Archives for Landscape

Endless Inspiration

Denise LaRue Mahlke doesn’t have to go far to find inspiration for her paintings. She simply has to step outside and look up—or out. “I find great inspiration in the beauty of big, cloud-filled skies and wide-open places, but I am also drawn to quiet, intimate scenes that require a closer look,” she says. “Subtleties in nature excite me, particularly the exquisite light and atmosphere found early or late in the day.” Mahlke paints the beauty she sees in and around her home in Whitehouse, Texas, as well as other places in the West, using pastels as she does so.
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A New Direction

During the past decade, R. Tom Gilleon’s career has skyrocketed, earning him tremendous recognition and rewards. But now, at age 79, he’s most excited about projects that are taking him in a new direction—what he calls his “2020 Vision”—and that might well be the most daunting challenge he’s ever undertaken. It’s a new phase of his artistic life from which paintings that he describes as “MMXX Masterworks” are emerging. Gilleon is best known for his iconic paintings of tipis and Native American images. His background in illustration, his sensitivity to nature, and his respect for the Old West unite in
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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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The Studio of Eric Bowman

Situated next to his home on a half-acre lot in Tigard, a suburb of Portland, Oregon, Eric Bowman’s studio is as unique and imaginative as the art he creates. It’s actually a Quonset hut style structure that was favored by the U.S. government, which ordered thousands of the semi-circular structures during and after World War II because of their mobility and ease of construction. The property’s original owner built the structure in 1952 and used it as a garage to house his antique cars. “This was an ideal structure for that purpose because the roof supports the walls, so there
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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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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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