Archives for Landscape

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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Life is an Adventure

Ethereal, evocative, and touched with a bit of mystery, the figurative imagery and cityscapes crafted by oil painter and pastelist William Schneider are beautifully rendered. They draw viewers in, eager to learn more about the person or locale he depicts. Although Schneider enrolled as an art major at the University of Illinois in 1965, after 18 months he switched his major to psychology with a minor in business. He did so, he says, because he was playing in a successful rock band that was touring the Midwest six nights a week, making it difficult for him to get up in
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Winds of Inspiration

Renowned artist Thomas Blackshear II is no stranger to commercial work. Before diving into the Western art world, he was an illustrator with companies such as Hallmark, Lucas Films, and Anheuser-Busch on his resumé. In the fall of 2019, he got a phone call from the manager of The Killers, a popular alternative rock band that wanted to use his work for its newest album. It was a project unlike any Blackshear had ever experienced. The Killers is an American band that originated in Las Vegas, Nevada, in the early 2000s. Almost 20 years and six albums later, it has
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Responding to an Angel’s Tap

Jake Gaedtke has told this story before, but it’s worth retelling because of the impact it had on his life. When he was in second grade, Gaedtke and his classmates took a field trip to a museum in Detroit, Michigan, where he was so mesmerized by the paintings there that he lost track of the rest of his class. He eventually found them— and he found his destiny. “That was when the angel of art tapped me on the shoulder,” Gaedtke recalls. “Looking at those paintings, I knew that was what I wanted to do.” It would take some time—and
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Beyond the Known Pathway

Whether he is depicting a day in the life of a pioneer family, working cowboys, dedicated ranch hands, or snow-covered fields, Grant Redden brings authenticity and a sense of immediacy to each scene. He does so as he continues to master his craft and seek ways to touch what he describes as “a raw nerve of emotion that is inside each of us.” Collectors eagerly seek out Redden’s paintings, and he has earned many awards and honors, including becoming a member of the prestigious Cowboy Artists of America (CAA) in 2012. “Membership in the Cowboy Artists of America has been
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The Studio of Len Chmiel

“It’s a good life, being an artist,” Len Chmiel says as he admires the view from the front porch of his studio. “There’s no other job I’d like … other than maybe a landscape designer.” Fortunately for Chmiel, his extensive acreage in picturesque Hotchkiss, Colorado, affords him the opportunity to do both. Besides creating award-winning paintings, he is also a gardener, winemaker, beekeeper, archaeologist, ranger, and wrangler of a small flock of chickens. Oh, and he also frames his own paintings. Chmiel’s studio, an 800-square-foot structure he designed himself, is the centerpiece of his 23-acre property, which sits atop a
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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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Manipulating Paint

Tim Allen Lawson loves trees and goes to great lengths to capture their natural beauty and texture. That explains why he has portions of trees hanging in his studio in Maine and has a variety of rather unconventional tools—including sandpaper, wire brushes, sticks, and steel wool—at the ready to help him as he paints. “I always had a love affair with trees,” says Lawson, who has homes and studios in Sheridan, Wyoming, and in Rockport Maine. “My studio in Maine is heated with wood,” Lawson says, “and I would cut all my own firewood. I was fascinated with the bark
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