Wild Bunch Descend on Glasgow
Near Annual Event Draws Artists from Across Region
September 29, 2021
Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, or perhaps because of it, the arts have flourished in Northeast Montana.
This was apparent Friday and Saturday as 10 artists specializing in watercolor, oil, and acrylic painting - as well as wood carvings, pottery, jewelry, bronze sculptures, beading and glass engravings - arrived in Glasgow to participate in the 2021 Wild Bunch Art Show at the Cottonwood Inn and Suites.
The annual event was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, but has returned this year.
"We've got a lot of interest in art in this area," said Connie Tveten, a coordinator for Wild Bunch Art Show. "We go way back. One of the sororities [in Glasgow] started doing an art show many years ago, and there was a lot of interest and always a lot of support. We kept on with it, through the years."
Tveten said it was important the artists who created the works were on hand to answer questions from patrons at the show.
"You have got to be here to answer questions. In a gallery setting, you don't get the one on one. I never buy any art when I don't get to meet the artist."
Penny Strommen, a long time artist in Valley County, was on of the artists invited to display her works - watercolor paintings and pottery.
"It is about time," Strommen said, referring to participating in an in person art show for maybe the first time since the pandemic began nearly two years ago. "I think it is about time we got on with our lives. Last I checked, in the United States we still have freedom of choice."
Participating in a well attended event filled with artists and arts lovers, "is just great," Strommen continued. "I wasn't the least bit nervous, just excited. This is a very nice show very well put together."
Bruce Hill, the "High Plains Artist" of Whitewater, MT, was posted up in a booth near Strommen. He specializes in pastel, watercolor and acrylic paintings inspired by the Old West - think cowboys and Indians. He also hand crafted a flintlock rifle and designed many scabbards for knives in Native American fashion, even using porcupine needles as the foundation for one.
"My wife and I used to work with the Indian people on the Yakima Reservation" in Washington State, Hill said, when asked where he met some of the subjects in full Native American regalia in his paintings. "These are Yakima people we knew there. We worked at a children's home, and some of the girls [I painted] were in that home. I took photographs of them and worked off the photographs."
Hill said he was first inspired to draw images out of the Old West when he was a child.
"Ever since I was little, I was drawing, and I grew into it. I was born 150-years to late. I thought about wearing my six shooter. I might do it yet."
All in all, Hill said he felt "out of his league when surrounded by so many other talented artists.
"I feel very honored that they would allow me to come."
Husband and Wife Duo
Janet Moczar-Buti and Jim Buti of Livingston, who specialize in oil paintings of nature scenes, are a rare breed in the arts world, as artists tend to be lone wolves with their creations. This duo often collaborates on the same paintings.
"We met working together, and worked very well together," Janet said. "That is where we fell in love, working at a bronze foundry of all places. He was a great teacher and I was learning to weld. It has just naturally carried on into our paintings. I will be working on something, and I get stuck ... he will carry on until I get back into the mood again. It goes the other way around too."
"She will sit down for 20 minutes and I will continue painting," Jim said. "Sometimes we paint side by side."
That is not a problem, Janet said, because she is right hand and he is left handed.
"We stay out of each other's way. It is really awesome. The only time he gets into trouble is when I am working on my own painting and he says, 'you know what you should do.' Usually, he is right, and I have to bite my lip."
"It is because I am left handed, and am always in my right mind," Jim said.
When they do collaborate, the two sign their paintings as "Buti and Moczar, because Buti and Buti sounds terrible," Jim said. "These days, it will just get you a funny look.
Some of the couple's oil paintings approach the level of photo-realism, with one commentator noting they could "feel the mosquitoes" just by looking at a scene of a flowing river.
"I can smell the water," Jim joked.
Janet said they generally paint places they have visited or animals they have seen.
"We want to draw attention to our wildlife and to our planet," Jim said. "It is kind of weird. People get so busy in their own lives they don't appreciate what is around them. You can find beauty in your front yard, a robin on a fence."
Such instances are snapshots of moments in time, Janet added.
"If we can move people through our work, that is a big deal. When I am out there, I am moved by what I see and I really want to convey that to people who can't be there to see that, so when they see the artwork, that brings it to them wherever they are at. I think there is so much in nature we can learn from. I wish everybody could see this stuff, because it would change the way our world works."