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I was painting in the mountains north of Durango last fall along the Animas River, and all of a sudden, I heard the train blow its whistle! Oh my! Sitting right there on the side of the tracks painting the river, I thought this would be quite the spectacle – me trying to move my easel far enough away to feel safe with them barreling down the track. It had snuck up on me because he was on the downhill direction from Silverton to Durango and hadn’t been using much steam. It was surprising how quiet he was coming. Every year, they have a race from Durango to Silverton (from 6300 feet above sea level to over 10,000 feet above sea level) between bikers and the train. It’s a close call every year. In commemoration of all those strong legs and lungs – IRON HORSE – a study painting for a future studio painting and published edition.

~ Mark Keathley

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