Patrick Lawson is a social worker by trade, but he’s never quite rid himself of the art bug that first took hold when he was a little boy. For the past eight years, he’s spent his nights and weekends pursuing his passion as a semi-professional artist. Almost all of the 39-year-old’s works focus on the natural beauty of Colorado, portrayed through a palette of mediums: watercolor, pen and ink, works on alternative materials (boxes, aluminum foil), and, my favorite, finger paintings. (Yes, really, that photo above is a finger painting.)

Done without the use of any tools, Lawson transforms a kid’s pastime into intricate, eye-catching paintings. Each impressionist-influenced piece takes 60 to 80 hours to complete. As you’ll hear in the video below, he’s spent years mastering his technique. It’s a messy process, but the rugged, imperfect look of the final product is well matched to the Colorado lifestyle.

Bonus: Lawson is January’s featured artist at the cafe in the Barnes & Noble on the 16th Street Mall. View—and buy—his work there or go online; he’s donating 15 percent of his sales from now through April to help Colorado flood recovery efforts.

Check out the video below to see more of Lawson’s work and hear how his pieces come together.

Meet the Artist: Patrick Lawson from 5280 on Vimeo.

Even more flood relief: Following the September floods, the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (in conjunction with the city of Boulder) commissioned The Flood Project: Rising Above & Restoring Boulder through Art, a series of three temporary public art projects meant to serve “as a catalyst for community healing,” that will be ongoing through November 2014. On February 24, the museum is hosting a Flood Project Benefit Dinner featuring cocktails and a meal from chef Hosea Rosenberg and the bARTer Collective (the crew behind one of the public art projects). Tickets are $100; proceeds benefit Foothills United Way’s recovery efforts.

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Image courtesy of Patrick Lawson

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Daliah Singer
Daliah Singer
Daliah Singer is an award-winning writer and editor based in Denver. You can find more of her work at