The eventful Western Art Week in Great Falls, MT coincides with the birthdate of Montana’s most famous artist,C. M. Russell. The city comes alive with great art in a multitude of venues. Our exhibit host is the Out West Art Show and Sale, put on by the Out West Art Foundation.
MTWS annually awards one of our outstanding Signature Members as Artist of Merit, sponsored by Margo Voermans. We are pleased to announce the 2023 honoree is Roberta Burruss of Corvallis, MT.
The MTWS members exhibiting this year are, Roberta Burruss, Artist of Merit, Shirley Anderson of Corvallis, Sue Antonich of Helena, Shimi McKenzie of Hamilton, Keri Keefe of Columbia Falls, Steve Nelson of Great Falls, Diane Olhoeft of Corvallis and Ilene Paulsen of Plains, MT.
Opening reception, Thursday March 16th, from 5 to 9pm Show continues 11am - 9pm Friday, March 17th and Saturday, March 18th
Location: Galley Room B on the main floor of the Out West Art Show & Sale hosted by the Heritage Inn, 1700 Fox Farm Dr. Great Falls, MT
2023 MTWS Artist of Merit Roberta Burruss
Canyon Rain Size: 5"x5"
Tammany Lane 11" x 8"
Meet Roberta Burress, the 2023 Artist of Merit for the Members Watermedia Art Sale.
I remember, attending an art show as a child, it was filled with “big, beautiful paintings” and while walking amongst the large, captivating paintings I was inspired to become an artist. The scenes of trees, mountains, and rivers were each painted with such an elegance, I looked forward to one day, painting the landscape with this same transportive elegance. Art was my favorite past-time and was always my first elective class. I joined art groups, clubs, and organizations, working together to improve and showcase paintings.
In 1990 I joined the Montana Watercolor Society and became a signature member in 1996. I enjoyed many of the opportunities the Society provided to study and show with highly sought after instructors from across the country. Later I began serving on the board of directors first as the Signature Membership Chair, then as Vice President, and recently as President, helping to provide these same opportunities for other artists in Montana. MTWS approved The Great Falls Art Show program at the fall board meeting in 2015, the same year I began serving on the board of directors and I have been a grateful participant each year since. I have always had a fondness for Charley Russell and his life story and now I enjoy sharing my own work with the western art community during Western Art Week.
Winter Scene 8.5" x 12"
Hilltop Barns, 8.5 x 11.5
Program Chair - Ilene Paulsen
I was born and raised in Minnesota and ever since I could remember, I had this dream of moving to the wilds of Alaska. Mutual friends knew this single guy that lived up there and after a courtship of marine radio calls and many cards and letters we got married and lived in various areas of Alaska for 20 years.
But I missed the barns and cows.
Montana has been home for six years and yes, I do have cows! and pigs and chickens! Chores and gardening are my outdoors job/passion but indoors it is painting. I enjoy all mediums but there is something about putting a dab of color on the paper and manipulating it with the bristles of a brush and plain water. From the tiniest eyelash to letting the pigment do its own thing, watercolor is so versatile and fulfilling for me. God has proved to me that He does give us the desires of our hearts and blesses us all with talents and abilities.
Angel Wing Begonia Size: 15" x 22"
Most Distinguished Body of Work-Ilene Paulsen
I have been painting in watercolor since 2010, with dismal results at first. Since retiring 10 years ago, my art has become more satisfying. I have had wonderful mentors, workshop teachers, and critiques by friends that have helped me along the way.
Unlike a lot of my fellow watercolorists, I paint things with eyes. Landscapes never satisfy the way figures do so, I restrict my creative efforts to the wild and western life here in Montana. Although I have sold several of my paintings, I would not ever consider myself a gifted artist. My gifts lie in my stubborn never-give-up nature, my good memory, perseverance, willingness to fail, and an eagerness to learn the craft. Therefore, I encourage anyone who wishes they could paint, to just pick up a brush and some paints and dive in.
The Barn in Their Nostrils Size: 11” x 14”
St. Paul Lake Trail Size: 20.5" x 14"
Third generation Montana native Keri Keefe grew up in Trego, MT in a very artistic home. Her earliest memories were painting homemade Christmas ornaments and sewing her own dolls. Several members of her immediate family are professional artists in a wide variety of mediums. Keri currently lives in Columbia Falls with her husband and three children.
Keri was first introduced to watercolor nearly fifteen years ago at FVCC in a class taught by local teacher and artist, Karen Leigh. She instantly fell in love with the loose, flowing medium and its meditative practice. Since then, she has taken numerous workshops and classes but is mostly self taught. In her most recent work, she has been drawn to portraiture and the figure. “I spend a lot of my painting time on portrait commissions. Its so rewarding to really capture personality in a portrait. Quite a few of the portraits I do are memorials - it is an honor to be a part of something that brings loved ones peace and joy when they see them. I feel like I can really be part of the healing process.”
Keri enjoys teaching her own introductory watercolor classes from time to time and belongs to several Watercolor Societies, both locally and on a national level including Montana Watercolor Society and Northwest Watercolor Society and is a member of the Hockaday Museum of Art.
My name is Steve Nelson I live in Great Falls, Montana, and I am a retired Lutheran minister. I’ve had a lifelong interest and passion for art, and since retirement have dedicated quite a bit of my time to the pursuit of excellence, in watercolor and other forms of visual expression
I painted a lot of Montana landscapes ,people and wildlife.
Most of my undergraduate education was in the field of architecture. Following that time I have both taken, and taught a number of workshops in visual arts, including watercolor.
Riot of Colors
Missoula Grainery Size: 12" x16"
I was born and raised in the Bitterroot Valley of Western Montana. My family and I live on our cattle farms. I began my art career painting oils in 1985 and included watercolors in 1995.
Old homesteads and barns have greatly influenced my artwork. I imagine the people that lived and worked there. They built our country and represent the heritage of our nations history. I am also interested in archeology. I was privileged to serve on the board of Montana Archaeology for a term. It was a thrill to record native rock art in Montana and Idaho. I like to use that knowledge of these American cultures to include in my works of tipis. Seeing these cultural sites is awe-inspiring.
I am a signature member of Montana Watercolor Society. Home visits are welcome. My work can be viewed at Art City in Hamilton, MT; Artists Along the Bitterroot in Hamilton, MT; Choteau Art Gallery in Choteau, MT; and West Fork Mountain Crafts in Connor, MT. I also do other shows around the state of Montana.
As a child in rural Pennsylvania, most of my time was spent outside, building forts, exploring old homesteads and pretending I was a wild horse. Watercolor and silk painting for me have some of the wildness of childhood.
Watercolor is a perfect medium for me as it was light, portable and could go on any adventure. It has really helped me to appreciate my surroundings in a more detailed way. I love the colors and free flowing way the paint goes on the paper. It seems to be in tune with the unpredictability, adaptability and movement of nature. Silk painting has the free spirit of watercolor with the added advantage that you can wear it and it feels so good.
For 30 years I have loved working as a physical therapist in Missoula, Montana with folks of all ages, helping them do things they never thought they could do again. It has given me an appreciation for movement and anatomical structure which helps me find balance in my paintings. Now I am creating my art in a yurt on a beautiful Corvallis ranch surrounded by the Bitterroot Mountains, llamas, horses, cattle and of course dogs and cats.
Reflections of a Swan
Main Street Size: 15.5" x11.5"
Sue Antonich, artist, has been painting for over 30 years. Primarily self-taught, her main focus is watercolor.
She also works in pastel, acrylic, ink, and painting/wood burning on gourds.
Her subject matters range from florals, landscapes, wildlife and still life. Sue resides in Helena, MT.