Deep within northeast Wyoming lies the sprawling mountain campus of Sheridan College at Spear-O-Wigwam. Surrounded by the breathtaking Bighorn Mountains, the campus and the adjacent wilderness recently became the site — and source — of inspiration for nine artists.
The “Spear-O at the Brinton Museum” exhibition, as well as its newly renovated venue, are sure to turn heads and impress viewers for the month of November. Featuring drawings, pastels, watercolors, and oils, “Spear-O” highlights the ways in which the deep Wyoming wilderness continues to be a source of infinite artistic inspiration. In July, nine artists spent a weeklong retreat on the “Mountain Campus” of Sheridan College, where they discussed art, collected ideas, and, of course, sketched and painted.

Marty Mans, “Rapid Creek Cascade — Bighorns,” 2015, oil, 20 x 16 in. (c) The Brinton Museum 2015

After morning coffee, the artists would venture into the surrounding landscape in search of that perfect view for the next piece. The results were outstanding and are now on view at the newly renovated Brinton Museum in Big Horn, Wyoming. Participating artists include Bruce Graham, Lloyd Kelly, Joanne Lavender, Marty Mans, Lisa Norman, Joel Ostlind, Chessney Sevier, Paul Waldum, and Dan Young.
Although many paintings could be dubbed highlights of the show, Bruce Graham’s “Showers on the Mountain” commands consideration. The picture captures the majesty and presence of the Bighorn Mountains with clarity and passion. Viewers find themselves standing along the shores of a gorgeous lake as scattered showers roll across the region. Composing the majority of the painting are the towering peaks of several mountains above the lake. A beautiful quilting of colorful blues, purples, whites, and greens dominates the subjects. Our eyes are gracefully led across the lake and up into the range through a sloping valley at center, which sparkles within a patch of sunlight. Above a peak to the right, one can detect the faint details of rain bands as they cruise into the distance. The piece is absolutely magnetic.

Joanne Lavender, “Renewal,” 2015, oil, 18 x 18 in. (c) The Brinton Museum 2015

Marty Mans’s “Rapid Creek Cascade — Bighorns” is a tighter composition but equally compelling. Particularly noteworthy is the painting’s luminance, which is captured skillfully and with energy. The subject is a torrent of rushing water as it crashes through boulders and stones on its way down the mountains. A large, shadowed boulder splits the creek at center while above, the sun glistens through the water. The palette of the piece is full and balanced, with harmonious purples, whites, and blues composing the submerged stones along the right edge and luminous greens, oranges, and yellows within the foliage along the shore.

Paul Waldum, “Park Reservoir Evening,” 2015, pastel, 12 x 24 in. (c) The Brinton Museum 2015

In addition to the wonderful works of art, visitors can admire the Brinton Museum’s recent transformation. This past summer, the museum was renovated from a small, aging boutique to a major 24,000-square-foot state-of-the-art institution. At a cost of $15 million, the update was made possible by Forrest E. Mars Jr. and includes climate-controlled galleries and storage, a bistro, and a museum store.
“Spear-O at the Brinton Museum” opened on October 25 and will be on view through November 22.
To learn more, visit The Brinton Museum.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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