What do artists Quang Ho and Scott Christensen have in common?
Very large and impressive paintings at their two-man show at the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, Georgia!
If you’re a fan of either or both artists like I am, you’ll enjoy hearing about our trip.
My daughter Danni and I woke at 3 am and left bleary-eyed at 4. We got half an hour from home and the snowy roads became so slick we reluctantly turned back and went home.
Living in the western mountains for much of my life, slick roads wouldn’t normally deter me. I realized though, that icy roads could slow us down and cut into the precious time we had to study the art.
With my schedule right now, taking one day off was tough. The drive to the museum was 8 ½ hours and the museum closed at 5. Knowing the caliber of the art I was going to see, I would need the full 4 or 5 hours to explore and study.
You see, I wasn’t going to ‘view’ the paintings – I wanted to learn from two of the top artists in the world. Learning takes a lot more time than casual viewing.
One week later we hit the road again with nary a cloud to darken our path.
When we pulled into the small town of Cartersville we wondered if Google Maps had misled us.
“They wouldn’t build a major museum in a small town like this would they?” I mumbled to myself.
Oh yeah they would – and it turns out, it’s the largest Western Art Museum in the world. It was founded by a family that loves collecting western art.
So, first I’ll show you a few of my favorite pieces from Quang Ho and Scott Christensen. Then I’ll give you a peek at some paintings from their permanent collections. Happily, when we paid for entrance they told us we could take photos of all the artwork except the Frederick Remington exhibit – how cool is that!
East/West Visions: Quang Ho & Scott Christensen
Quang Ho and Scott Christensen are two incredible artists who have both achieved a great degree of success in the art world. I loved seeing them come together at this show and being able to study their work so closely!
The winter scene above by Quang Ho was one of mine and Danni’s favorite paintings.
My photos won’t do justice to the paintings (sorry…). Standing in front of it we could feel a cold breeze blowing and it made us want to grab our sleds.
I love how Quang so masterfully combines loose brushwork, scrapes, scratches, abstraction, and realism, and breathes life into his paintings.
You know how much I love painting flowers. Quang Ho is one of the best. He captures the essence of flowers brilliantly with vigorous background strokes combined with subtle refined petals and leaves.
Look at the detail above from By Mountain Stream – a 60×60 inch painting. He really pushed the color and thick paint texture. The whole painting is a kaleidoscope of swirling strokes of abstraction that magically merge into a mesmerizing mountain creek and figure.
Quang experiments with techniques and approaches more effectively than any other artist I know.
Generally, I don’t focus on figures in my blogs. I decided to show this one because the figure blends so well into the landscape.
This is what Quang wrote about his painting: “The subject of painting the figure in nature in such a way that there is total integration, where one doesn’t know where the boundaries between figure and landscape start and stop, has been a challenge for me for over 15 years. I finally felt confident enough to attempt this more epic size…this painting took over five years of applications of paint and contemplating choices.”
Eocene Sky was another feat of painting mastery. There were so many subtle color and value transitions in the foreground and the sky completely drew me in. It felt like I was back, standing on the vast open range in Colorado.
Scott Christensen’s work first stood out to me when I saw it in the Hole in the Wall Gallery in Ennis, Montana in 1989.
He seems to be pushing the boundaries a bit and experimenting with his work as well. This was a beautiful example of playing with loose suggestive brush strokes and thick paint.
I was entranced by the high altitude atmospheric light and contrast.
Scott has a quite distinctive style that many have tried to imitate. Trying to paint exactly like someone else is never a good idea because it’s not real.
For a master artist like Christensen, a ‘look’ isn’t a technique. It’s a part of him. It’s the culmination of his struggles and experiences and individual view of the world.
He has always been a generous teacher and I’ve encouraged others to study with him. Just make sure you take what you learn and go your own unique direction with the increased understanding and insight you gain.
Traditional Western Art
James Reynolds is one of my favorite artists. He was one of the true masters of color among western artists. He also focused on the ‘art’ of his work rather than illustrating a story which resulted in some of the most compelling western art to date.
I was fortunate to see a show of his landscapes at the Claggett/Rey Gallery in Vail, Colorado in 2000.
Danni and I both loved Buck McCain’s buffalo. Monarch was an inspired title.
Traditional Art Collection
Contemporary Western Art Collection
The museum had some fun pieces in the Contemporary Western Art Galleries.
They even have a movie poster painting by Morgan Weistling that he completed in 1993.
The Booth Western Art Museum is incredible!
They have paintings by Howard Terpening, Gerald Harvey, George Hallmark and Kenneth Riley; bronzes by John Coleman, Vic Payne, Mehl Lawson and Dave McGary; Civil War art by Rick Reeves, Don Troiani and Bradley Schmehl.
With 120,000 feet of exhibition space packed with paintings and sculptures, you’ll want at least a day or two to take it all in.
In February (2019) they are having a show of T Allen Lawson’s work.
I’ll be there – how about you?
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Bill Inman, I am blown away by these paintings and by the
generous heart [yours] that brings them to us for
looking and learning. My heart is singing.
Bill Thank you so very much for sharing these INCREDIBLE paintings with us!
In my opinion this is what painting is all about.
Wow. What a collection! Every year I travel up to OKC to see the Prix de West and so I know a little of what you experienced. Both exciting and humbling.
The Western art was truly wonderful! Thanks for showing it!!
Bill – I want to thank you for sharing your visit to the Booth Western Art Museum.
These are very inspiring paintings ! Scott Christensen & Quang Ho are truly
some of the best representational artists painting today. I enjoyed the other
paintings especially Suitor’s Village and Village of Pilar NM.
Bill, you and Danni must have had a wonderful time. What gorgeous pics. I so enjoyed exploring with you.’Pictures were stunning. Thank you
Bill: Thank you so much for sharing this with us.
I wish you and your family a very blessed Christmas.
I made the trip to the Booth Western Art Museum in early November to see their exhibit. I loved that I spent the afternoon studying each painting and only a couple people came into the gallery. I was mesmerized by their masterful techniques. Standing in the middle of the room, totally surrounded and undisturbed, was amazing. It is truly a gem! Thank you for bringing attention to the show. It is certainly worth the trip.
I admire what other artists are painting and sometimes wonder why they would choose a particular subject. Thank you so much for sharing from art shows as well as your teaching. I am 80 and I have been painting for over 40 years. I still find it fascinating to be able to learn more and to create.