Childhood summers on her family’s roundup wagon gave Sonja (Smith) Caywood ample time to study and know the animals that inspire much of her imagery.  Ranching is in her blood and inspires not only an appreciation for her subject matter and agricultural lifestyles, but also her work ethic. Using oils, she renders animals in portrait situations, personifying them in a manner sometimes confrontational, but often as a glimpse into a candid, casual, relatable moment.

“I constantly back up as I paint, assuring that painterly strokes of oil colors are assembled so that they read realistically from across a room.  I love it when viewers approach a painting that appears life-like, but up close they see “it’s just paint” with shapes, colors, and values.

“For someone without a formal art education, I’m grateful to make a living by sharing what I love to do.” Caywood’s work hangs in collections across the U.S. and in also in twelve foreign countries. She has been featured in numerous print publications and several documentaries, including Beverly Kleiber’s video project for The Brinton Museum, and The Story of Art on Amazon Prime.

Caywood paints from her studio in Dayton, Wyoming.  She and her husband Terry have two grown children, a daughter-in-law, and a posse of pets.


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