Collector’s Fo­cus: Win­ter­lands

Western Art Collector - - CONTENTS - BY JOHN O’HERN

R. Tom Gilleon grew up draw­ing in the sand by day out­side “a lit­tle place where there was no elec­tric­ity and the in­side of our wooden home was lit by kerosene lanterns. I al­ways felt drawn into the light and ev­ery­thing around the glow dis­ap­peared into a blur.” It was close to the earth and a place of shel­ter.

His iconic paint­ings of teepees epit­o­mize shel­ter on the Plains, lit by the set­ting sun or il­lu­mi­nated from a fire within. He says of his Chero­kee fore­bears and other Na­tive Amer­i­can tribes, “They didn’t stand out­side of the nat­u­ral world look­ing in. They were part of it.” In Win­ter North snow piles up around the teepee’s base. It’s sym­met­ri­cal shape gives it sta­bil­ity in the strong win­ter winds.

Ranch­ers through­out the West rely on sim­ple, sturdy struc­tures to pro­tect them­selves, their an­i­mals and their sup­plies. But even in win­ter, the work goes on.

Loren Entz’s Out Do­ing Morn­ing Chores is an ex­am­ple of his paint­ings of ev­ery­day farm life, more serene than his scenes of buck­ing bron­cos and rop­ing. Entz grew up on a farm and of­ten sketched on breaks from his chores. He now lives in Mon­tana. He paints the star­tling blue of the snow in the early morn­ing and leads the viewer into the paint­ing from a dark patch of wa­ter in the fore­ground to in­ter­me­di­ate shad­ows, to the site of the morn­ing chores and, far in the dis­tance, home and hearth.

Di­nah Wor­man lives near Taos, New Mex­ico, and ap­proaches her sub­jects in a very dif­fer­ent, but no less true, way. In Cows in Snow she paints the sub­tle light of a cloudy day which al­lows her more free­dom to flat­ten the land­scape, as­sem­bling rec­tan­gles and rhom­boids into a co­he­sive whole.

She says, “I am look­ing for two things: I want to see the bones of the land­scape found

in the open­ness of an arid cli­mate or the stacked fields of cul­ti­vated land. I also love the com­po­si­tional el­e­ments of a clut­tered, close scene that al­lows me to treat the land­scape much like a still life. This is es­pe­cially true of my aerial views and large fore­ground pieces,” she con­tin­ues. I’m look­ing for the com­po­si­tional el­e­ments of both of th­ese types of land­scape paint­ings rather than the beauty of in­di­vid­ual ob­jects.”

Chris Morel grew up in Mary­land and now lives not far from Wor­man out­side of Taos. When he first ar­rived in the moun­tains above the high desert he did a lot of plein air paint­ing—even in the dead of win­ter. He wanted to ex­pe­ri­ence the vis­ual sen­sa­tions of the clear air and the vis­ceral sen­sa­tions of be­ing nearly 9,000 feet up in the San­gre de Cristo Moun­tains. In Truchaseco the heavy snow of the area hasn’t been plowed or dis­turbed. He com­pacts the range of val­ues as the pupil of the eye does in self-de­fense, but main­tains a sense of depth and in­ten­sity. The Pulitzer Prize-win­ning writer and en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist Wal­lace Steg­ner (1909-1993) com­pared a pro­duc­tive pe­riod of writ­ing to “a New Mex­ico snow-storm. I had it com­ing down thick and heavy, muf­fling the roads and mound­ing on adobe walls and win­dowsills and whiten­ing the piñon and ju­nipers…”

In the pages of this spe­cial collector’s fo­cus, read­ers will find win­ter scenes from some of the West’s top artists and gal­leries.

As a his­tory buff, Bar­bara Don­ahue likes to add what might have been in her West­ern paint­ings. Her paint­ing First Snow de­picts Na­tive Amer­i­can war­riors com­ing home from per­haps a win­ter hunt. Through her use of color, view­ers can feel the cold and the sunny day re­flects the weather she ex­pe­ri­enced from liv­ing many years on a small ranch in Flagstaff, Ari­zona.

