Archives for Wildlife

Untold Stories

If you look for dogs in most traditional Western art, you tend to find them in the lower left-hand quadrant. They’re sitting at the feet of a cowboy in front of a roaring campfire, or they’re poised just out of kicking range of a horse at the center of the canvas. Their eyes tend to be looking at the focal point of the painting—a human being, a larger animal, an important event they’re witnessing. Their eyes tell the viewer where to look. They’re serving in their traditional role as man’s best friend. Man remains at the center. Not so with
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Ranch Life Reality

By late fall, snow had already started falling in southwestern Wyoming. Even though she still had gardening to do, that snowfall was a joy to Amanda Cowan. “The elevation is about 7,500 feet, so it’s really hard,” she says. “The sun rays are high, and the wind never stops, but I do feel so blessed. I moved around before I got married; then I came to Wyoming. It gets 30 [degrees] below [zero], but this place is so amazing. I get to work on the ranch every day and paint. I’m so blessed.” The ranch is Myers Ranch, a sprawling
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The Studio of Nancy Cawdrey

Many people are working from home these days, but few of them have a setup as enviable as that of Whitefish, Montana, painter Nancy Cawdrey. All she has to do is wake up, descend two flights of stairs, and she’s in a 1,000-square-foot studio where she can work on her latest oil or watercolor painting or on one of the vibrant silk paintings that have become something of a trademark during her two-decade career. “My studio is in my house,” Cawdrey says. “It’s a little bit like the European thing, where you work on the ground floor, live on the
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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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Capturing Nature’s Stories

Alone, on top of a high, open Montana hill in the darkness, Mia DeLode stood in her sheep wagon, watching as the band of wooly animals she was protecting from predators was bedding down for the night. Then the first lightning sizzled and cracked. The sky roiled. A second bolt spiked and jagged, fracturing the clouds with an explosive roar on its way to the ground. It was followed by another and another. “The crashes of blinding light [were] impossible to sleep through, impossible not to think the next bolt will strike too close,” DeLode says, recalling her days as
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A New Chapter

TD Kelsey wants to be a painter. He’s been sculpting for more than 40 years, and his award-winning works are in the permanent collections of museums that include the C.M. Russell Museum and the National Museum of Wildlife Art. He has monuments placed at the Saint Louis Zoo and the historic Stock Yards in San Antonio, Texas, among dozens of other locations. Kelsey loves sculpting. It’s a medium that has allowed him to capture the essence of the animals he loves so much, especially horses. It has helped him to create a career, make lifelong friendships, and travel the world.
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Human Symbolism

There’s often a moment during Mark Kelso’s design process when he discovers something familiar in what he is painting. For example, while working out the design of a piece that showed two bison in rut, violently going after each other, Kelso recognized the same intensity he experiences while practicing martial arts. Seeing that helped him to reframe the design. Instead of painting full bodies of both bison, he zoomed in to focus on their huge, colliding heads. “You can see the slobber flying, their tongues lolling, their eyes rolling back,” Kelso says. “It captures the intensity that I saw in
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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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Genuine Moments

Deborah Copenhaver Fellows had two major projects underway late last spring: a monumental sculpture of the 19 firefighters from Prescott, Arizona, who died battling a wildfire in 2013 and a statue of rancher John Palmer Parker for the town of Waimea in Hawaii. Both were nearly complete and ready to roll when the coronavirus pandemic hit. “COVID stopped both,” Fellows says. Fellows hasn’t taken many breaks in her 45-year career as an artist. She comes from a long line of workaholics, she explains, and she’s happiest when she’s busy working. Plus, she loves her job—and she knows that she’s lucky
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The Studio of Jim Norton

Jim Norton’s studio is just as he likes it—overflowing with things he loves. That includes paints and paintings, cowboy and Native American accoutrements, and hundreds of books. The studio, he admits, is for working; it is not a showplace. It is where he creates his depictions of the West, past and present, which have earned him international acclaim. Located on the walkout level of the two-story house he shares with his wife, Pam, on two acres of land in Santaquin, Utah, Norton’s studio opens up to a beautiful backyard oasis. That outside setting is as awe-inspiring as his paintings: full
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