Every nook and cranny of the Lyons Community Library is brightened by watercolor and oil paintings of places that will look familiar to residents. Local Linda Backup has painted landscapes, portraits and animals that represent people and places mainly in the Lyons area.
Linda is originally from Tacoma, Washington. She moved to Denver for her cardiology fellowship, plus having her internship and residency in Oregon. In 1981, she moved to Lyons, and she and Larry Quinn got married March 1982. They live near Old St. Vrain Road by the St. Vrain River, off of Highway 7. She went practiced cardiology in Longmont for 36 years. During that time, she did many watercolor paintings. But after retirement in 2017, she transitioned into doing more oil painting. She is also enjoying more time to garden and travel.
While she has been painting her whole life, she does like to get some professional lessons. When she was in 7th grade she took a watercolor painting class with adults. Recently, she studies oil painting with Reyburn Ford in Longmont.
“I like the luminosity, and you can redo things,” said Linda of the pro’s of oil painting. “But it’s harder to do when you are traveling. The clean up takes more time, and it takes longer to dry.”
An old building in their backyard has been converted into an artist studio. It originally was a 100+ year old small barn, with an attached tack room, where saddles and bridles were kept. She had a cement floor put in the smaller room, and does most of her painting there. Most of the barn space is used for storage, framing, and more.
Linda has also begun doing portraits. She did a painting of Lyons’ matriarch LaVern Johnson a few years ago, and it hangs in a place of honor at the Lyons Redstone Museum — although, it is currently on loan to the library for the LAHC sponsored exhibit.
Linda has 53 paintings on display at the library exhibition, done over the decades. The theme is “The Heart of the Matter.” She was thrilled at the large turnout on opening night, which included her son and daughter and cousins. All of the paintings are for sale, except six personal ones. She has already sold seven through the show. She doesn’t spend time on marketing, and doesn’t have a sales web page (yet), so people interested in purchasing a piece should stop by the exhibit before it is removed July 5th. The show is sponsored by Lyons Arts & Humanities Commission (LAHC) as its 2nd Quarter 2023 public Art Show, and the Lyons Community Library.
If you are a walker, you probably have seen many of the places that Linda has painted. This would include the Gorman’s red barn painting, which is located in the Old St. Vrain Road area. Or, if you are friends, you will recognize the painting of her husband, Larry, or the youngsters.
The painting of Lucky, the cow, is a tribute to a friendly cow that many walkers in the expansive Old St. Vrain Road area are familiar with. He started out in New Mexico, where his mom died shortly after birth, and he was brought up by humans. The family sent him to Ron Redmond in Colorado for care, paying for his feed. Locals would see Lucky near the fence, and trotting over to them and mooing and trying to lick their hand. Two weeks before he was destined to go to the meat processing plant, locals set up a Go Fund Me account and within 24 hours had enough raised to put him in a rescue farm for his lifetime.
“I’ve always painted for as long as I can remember,” said Linda. “I did mostly watercolors for decades, but in the last five or six years I’ve transitioned into doing more oil painting. Painting is like a meditation for me. It’s really good for me mentally. I still do lots of landscapes, but I’ve also started doing portraits and some animals. Basically, I just love painting.”