver Cliff cemetery, take him on one final whiskey spin around town, and bury him in the Catholic cemetery right next door. ⠀

Sometimes a painting, a place, can mean so much more than red-glowing peaks & golden grass.

Sheila Dunnjournal