In Search of a Vanishing America

Categories: 2021 July-August Issue, Landscape, McFarland, Robert, and Watercolor.

“I paint, and I ride my bike,” says watercolorist Robert McFarland. “That’s pretty much my life.”

Those two pursuits might sound like opposites, but McFarland has found that they complement each other nicely. “If I’m on a bike ride, I’m always looking around for a subject,” he says. “If I go by something, it sounds weird but the subject will kind of speak to me.”

During his thirty-plus year career, the subjects that have most often caught McFarland’s eye are what he calls “scenes of vanishing America.” His luminous depictions of forgotten landscapes, decaying buildings, and abandoned houses have been featured in major exhibitions such as the National Cowboy Museum’s Small Works, Great Wonders and the Coors Western Art Show. “I like that feeling of nostalgia: things crumbling and returning to the earth,” he says. “I like to paint something that you look at and wonder what stories are there.”

Read the full article in the July/August 2021 issue.

Evening at Tin Cup

9” by 14”

“With the sun lowering on the high mountain ranch country of the Tin Cup area on the Idaho-Wyoming border, the dramatic effect was irresistible to me.”


9 ½” by 13”

“There is a story and history in these old, rundown, rural homes. Not knowing the story is what captivates me.”