Steamboat Art Museum

Jean Perry & Curtis Zabel

In his art, Zabel strives to be a perfectionist.

“I want my sculpture

to look alive, to be convincing in its movement. I like to put in bits of humor, which

I find even in the sad parts of life." 


Photo Gallery – Click To Enlarge

Jean Perry & Curtis Zabel Retrospective

12/21/2012 – 04/13/2013


“I have always wanted to paint and draw and was fortunate enough to begin my studies at age 5 with Saturday lessons at the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City. I continued summer art classes until I began college at the University of Colorado. It was at this time in my life that I began painting abstract, non-objective work. I continued this style and some sporadic lessons through the early years of marriage and raising four children.

Sometime after moving to Steamboat Springs, CO, in 1980, I decided to make a commitment to my love of art. I knew that I didn't want to stay with abstract expressionism. I signed up for a plein-air workshop at a dude ranch near Steamboat. The fun and excitement of being there, painting nature as it is, was the beginning of my painting career.

Today I still insist that my paintings must come from personal experience. I have no desire to paint historical pictures of someone else's life. My goal is to simplify the large masses and arrange them in a good design using the light, color and values. I want to communicate the emotions I am feeling about that particular place and time. I want to do all this with the least amount of strokes and detail that is necessary to tell my story. Landscapes seem to dominate my work but I also enjoy painting animals, still life and portraits. I am drawn to water and the changing effects of the reflections on water."

Expressing a fleeting moment in time with the use of light and shadow, Jean Perry's paintings are a chronicle of the environment that surrounds her. Since her years as a Fine Arts Major at the University of Colorado, Jean's style of painting has evolved from abstract, non-representational work to a loose expressive style that blends expressionism and relalism. The subject matter is usually Colorado and Arizona landscapes. Jean relies on outdoor, on location painting whether she is traveling abroad as a member of the Plein-Air Painters of America or here in her native Colorado. Jean, also is a member of the Oil Painters of America and has won numerous awards.


Born in 1935, Curtis Zabel has spent a life time on his ranch raising cattle. A deep love for the outdoors and his western heritage have been the main inspirations for his bronzes.

Curtis Zabel's historic ranch, along the Elk River in the lush Yampa Valley of Northwestern Colorado, is so picturesque, it has appeared in numerous paintings and has served as the site of workshops by well known artist such as Clyde Aspevig, Joe Bohler, Bill Reese, and Ned Jacob. But it is the authenticity of Zabel's own bronze sculpture that has earned him numerous awards and an enthusiastic following among connoisseurs of Western Art.

In his art, Zabel strives to be a perfectionist. “I want my sculpture to look alive, to be convincing in its movement. I like to put in bits of humor, which I find even in the sad parts of life." There is an urgency in Zabel's passion for his subject matter; a growing realization that with the double threat of development and rising costs of running a ranch, his may indeed be a vanishing lifestyle. But there is a certainty in Zabel's mind that it won't be forgotten, the truth of ranching life as he has lived it is captured convincingly in bronze.