Archives for Watercolor

The Studio of Joe Bohler

Having been raised on a 1,200-acre working ranch in northwestern Montana, it was not surprising that, as an adult, watercolorist Joseph Bohler would eventually make his home in a place with similar beauty and open spaces. Now living in Monument, Colorado, he and his wife Alaina try to visit his home state every year. “Every other year, I also head to South Dakota to do a little research,” he says. “There is a working ranch there that has a yearly event known as Artists’ Ride. They bring in all kinds of models–mountain men and Indians from various tribes. They can
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Capturing the Human Experience

An elderly woman in her Sunday-best hat, a father carrying his son on his shoulder, a man waiting at a bus stop, another asleep in his favorite chair. These evocative images of humble, hard-working people who are often overlooked by the world at large are so powerful in their simplicity that they motivated one New York art critic to describe their creator, Dean Mitchell, as a “modern-day Vermeer.” “My work is primarily about the human experience,” Mitchell says. “I want it to be a commentary on the reality of life as lived by the ordinary people in this country.” Read
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Silver Linings

“I always thought when you went blind, it was black. It wasn’t,” says watercolor artist Marlin Rotach, who noticed changes in his vision in the spring of 2018. “It was flesh-toned, and it was just like a curtain going across my eye until I had no sight at all.” After visiting a specialist, Rotach learned that he was suffering from a detached retina, a condition that required two surgeries and left him blind in his right eye for five months. Unable to paint, but still able to use a computer, Rotach decided to try writing biographical vignettes about historical artists
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In Search of a Vanishing America

“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
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Talent Times Three

It’s always exciting when we feature artists and their art for the first time within the pages of Art of the West. That is just what we are doing on the following pages, as we share with you the words and works of three contemporary Western artists: David Frederick Riley, Gregory Strachov, and Jeremy Winborg. While their journeys and subjects differ, what they share is a love of creating art. Riley evolved from painting portraits to wildlife in muted tones. Strachov is fascinated by rocks, finding a beauty in them that most of us wouldn’t see. Winborg captures the strength
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Leaning Toward His Easel

When viewers take note of the authenticity in Teal Blake’s body of Western artwork, they get a simple reminder that whatever painting he’s working on, it isn’t his first rodeo. In fact, before he got serious about art, Blake was on the college rodeo circuit and was so obsessed with it that he flunked his art classes. “At that point in your life nobody can tell you anything,” he says. “I wanted to be off chasing horses and be in the brush and live that wild life for a little while. I didn’t pay as much attention as I should
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The Studio of William Matthews

During the peak of the COVID-19 crisis in the spring, William Matthews was spending a lot of time in his studio, and he didn’t mind it a bit. His custom-built studio, which sits behind his home in Denver, Colorado, has always been his sanctuary. It’s his personal space, a place where he can be completely alone and paint in peace. Usually, however, Matthews has appointments to keep at his gallery and office in Denver’s RiNo Art District. That 12,000-foot space includes a woodshop, a frame shop, meeting areas, a public gallery, and his office space. He almost always has projects
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Chasing His Dream

Eleven years ago, when Tim Oliver walked into his house in Lubbock, Texas, his wife Missy took one look at him and asked, “What’s wrong?” “I don’t know,” he replied. The next day, when he received an email advertising a four-day classroom and plein air painting art workshop, he realized what it was that was bothering him. For 30 years he had put aside his desire to paint, but that email brought it back to the surface. “I had hit the 50-year mark, and I thought that all those things I said I’d do I better do,” he recalls. “I
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Hitting Their Stride

Maybe it’s using complementary colors. Perhaps it’s painting in black and white or sepia tones. Maybe it’s diving deeply into one subject matter to capture it perfectly. Artists go through phases of work, improving their techniques and finding their places in the art world. Whether it’s at the beginning, middle, or later in their careers, something just ‘clicks’ when artists find the subject matter, medium, or technique that allows their creativity to shine. Meet three artists who are hitting their stride, and who are being featured in Art of the West for the first time. They are worthy of your
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The Power of the West

“I was born a storyteller.” So writes Mark Kohler in his book titled “Going West.” And he tells those stories brilliantly through his paintings of everything from working cowboys, bronc riders, and ropers to remudas, escaramuzas, and still lifes. “My art mirrors my life and experiences,” he writes. “We paint what we are.” Kohler loves what he paints and goes to great lengths to capture scenes—and people—that captivate and inspire him. He visits ranches in several states and takes a myriad of photographs of the people who work them and the animals that inhabit them. It took awhile for Kohler
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