Welcome to Pat Musick’s childhood residence, the place the outside is indoors, artwork covers the partitions and wildlife parades by its home windows all day lengthy.
That is the magical earthship her father constructed within the late ’40s and ’50s, earlier than such issues even had a reputation. Her father being Archie Musick, the famed Colorado Springs painter and instructor identified for his signature egg tempera and coloured pencils portray approach, and the murals he left that also dwell on on the Manitou Springs Submit Workplace, Colorado Springs Metropolis Auditorium and Canyon Elementary College.
Step proper as much as the elaborately carved entrance door, a mission Archie tackled one summer season whereas taking a wood-carving workshop on the FAC college from Mary Chenoweth, one of many Pikes Peak area’s most prolific artists in her day. As soon as inside, a brief flight of stairs carries you up into the lounge with its linoleum-covered concrete flooring and the house’s most memorable landmark — a large boulder that bulges into the home and accompanying slab of rock that makes up the east wall.
The house received an award for originality in 1959 from McCall’s, a month-to-month ladies’s journal.
“It makes me miss it tremendously after I’m someplace else,” says Pat, who has returned to dwell within the 1,100- square-foot residence. “I’ve lived in London and appreciated the multicultural choices, however I missed the wide-open areas and the rocks and sky. It makes me really feel contact with the pure world is important.”
A brief flight of stairs delivers you up into the light-filled kitchen the place three partitions of home windows provide postcard views of Pikes Peak, Cheyenne Mountain and Backyard of the Gods. Care for a night stroll by way of the enduring park with its hovering sandstone formations? Exit the kitchen onto the roof. A number of steps later you’re on terra firma, a part of the great thing about dwelling in the home as a baby.
“I used to be conscious that not everybody acquired to go proper out the door and sit on a cactus or pores and skin their knees climbing on rocks,” Pat says. “My pals who came to visit to play didn’t comment on the structure, however we have been operating up and down the steps and out on the rocks and all of the enjoyable issues, which they didn’t have.”
Should you’re very fortunate, you’ll be invited into the 2 again bedrooms and toilet, the place Archie the muralist left his mark. King Neptune and his trident lord above the offended seas excessive on a toilet wall, whereas a kids’s literature mural stretches throughout what was Pat and her brother’s room after they have been tiny. It replicates the extra intensive mural he painted in Canyon Elementary College in 1954. A second mural wealthy with horses and bison dances throughout the wall of a second bed room. You’ll acknowledge the imagery when you’ve visited the bottom-floor restroom of the FAC, the place Archie painted the same mural.
He studied below nationally famend painter, lithographer and illustrator Boardman Robinson on the Broadmoor Artwork Academy within the Nineteen Twenties and ‘30s earlier than it grew to become Colorado Springs High quality Arts Middle at Colorado Faculty; painter and muralist Thomas Benton Hart in New York Metropolis; and painter Stanton Macdonald-Wright in Los Angeles.
“It’s (the home) a piece of Archie’s artwork in some respects, and never only a typical residence,” says The Artwork Financial institution & Oriental Rug Middle co-owner Blake Wilson.
“It’s reflective of his work in the way in which he noticed the panorama. Most Benton college students mimicked Benton of their kinds. It was refreshing to see Archie being completely different and true to his personal emotions. His prints are very moody, from whimsical to moody and non secular.”
This was the place little kindergartner Pat sat on the kitchen desk taking artwork classes from her mother, Irene Musick, an award-winning ceramics artist. She was head of the ceramics division on the College of Missouri in Columbia when she met Archie, who taught artwork on the college. Within the mid-to-late ’60s, she taught at The Colorado Springs College for Ladies, now The Colorado Springs College. Her pottery decorates the lounge cabinets. An outdated mixing bowl she made in graduate college rests in a kitchen cabinet.
“I keep in mind sitting one winter day and he or she mentioned let’s draw the Christmas decorations downtown,” Pat says. “She did stunning drawings and was displaying me methods to make issues look smaller within the distance. At kindergarten age she was educating me one- level perspective.”
To completely nobody’s shock, younger Pat grew into an completed artist. She works primarily in enameling and calligraphy/letterforms, but additionally, identical to her father, has produced three public murals in Colorado. And very like him, she turns to the pure world and tradition for inspiration: “It does one thing to you rising up with a rock in your front room,” she says.
The Missouri-born Archie landed within the Springs in a spectacular trend. The regulation was scorching on his and a buddy’s path in Pueblo — they’d been hopping on freight trains and railroad authorities weren’t happy — after they made a rapid flip right into a drugstore and noticed a rack of postcards with scenes from Backyard of the Gods. He remembered seeing the pictures as a 6-year-old sitting on his mom’s lap and peering into an outdated stereoscope. So the lads hopped a freight prepare and traveled north, the place Archie first grew to become conscious of the academy and resolved to return to review. In 1927, he made good on that promise.
His first Springs digs was a modified hen shack inside strolling distance of the outskirts of Backyard of the Gods. When a good friend identified a pure amphitheater within the close by sandstone rocks, he was bought.
“’One thing ought to be finished about this,’ I mentioned to the rocks,” wrote Archie in an unpublished memoir. “It’s too rattling good to cross by way of the ages unnoticed. What a view. What two views. The inspiration hit me like a pile driver. This was the place. For 11 years I had lived inside 150 toes of the grandest constructing website within the west, and had by no means tumbled.”
After coming back from a civil service stint throughout WWII, Archie and Irene spent their summer season holidays engaged on the house. The mission was tremendously influenced by well-known architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who believed in incorporating the panorama into the structure. That philosophy was mirrored in Archie’s set of three guidelines for the house: Preserve it easy, don’t offend the panorama and make it as near dwelling outdoor as potential.
The substances: cinder block, concrete, wooden, oak, presumably repurposed railroad ties, plywood metal beams, granite rocks, stucco and a noteworthy contribution — lichen-covered river rocks delivered by famed muralist Eric Bransby and his spouse, the watercolor artist Mary Ann Bransby, from their property south of city on Colorado 115.
The Musicks completely moved to the Springs in 1951 and completed the home in 1954. Archie discovered work educating artwork within the Cheyenne Mountain College District, whereas taking lessons on the FAC college.
He additionally wrote a column about artwork and artists for The Gazette Telegraph, telling tales about his cronies and the American Regionalism artwork motion — trendy artwork that depicted lifelike scenes of rural and small-town America, principally within the Midwest. His memoir, “Musick Medley: Intimate Reminiscences of a Rocky Mountain Artwork Colony,” is a should for these within the style, says Wilson.
“Archie can be often known as a storyteller, actually and figuratively,” he says. “He depicts the Western panorama as a mysterious and non secular world. He’ll honor those that have been right here earlier than us. His residence is part of the panorama and the individuals who have been right here earlier than him are part of that panorama.”
Maintenance of the home fell to the wayside after Archie died in 1978. Pat returned and shored up the home — electrical rewiring, replumbing, reinsulation and the like. The house was, and might nonetheless be, a problem.
“This was within the county on the time, and never a part of the town,” she says. “No matter constructing codes there might need been might need utilized within the metropolis, however they didn’t apply right here.”
These days Pat creates her artwork in two again studios, the place her mother and father as soon as toiled over their creations. And whereas she works, it’s extremely potential a deer with an antler mistakenly rising out of the middle of his brow will stroll by, peer in and preserve trucking. She appreciates the bizarre treasure she’s been gifted.
“There’s a sentimental worth in dwelling in and restoring a home constructed by my mother and father’ personal palms.”
Contact the author: 636-0270