Driving through the snowy fields of South Park (yes, that South Park, where Trey Parker made his mark), my eyes were drawn to a familiar pattern. Distinct from the blue-grey fields of color, a pattern of light and shadow with warm tones came into focus. A huge herd of Pronghorn were grazing comfortably in the blowing snow. Cactus stopped the car and I ran out to catch a few photos of this herd. The wind must have been blowing in our favor, because they didn’t seem to notice, or care, that we were there. I got some photos, then jumped back in the car, breathless and excited about a vision I had for a new painting.
Less than a month later, I had the sketch for the painting and started to re-create the scene we witnessed on that January day. I titled it “The Watch” after the posture I noticed in a few of the pronghorn as the others munched peacefully on dried grass.
Since then, this painting was featured in the “Imaging the West” exhibit at the Steamboat Art Museum last winter. It has hung on the walls of the Red West Pop-up Gallery in Steamboat Springs. And then, last month, it traveled by box to the Broadmoor Gallery. I spent a day under it as I painted as a guest artist the day after Thanksgiving. I enjoyed talking about the pronghorn, since many people in Colorado Springs know that herd very well as they themselves witness them grazing in South Park.
Then, to my delight, I heard back from the Gallery Director at the Broadmoor, Jamie Oberloh, that The Watch had found a forever home. These pronghorn can now quit their wandering, and settle into a nice long graze. Thank you to Jamie, Sophie, and the crew at the Broadmoor, for taking a risk on this painting. I look forward to painting this herd again!