- LES LEFEVRE
- Photo circa 1947, I always wanted to be a cowboy! Whether working for a short time on the historic Hansen Ranch in Jackson Hole as a young man, just out of the service, to working the stock at the Jackson Rodeo, it nurtured in me a love of the American Cowboy. From my home in Dubois,Wyoming. I look forward each spring to roundup time with my good Friend, John Sides. On his 20,000 acre cattle ranch in South Dakota, each year we relive what ranchers and cowboys have done since cattle were introduced to the west. Little has changed in a hundred years and the experience and camaraderie is all cowboy. The period of 1820 to 1880 on the western plains was the most colorful in American history. Unfortunately, I was born too late to experience it first hand.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Gosh, I forgot to mention my annual trip to Eiteljorg for the Quest for the West exhibit held every fall. I went with four other members of Masterworks for Nature, John Agnew, DeVere Burt, Ann Geise and Mary Lou Holt. We attended the first week in October which is the last week for the show. It is great exhibit and wonderfull western art museum with lots of classic work by most of the famous western artists of the past and present. Wish I could show you photos of some of the Quest for the West work but you are not allowed to photograph of course. The permanent exhibit you are allowed to photograph so here is a Russell and a Farny.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
This past weekend was the opening of my latest show with Masterworks in Nature at the Cincinnati Nature Center. It was well attended and most of us sold at least one piece. On opening night I sold "The Trail Boss" . Pictured is myself with fellow artist John Ruthven and Cincinnati Nature Center board member Deb Krehbiel. Also attending over the weekend was my high school freshman English teacher Mrs. Nadine Wilson. My what a surprise and I can't imagine the shock when she saw her freshman student with no hair and a grey beard.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
I did a few new smaller pieces for the upcoming Masterworks Show at the Cincinnati Nature Center. "Trail Boss", "Horsecreek Hayfields" and "Winter Camp" are 8x10 and 9x12 pieces. Trail Boss is of Rob Culbertson, a rancher from Nebraska. He is an excellent cowboy, horseman and model and I need to do more of him
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Well, just a quick note to catch up on my stay in Dubois before getting back to serious painting. The Susan K Black Workshop and show was held in Dubois in September and the painting of the black cowboy, "For Hire",that I did this summer, received a first place in oils. We did a lot of plein air painting and visiting with other artists. We took many hikes to places like Jade Lake with Gary Keimig and my wife Kathy. It is not hard to see where the lake got it's name. We also went to Gunsight Pass above Green Lake and the Green River on the Pinedale side of the Wind River Mountains with fellow artist Steve left and Ann Wernike . What a spectacular sight in the fall of the year.
Last but not least was a very tiring but moving hike to Bomber Falls where a B 24 Bomber crashed in 1943 during a training mission and all 11 aboard were lost. It is very high up in the Wind River Mountains just above a beautiful falls. The crash site is still littered with debris after all these years. Things take a long time to break down in this dry climate. The aluminum fuselage still is as shiney as the day it crashed. Fitting that I post this on Veterans Day.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
After leaving AR, I made a quick trip to the Sioux Trading Post at Prairie's Edge in Rapid City. It is a great place to see traditional clothing and regalia made by todays Native American Artists and the trading post has anything you could want for pow wows or to construct a reproduction of native art or clothing.
