Bill Anton - A Passion for Painting the West (43)


Manage episode 270670669 series 2772568
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Bill Anton was the first professional painter I ever met. It was a chance encounter. In the late 1990’s my family and I were vacationing in Jackson, Wyoming. One evening I decided to walk into one of the several art galleries that lined the square. It was intimidating, as I had never set foot in an art gallery before. As my eyes adjusted to the interior lighting of Trailside Gallery, I became enthralled at the dozens of paintings hanging in the gallery depicting Western scenes.

Only two people were in the gallery when I took my first timid steps into it. One person was a woman working for Trailside. And the other person was man wearing a black cowboy hat. The woman greeted me and explained that the paintings before me were by an artist named Bill Anton. I told her I didn’t know who he was. So, she offered, “Let me introduce you to him.” She led me to the man wearing the cowboy hat and said: “This is Bill Anton." I don’t remember what I was said at the time, but I do remember his kindness towards me - a rookie who knew next to nothing about art! After that brief encounter with Bill I spent the next couple of hours closely examining each of his extraordinary paintings. It was a transformative moment for me. It was at that moment that I decided I wanted to be able to paint like this one day.

Indeed Bill’s remarkable paintings of the Western landscape, the equine figure, and the human figure are without equal. There’s a cinematic feel to his paintings. Bill's focus when painting is not about technical execution, but, rather, about mood and passion. The visual poetry of his paintings profoundly affect you as a viewer. It’s a visceral feeling - one I well remember that evening walking into Trailside Gallery - even though it’s been over twenty years ago. You are drawn in to sit by a warmly glowing campfire. You feel the chill of the high desert air set in as the sun casts its last rays upon the distant peaks. You hear the snorts and neighing of the horses and the stamping of their feet. The smell of dust and musk from a long day’s ride linger in your nostrils. You see it, you smell it, you feel it. And that’s just the way Bill Anton wants it. Each painting demonstrates his deep seated passion for painting the west.

Mentioned in this episode:

Bill Anton Website:

Video: Under the Spell of the West from Western Horseman:

Ralph Oberg in episode 1 of the Artful Painter

Matt Smith in episode 2 of the Artful Painter

Skip Whitcomb in episode 21 of the Artful Painter

About the Artful Painter:

Website: Instagram: Facebook: YouTube: Send an email: Make a donation: Book recommendations: Artists Sketchbooks:

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