Monday, March 12, 2012

Tasty Sausages for Breakfast!

No, this isn't a post on the wrong blog; for your dining pleasure today, I'll be serving up a variety of hot links to recognize the folks that have made our February and March busier than normal!

March is always a decent month for us, because the second full week of March is always Art Week in Great Falls.  Art Week is anchored by the events hosted by the C.M. Russell Museum, the cornerstone of Western Art and Montana history in Great Falls.  For decades, the Museum has hosted an art auction and sale, taking over the Best Western Heritage Inn Hotel, where artists exhibit their work in individual guest rooms.  The event at the Heritage was in jeopardy a few years ago, when the art world was at a low because of the Great Recession, and was at risk of ceasing to exist.  Fortunately, last year it was taken over and renamed the Western Masters Art Show and Sale, with management undertaken by Steve Cawdrey and Pat Hagan, husbands of Montana artists Nancy Dunlop Cawdrey and Carol Hagan, respectively.  Last year's event was widely regarded as the best ever, exceptionally well run and well attended, and this year's event should be even better.  The public is welcome, and this is unquestionably the best venue for Western art in the U.S.  Kudos to Pat and Steve for carrying the ball over the proverbial goal line!

The Western Masters Art Show and Sale:

The C.M. Russell Museum:

So, March is always a decent month for the winter because Nancy Cawdrey has a LOT of framing done to take to the show!  Nancy always stretches herself to try new and different things for this event, and this year is no different.  She has done some spectacular paintings of a pickup truck named Oliver, and another of a tractor - these are new and different for her, and I don't think she's ever shown a vehicle before.  Here's "Oliver Gets Gassed" - the tow truck on silk:

It's a very cool painting, but it's not my favorite of the show.  My favorite painting is actually one of Nancy's iconic tipi images, and I must confess that while it's a stunning painting in its own right, it is my favorite because of the framing.  Since Nancy pushes herself to paint new things, we strive to create newer and better framing packages to present her work.  A few years back we developed a new way of stacking frames that we'd never seen before, conceived by Christine and refined through various versions and experimentation on my part.  This deserves a blog post all to itself, and I was actually slated to teach this technique to other framers at the West Coast Art and Frame Show in Las Vegas back in January, but the scheduling didn't work out.  I'll expound upon it later in detail, but suffice it to say this is a complex process that involves modifying the shape of some of the mouldings, adding structural components from other lumber, and a healthy dose of Christine's insisting that, "Yes, it can be done, you just have to figure out how."  The finished product is perfect in that it looks like one complex frame, rather than three frames stacked together.  It's tough to explain, but I promise to revisit that at some point...

This piece, "Night of the Horse" is just over 6' x 4' framed, and the construction took nearly six hours, a huge amount of time for a single painting.  Of course, it took Nancy much longer to paint it!  The picture simply doesn't do it justice:

Next up is another tasty link, to our friend and emerging artist Kenneth Yarus, exhibiting at the Western Masters for the first time this year.  Ken is the youngest artist ever to have been juried into the live auction, and his paintings and drawings are incredible.  From ballerinas to Western portraits to classical landscapes, Ken's composition and brushwork are decades beyond his tender young age, which I think is about 22...  Rather than post one or two photos, I'll simply send you to his website:

Christine, once again, created a unique look for Ken's paintings, giving them all a cohesive look by using the same moulding on each one, done in a variety of sizes and colors.  The frames are rustic pine with rusted tin corner ornamentation, many with an overwash of color.  They were done by our friend Doug Cox just outside of Bozeman; Doug's Facebook page catalogs his work nicely.  Thanks for the great work, Doug!  We will post photos of Ken's completed display in Great Falls in a later post, but here's the link to Doug for now:

And there you have it - tasty art links to enjoy with your morning coffee.  Cheers!

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