In some ways, personally and professionally, Sally Vannoy’s life might seem like a fairytale. She married the man of her dreams in a beautiful setting in Glacier National Park, was accepted into the Society of Animal Artists as a Signature Member on her first attempt, and has seen her works hang beside original Charles M. Russell paintings at the famous Triple Creek Ranch. As in many classic stories, however, the heroine had to leave her comfort zone in order to reach her potential.
“I had the most amazing childhood and family life growing up,” says Vannoy, who grew up with her three brothers on a horse ranch in Kalispell, Montana. As a child, she learned to draw by copying pictures from her mother’s Mary Englebreit calendars. When she wasn’t competing in equestrian sports, she was making charcoal drawings of Native Americans and wildlife.
Vannoy’s parents had little doubt that their daughter would become an artist, so they were understandably confused when she turned down a scholarship to study at the Art Institute of Seattle. “I remember my father saying, ‘If you don’t go, you’ll never do your art,’” says Vannoy, who reasoned that being a dental hygienist would give her the time and stability she needed to pursue fine art.
12″ by 16″
“Cricket is a bit of a legend at Triple Creek Ranch. She is a gentle soul and fun to ride. I had the pleasure of taking her up in the mountains my last stay at TCR. When I saw her eating her grain one morning, I knew she had to be painted.”
A Mother’s Call
24″ by 50″
“On Labor Day we were at my parents’ for a barbecue when these delightful turkeys made their way through the horse pastures. I grabbed my camera and spent nearly two hours sitting in the field amongst the turkeys, watching their behaviors, making mental notes of all their beautiful color, and taking in that evening light.”