Friday, April 30, 2010

Vibrant Artwork to Combat the Winter Blues


Nancy Dunlop Cawdrey is by far our most popular artist. Known for her vibrant colors, Nancy paints with French dye on silk, a modern interpretation of a painting medium that originated in China literally thousands of years ago. The technique is most similar to watercolor; vibrant dyes are painted directly onto stretched silk with a variety of brushes. Nancy further enhances her artwork through a variety of other mediums, and she's a talented oil painter, creating traditional landscapes and portraits that surprise many of her fans.

Nancy's father was a career military officer and diplomat, so she spent her childhood moving around the world and absorbing a vast diversity of cultures. She's been painting for nearly four decades now and has lived in Montana for more than 20 years after living and studying in Britain, France, Italy and Egypt. Nancy is represented in major galleries throughout the United States, and her presence at the CM Russell Art Auction has helped to transform the Western art market over the past several years. At one time, vibrant paintings like Nancy's were uncommon in an industry that clung to tradition. Now, literally dozens of artists work in the colors and styles that Nancy helped make so popular. Her paintings are widely collected, and pieces at auction regularly bring record prices. Nancy doesn't constrain herself to painting one thing, like landscapes or wildlife; instead, her subject matter is all over the map! I strongly feel that her best paintings are the florals for which she originally became so well known, but her most collected pieces now include tipis, bears and moose, running horses and perhaps most surprisingly, comical French chefs!

We've represented Nancy here at Frame of Reference for almost seven years now. Her husband and business manager, Steve, originally approached us about showing her paintings, but the conversation quickly morphed into a discussion about framing. The end result is that we now frame every painting that Nancy produces. It's great fun for us for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, we get first pick of any available paintings to show here in Bigfork, so our inventory is always fresh. Next, we get to suggest subject matter, from herons to penguins to the tropical fish that Nancy started experimenting with this past summer. Finally, we will frequently collaborate with Nancy to create adventurous frames for special pieces. The fish shown here- "Little Picasso" - is a prime example; it features three stacked frames and an inner detail of multicolored anodized aluminum. The end result is both exciting and perfectly balanced with the artwork. Sadly, this painting is sold (I wanted it for myself!)

After a brilliant dollop of sunshine and warmth in mid March, the weather here in Bigfork has been dismal lately. Gray skies, rain, fog and wet heavy snow have persisted for weeks now, draining my will to live and severely limiting my time outside on a bicycle or working in the yard. It snowed 8" just five miles north of here yesterday - right on my favorite cycling route! With so little color outside, it's the perfect time for bright, energetic artwork like Nancy's! Stop by and visit us for a dose of color that will zap you like a good shot of espresso - we carry Nancy's original paintings, giclees, lithographs, posters and even greeting cards, so there's something to enjoy for every budget!