Don Woodard spe­cial­izes in cre­at­ing re­lief wood sculp­tures and three-di­men­sional paint­ings that hang on the wall. “My pas­sion is to de­sign, then sculpt a scene three­d­i­men­sion­ally as a bas-re­lief within a piece of fine wood,” he ex­plains. “Some­times I paint the im­age while other times I fin­ish it nat­u­rally. I find this style of art­work to be very chal­leng­ing, un­usual and be­ing well re­ceived by col­lec­tors.

He con­tin­ues, “My style is very unique, with not many peo­ple cre­at­ing art­work in this genre. That is one of the rea­sons col­lec­tors pur­chase my art­work, be­sides cre­at­ing sub­ject mat­ter that they find en­joy­able.” Woodard also ac­cepts com­mis­sions to cre­ate works of art that tell a per­sonal story.

John Bux­ton does not con­sider him­self a land­scape painter, even though his paint­ings of­ten win awards in land­scape cat­e­gories. “I am a painter of 18th cen­tury East­ern wood­land fron­tier scenes,” he ex­plains. “Th­ese scenes re­quire ex­ten­sive re­search, es­pe­cially if they de­pict ac­tual events in our his­tory. This of­ten lim­its my con­trol to cre­ate pleas­ing com­po­si­tions. The ob­jec­tive is to show our his­tory as it truly ap­peared, not to al­ter it.” His

paint­ing Tril­ogy de­picts North­ern trap­pers, gath­ered to rest be­fore split­ting off to set their traps, and Al­most Quiet shows three Na­tive Amer­i­cans wit­ness­ing a softly mur­mur­ing stream as they trans­port skins for trade.

A na­tive of Ok­la­homa, art has been a part of Linda Tuma Robert­son’s life since she won her first blue ribbon in kinder­garten. She de­scribes her style as a com­bi­na­tion between re­al­ism and im­pres­sion­ism, and her love for the land in­spires her to record the coun­try­side and van­ish­ing wilder­ness. Of her snows­capes, she says, “The sun­light breathes warmth and color into a snow-cov­ered land­scape bring­ing out in­cred­i­ble colors, blue shad­ows and sparkling snow and ice mak­ing ‘win­ter won­der­land’ a per­fect de­scrip­tion of win­ter.”

Trail­side Gal­leries has lo­ca­tions in Jack­son Hole, Wy­oming, and Scotts­dale, Ari­zona. Founded in 1963, the gallery is re­garded as one of the pre-em­i­nent deal­ers of Amer­i­can rep­re­sen­ta­tional art, and spe­cial­izes in a rich and var­ied col­lec­tion of works by the lead­ing West­ern, wildlife, fig­u­ra­tive, im­pres­sion­ist, and land­scape artists in the coun­try. Rep­re­sented artists who paint snows­capes in­clude Jeremy Browne, Ron Kingswood and Robert Moore.

2. Loren Entz, Out Do­ing Morn­ing Chores, oil on can­vas board, 12 x 16". Cour­tesy The Legacy Gallery, Scotts­dale, AZ; Jack­son, WY; and Boze­man, MT. 3. Di­nah Wor­man, Cows in Snow, oil on can­vas, 40 x 40". Cour­tesy Trail­side Gal­leries, Scotts­dale, AZ, and...

1. Chris Morel, Truchaseco, oil on linen, 20 x 30". Cour­tesy Ne­dra Mat­teucci Gal­leries, Santa Fe, NM.

11. Trail­side Gal­leries, Mous­ing, oil on can­vas, 48 x 44", by Ron Kingswood. 12. Don Woodard, Moun­tain High, wa­ter­color on lin­den wood, 11 x 15" 13. Linda Tuma Robert­son, Win­ter Speaks, oil, 14 x 18" 14. Don Woodard, Moun­tain Lodge, wa­ter­color on...

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