Honoring an artist

Harold Seibel is the husband of Lillian Seibel, Southern Ute Tribal member, and has lived on the Southern Ute Reservation for over 40 years.

It started to snow again and Larry, my husband, wasn’t home from the Casino. I got a call from Shane, my nephew, who said in a very dismal voice, that his dad [Harold Seibel] was not going to survive the night. I got real sad and let the tears fall. Harold died that night December 10, 2012.

I first met Harold Seibel when I was about 31-years-old. Both Larry and I were the majordomos for the St. Ignatius Church, and we were in charge of the dance taking place that evening I first met Harold.

This gorgeous young man came into the hall and tried to get me to let him into the dance without paying. Actually he was trying to hit on me by telling all these pick up lines. It gave my ego a boost. I said, “I’m married so cut the crap.” That didn’t deter him, so finally just to get rid of him; I let him into the dance.

I told Lillian, my sister, about the Harold encounter, she checked him out and the next thing I knew she and he were in a relationship.

What was Harold’s modus operandi?

He was always trying to get something for free. He was a free spirit and didn’t care about money or how to get it. My children referred to him as a “hippie.” He didn’t want to impress anyone with his looks and wanted to live his life not by the standard status quo.

His philosophies and beliefs were never to be challenged. He would not compromise or see the other person’s point of view. I loved getting under his skin by taking an opposite stance on his belief systems. We would argue until I had to walk away.

Then he would laugh. He had such a good laugh, especially when he told you stories about himself. He had many strange adventures with sad endings, but now he laughed about the experiences. That’s the kind of man he was.

His art was his life.

Harold loved the smell of paint and the wonderful creations that would surface when he applied paint to the blank canvas. He learned to draw and appreciate the shapes and forms, which were taught by Joe Toledo, his fifth grade teacher.

The love of art continued to follow him as he entered and completed his studies at Fort Lewis College. In college he was inspired to create art.

“Don’t paint like anyone else,” his mentor, Stanton Englehart said.

And believe me; he created art as he saw his world, his environment, his love, and his children. He saw these worlds through abstract eyes and sometimes no one else could figure out what he was painting.

Most people, who view art, like to see photographs replicated on canvas. Everything has to be realistic. Harold said, “Screw them…..I like what I do and I don’t paint for those kind of people!”

Harold also was voted to “WHO’s WHO” in American colleges. His politics were very impeded in his persona, he was a member of the Students for a Democratic Society, and participated in the protest in Chicago.

The adage is true about starving artists. Harold didn’t care about becoming famous, rich or creating artwork for the cultured individuals. He created art for himself.

His work may not have appealed to the masses, but you became a friend and connoisseur of great art if you liked his work. Not only that, you would be given one of his great pieces of art.

Harold and I became buddies. He still told me things I wanted to hear but never crossed the imaginary line of proper protocol. We shared many philosophical discussions, art and life, in general.

I knew that Harold was very sick with a disease that had no cure. It’s called Crohn’s Disease. There were many occasions when I would tell Harold, in no uncertain terms, that he needed to get to the doctor. He would just shrug it off and say he didn’t have the money for the doctor or the pills he needed. I don’t know if he was telling the truth or just not wanting to deal with his illness.

When Harold died he left a hole in the hearts of many people: his wife, family, friends and art lovers. It has been said that artist become famous after their deaths. I hope this is true for Harold.

Harold had approximately 400 hundred paintings completed when he died.

The Dancing Spirit Gallery is honoring the spirit of Harold by having a show on May 2, 2014, 5-8 p.m. His grandson, Trey Seibel, is now the owner of these paintings and can be contacted through the gallery. We invite the community to come and see the art of Harold, have refreshment and enjoy the entertainment.

I loved him and he loved me and I know this because he gave me at least 8 paintings. He wanted to make sure I continued to remember him after he was gone. I miss the laugh; the bumps on his arms, his mismatched socks, and the crazy weird person who helped inspire me to continue doing my style of watercolor. Vaya Con Dios, my friend.


ʉʉ, may kʉn ʉs ayk




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