Self-taught artist, Cam Mansanarez is the featured artist at Milagros Coffee House for July. Mansanarez is a native of Monte Vista, and a veteran of the Korean conflict also having served a tour of service in Japan. Mansanarez was a construction engineer during the war, specializing in restoring the destroyed bridges by welding and designing the new bridge construction.
Upon returning to the United States, he began taking art classes at Adams State University from art teacher Ida Metz and studied with Taos, N.M. based German artist, Heinz Stoecker. Over time, he became a self-taught renowned artist excelling in acrylics, oils, watercolors, pastels and silversmithing. So much so, that he taught silversmithing at the Monte Vista Community School and taught art at the Rio Grande County Museum. He won numerous awards in various art contests throughout Colorado. His paintings included historical places in Colorado such as the Great Sand Dunes, Seven-Mile Plaza Bridge, mountain lakes, Colorado wildlife, native art and portraits.
In February 2006, Mansanarez lost his central eye vision due to severe macular degeneration. Because of this disease, he can’t see depth perception and is now legally blind. This handicap has not stopped or discouraged his love for painting; he now paints from memory specializing in landscapes.
In 2013, Mansanarez entered an art contest sponsored by the National Veterans Creative Arts. He won “Best of Show” Award. His entry, Evening Water depicted the beauty of a glorious sunset as it hits the lakes and rivers in our beautiful San Luis Valley mountains. Along with this award came the honor of having his painting hung in the National Capitol in Washington, D.C for one year.
Mansanarez continues to paint and on a lazy afternoon, you can find him under a tree admiring the colors of the beautiful flower gardens that his lovely wife, Bea, tends to daily. He is likely dreaming of another sunset to paint.
Mansanarez is a gentleman who will celebrate his 90th birthday in July.
Please come admire the amazing art of Cam Mansanarez all the month, at Milagros Coffee House in Alamosa.