The Bob Marshall Wilderness

In August of 2008, I spent a week on horseback in Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness with my wife and a few close friends. Our guides were a married couple, Greg & Ann, and I told them I’d paint their portraits. In the paintings, they’re both riding the same horse, which is how they were photographed. Rather than taking poetic license and switching one of the mounts, I thought that keeping it the same nicely symbolized their marriage. I used the same pallet and painted them simultaneously.

Greg in the Bob
Private collection
Choteau, MT
2009 • 20 x 16

Ann in the Bob
Private collection
Choteau, MT
2009 • 20 x 16

“A Sketch from the Bob” is just that, a quick, small painting done with my projector technique. The stark, black background depicts a burned forest. The year before, The Bob was hit by terrible fires that scorched many thousands of acres. Sometimes we would ride for miles through blackened, charred remains with no life. The air was smoky and parched our throats. Then, we’d hit a green area untouched by the flames and nothing ever smelled sweeter.

The Bob Marshall Wilderness
Kathy Loh
San Rafael, CA
2008 • 10 x 8

A Sketch from the Bob
Martin Droll
Evergreen, CO
2008 • 14 x 11

The landscape, “The Bob Marshall Wilderness” was another quick sketch. On the first day of riding, which was my first time on a horse for many years, we spent the first few hours climbing. Eventually, after countless canyons and switchbacks, we crossed a narrow ridge and saw this scene.

I painted “Greg Rounds up the Horses” prior to the portraits to get the feel of the setting. It is less fully developed than they are. However, it gave me the chance to experiment with painting horses, bringing in the highlights and shadows of the background, and play with some of the colors we saw on the ride in the foreground.

Greg Rounds Up the Horses
Whereabouts Unknown
2008 • 24 x 18