Soon after arriving in Dubois Wyoming, my friend Sig called me to invite me on a hike he was taking to Boedeker Butte with his friends Bob and Kay. We drove about 15 miles into the Absaroka Range to Bog Lake and then hiked a few miles and a couple of thousand feet higher to Boedeker Butte. That is me on the left and Sig with his dog Ruger on the right. It was over 10,000 feet and absolutely gorgeous. On the way up we passed a sight where Sheep Eater Indians had cut down trees many years ago to get to the pine nuts. The trees were laying where they fell. Bob bored some of the fallen trees as well as some live ones to try to match up growth rings to determine how long ago. I have not heard if he was successful. We also passed an ancient sheep trap used by the same Indians to trap and kill the Big Horn Sheep on which they depended for food, clothing and much more. We packed our lunch and dined under some Limber Pines near the Butte. I imagine we could see for at least twenty to thirty miles. I was pretty bushed when we returned not having hiked at altitude for a while.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
It has been a busy two months. The photo shoot for western artists was held the last week of August on the Shearer Ranches North of Wall South Dakota. For those of you that wondered where we get our references for 18th and 19th century paintings, one of the places is Artist Ride. It is by invitation only to 50 of the top western artists in the country. There are anywhere from 50 to 80 models including Native Americans, mountain men, cowboys and cowgirls, both modern and historic as well as a lot of livestock, wagons, stagecoaches and about any senerio you would like to create. Most artists take any where from 1,000 to 4,000 photos in a weekend. Digital photography has probably expanded that number quite a bit in recent years. It is a working weekend but also a retreat into the unspoiled land of the Cheyenne River Valley and a socializing between artists and models alike. We have many friends in both camps. We take time to remember those who were no longer with us and even more time renewing old acquaintances and making new ones. These are but a few of the wonderful models that equip themselves with the correct outfits and gear to make our paintings realistic and authentic.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Well, it has been a busy couple of months back here in Ohio. My daughter moved into a new home and my 95 year old mother who lives on her own has agreed to some in home caregivers. Whoopee! It has taken a bit of painting time getting all this done, but it is time to head back to Wyoming. I have to make a short stop at the "Artist Ride" photo shoot in South Dakota on the way. It is by invitation only and an excellent opportunity to replenish my resources. We also get to meet new models and renew friendships with other western painters. Unfortunately I will not be out there soon enough for "Crow Fair" near the Apsaroka (Crow) Indian Reservation in Montana. I did do a few smaller pieces in the last two weeks. Portraits are always what I go back to when getting into my painting mode.
Friday, July 3, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
While in Dubois in June I did a few little paintings for fun. A little 6x8 oil of a night time Cowboy titled "Night Rider is one of them and an 8x10 oil of a Cowboy titled "I am your Man" You can't always paint the big guys, because you can learn a lot on these little studies and they give people the opportunity to own an original at a substantially lower price. And besides that, they don't take up a lot of wall space. Both paintings are available at the Silver Sage Gallery in Dubois
Sunday, June 14, 2009
I just returned from a whirlwind 3 1/2 weeks in South Dakota and Wyoming. Kathy and I started out headed for South Dakota for a Cattle Drive. We were too late for the roundup and branding at the Sides Ranch but we were able to help Chuck Seeger move his cattle 18 miles to the branding area. We almost made the whole trip but both of our unshod ponies came up lame about 2/3rds of the way and we felt it better to put them in a corral we passed and finished the drive in the pickup. We saved a little on the soreness since we don't ride distances all that often.
It was then off to our place "The Welcome Wigwam" in Dubois Wyoming. I was able to get in a lot of painting time and was able to produce 4 paintings and 4 small miniatures. The weather was wet and overcast a lot but we had two interesting hikes. The first was with my friend Sig Schulz. We drove my pickup up to about 10,000 ft in the Absoraka range then hiked to where we knew there were some old Indian Sheep Traps on a platau between Windy Gap and Indian Point. At the second trap we found some broken flint points and then the weather threatened. We headed for some trees and there we found the remains of Big Horn Ram killed over the winter, most likely from a Mountain Lion as there was a large log that had been dislodged from its resting place nearby. Three days later after a significant snowfall I took Gary Keimig a fellow artist up to see the Sheep Traps. While on the trail we saw some large bear tracks that were not there a few days before but continued on to the first trap. After being there just a few minutes we were both aware of a definite bear stench. We figured he was just down the hill resting in the timber about 50 yards away. We had intended to cut through the timber to the next trap but decided it was time to head back to the truck and leave well enough alone. We both had bear spray and I had a pistol but we did not want to test them out. I am now back at my studio in Ohio and look forward to reorganizing for a return later this summer.
Monday, June 8, 2009
Sunday, June 7, 2009
16 x 20 Oil on canvas
South Dakota Rancher, John Sides ,getting ready for work. I painted this while in Dubois in May after just doing a cattle drive with John.
This painting is avaiable at Silver Sage Gallery.