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Paint Outside the Lines: Montana Impressionists

January 19 - March 17, 2006


(above: Image of gallery, photo courtesy of Hockaday Museum of Art)


"Paint Outside the Lines: Montana Impressionists", on display at the Hockaday Museum of Art through March 17, 2006, displays work by six Montana impressionists: Terry Mimnaugh, Bye Bitney, Linda Tippetts, Carolyn Anderson, Tara Moore and Marnell Brown, who, like their European predecessors, dare to depart from traditional painting styles and paint outside the lines. When viewing their works, it is hard to believe that when the European Impressionists first exhibited their paintings in the 1870s, art critics ridiculed the movement and the general public expressed outrage upon seeing such radical artistic techniques. Eventually, Impressionist paintings were viewed as highly valued masterpieces, and today have become unrivalled in their popular appeal. Drawn together by a common desire to bring a new kind of realism to painting, Impressionists astonished their contemporaries with their revolutionary treatment of color and light. Sunlight and dappled water, the evanescent atmosphere of outdoor scenes and fleeting moments in everyday life characterized their work. (right: Carolyn Anderson, Red Peonies, oil, 12 x 9 inches)

Carolyn Anderson, a nationally recognized artist, is an accomplished pastelist and oil painter.  Born and raised in the Chicago area, Anderson attended school at Illinois State University.  She joined the Vista program (Volunteers in Service to America) in the early 70's and was assigned to work on an Indian reservation in Montana. She eventually returned to Montana and now lives in Havre, a small community in north central Montana near the Canadian border.

She has received numerous awards, including the C. M. Russell Jurors Best of Show award two years in a row.  She is a member of the Northwest Rendezvous, and her work has been featured in several national publications, including Art of the West and Southwest Art magazines.

Montana Impressionist Bye Bitney says, "I'm a fourth generation native of Kalispell, Montana, and live on the west shore of Flathead Lake with my wife Kay. I enjoy a diverse range of subject matter, including portraits and figural work, as well as landscapes and still life. I learned the art of painting largely through independent study based on a large collection of fine art books, which are cherished, if stained and splattered with paint. I've studied the works of countless favorite 19th and 20th century representational and impressionistic painters. I've also pursued life drawing, doing countless works in charcoal, as well as oils. For eighteen years, I've quietly marketed my work almost exclusively through two galleries. How fortunate I am to earn my living doing something that is the most fun, punctuated by moments of 'WOW, I did that!' The biggest challenge in my painting is to satisfy my own expectations." (left: Bye Bitney, A Mother's First Christmas, oil, 24 x 20 inches)

Marnell Brown was raised on a remote mountain ranch where everything that was worth doing was done out-of-doors. "Our small cabin was too cramped for more than eating and sleepingwe spent all of our time in the woods; working, playing, running, exploring, and learning." It is this intimate knowledge of the wild creatures and country way of life that led to a deep desire to paint what she knows best. "I love the untouched forests, the rugged mountains, and God's special wild creatures. I hope to share this love with my viewers."

Brown soon discovered that in order to paint more than a "pretty picture" she needed professional advice. "I am not a self-taught artist," she states quietly, but firmly. Though college art courses left her dissatisfied, the years of study through correspondence courses, attending workshops by such artists as Michael Coleman, Bob Cavanaugh, and Mark Ogle, reading books by established artists, studying the Masters, and long hours in the woods with paintbox and easel, have contributed to the basic technical knowledge of her art skills and approach to each subject. "Everybody has something worth knowing," Brown says with a smile. "An artist must reach for that elusive something that makes a painting worthy of the word 'ART'. I love the Impressionist style, this leaves me the freedom to try to capture the mood or feeling of a subject rather than to imprint detailed features." (right: Marnell Brown, Rocky Mountain Mule Train, oil, 30 x 25 inches)

Terry Mimnaugh of Lakeside, Montana says, "I try to draw something everyday, even if I don't get to paint or sculpt that day. If you can train your eye to draw well, you can do anything, and then it is just a matter of mastering the medium. Good drawing refers to being true to the character and attitude of what you see, not that you 'stay in the lines' and have a photographic edge replicating the subject. Too often, our right brain drawing capabilities are over-ridden by our left-brain intelligence of what we recognize as a shape we know how to draw. It is not until we are forced to really see that we grow in perception and that only comes with hours and hours of practice. Making a breakthrough in realization is so exciting that you can't stop drawing, which leads you to other mediums. I maintain that figure drawing trains the eye faster than any other exercise and that it is the most essential of all artistic skills.  So... DRAW." (left: Terry Mimnaugh, Skaters, oil, 9 x 12 inches)

Polson, Montana painter Tara Moore says, "After extensive travel searching for animals to study in their natural habitats throughout the past twenty-five years, I now feel the realism; the discipline part of painting is over. At last I am comfortable and free with my painting, and fast, with broad palette knife and bold color, with action and emotion as my main objectives. However, my observations at rodeos and in the wild continue to be a necessary and enjoyable part of my painting. I am still driven to learn something new from each painting."  As a member of The Society of Animal Artists, she has exhibited in their juried shows in museums around the country, as well as in The Academy of Equine Artists open juried exhibitions. She was selected as a featured artist by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, exhibitor at the C.M. Russell Auction/Exhibition in Great Falls, and an exhibitor at The Waterfowl Festival in Maryland. A recent highlight was participation in the 2005 Artists for Open Space Exhibition and Auction, a benefit for the Montana Land Reliance.

Linda Tippetts of August, Montana says, "Artists must communicate by opening awareness in the viewer that has long been buried. To do so, it is important to do your job so well that viewers are jolted into understanding. That jolt can be subtle or powerful, immediate or time-delayed, soft or hard, but in each case it must be unnerving enough for the viewer to respond personally and not programmatically. To accomplish this goal, I constantly scrape the barnacles off my hide and expose myself through my work. That entails enjoying the process so much that I overcome the subject and paint its essence: the cold instead of the snow, the shocking red instead of the poppies, and the calm instead of the water. The 'why' of painting is what I strive for, and the 'why' is the subconscious element that gives me the most delight. Fully integrating methods and techniques, along with skills such as drawing, composition and color is what I reach for with each painting." (right: Linda Tippetts, Winters Bridge, oil, 24 x 36 inches)


Support of the "Paint Outside the Lines: Montana Impressionists" exhibition is provided by CenturyTel and Two Medicine Gallery of Whitefish, which represents the work of Bye Bitney and Linda Tippetts.


(above: Tara Moore, The Chase is On, oil, 22 x 30 inches)

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