It’s not bad advice, and we could probably figure out, without promotional public service announcements, that nature is a healing place to be. It’s calm, quiet, and peaceful – three inducements to thinking and reflection. For fine art painters, getting outside is a means of capturing the moment so that when people see the artwork, though they are stuck in an office on a rainy day, they can escape to a place worth being in.
“I paint original impressionist landscapes with emotion,” says LR Montgomery, an oil painter from Spokane, WA, who enjoys both plein air and studio work.
“My landscapes show the hidden secrets of our forests, ponds, tributaries, rivers, boulders and open spaces.
“They express the joy of being outdoors.”
Celebrating Nature with Paint
Montgomery’s personal philosophy is to create uplifting images that generate a feeling of well-being and reflect the beauty of God’s creation. At the same time, he also wants to draw people’s attention to the fragility and sustainability of our natural environments. If we pave over forests and build high-rise corporate buildings in the meadows, we lose precious resources that we can never get back.
So . . . Montgomery actively seeks out and finds the unspoiled, natural places. His happiest painting moments, he says, are those spent outside, regardless of the weather.
“I can be found painting out of doors at zillions of Northwest natural areas. I am the Artist in Residence for Dishman Hills Conservancy, so I paint there often.
“Most recently, I have been painting the Palouse, Lake Chatcolet, Spokane River, Little Spokane River, the hills west of Corvallis, OR, and anywhere grapes grow.”
It’s not only when he’s behind the easel that Montgomery enjoys the outdoors. He spends significant time hiking, canoeing, and kayaking throughout the Pacific Northwest, and those outside experiences, eventually, find themselves as paint on canvas or panel.
Getting Outside as Often as He Can
“My art reflects the joy of outdoor adventures.
“Additionally, collectors and organizations often ask me to paint the areas they love or represent. I accept a very limited number of commissions a year.”
Montgomery’s collectors include private individuals, corporations, environmental groups, museums, and educational institutions throughout the U.S., Europe, Russia, China, Mexico, Africa, and Japan. In the Pacific Northwest, his work is in collections at Kaiser Permanente, Spokane Eye Clinic, Pacific Lutheran University, Washington State University, the city of Spokane, Loyola Marymount University, Shriners Children’s Hospital, Providence Medical Center, and the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture.
“Art is a happy business. People collect it because it brings joy, enhances life, or reflects personal experiences.”
Some families, he adds, have collected his work for generations, and to this day, he remembers the name of his first collector.
“Her name was Helen. I was 12 years old when I painted a watercolor of a cougar, which she and her husband acquired. They inspired my love for the outdoors and being outside in nature through their lifestyle and encouragement.”
In fact, his wife Carole swears that he was born with a crayon in his hand. Her assessment is understandable, given her partnership with him in the painting business: he paints, she is his manager. That responsibility requires as much flexibility, adaptability, creativity, and easygoing humor as wielding the brush.
An Artistic Marriage
“She never knows what will happen next. She may have to drop what she is doing at a moment’s notice to attend to the whims of the art business.
“The left brain of our marriage, she is a great supporter of our creative lifestyle. Her support allows me to focus on painting with purpose.”
And that purpose — celebrating the outdoor world, focusing on nature, pointing people’s hearts toward beauty — is well worth taking time to focus upon. Whether he’s in the comfort of the studio or out on the river bank, doing emergency repairs on the legs of an easel, Montgomery draws upon, and draws viewers into, a world that is far, far from the madding crowd, and crowds, period.
“My paintings bring the ambiance and memories of outdoor experience in. Collectors say they can hear the water and smell the forest.”
Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail email@example.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.