Having been painting for fifteen years now, I looked back recently at what I have enjoyed most about painting over this time.

The idea for View 22: Field Study is a perfect fit.

Beyond making paintings, I love to return time and again to a place as it changes with the seasons. It is exciting to learn the habits of the birds and animals that live there. I feel the rhythm of the weather patterns, and am awed by the changing light when a storm is approaching.

My favorite body of work to date was a series of pencil sketches and 6 x 8” oils of a female Calliope Hummingbird building a nest outside my studio window and raising two chicks one summer. Watching her build the nest with lichen and spider webs, sit patiently until the eggs hatched and then feed her young was fascinating. I worried about her when she was off the nest and it started to hail, and was sad when the little ones fledged. I have been wanting to create a new body of work when the View22 opportunity presented itself.

It has been very special to be the artist painting the Mead Ranch this year. Brad and Kate are people who I value very much as friends. To spend time at their ranch and to learn even a little about a lifestyle so different from my own has been a treat.

By protecting their family ranch the Mead and the Hansen families have given the world a great gift. The conservation easement preserves cattle ranching, a way of life in the West that is disappearing. The ranch with its open space, access to water and food, and safe migration routes is perfect habitat for many wild creatures who live or move through there. From time to time one can see elk, deer, moose, bald and golden eagles, hawks, coyotes and other wildlife.

Many thanks to the Mead and Hansen families for this gift.


– Lee Riddell