“Get your motor runnin’
Head out on the highway
Lookin’ for adventure
And whatever comes our way
Yeah Darlin’ go make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space” – Steppenwolf
Whenever Amy Ringholz has a new show of works “Born to be Wild” revs up in my brain. Steppenwolf’s anthem has nothing to do with wildlife, but it has everything to do with fearless spirit and fire. And when contemporary cowboy artist Duke Beardsley rides into town, I hear this:
“Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ / Though the streams are swollen / Keep them dogies rollin’ / Rawhide! / Rain and wind and weather / Hell-bent for leather /Wishin’ my gal was by my side….All the things I’m missin’, / Good vittles, love, and kissin’, / Are waiting at the end of my ride.
Ned Washington wrote the lyrics to “Rawhide,” and if you want a taste of the Wild, Wild West, contemporary style, saddle up your mount and ride on over to Altamira Fine Art, where Ringholz and Beardsley open a joint new show, “Squaring Off.” The exhibit is on display July 29-August 10th, and an artists’ opening reception takes place Thursday, August 1, 5-7:00 pm.
Beardsley’s mysterious cowboys ride their steeds against graphic, brightly colored and undefined backgrounds; in at least one work he’s set a rider and horse against a spiraled, blue field that resembles curvilinear embossed saddle tack; I’m also reminded of Matisse’s whimsical interiors. He truly blends the contemporary with Western tradition, and he emphasizes line with boldened, fine strokes of black acrylic. To gain depth and rich texture Beardsley contrasts his shadowy foreground figures with their background, glazing the figure with oil. Temperatures are hot, cool, and everything in between. Stars in the Western skies are that way–flaming red, new blue, warm yellow.
Ringholz’s signature calligraphic wildlife images remain fully recognizable, but with each show she switches things up a little bit, keeping her audience surprised. Recently, says Altamira, the artist’s paintings have gained a narrative element, “combining images of several different animals into a single painting, which heightens the sense that even disparate elements of nature are connected and intertwined.”
In Ringholz’s works, the eyes have it. Those wild eyes, infinitely wiser and more cunning than ours, immediately draw viewers to Amy Ringholz’s myriad creatures. I particularly love her sapphire blue backgrounds. She’s a force to be reckoned with, and so are her expressionistic, bold paintings. www.altamiraart.com
“Inspiring, well-scouted locations, thorough classroom sessions, and great group camaraderie made this [photography workshop] an unforgettable experience,” writes one Edward Riddell Photography Workshop student. “Ed Riddell is an outstanding instructor, photographer and leader, unmatched in his preparation and organization.”
Due to a last-minute cancellation, one space is now open in Edward Riddell’s extraordinary “Secrets of Tuscany” workshop, taking place October 18-24th, 2013. Yes, you go to Tuscany! Additionally, Riddell’s “Magic of Yellowstone” workshop, heading into that national park September 26-29th, has three spaces remaining. It’s important to contact Riddell immediately to speak to him about these workshops — email him at [email protected], leave your phone contact information, and he will respond to you with great alacrity.
“Secrets of Tuscany” explores, as only Riddell can, the landscapes, architecture and people of Tuscany. The landscapes are iconic, the experience unforgettable. Riddell’s teaching groups are small, and Riddell has spent “thousands of hours over the last seven years exploring and photographing the hilltowns and landscapes of Tuscany, Italy in preparation for his next book,” discovering ‘undiscovered’ locations and views most tourists never see. Riddell is deeply immersed in Italian culture. His knowledge of the area is just about as thorough as a Tuscan native’s, and because he speaks the language, this workshop flows. Nothing is lost in translation.
Riddell’s October Yellowstone workshop takes place at a perfect time of year.
“Below-freezing mornings create frost and mist in the geyser basins that results in exquisite light. Grasses, aspens and other bushes turn beautiful shades of gold, red and orange,” says Riddell. “Our goal is to take advantage of these beautiful conditions.”
You can find out about BOTH workshops by clicking here. Workshops are intimate and, as another student has testified, “guide people back to themselves and to their love for taking pictures.” www.edwardriddell.com