Archives for Portrait

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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Western Nouveau

To understand Thomas Blackshear II’s segue into Western art, you need to understand his storied career. It seems that the Colorado artist never does anything halfheartedly, nor does he redo the tried and true. In fact, he likes to take what other artists are rendering and tweak it to show viewers something they recognize, but he does so from an innovative perspective. Blackshear likens his work to rappers who take old music and give it a new slant. Relatively new to the Western art genre, Blackshear hit the scene about three years ago. “I’ve had a long and varied career,”
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‘My Art is About Messages’

Oreland C. Joe is committed to three things in life: his family, his art, and encouraging young Native Americans to preserve their culture. “The most valuable lesson one could ever learn in any field,” he says, “is to give your success back to the children and the community.” That is exactly what Joe is doing through a foundation he started in 2018, but more about that later. Joe has earned great acclaim for the artwork he creates, which includes paintings, stone carvings, bronze sculptures, and jewelry. He has won more awards than we have space to list here, and his
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‘How I Got Here’

During a visit last October, Susan Lyon made three admissions. The first is that she never considered herself a natural artist. She hadn’t impressed anyone with her drawings as a child. She wasn’t the student who was always chosen to illustrate the school yearbook cover or design the hallway mural. Later, while studying at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, Illinois, Lyon noticed that some of her classmates seemed to be able to see spatial relationships and copy them perfectly. For her, it was a struggle. “I wasn’t someone who had ever been very confident in drawing,” she says.
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Mixing It Up

As has often been said, timing is everything. This was especially true in the case of Utah artist Jason Rich. As he’ll tell you, the stars aligned, and his time as a career artist came quickly—before he had even finished his college education. But let’s step back and follow the route that took Rich to his art career. His father, an elementary school teacher, owned a small horse farm in southern Idaho, where he raised and trained horses to sell. One of five siblings, Rich was the only one who worked alongside his father, growing not only to love—but to
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The Studio of Mary Ann Cherry

Given the diverse range of her talents and commitments—oil and pastel painter, workshop instructor, novelist, and current President of the Women Artists of the West—it’s not surprising that Mary Ann Cherry loves the opportunities she enjoys by having two working studios. She does the majority of her creative work in a studio at the family home she shares with her husband Bob. Situated on two acres at the edge of the Snake River, just a few miles north of Idaho Falls, Idaho, that studio is informal, with a rural feel that is somewhat of an extension of the outdoors. “When
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The Studio of Jim Rey

Jim Rey has painted in a variety of studio spaces: a bedroom, an alcove, a family room, a garage, even a rented room in a country motel. And he happily did so, as he pursued his dream of becoming an artist, after working in commercial art for several years and later in the computer industry. In 2012, Rey finally was able to claim for himself an actual studio at the home he shares with his wife Sharon in Durango, Colorado. It was a long time coming, but it was well worth the wait. Rey had started painting in the early
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What is Art?

It’s a question that has been asked for hundreds of years: What is art? While there are several definitions of the word, what one person perceives as art might not be perceived or accepted as art by another person. One of many definitions of art is “an expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power.” Using that definition certainly leaves the door wide open for labeling many different types of creations as a “work of art.” In most
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‘I’m Called To It’

Tina Garrett credits her best friend, Laura, with giving her the advice she needed to head down the path to becoming an artist. “She said, ‘You are an artist at heart; stop trying to be something you’re not,’ Garrett recalls. At the time, she had quit her job as a freelance designer and illustrator for a publishing company and was trying to decide what to do next. Her husband Adam, a firefighter and registered nurse, suggested she become a dental hygienist so that, when they retired, they could do traveling nursing and dentistry. The thought of being a dental hygienist,
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