Head-shot of artist Sonja Caywood“As a small girl in the saddle, I’d use my hands to “frame” the landscape and livestock- many years before I learned it was a composition technique.  My ranch-raised upbringing in Montana and Wyoming holds my heart, drives my worth ethic, and informs my oil paintings.

Growing up ranching, livestock and the landscape inspire much of my imagery.  I constantly back up as I paint to assure that my subject looks realistic from across a room, yet surprises and engages the viewer up-close with abstracted shapes of exaggerated colors, leaving places for them to “fill in the blanks,” instead of “telling all” with tight realism.  For this reason, my work is best viewed in person, to experience this dichotomy from 20 feet and from 2 feet away.  I’m blessed to make a living with my dream job, but I’d paint even if I never made another dime on it.

Though not “formally trained” I’ve taken workshops and classes, and I learn from artist friends.  Painting en plein air teaches me so much!  My paintings hang in private and corporate collections across most of the U.S. and in 12 foreign countries on six continents.  My husband Terry and I live at the base of the Bighorns in Dayton, WY; we have two grown children, a daughter-in-law, and a small posse of pets.  Many thanks to The Brinton Museum for having me back for The Brinton 101!.” Sonja Caywood