36″x 72″ Acrylic on Lexan
Great Falls, Great People, Great Atmosphere, Great day to be braving the elements to create a painting. This painting is the largest “river” painting to date on Lexan. KRTV is coming down to the river for a television interview. The stage is set for an epic day of a flycast painting. Josh from KRTV is dressed for the occasion with a heavy coat and earmuffs as the wind is whipping through with 25 degree temps and there is a light snow cover on the park’s grass that is cut short and ready for the severe winter months ahead. The work is set across from the refinery that looks like a very prominent source of Great Falls existence. Josh was asking “Why would you want to be set across from the refinery?” My response was “The refinery is what makes Great Falls what it is and for the town it is something, or a place that people can relate to.” The work is all about folks having that connection to the painting and with the on-site location it should be accentuated for the people that live in the wonderful city of Great Falls.
A couple moves on the day that have been embellished with the art is looking across the vast waters it struck me that the upper part of the painting should show the waves getting closer together and spacing further apart as they come closer to the viewer.
With all the history surrounding Great Falls and a twenty day portage around them from the Lewis and Clark Expedition, I stood on those shores and contemplated the possibilities of the first people, when looking across that enormous body of water, had the same feeling of vastness and awe-inspiring shimmering blue color on the surface of the mighty Missouri River.
The painting began with a tightening of the line at the top of the work and progressively becoming more spaced as they were applied working towards the bottom. The idea is that there should be more three dimensional space in the piece and pushing the waters back in the Lexan, just as a viewer would see the river from the shore. As the sun was going down and I was losing light on the day from a giant cloud what was coming in, an absolute blue color was radiating off of the river’s surface. The textured side of the Lexan is by far the bluest work I have ever created since the color was overwhelmingly dominating the surface of the river. So with more depth from the lines being applied and the radiant blue coming off the surface of the Missouri, this painting cements a chapter in the possibilities and lessons learned in these adventures of flycast painting.
When visiting the city of Great Falls they were having an age old tradition of the Christmas Stroll that shutdown main street for eight blocks and all the walks were bustling with activity. Stephanie Lowney recommended a restaurant called Bert and Ernie’s that serves amazing food and had a very active atmosphere with a band and folks waiting to be seated. After eating an amazing dinner I saw an art gallery and stepped inside to check out the vibe and see what art was inside. Upon entering the gallery I was met by a fellow artist Sherry Gallagher, she was interested in my work and was happy to show me hers. She works with portraiture and had been doing it for quite some time. She introduced me to the owner of the Wrangler Art Gallery, Brad, and we had a long discussion about the works he was exhibiting and the idea of a gallery being a place to sell art or a museum to display works. He said “Everything is for sale” and had an exhibit of Native Americans that sat for their portraits by an artist named Humphries. How much was the exhibit selling for? 3.9million and it was being sold as a whole collective and not meant to be broken up. Later that evening I was introduced to another artist Bruce Morgan who creates old wagons out of wood that are to scale of the wagons used during the 1800’s. Bruce can tell a darn good story that is colorful and full of a life well lived, with amazing adventures and connections he has made as an artist. His niche was that the wagons are 100% made of wood and he worked on a commission based platform. I left the gallery and walked the town taking in the vibe and imagining all the people that were in the streets living the life that is aspired to by all.