Early on Septebmer 18, 2023, I saw my boys off to the school bus and pulled out of the driveway with our Casita in tow. I was headed to Sheridan, WY to participate in the Brinton Museum Artist in Residence. The Brinton is located in Big Horn, WY and well-worth a visit.
Ken Schuster , the executive director of the museum, welcomed me for a do-over from my experience in the Spring of 2019. That year, the sky was so heavy with clouds that I didn’t even know the majestic Big Horn Mountains were off to the West. I had a lot of grey paintings of the valley floor! The opening, scheduled for Sept 2020, was also heavily impacted by Covid. We soldiered on, but I was very grateful for a chance to experience the Residency in-full again this time.
I shared this residency with my friend and incredible painter, Jane Hunt. We had perfect weather. The sky was clear and the Big Horns revealed shimmering rays of light in the setting sun. I parked my Casita in front of our little cottage for the week. We settled into the notion that the only thing we needed to do that week was to follow our art, wherever it may lead. No laundry, no house projects, no cooking and cleaning for dinner each night. What a gift!
In the West, a three-hour drive is considered close, so we took advantage of our proximity to Cody, WY and made a one-night trip over the mountains. There were two important art events in the nearby town of Cody, WY. My own gallery, the Simpson-Gallagher Gallery, was exhibiting the “Out of the Ordinary” show, and The Buffalo Bill Museum was holding their annual Gala and Art Auction.
To participate in the Buffalo Bill Gala, we joined Tim Newton’s luncheon, hosting the Cowboy Artists of America. Lots of cowboy hats and stories of the trail. It was educational in a sense, because it gave me a clear view of what is at the heart of the Western Art world. Authenticity is of utmost importance, followed by capability in creating representational art. Finally there is a warmth of spirit among the artists and collectors. As I plumbed my own sense of place in this Western Art world, I had a strong sense of confirmation. Being a 6th Generation Coloradoan, I have an innate understanding of this land. I use my art to engage with its beauty.
The “Out of the Ordinary” exhibit at the Simpson-Gallagher Gallery was a real treat to attend in person. There is no time better spent than with Sue Simpson-Gallagher. Her wit, grace, and knowledge of all things Western Art is something to behold. It was extra special to share the opening with the other amazing artists in the gallery such as Josh Elliot, Skip Whitcomb, Dan Young, and Matt Smith. I am the junior member of this gallery, and I have learned so much from all of these trail blazers in western landscape painting.
We returned back to the Artists’ cottage with many thoughts about our careers and our art. It was such a joy to return to the easel so quickly after such an inspiring trip to the museums and galleries. We finished our residency with a day of painting on the grounds of the Brinton Museum.
Save the date for September 6, 2024. We will be exhibiting our work that blossomed from this time at the foot of the Big Horn Mountains.