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Artists at home back in outdoors at Western art event

October 3, 2018

CODY, Wyo. (AP) — Painter Kathryn Turner arrived for her second Rendezvous Royale Quick Draw and started setting up in the big tent as she had done last year.

It wasn’t until a show staff member approached her that she realized she could go outside. When the 90-minute time began, she was camped out in the shade of a pine.

“It’s what we do. We paint outside. So we’re so much more at home outside,” she said as she prepared to paint a grizzly in its natural habitat in late September. “The light is better and the light is critical. There’s no substitute for natural light.”

In fact, only one of the 34 artists stayed inside, as the rest ringed the Robbie Powwow Garden to take advantage of the sun and temps expected to reaching the 70s. After two years inside, it was a welcome change.

“It’s preferential for the artists to be outside,” said museum curator Hunter Old Elk, helping with the event.

For longtime participant and 2016 honored artist Laurie Lee, it was a chance to take up her old spot again under the awning looking out over the grassy area.

Lee said being outside, where it has been the majority of years, enables those observing the chance to beeline to their favorite artists in their favorite spots.

“I like to paint under the awning in the shade,” she said. “And people can come crowd around and visit — I like to visit with people.”

One first-year artist, Oklahoma-City based sculptor LaQuincey Reed, developed quite the crowd of youth as he sat on the edge of the garden hunched over a small ball of clay.

With no table or chair, children were able to get close to his creation, the head of a cowboy in distress. He worked exclusively with his hands until the last stretch of the 90-minute time period, at which point he used a tool to fine-tune his creation.

“I told the kids they don’t need many tools to do it,” he said. “Maybe just a pencil.”

Reed also didn’t mind holding conversations with people passing by, only a small change from working in his studio where he has conversations with himself.

“You have conversations with yourself explaining what you need to do,” he said. “Here you explain to others what you’re doing.”

One indisputable fact of the Quick Draw was the artists were creating much faster than they usually would.

Painter Don Dernovich from Nebraska was doing a take on a grizzly bear checking a scent.

“It dictates that you work very intently — you don’t have a lot of time,” he said. “Mine is very loose, impressionistic.”

Lee, as one of the event’s most experienced participants, said she has found ways to speed up the process within the rules.

She sketches an outline of her bear — it’s a Western art event so artists look to Western influences in their subjects — and then uses chalk to quickly rub it on to her canvas at the start of the event before painting in earnest.

For all the flurry of activity at 9 a.m., by 11:20 a.m., with 10 minutes to go, some artists are already displaying their creations.

Clive Tyler, who went on to win the popular vote, was showing off his finished work depicting a creek in Sylvan Pass to friends and admirers.

Many were putting frames on their works in preparation for the awards ceremony and auction.

Reed was holding his small sculpted clay head, complete with cowboy hat, in his hand to show people as he walked by. Later attendees would bid for casts of the clay bust.

Turner, having left her spot beside the pine tree in the shade, skirted the tables in the large white tent to prepare to show off her work.

She lives in Jackson and was at the art show there last week. But she likes coming to Cody.

“It’s a different experience,” she said. “This one’s smaller but the caliber of artist is fantastic.”

And if they can create outside in the sunny weather, all the better.

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Information from: The Cody Enterprise, http://www.codyenterprise.com

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