Dear readers,

I hope that summer has been treating you well and that you are staying cool (enough). Wildfires are everywhere around western Montana, so we are living with smoky skies and hazy air.

However, recent events have reminded me to be grateful for each day, smoky or not. I had planned to attend the kickoff of the Cheyenne Frontier Days Art Show, but at the end of our first day on the road for our trip, after driving 500+ miles, my husband Paul started vomiting and developed severe abdominal pain. Two hospitals and 500 miles later, Paul underwent emergency gallbladder surgery back in Missoula, and is now fine and nearly 100% normal. However, his gallbladder was in such bad shape that had we waited much longer the situation could have become life-threatening. For me, it was a sharp kick-in-the-butt reminder of what matters in life - and I am deeply grateful that all is well.

* Does this email look wonky? See the issue online.

Newsbytes / calendar

  • CORSICANA, TX - Sept. 6-Oct. 18: I am STOKED that a painting of mine has been juried into the inaugural Pearce Museum's "A New Look at the West" show and sale. Opening events take place Sept 6. - 8; for more info, please visit the museum's page for the event. My piece, "Freedom" (24x24 oil) is shown below.

  • JACKSON, WY - Sept 12-13: I'm honored to be part of the Western Visions show and sale at the National Museum of Wildlife Art. My miniature and my sketch in the show are shown right - please contact Jennifer Lee at the museum (800-313-9553) to inquire about purchase.

  • DENVER, CO - Sept. 28-Jan. 5: The Wildlife Experience museum in Parker has teamed with the Society of Animal Artists to jury a new show and sale featuring Rocky Mountain members of the SAA (which includes yours truly). I have two scratchboards in this new "Wildlife Art & Wine" event; I hope to attend the opening and demo a scratchboard. Stay tuned for more news - and my show images - in the September Artzine.

In this issue

  • "You're So Talented!": Readers Respond

  • Hot off the Easel - and a New Gallery!

"Freedom", 24x24 oil on gallery-wrap canvas
For an artist who loves horses (namely, me) broncs that are blasting around the arena after having shed their cowboy are a thrill to watch.

"Op Art", 11 x 14 - scratchboard
Zebras and scratchboard go together like gin and tonic (and both are mixes I enjoy). Here, I've rendered some of the white stripes with a hatchwork patterning that moves away from pure representation to something more abstract. Available via sale by draw at the Western Visions show at the National Museum of Wildlife Art (see calendar, left).


"Lion Dreams", 12 x 16 - conte on panel
The young and giddy, the distracted, the inattentive...surely when lions dream, it is of things like this.

The beauty of the way dry, gritty conte behaves on a gesso panel just sucked me in to the execution of this piece. And of course, you all know how much I dearly love to draw. Putting together some of my wonderful African reference material in a concept like this was pure joy. Available via silent auction at the Western Visions show.

Tidbits - on talent (redux)

"Talent is so loaded a word, so full to the brim with meanings, that an artist might be wise to forget about it altogether and just keep on working." (Eric Maisel) - Indeed.

"Don't bother about whether or not you have it. Just assume that you do, and then forget about it. Talent is a word we use after someone has become accomplished. There is no way to detect it before the fact... or to predict when or if mastery will click into place." (Richard Schmid)

"I am doubtful of any talent, so whatever I choose to be, will be accomplished only by long study and work... " (Jackson Pollock)

"Talent cannot be given, it can only be generated." (Milos Vujasinovic) -- Exactly!!

"You're So Talented!" - Readers Write Back

My essay in the July Artzine about talent generated a fair amount of reader email. (Dang, you guys are actually reading these newsletters!). Herewith, a very few of the thoughtful replies I received:

...It's irritating to hear people say this. It feels like they discount the effort by assuming you are just talented and can whip this stuff out without thought. People used to ask me at shows "how long did this painting take?" and I would say "all my life". (Janis W.) - and indeed, I've used the "all my life" answer myself!
(I'll have to do an essay on the "how long did it take?" question - I'm quite sure every artist has been asked this at some point.)

So true about talent - try reading Bounce by Matthew Syed and The Talent Code by David Coyle. We are good at what we do because we spend every waking hour either thinking about it or doing it, whilst asleep our subconscious works away sorting out problems for us (have you ever woken up with a brilliant idea or a solution to a problem?) - also read Imagine by Jonah Lehrer and Incognito by David Eagleman about the workings of the subconscious mind. (Simon G.) - note the book recommendations! Time to visit the library...

One reader took me to task: "..these fans that are awed emotionally by the artists work and whether they describe it by "looks like a photo" or "you are so talented", their feeling is innocent and full of love and appreciation..." (Dianne C.) - Thank you, Dianne, and indeed, I know the comments come from a sincere desire to compliment, and I take them for that...but I also hope that the Artzine stimulates us to think about what we really mean when we are discussing art.

And finally: "I think a good follow-on is to describe how a collector/admirer should express his sentiments in a positive way." (Paul S.) - an excellent thought! So, some suggestions:

  • "Wow, you're really good at this! I'll bet you've invested a lot of time in it."
  • "You're so skilled!"
  • "You're very accomplished!"

Readers - what would you recommend?

Hot Off the Easel - and a New Gallery!

I am delighted to announce that my work is now being represented with Dick Idol Signature Gallery in Whitefish, Montana! They have several bison and horse paintings of mine, with more on the way.

In particular, the quadtych below - "Chromatic Bison" - will be available at the gallery shortly. I'm experimenting with non-objective color in this set of bison pieces - we all know bison are brown (or shades thereof), so what would a green or blue one look like? This little series of portraits was huge fun to paint and will be inspiring more "chromatic" paintings.

Part of the appeal of this set of 9x12 paintings is that they are framed with individual floater frames, so the set can be hung however you like: in a rectangle, a horizontal line, a vertical line...thus, the collector gets to participate in the 'composition' of the overall work.

"Chromatic Bison", 4 9x12 pieces (quadtych)
oil on muslin mounted to cradled panel

READERS RESPOND - footnotes to the July Artzine:

"All I can say is, thank God for your Artzine, every month it gives me inspiration!" (Maggie D.) That is a helluva nice compliment...thank you, Maggie!!

"...your scratchboard of the wolf looks like one could reach out and touch his nose, wonderful rendition! Love your work. Thanks for sharing." (Mary L.) another lovely note...thank you, Mary!

That's it for August. I hope you have enjoyed this newsletter (and thank you to the many readers who respond after each Artzine, thus giving me good material for the "Footnotes" section :-) - if so, I encourage you to share it with anyone and everyone. I appreciate your help in building a bigger audience for my work!

Warmest regards,
Julie T. Chapman

Painting Today’s Wild West (and Africa!) with Contemporary Flair
(406) 546-2636
20900 Whitetail Ridge Road * Huson, MT 59846
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** All images and text in this newsletter are copyright (c) 2013 Julie T. Chapman. I encourage you to forward this email as long as it includes this copyright notice - thank you!**