Cowboy artist: Western lifestyle artist captures beauty in old-time rural scenes
Lyman – Noticing and appreciating beautiful colors on a landscape as well as the actions and gestures of cowboys, livestock and wildlife comes naturally to western artist Grant Redden.
He shares, “I have always been motivated to capture these moments in the rural West with a pencil or paint. If I wasn’t painting, or thinking about painting, I was asleep.”
Grant was born in Evanston, and grew up on a sheep outfit his father worked on outside of Lyman until Grant was around the age of 12. In fact, Grant shares he remembers seeing the Wyoming Livestock Roundup on the kitchen table.
Then, his father bought his own place from a local rancher. Before attending Utah State University, Grant worked on his father’s sheep and cattle ranch.
“I got a degree in agricultural economics because everyone told me, ‘You can’t make a living as an artist,’ and I believed them,” Grant shares. “Around 1989 or 1990, I began learning what it would take to become a full-time artist.”
Grant shares he had many conversations with a mentor, learning what to study, how to study and critiquing his works. In 1997, Grant transitioned from real estate appraisals to working in his art studio full-time.
Since then, Grant has been inducted into the Cowboy Artists of America – the longest running art group in the U.S. – and has paintings in seven different galleries.
“I like to paint the rural West,” he shares. “My family comes from pioneer stock on both sides, so it is in my blood.”
Many of his works depict the cowboy of the 1930s and 1940s, and farm scenes where draft horses work alongside farmers to swath hay and plow fields.
Grant says, “I do a lot of paintings of pioneers and how things used to be. In fact, I do a lot of paintings of pioneer girls herding sheep, because my mom did that. She grew up in Lonetree and attended a one-room school house.”
In addition, Grant shares some of his inspiration for old-timey, rural compositions comes from paintings of historical painters.
“Someone once asked me what my hobby was, and I realized my hobby is studying art,” he explains. “I will spend a lot of time looking at paintings and illustrations from the old and deceased masters.”
He continues, “Sometimes I will see something in their work, or I’ll go out and look for landscapes or animals in the right light. I’ll stop to take pictures and develop a collection of ideas and photo references. Sometimes, I’ll take my paints out and do outdoor paintings to capture color.”
Grant utilizes his children and local ranchers as models for some of his inspirations, as well as thumbnail sketches or oil studies before he moves his idea to a larger piece.
Blessed to create
“Right now in my studio, I have about half a dozen or more works in progress,” he shares. Grant rolls out around 50 pieces each year, and his current work focuses on oil paintings, though he used to do a lot of watercolor work.
Paintings take anywhere from two weeks to two years to leave Grant’s studio finished, depending on deadlines and how long he ruminates on the piece to find where he might make improvements.
Since his induction into the Cowboy Artists of America, Grant has been awarded gold medals in oil painting six times within seven years. He shares, he feels very blessed and fortunate to be associated with the organization.
“I am very lucky to be an artist and have all of the support from my wife and family,” he shares. “I love being able to be really creative with texture and color, and I am interested in mastering pigments and media, as well as being able to draw well and have beautiful color and texture in paintings.”
For more information, visit Grant’s website at grantreddenstudio.com, Facebook @Grant.Redden.Art or Instagram @grantreddenstudio.
Averi Hales is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.