I used to open books and look at the “Old West” photos and see cowboys riding the open plains, and I would stop and think, “I wished I lived 100 years ago”. After going out to the very remote west, (Hulett, Wyoming where he lives and paints) and finding ranches that still “cowboy” in the old ways, I realized that the west I was searching for as a kid was still there.
In tiny hidden corners of the country you can still find places untouched by time. There are ranches that on horseback gather 2000 to 3000 head of cattle, across hundreds of miles of fenceless landscape. The time has come where land is becoming too valuable, making it no longer affordable to have cattle roaming free on open range. This forces ranches to sell off lands to survive. Before long the “West” will be gone. Even now I can see dramatic changes, the things that I was lucky enough to be a part of just a few years ago are gone. Examples are the old style ranch rodeos, traditional brandings, log cabins with no electricity, and running the chuck wagon during roundups.
I no longer have a wish to be part of the old days, but have become part of the west I was searching for. We are at a clash of two times where traditional cowboy’n ways are being overridden by the modern technologies. The “west” of the late 1900’s will be looked at as the last of the era that was frontier.
My focus in painting is to try and document moments in time that show the ways of an admired but fading lifestyle. The freedom of the west and wide-open spaces has become a symbol of our great country. As our lives become more regimented, rules more numerous, we long for the places of freedom.
The question I hear most often is “Do they still do that?” Well… yes they do, but not for much longer. For now “The West” is alive, it’s just hiding in small corners of our country trying desperately to hang on and not be forgotten.
Recent Awards & Shows:
Nominated by Southwest Art Magazine for “Artist of the New Century Show”, won the Grand Prize and Best of Show In October 2002